An Unexpected Journey

Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Catholicism, Featured, The Journey Home | 200 comments

Probably the hardest thing about being a Catholic — other than trying to do enough good deeds to earn my way to heaven without grace — is having to refer to my spiritual life as a “journey” (what can I say, I still suffer from that Calvinist thing of when you throw up in your mouth a little at all things smacking of evangelicalism).

With that caveat, I will be appearing on EWTN’s program “The Journey Home” on Monday (today) at 5pm. I’ll be discussing my, ahem, journey from broad evangelicalism to Geneva, and from Geneva to Rome.

I should be able to post the video here soon. Enjoy the show. . . .

200 Comments

  1. Awwww snap. You’ve officially made it into American Catholic convert royalty once your on EWTN. So glad your journey is over! Welcome home! (barf…. swallow)

  2. looking forward to the show.

  3. Congratulations. Can’t wait to watch. Maybe we should all call in and ask, “Why did you feel it necessary to earn your salvation…” Haha.

  4. Welcome home to the Catholic Church, Jason. Nice job on The Journey Home!

  5. I saw the Journey Home show. Thanks for the witness to the honest journey. I’ve shared the journey and am likewise grateful for God’s guidance. Blessings, brother Stellman!

  6. Thanks for everything you said on the Journey Home program on EWTN. I was received int0 the Catholic Church the first Sunday of November after studying the very same things you talked about for several years.
    Thank you for your witness!
    -steve

  7. Hi Jason,
    I spent 50 years in in OC. I now live in KY and work for the Fathers of Mercy. Calvary Chapel, wow, did they pull a lot of uncatechized Catholics out of the church! I am happy to see that you made it all the way home!

  8. LOVED watching you on EWTN!!!! Welcome home to the holy and glorious Catholic Church!!! A lot of what you said resonated within me…I am a cradle Catholic…it was my parents who ditched Catholicism some 38 years ago and are at the local Assembly of God which, I understand, has a somewhat Prebyterian bent. They suffer with any gray matter and are rigid in their views of God as judge. Yes, I’ve been disdained by many in my family…although they are the ones who left the church I am somehow the heathen!

  9. I accidentally turned on the program tonight. My husband and I were just talking about my questions about Catholicism… Your journey is similar to what I think I am going through right now… 11 years of Catholic school, and then I left the church and became a 4 point Calvinist. I still have questions about the Catholic theology but will continue to read your blogs and study. Thank you for your interview!

  10. That was a great interview. My wife is in the process of converting and appreciated much of what you said. Thanks for going on the show!

  11. Comment

  12. I just caught part of your conversation with Marcus Grodi and thought I’d check out the site. I converted about 15 years ago after being a Protestant (with gaps) for some 50 years. I just want to say something heartfelt about what you are doing here. I feel that we are called to wrestle things out together — I wish more people were willing to talk about it all… Once you start asking the right questions, the road to Truth leads to exactly one place… As our Blessed John Henry Newman said after traversing his so challenging path, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” God bless you.
    — anna

  13. As a recent convert to Catholicism from Muslim religion, I am astonished to hear how anguished people are while attempting to find the truth. Following your journey on “Journey Home”, I realized how simple minded I was about my conversion. I woke up one day (while going through a painful and bitter divorce) went to the nearest catholic church and told them I want to become a catholic.

    That was 5 years ago. To summarize how I feel about my glorious faith is to quote St. Augustine “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you.”

  14. What a surprise to switch on Journey Home and hear your name and see your __________ face! Great job summarizing a whole lot of stuff. I often wonder if, when I enter The Catholic Church this coming Easter, how the heck I could ever put 63 years as a protestant in numerous denoms and non-denom denoms into any kind of a nutshell, other than my own skull. Again, great job and great to hear it all. +

  15. Hey, Mr. Stellman: Greets! I had the pleasure of seeing you on ‘The Journey Home’ and thank you for sharing your witness. It was both edifying and heartwarming. We seemingly couldn’t be more opposite, in that I’m an Irish-American, cradle Catholic, working class, HS grad, cop type, (how’s that for a ‘stereotype’, eh?) and yet I can pretty fully appreciate most all of the story of your coming into the fullness of The Faith and your ongoing conversion. (Yeah, I know… anathema to protestant separatists… but, may it please God that we are all constantly working on our own ongoing conversion towards a more perfect imitation of, and union with Christ, no?) In any event, thanks be to God for His grace in leading, and your cooperation in finding your way into the fullness of The Faith and this messy, collection of sinners, ‘warts and all’, that we call the Catholic Church! Clearly you’re blessed with significant talents that will undoubtedly contribute far beyond your own ‘domestic church’ and facilitate many of the rest of us in our own journeys! Welcome!.. Thanks!.. & “keep The Faith!” God’s Blessings to you & yours. Peace / Num 6: 24-26!

  16. Jason, as a Hungarian, I enjoyed your comments about Hungary and the Hungarian youth. As a Catholic, I welcome you home, and hope you have brought with you some of the evangelical zeal of Bill Graham, or the activism of Jerry Falwell in the public square, or the spirit of a Bishop Sheen.

  17. Dear Jason,
    I just wrote a whole long message to you and my computer did something strange and shifted out of it. I had so much that I said.

    Wow!! What an incredible story, from nominal no religion, to Baptist, to Calvary Chapel and missions to Presbyterian, and all the way to…. Catholic! Wow!!! I love it!!! Me too!
    When I first became ‘Born-Again’ in Nov. 1987, I listed to Christian radion always every morning and Chuch Smith was on very early and I loved his voice, his tone, his teaching and his message of the Gospel along with listening to Charles Swindohl, James Dobson on Focus on the Family and to John MacArthur every day for a long long time! It all nurtured and filled and taught me and helped to grow. God has lead me home to the Catholic church, but only recently have I really gotten plugged in. For so long I couldn’t really come, because, I saw and experienced no vibrancy and personal faith or aliveness at the Mass, so I stayed in the Evangelical Church where I had come to faith and where my children grew up and came to faith also… Grace Chapel, Lexington, MA (www.grace.org). God has lead me to get fully plugged in and so I am a member of the Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church, in Belmont, MA and also a member at St. Eulalia’s Catholic Church in Winchester, MA, where I am learning and growing gradually. I took the RCIA but didn’t get anything out of it, I knew more scripture that the folks and had a more solid understanding of the faith. It was a disappointment, but I am astounded as I experience Jesus in ‘real time’ in His real presence in the Eucharist… Wow!!

    Much more to share .. and many questions to ask… about all of that too, but next time!

    “Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb” !!! AMEN

    THANK YOU!! BLESS YOU!!
    Warmest Blessings!
    Verna

  18. Jason,
    I really enjoyed learning about your story this evening on the Journey Home, particularly your explication on the faith and practice of Calvary Chapel believers in Southern California, where I grew up in the Seventies as a Lutheran. Friends at college who had become born again at Calvary or at Vineyard challenged me to open my heart to the scriptures – not just my mind – and to embrace the spirit of God to motivate authentic discipleship and witness – not just be obedient in worship – but could never get my insisting on the centrality of gaining and being nourished by sacramental grace, particularly the regular receiving of Holy Communion. How the sacraments unite us to Christ, bind us together with not only him, but incorporate us into the wonderful heritage of the mystical company of all faithful believers through history down to the present day. As opposed to (for me) a vague ethos of outstanding biblical literacy, enthusiastic hands-in-the-air worship, and the earnest assurance of one’s having already been saved – demonstrable because ‘I am comfortable with addressing the Lord by his first name, Jesus and I can confidently challenged others whom I am certain are not yet saved, like we at Calvary or at the Vineyard are’. But I will say, they provoked me to examine the theological basis of my preferred liturgical protestant Christianity, why Church was important to me, the Communion of the Saints – which resulted in my becoming an Episcopalian (1986) as I was entering graduate school, and even going to seminary (1992) and ordination (1998). Of course, fortunately in your case, by the time you were reading yourself into the Catholicism, the ‘via media’ of Anglicanism had collapsed by then. The middle of the road is a dangerous place to stand (I resigned my parish and was confirmed Catholic in ’05, along with my wife and children). Welcome home, Jason, and thanks for sharing your story with Marcus and with his viewers. (I look forward to reading your writings on this blog to perhaps use in my Apologetics course, where I now teach) God bless

  19. Watched it, loved it, resonated with so much of it! Thank you, Jason!

    Indeed, within what paradigm of theological understanding *would* St. James naturally write, so starkly, without tons of qualifications, that justification is *not by faith alone but by works*?

    Within what paradigm of understanding would Jesus so starkly give us the parable of the sheep and the goats, connecting our works (of love for the poor, hungry, and/or imprisoned), or lack thereof, to our eternal salvation or damnation — again, without tons of qualifications that our works are only “evidence of having already been justified by faith alone”? It’s simply not the Reformed paradigm that I used to hold– and, like you, I say that with genuine love for all that I learned about God and Scripture while in that paradigm!

    Now, if the above exegetical understandings had been simply mine, through reading Scripture alone, I might have been able to persuade myself that I was misunderstanding Scripture, and that I should defer to the “historic Reformed understanding (s?)” of imputed righteousness. However, as I read more early Christian writings and sermons from the 1st-5th centuries, the evidence mounted. Both Scripture *and* those extra-Biblical early Christian writings, *when* read without Protestant presuppositions, simply sounded “Catholic” in ways that I could no longer deny, unless I were to do so at the expense of my integrity. As you said, Jason, I fought the Church, and the Church won! Thanks be to God! :-)

  20. Dear Jason,
    Your story (journey) is amazing! Thank you soooo much for sharing it with us! My husband converted to the Catholic Church at age 19 and I am a cradle Catholic. We met 10 years after his entering the Catholic Church and married 26 years ago. I am not educated like you and I can honestly say I wish I were! You are great at articulating and teaching so keep ministering please. We need you! My husband told me that it takes a lot of humility to be Catholic and I see that quality in you! God has so much for us when we “let go” and are serious about our faith. It is a wonderful thing to be in this apostolic church and nothing warms my heart more than hearing testimonies of faithful followers of Christ sharing how the Holy Spirit brings us closer than we will ever know to Him in His Church! I am so thankful to learn more and get inspired from guest after guest on the Journey Home! I love this program and watch it often! Bless your humble heart and may you know I have been blessed by tuning in tonight! Oh and I loved finding this site and I heard one talk and loved it! I told my daughter about it too!

  21. Thanks to everyone who watched and appreciated my interview on EWTN. It almost seems like I’m the only Catholic in America who *didn’t* get to watch it….

  22. Your appearance on Journey Home was one of my favorites and I have seen dozens and dozens.
    -Catholic convert from Texas

  23. Last night was one of my favorite episodes. – Catholic-Christian convert from Texas- class of 2008

  24. Your story is a big part of our story. Your conversion story while with Scott Hahn was what made my husband realize he wasn’t the only one asking these same questions about the protestant world. We were also Calvinist (pca) and he is now a converted Catholic and I am happily reverted after being away for 15 years! My husband literally said it out loud night before, “I wonder when Stellman will be on JH” Welcome Home! What a blessing it is to be Home!

  25. Amazing interview! Being near the end of my journey, I can certainly see Calvinism as you do. I was saved at age 16 so I realize that might have been a confusing time for you. I still would say that we MUST come to salvation through repentant prayer asking God to grant us salvation in Jesus Christ and we must make Him Lord of our lives. These settle the sin issue and the fear of the future issue and I really had the witness of the Spirit upon doing so that I was a child of God. Not sure you had that same assurance. I love the Catholic’s view of the rewarding works. I actually find that Calvinists see no profit in serving God. Writings like “Experiencing God” by Blackaby and the recent SBC Quarterly call for obedience and service without any even thought to rewards, growth in faith, heavenly treasure .. the whole panoply of blessings the believer receives from God for obedience!

  26. I would really like to see this episode. I searched youtube, but it’s not up. Does anyone know when it might be viewable?

    Thanks!

  27. Jason–

    “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love!
    Take my heart, oh, take and seal it,
    Seal it for thy courts above!”

    I look forward with eager anticipation to your actual journey home, back into the arms of the Good Shepherd, back where you belong. When you are through with your aimless wanderings, we will be waiting for you!

    ******************************

    And then, of course, is our even more actual journey HOME:

    I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger,
    A-traveling through this world of woe.
    Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
    In that bright land to which I go….

    I want to wear a crown of glory
    When I get home to that good land!
    I want to shout salvation’s story
    In concert with the blood-washed band!

    I’m going there to meet my Savior,
    To sing his praise forever more!
    I’m just a-going over Jordan.
    I’m just a-going over home.

  28. Jason,

    I would like to say thank you for *poping* when you did; your imminent conversion had been publically announced during the Sunday afternoon service of the denomination of which I belonged at the same time that I was pressing my pastors for answers. I knew in my heart where I was going, but I was terribly afraid. Your conversion, gave me the extra boost of courage right when I needed it most as well as affimirming that I wasn’t crazy:) ! LOL

    Blessings to you and your family!
    Susan

  29. Bob–

    How in heaven’s name did you come to the conclusion that the Reformed do not believe in God’s rewarding the good works of the faithful?

    Obedience and service are to be motivated first and foremost by passionate charity towards one’s fellow man and humble thanksgiving toward God, but no Calvinist I know of claims that these priorities exclude all others.

    (Blackaby, as far as I can garner, is not Reformed in any significant sense…though he may have some very slight leanings in our direction. The Southern Baptist Convention is still dispensationalistic to the core in spite of recent inroads by neo-Calvinists like Al Mohler, Timothy George, Mark Driscoll, etc.)

  30. Jason–

    You said:

    “Probably the hardest thing about being a Catholic [is] trying to do enough good deeds to earn my way to heaven without grace.”

    Now, you see there? You ARE capable of clarity of thought…no matter what anyone might say to the contrary!

    ;)

  31. Are there any things that you completely disagree with?

    I have been raised in a non-denominational church. Last year I felt a huge pull in my heart to join the Catholic Church. I knew God was leading me to it so that my husband, whose family is devout Catholics, would return to loving and growing in faith and relationship with God.

    I am going to the classes after the 1st of the year, but in the meantime I have been watching EWTN and reading as many catholic books as possible… Including Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelley.

    There are a couple things I have found that I do not agree with, because I do not see them agreeing with what I have read in the Bible. I want to understand these things and why they are believed, but I have no one in my family open-minded enough to discuss it, and people in my husband’s family do not know why they believe it. They just do, they say. This blind belief makes no sense to me, and not having it makes no sense to his family.

    I have no one willing to truly and rationally discuss it with. :( His family do not like me to question and my family do mot like me seeking a conversation about these questions.

    :(

  32. I forgot to put my email address in case anyone was willing to discuss any of this with me: brandysunn@gmail.com

  33. Jason,

    My wife and I watched it last night.

    You did great. Though I am fairly familiar with your “journey” it was really amazing to hear it directly from you and not just as words on a screen.

    Sweet soul patch, btw.

    Dave

  34. …I DVRed it. Feel free to jump on the next flight to Boston since you have not seen it.

  35. Eric .. I’ve been SBC for 50 years and it has only been the past 5 that I have seen it in that denom (I was formerly a member of the late Dr Rogers church). But here’s the disconnect I see. Reform believers seem to believe that everything is given to them .. therefore, they can take no credit. You would pretty much agree with that, right? The thought goes that if you can’t be imputed or ascribed with merit, wherefore the reward? So what they are left to teach is “duty.” Evangelize because God commands it. Tithe because God commands it. The Lottie Moon offering is afield but there’s no talk of Phil 4:17 — that the blessings of Paul should abound to those who support him. Only that God has called this church to give $50,000 and, further, I am calling for 45 men to give $1000 apiece.

  36. You tell a great story, brother, and too bad there wasn’t a second hour for more!

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom B.

  37. Jason:
    Really enjoyed your story, especially your analogy about shooting an arrow into a wall and then painting a target around it. Brilliant!
    You really needed another hour though. We barely scratched the surface of your conversion.

  38. Welcome Home, Jason!

    Like many others writing on your blog, I too converted after being evangelical. For me it was after about 35 years! (I first became a Christian as a teenager through involvement in Young Life.) When God provided me an unexpected opportunity of uninterrupted time to study Roman Catholic doctrine/apologetics—just out of curiosity—I eventually encountered the truth of the Eucharist. God miraculously opened my eyes reading John 6 one Saturday morning in September 2008. Amen. I practically ran to my first Mass. I enrolled in RCIA and came into the Church on Divine Mercy Sunday 2009
    ….and then I petitioned and was granted a marriage annulment
    ….and then in 2012 God brought me a devout, fun, brilliant cradle Catholic widower to be my sacramental husband :-)

    How encouraging is your story! May God use you in mighty ways for His glory.

    Could you answer this silly question? —

    My dear husband Dave and I are having a friendly bet about whether the Journey Home show last night (Dec. 9) was LIVE or not….???

    The reason I ask is that we heard you say that “Chuck Smith died just last week.” Well, I googled Smith while we were watching your interview, and Wikipedia said he died in OCTOBER….
    So I insist it was a taped interview. But Dave called EWTN today (yes, I realize this is petty) and was told it WAS live. Hmmmmm………

    Please tell us who wins this bet—Dave or Amy.

    :-)

  39. PS
    I, too, served as a missionary in Budapest—on a “Summer Project” with Campus Crusade for Christ in 1981 (before the Iron Curtain fell). :-)

  40. Bob–

    No, I cannot even slightly agree to that. Sorry.

    There is an emphasis on duty because Scripture does the same thing. Luke 17:10 speaks too our humble status as “unworthy” servants without a sense of entitlement. We serve at the discretion of the Master. We serve first and foremost to honor him. Our primary reward is the honor of being found in his service. You will find this selfsame attitude instilled in every good soldier of any era or locality or culture.

    We obey because it’s commanded, sure. But we also obey because we are God’s means to accomplish his appointed ends. And there is no problem with taking appropriate credit. We will indeed be rewarded. But that is so secondary. Any reward cannot hold a candle to the sheer honor of serving him.

    I like listening too Adrian Rogers (what a voice

  41. Bob–

    Sorry. I never pressed the “submit” button. I’ll continue on….

    I like listening to Adrian Rogers (what a voice!) unless he gets up onto his anti-Calvinism soap box. He doesn’t have the slightest clue what he’s talking about, but he sure knows he hates it! How long will he continue to be all over the radio dial? He’s been dead for what? Two years?

  42. Susan,

    Here’s the website: http://ewtn.com/tv/live/journeyhome.asp

    It’s not up yet but should be up in a few days I imagine. I looked it up and it will be on again on Friday. I’m DVR’ing it to watch.

  43. One of my favorite shows is The Journey Home and I heard your appearance on the radio. It is always very interesting to hear how folks have been brought into the Church and your journey was no exception. I am just one of your mundane cradle catholics and didn’t have to do anything but be born, baptized, sent to the parish school, and keep eating regularly so I could grow up and here I am now in my 57th year. Glad to have you as part of our faith tradition!

  44. Jason, missed most of the program but will hopefully catch the encore program. Welcome Home!!!!

  45. Er..cradle Catholic in Africa…Zambia…

  46. Eric,

    There is an emphasis on duty because Scripture does the same thing. Luke 17:10 speaks too our humble status as “unworthy” servants without a sense of entitlement. We serve at the discretion of the Master. We serve first and foremost to honor him. Our primary reward is the honor of being found in his service. You will find this selfsame attitude instilled in every good soldier of any era or locality or culture.

    We obey because it’s commanded, sure. But we also obey because we are God’s means to accomplish his appointed ends. And there is no problem with taking appropriate credit. We will indeed be rewarded. But that is so secondary. Any reward cannot hold a candle to the sheer honor of serving him.

    This highlights the difference between Catholic and Reformed. First off, there is no “reward” for serving God. We serve God because we love God….If you love me, you will keep my commandments. It’s in love that we are obedient. It’s in obedience that He calls us friends.

    Thus, we obey because we love. In love, we have friendship with God. I agree that it is an honor to serve Him but the motivation for EVERYTHING is love for God; who loved us first. This is something that you’re still not grasping. It’s the lynchpin of Catholicism.

  47. Dennis, what are you talking about? The entire third section of the Heidelberg Catechism is titled “Of Thankfulness” and begins with:

    Question 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?

    Answer: Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, and that he may be praised by us; also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ.

    In a word, per the Reformed faith the Christian life is one of grateful obedience. If this is the lynchpin of Catholicism then, don’t look now, but you might actually be Reformed. But the lynchpin as you all seem to cast it is actually that “The RCC is the church that Jesus Christ founded,” in which case maybe you are just confused.

  48. Zrim,

    There is a difference between “grateful obedience” and love. To love someone with all your heart (which I notice the Heidelberg Catechism touches on in Question 4) is to be obedient. If a parent tells a child to “look both ways before crossing the street.” The child should obey because the parent loves the child and wants what’s best for the child to be safe. Not because they are grateful to the parent. That doesn’t even make sense.

    We are not obedient because we are grateful. Christ tells us in John, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” It doesn’t say, “You will keep my commandments because you are grateful.” Nowhere does it say that or even imply it. This is showing an improper emphasis in Reformed thought.

    We are obedient because following God’s commands is what is best for us. Following God will keep us safe (like a child crossing the street safely) and we are eternally grateful for being in friendship with God–through love and obedience.

  49. Really heart warming to read all the excitement for Jason. So happy for you bud!

  50. Dennis, now that sounds more Catholic-y, as in ought implies can, law as a prescription for human happiness, immediately relating to God through obedience and experience as opposed to a more mediated relationship though faith in Christ.

    You’re right, grateful obedience doesn’t make sense in the parent-street analogy. That’s because in the Reformed scheme, instead of simply following directions and getting a pat on the head, God does something for us that we can’t. The analogy might be that God carries his people across the street (think Red Sea), and the natural response when set down on the other side includes not only love for one’s rescuer but also a gratitude that binds one to the same. And as anyone who has ever been truly grateful knows, living to please one’s selfless defender makes a lot of sense.

    So I have no idea what you mean when you say we are not obedient because we are grateful, until I put on your paradigmatic glasses and realize that for you it’s all about an unmediated personal relationship with God (eeevangelical alert), where the law is for making bad people good and good people better. How this is liberating, I do not know. Sounds pretty damn exhausting.

  51. Zrim,

    The analogy might be that God carries his people across the street (think Red Sea), and the natural response when set down on the other side includes not only love for one’s rescuer but also a gratitude that binds one to the same.

    God doesn’t carry the Israelites across the Red Sea. There was a participation between the Israelites and God. The Israelites in faith walked through the Red Sea while God protected them from both the Sea and from Pharaoh’s army. Likewise with us, there is a participation between man and God. Man in faith follows God’s will and he is protected from evil (deliver us from evil).

    So I have no idea what you mean when you say we are not obedient because we are grateful, until I put on your paradigmatic glasses and realize that for you it’s all about an unmediated personal relationship with God (eeevangelical alert), where the law is for making bad people good and good people better. How this is liberating, I do not know. Sounds pretty damn exhausting.

    So in Reformed circles, a personal relationship with God is not stressed? Personally, I think it needs to be stressed more in Catholicism.

    The law is not for making “bad people good” and “good people better.” The law is meant to liberate us. We can only be free by following God’s law. Man is free by choosing God. Man is free by choosing that which is good (which is from God). It’s by choosing evil that man puts himself at risk of injury and death.

    In civil society, we have laws. I am not “free” if I choose to run a red light. By running red lights, I put myself and others at serious risk of death. Violating God’s law is akin to running red lights. It puts man at risk of dying. Not because we are violating God’s law but rather through sin, we are harming ourselves.

    Through obedience to God’s plan, through following God’s laws, I learn what it is to be alive. It’s not to get a “pat on the head.” I understand what God’s plan is for me and I recognize God’s work in all things.

  52. Jason, I have been watching The Journey Home program for many years now. Have heard some truly wonderful stories from people who have made the ‘journey’ and can see so much more of the ‘truth’ about the Word of God.

    Your presentation was most impressive, and I am quite certain that God is revealing to you the true ‘purpose for your life’, to be a ‘great evangelist’.

    Pretty ironic isn’t it?

    Look forward to following you on your website. By the way, as a former professional in graphic arts, allow me to compliment you the beautiful design of this site!

    Awesome.

  53. Again, thank you to everyone for the kind words and well-wishes!

    Brandy: You asked about whether I have disagreements with anything the Church teaches. While at the beginning of my inquiry I found several teachings pretty questionable, after having wrestled and studied more I’ve been able to understand better and bring my mind and heart into submission. Sometimes it’s harder than at others, but faith comes first often times, and then understanding. I’m much less willing to trust in myself than I am in the leaders of Christ’s Church.

    Amy: I forget who you said will win the bet, but no, it was not live. I think it was taped back in October or early November. However, it was “live” in the sense that the whole thing is shot without a cut (except in the middle), so, no do-overs. Maybe you both win?

  54. Dennis–

    Claiming that, of all the various Christian denominations, the Roman church alone emphasizes love is a bit loony-tunes.

    Get some much needed rest. Evidently, you’ve been working too hard.

    Go ahead. You deserve it.

    Write again when you’re refreshed….

    Now, I lay me down to sleep…ah, that’s better! Night, night (don’t forget to turn out the light).

  55. Eric,

    What I know about the Reformed faith is mainly from you and Robert. I’m not saying that you don’t love God OR that Protestants don’t have a love for God. I’m noting that in your writing, you emphasize honor and duty over love. (which you do).

    This is in contrast to the Catholic faith which empahsizes love above these–not that Catholics don’t have a sense of honor and duty it’s that love comes above those.

    This has been evident from the Early Church Fathers to Pope Francis. Pope Benedict’s first encyclical was “God is Love.”

    I read Protestant writings and it all focuses on “Sola Fide”, “Sola Scriptura”, and TULIP which ends up putting you more in a “List Paradigm” instead of focusing on love of God which would shift your focus more toward the “Agape Paradigm.”

  56. Dennis,

    Just to add my two cents on this discussion, the biggest problem I see with much of what you are saying is that you seem to oppose duty or honor and love. This is unnecessary, and flat-out wrong. The military talks often about doing its duty to the country its love for the country in its own breath. These things are not opposed. In fact, a godly sense of duty is borne of love.

    To my mind, this points to another prevailing error I see in at least modern RCs and that is to have no real sense of God’s love being a holy love. It’s essentially a love that makes no real demands, hence no demand for perfection or the idea that one can be inherently righteous unto justification while sin still abides. There is no doubt that the Reformed stress forensic aspects of salvation such as sola fide, but there are good historical reasons for this in that the sacramental system coupled with a weakened notion of divine love and holiness provides no assurance and ultimately denies the once-for-all work of Christ. Even so, the so-called list paradigm points us to God’s love. God kept His own list for us when we could not, and by sheer grace allows us to benefit from it, no conditions of purgatory attached.

    And I’ll say this in closing, whether or not the agape paradigm really stresses what you think it does should be measured by the lives of its adherents. No one can deny the vast amount of nominalism in Roman Catholicism such that people think they’re basically okay as long as they tick off a list of requirements (go to mass, do good works, etc.). If Rome does not teach this, it needs to do a far better job of instructing people to that end.

  57. Robert,

    I just wanted to briefly address something that you wrote to Dennis. I may not be able to participate in the conversation at great length here, at this time, and for that, I apologize. You wrote:

    “To my mind, this points to another prevailing error I see in at least modern RCs and that is to have no real sense of God’s love being a holy love. It’s essentially a love that makes no real demands, hence no demand for perfection or the idea that one can be inherently righteous unto justification while sin still abides.”

    Many modern Catholics are not well-catechized. That is obvious and tragic. I was once one of them.

    With those things being said, the Catechism teaches clearly that, with God’s empowering grace, *all Catholics* are called to be holy. In fact, we are all called to be *perfect, as our Father is perfect*, not just “positionally, through Christ’s imputed righteousness,” but in actual, lived-out, daily reality.

    Please read this fairly short section from the Catechism to see *just how serious* the Church’s teaching is on the holiness of life to which all Catholics are called: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a2.htm

    The communion of Saints did not come to exist in the Church because Catholics were *not* seeking holiness. Yes, there are many nominal Catholics who live just like the world. There are also many nominal Protestants who do exactly the same thing. I don’t know how many times, in my youth in the deep South, I heard from nominal Protestants, “Yes, I know I’m not living right, but I’m forgiven and covered by the blood of the Lamb!” Of course, that thinking does not reflect historic Protestantism. Neither do nominal Catholics reflect (or take away from the objective validity of) historic Catholic teaching– including the teaching on holiness found in the above link from the Catechism.

  58. So in Reformed circles, a personal relationship with God is not stressed? Personally, I think it needs to be stressed more in Catholicism.

    Kenneth, the short answer is no.

    The extended answer is that the category for relating to God in the Reformed scheme is by faith (alone). It is a mediated theology, not a relational theology as in evangelicalism. We are said to be saved by faith, not a personal relationship. To the extent that the Reformed are more influenced by evangelicalism than their own tradition, it is not uncommon to hear the language of what some have helpfully deemed “therapeutic deism” (I believe Christian Smith from your ranks).

    You say this should be stressed more in Catholicism. But the interesting irony is in how both Catholicism and evangelicalism stress a personal encounter with the risen Christ. You guys invented the spiritual disciplines of the still, small voice. Evangies call it quiet time. And while you all are much more forthright about the fact that are justified because and to the degree we are sanctified and that faith justifies because it is formed (made a reality) by love (Spirit-wrought sanctity), evangies functionally agree even as they parrot Reformed sounding slogans about salvation not being of works.

    Evangies will spit and curse when it is heard that one theirs has married one of yours, but since you both share a more similar religion than either does with confessional Prots, this reveals more religious bigotry on their part. Many of them have no idea you also want to transform the culture for Christ, read your Bibles daily, practice spiritual disciplines, seek encounters with the risen Christ in your hearts and groom the interior life, and believe that salvation is by grace. They really have no good reason to not embrace Rome.

  59. …and by Kenneth, I obviously mean Dennis (the double n thing).

  60. Zrim,

    We are said to be saved by faith, not a personal relationship.

    Unless you are going to get all Clarkian on us, Zrim, how in the world is one of these possible without the other, because that seems to be what you are saying, i.e., making them into opposites. I grant that popular level evangelicalism doesn’t often understand personal relationship in terms of a full-orbed Reformational understanding of faith, but if faith is in a person, you have a personal relationship going on there.

  61. Robert,

    the biggest problem I see with much of what you are saying is that you seem to oppose duty or honor and love. This is unnecessary, and flat-out wrong.

    No, I don’t oppose duty or honor. I am faithful to my wife not out of duty or to honor her. I am faithful to her because I love her. I have a sense of duty and honor for my wife but the motivating factor is always love. I think we are saying the same thing. Eric’s writings don’t necessarily reflect that.

    To my mind, this points to another prevailing error I see in at least modern RCs and that is to have no real sense of God’s love being a holy love. It’s essentially a love that makes no real demands, hence no demand for perfection or the idea that one can be inherently righteous unto justification while sin still abides.

    If I’m understanding you correctly—and forgive me if I’m not, you’re saying that God’s love does not make any demands on us? NO! That is not true. God’s love requires a response. God wants us to love Him back. “Love me as I have loved you.” God loves us first but the commandment is to respond by loving the Lord your God with all your heart. There is a requirement from God who loved us first to respond in love to Him above all things.

    No one can deny the vast amount of nominalism in Roman Catholicism such that people think they’re basically okay as long as they tick off a list of requirements (go to mass, do good works, etc.). If Rome does not teach this, it needs to do a far better job of instructing people to that end.

    I can agree that there are large amounts of nominalism in Catholicism. That is the problem of poor catechesis at least here in the United States (I can’t comment on other parts of the world.) But if you read the writings of the recent popes, if you read the homilies of young priests, you hear the message loud and clear. People aren’t listening. I think this problem has been going on since ancient times. As Christopher pointed out, the catechism teaches that we are to have a sincere love for God and that we should be “perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.”

  62. Zrim,

    No problem about the confusion.

    The extended answer is that the category for relating to God in the Reformed scheme is by faith (alone). It is a mediated theology, not a relational theology as in evangelicalism.

    I guess I find that surprising and yet it reveals much about Reformed thought and really highlights the differences between us.

    To understand Catholicism, you have to understand that Catholics see a God who wants to be in relationship with man. He wants man to come to Him and know Him intimately. It’s a relationship of a father to His children in the hope that we can live in eternal friendship with God through our love for Him reflected in our obedience.

    My understanding of Reformed thought is that we are saved by faith and through God’s grace, we are obedient because we are saved—although I’m not exactly sure what “saved” means from a Reformed perspective.

    To me, it seems very incomplete and honestly less attractive than Catholicism.

  63. Dennis–

    I will mostly just be echoing Robert on why our focus appears to be on the glory of God rather than his love. As Robert observed, since God is Love, there is really no separation between these two concepts: We glory in a great God whose first attribute is lovingkindness: grace, mercy, and love. But we do not for a second forget his holiness. Love is not true love without the righteousness of God. Love and honor–love and nobility–must go hand in glove.

    Perhaps you have read the poem by Richard Lovelace, “To Lucasta, going to the Wars”:

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.

    True, a new mistress now I chase,
    The first foe in the field;
    And with a stronger faith embrace
    A sword, a horse, a shield.

    Yet this inconstancy is such
    As thou too shalt adore;
    I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
    Loved I not Honor more.

    So, my dear Dennis, prioritizing honor and glory and righteousness is a means to an end: that genuine love might be the highest priority of all!! (We also emphasize these aspects of God because others won’t. People these days speak of “mercy” and “tolerance” when all they really mean is “indulgence.” They speak of love when all they really mean is social glad-handing at best and lust at worst. So, when you say you emphasize love–but then do not join us in trumpeting its necessary companions–how can we believe you?)

  64. Robert, what I said was that the category for relating to God in the Reformed scheme (read: biblical) is by faith. That’s not to make faith and relationship opposites. It’s to give structure to how we relate to God. So, yes, there is a personal relationship there but that relationship isn’t the instrument of salvation–faith is.

  65. Eric,

    So, my dear Dennis, prioritizing honor and glory and righteousness is a means to an end: that genuine love might be the highest priority of all!! (We also emphasize these aspects of God because others won’t. People these days speak of “mercy” and “tolerance” when all they really mean is “indulgence.” They speak of love when all they really mean is social glad-handing at best and lust at worst. So, when you say you emphasize love–but then do not join us in trumpeting its necessary companions–how can we believe you?

    Thank you for the poem. I have not read it since my college days back in the 80′s. Although Lovelace’s comparison of love and fighting in war isn’t quite the metaphor I’d like to use when talking about God, it’s still a nice poem.

    In regards to honor and glory as a means to and of loving God, I can respect that that is what the Reformed do but I don’t think it’s what Scripture calls for us. Scripture tells us that our love for God is reflected in our love of neighbor. We don’t give glory and honor to our neighbor but rather we treat them with dignity. We call them closer to God. We sacrifice ourselves so that they may draw closer and recognize God’s grace in their lives. In essence, they see God’s love for them in us and brings them closer to Salvation.

    It’s not about “tolerance” but rather it’s to allow them to see a faith that’s strong enough to move mountains. It’s to ignite a faith in them that will bring forth their salvation. If I see a person sinning, I don’t tell them that they’re going to Hell or are “not saved.” But at the same time, I don’t tolerate the sin. I’m called to love them. I see the person as hurting and incomplete and encourage them to “do better.” It’s to call them to Christ.

    That’s what God wants. Man wasn’t created to wallow in sin. God doesn’t want us to wallow in sin. Man is destined to be one with God. Man glorifies God by being fully alive and we can only be fully alive through love and obedience to Christ (CCC294).

  66. ZRIM,

    I’m not about to read through this whole thread, but I would like to say something about what you said to Robert.
    “So, yes, there is a personal relationship there but that relationship isn’t the instrument of salvation–faith is”

    When you speak of faith you do not mean simple belief in God as creator, but in more than just our reason informing us that God exists. You mean trusting the message that the incarnation, the sacrificial death, the resurrection, the adoption as sons is all true and is for you, and then living that mediation through word and sacrament whereby a change in you happens over the course of time. In other words, the placing of one’s trust in the revealing of God to man( or how God saves us). So it really comes back to a personal relationship with the Creator. The Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 7 talks about a hearty trust of the
    For me, I found myself trusting in a fiduciary arrangement. I’m not saying this is you are anyone else’s situation, but I was so secure in my by faith alone faith that I lost my first love. I am thankful for my evangie background.

  67. Jason,

    EWTN updated their web site and I watched your testimony last night. I thought it was great. Here’s a copy to the link.

    http://bcove.me/0b9dt0jx

  68. Hi Eric… I believe Dr Rogers skepticism is well-founded. And you, yourself, made some negative comments about Reform Theology with which I agree. I assume, though, that you are agreeing with their “monergism” and their “total sovereignty” perspective of God. What I find is that it leads to what I call “saved by fate alone” .. absolutely nothing that the sinner does or believes converts to redemption or reward. I’m sure you have read the Greek tragedies like Eodipus Rex wherein the son, regardless of what he does, cannot escape the fate destined for him by the gods. This is basically what it seems RT amounts to. Before you even breathe your first breath, your redemption or reprobation is already determined. I can understand you turning from that to Catholicism, BTW.

  69. The mimetic rivalry between both groups here is quite fascinating; underlying the triumphant claims, the competition is clearly directed at the mantle of authority. But they are nevertheless both mistaken. Putting the triumphalism aside (ala “Welcome Home” and high fiving/back slapping etc), the hard questions remain:

    How could be it that a Jewish Messiah, Jewish Disciples/Believers, and a Jewish Early Church which welcomed Gentiles in her midst (and not the other way around! cf. Romans 15:27) eventually would be thrown out the window in favor of a state-church hybrid and the tyranny of Mammon/European/American coin? Hard to stomach, but this is what has happened and reality is stranger than fiction. Yeshua HaMashiach has been co-opted and fashioned into one after their own likeness… as news talking head Megyn Kelly said recently “Jesus was a white man”. She might as well have said ‘Roman’ or ‘Latin’, same difference. That is the problem you see, the white man has no real concept and recognition of the fact that everything he has, indeed the very bedrock of his own civilization is undergirded by the Torah and Israel. If it were not so, he wouldn’t be completely severed from Israel. Who needs Jerusalem when Rome has dominated for so long, forget the fact that the only valid council was held by Jewish believers in Jerusalem, with a conclusion that neither catholics nor protestants uphold today, with the one saying that was canon law overturned at Florence and the others, well, never mind. Spare me the Fr Fahey vitriol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmG-UPAP49w

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxgN43hv10E

    The early church was neither the RCC nor was it a prototype of the followers of Luther and Calvin. Yes, spare me the wonder, “But how can it be? We have been wrong for so long? Impossible”. What is a 1,000 years to the Almighty but one day, and why do we find such significance and hubris in our own self important history when we are told that His ways are not ours.

    I think of Grodi in the interview laughing at rapture comments etc. Believe it or not, unlike the mistaken amillenialism of the RCC, the earliest disciples, especially those from Asia Minor/Ephesus were chiliasts. Further, the Didache (A.D. 80-100 and one of the earliest descriptions of the believers outside the NT) speaks of the gathering of the saints/church from all corners of the earth at the second coming.

    But still, the triumphalism continues. I say replace it with mourning and you’d be in a little less precarious of a situation.

  70. WELCOME HOME, JASON!
    Thanks God for your HUMILITY OF HEART accepting all Truths that the TRUTH, the WAY, and the LIGHT has revealed to you. You are at Home, where Peter resides -Blessed be God for ever!
    Let’s keep preparing our hearts, together, to receive Jesus, the Son of the Holy Spirit and Mary.
    In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
    Norminha.

  71. Thank you Jason for sharing your journey with the world! So many guests over the years on The Journey Home Program shared the pain of even thinking about coming home to the RCC, which I have empathy, but as a Catholic, sadly, I don’t fully understand. I learn so much from each and every one of you who share your story of God. God bless you, Jason and may Mary keep you. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

  72. Saw you on Journey Home. I just don’t get the whole Mary thing from what I read in the bible. I’m intrigued with EWTN. But they read from other Scriptures that are not in my bible. WUWT?

  73. SS,

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m pretty confident that no one posting here has the collected theological works of Megyn Kelly in their library. ;)

  74. That’s precisely the tragic irony Robert, the same implications from this historical posturing if you can call it that, have prevailed nonetheless, and this from libraries full of faulty, dishonest and misleading conclusions. It shouldn’t surprise anyone, the West has a proven track record on that front, as in the geocentrism-heliocentrism debacle.

  75. SS,

    There are plenty of Jewish Protestants, nearly every church I’ve ever been a part of has had believers of Jewish origin in either teaching or leadership positions, and all of my seminary professors at my Reformed seminary worked quite hard to be faithful to the original Jewish background of Scripture, so to be honest it’s hard for me to relate to much of what you say when you claim Jews are somehow unwelcome at the table. Perhaps this was true 100 years ago, but times have changed.

  76. Robert, you beg the question, as Jason does. Ya’kov, Kephas, Yohanan, Shaul were not ‘Jewish Protestants’. As Ron Cantor from Jerusalem says in vids I linked to above, the biggest question in the first century was “What do we Jews do with these Gentiles” and not the other way around. The sun is still orbiting your world.

  77. And this veil of Veronica in the stations of the cross. Not in my bible.

  78. SS,

    You’re being ridiculous, so I guess I have to be more pedantic and explicit. The Jewish Protestants of which I speak are Jewish believers in Jesus who believe that Protestant theology is the best summary of what Ya’kov, Kephas, Yeshua, et al taught.

    Sure the biggest question in the first century was “what do we do with these Gentiles”? That question was answered. We accept them as full brothers without putting the yoke of the Mosaic Torah on them. Today the big question in relation to the Jews is “Since Gentile converts to Yeshua vastly outnumber Jewish converts,” how should the Gentiles respond. You are correct that the right response is not to boast over the Jewish branch. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into stop believing that Protestant distinctives are the most faithful expression of New Testament Messianic Judaism and quit quoting that Westminster Confession because we can’t find someone Jewish enough to your liking at the Assembly.

  79. You beg the question, as Jason does. Boast all you want in the mean time in your theology, but the reality of a huge cross section of Jews worshiping Christ not as Protestants or Catholics , but simply as Jews period as was the case in the early church, is growing by the day. You can marginalize and belittle their leaders and theologians all you want, (that wouldn’t be the first time the West has done this vis a vis Israel) but it’s all meaningless in view of Paul’s prophecy in Romans 11, regarding the revival of Israel. It is coming to pass.

  80. Jason et. all RCs,

    Are you familiar with the cult, World Mission Society Church of God http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Mission_Society_Church_of_God? One of their primary distinctives is the idea that there is a god the father and a god the mother. Both of these entities have visited earth and appeared and one may actually still be alive according to cult members.

    Listening to an anti-Christ (Pope Francis) talk about ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ over the past several days, I was struck by the similarities between RC and World Mission Society. In RC theology Mary is a de-facto god. Pope Francis said just this week: “Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life. She shares all the joys and hopes, the sorrows and troubles of God’s people, which is made up of men and women of every race and nation.” http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/pope-america-should-be-prepared-accept-human-life-every-stage-mother-s#sthash.VhLdVZBg.dpuf

    Beyond the striking similarity between RC and the World Mission Society; like many other Eastern religions, Rome worships relics, images, and anything that one deems significant, cleaving to objects, images, ashes, etc… thinking they receive some blessing from it, even if it is just that soul’s prayers. Here RC resembles the pagans of ages past and present and arguably looks the farthest away from anything Biblical.

    You all mostly know the Scriptures clear teaching against idolatry, Mariology, etc… but you have determined to submit yourself to the words of men instead of the Word of God. In doing so your “church” has far more in common with Eastern polytheistic religions and cults than anything close to the faith once delivered to the saints. You have denied the 1st and 2nd commandments as given in Scripture, you have denied the one true and living God as presented in Scripture, and you have gone a whoring after false gods and idols fashioned in the images of corruptible men.

    When you stand before the Lord in that great day, confessing the RC faith and not the true and living faith, the Savior whom you claim to believe but in reality you reject will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Shocking to many of you who have venerated her, the Resurrected Mary will not be on your side either…

    We who, only by God’s grace, have been given eyes to see and ears to hear the words of life, urge you to repent of your idolatry and pagan worship and flee to Christ who has withheld his judgment until all of the elect are saved. Now is the hour of salvation, turn from darkness to light. Repent and believe in the true God of Scripture!

  81. Bob–

    As far as I could ever tell, Dr. Rogers was a great guy. But the fact of the matter is that he knew next to nothing about Calvinism. By the way, the concept of “saved by fate alone” is indicative of hyper-Calvinism and NOT Reformed Theology itself. Whoever will may come. Nothing is stopping anybody except for who they are…the exact same thing that stops people from coming to faith under any other system.

  82. SS,

    Actually, you beg the question by assuming that one is not Jewish enough if he thinks that Protestant theology is the best summary of first century New Testament Judaism. I’m not boasting in my theology, I’m just saying that I believe it is best summary of biblical teaching just as you would say the same about yours. I guess that makes you a boaster as well.

    I’ve known several Messianic Jewish congregations who hold essentially Protestant beliefs and yet worship as Jews. Somehow I think that’s not enough for you, which seriously undermines the fact that you want to find Jews worshipping as Jews. You want to find Jews who conform to your own particular reading of the New Testament based on a particular group of 21st century individuals who may or may not actually practice anything like 1st century Judaism. You are as guilty of the charges you routinely throw at the rest of us when it comes to keeping Jews out. The only Jews you want in are the SS-approved Jews. Talk about solo Scriptura.

  83. Thanks for sharing your lovely story. I love my Catholic Faith and try to help others to love it too. It makes me so happy to read a story like yours. I had a time when I left the Church for a while, so the words, “Coming Home” have a particularly deep meaning for me. I certainly am full now where I felt empty before. X

  84. You want to find Jews who conform to your own particular reading of the New Testament based on a particular group of 21st century individuals who may or may not actually practice anything like 1st century Judaism. You are as guilty of the charges you routinely throw at the rest of us when it comes to keeping Jews out. The only Jews you want in are the SS-approved Jews. Talk about solo Scriptura.

    The majority of Jewish believing theologians and academics do not agree with your view Robert, and nor do they agree with the catholic view. You should try attending That is a reality you cannot escape, whether you like it or not. That is all I am pointing to. Unlike you and Jason, I have no ‘home’ to welcome people to. Because in my view, the church is fundamentally broken and severed from her roots. So any talk on your end charging me with only approving certain kinds of Jews is nonsensical. There is nothing to approve or disapprove, only a reality that there is currently an awakening happening among believing Jews, and they are saying loud and clear, we do not want to believe and teach as Protestants do. You can ignore, belittle, marginalize their voice but it is here to say, regardless.

    http://derek4messiah.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/helsinki-press-release-jewish-believers-in-jesus/

  85. And Robert, before saying that I am begging the question, why don’t you try responding to any of the arguments I have made on the site, particularly here:

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/stuff-i-dont-like-that-much-catholicism-edition/

  86. Susan–

    Your last post left me a bit confused. You realize that when Evangelicals talk about salvation by faith alone, they mean a living faith, a trusting faith, which implies a personal relationship with (or variantly, mystical union with) our Blessed Redeemer. Then you say that you didn’t think that way while you were Reformed. Why not?

    Jason earlier posted that he believes that the fiduciary and the covenantal swallow up the incarnational in Reformed thought. Completely untrue, but that’s what he thinks. Zrim also believes that the formula of “faith alone” trumps relational considerations.

    All three of you cut your teeth on Old School Presbyterianism and that, I think, may be the problem. Old School folks don’t trust feelings and are wary of revival. They like what is steady and true over the long haul. They look at conversion mainly as a process rather than a sudden transformation. I actually respect them for that in many ways.

    The First Great Awakening in the U.S. was a Calvinistic event: Theodorus Freylinghuysen, Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, etc. The Second Great Awakening, however, was an Arminian event and was characterized by over-the-top emotionalism and outright manipulation. Charles Finney more or less bragged that it was his methods and not the Holy Spirit that brought about the “conversions” he oversaw. Even to this day, Evangelical and Pentecostal “revivalism” often try to outstrip a three-ring circus for entertainment value.

    But, to my mind at least, the Old School reacted too far in the other direction. By tamping down emotion and eschewing the language of relationship, they make salvation look more like a business arrangement. Everything is covenantal, contractual, fiduciary, and catechetical. Maybe that’s why you missed the concept of intimate, trusting relationship which is so central to more Pietistic forms of Reformed thought.

    (By the way, an awful lot of the “personal relationship” language that has snuck into Roman Catholicism has gotten there through the Charismatic Renewal and through the ubiquitous use of Evangelical praise choruses in Catholic circles.)

  87. Dennis–

    I actually think warfare is a great metaphor for the soldiering we do for the Kingdom of Christ…though I realize Lovelace didn’t mean it metaphorically.

    Your depiction of Catholic “love” smacks of personal empowerment and sounds to my ears pretty close to what I hear from health-wealth, Word-of-Faith groups. You haven’t been listening to Joel Osteen on the sly, have you?

  88. SS–

    I actually know Derek Leman. He’s a great guy, but also a bit of a nutcase. Some friends of mine attend Tikvat David, the Messianic Synagogue where he is Rabbi, but are thinking of leaving because he has gotten so off-the-wall. If you want anybody to respect Messianic Jewish theology, you are going to have to acknowledge that there are no checks and balances in place. Most of it is Pentecostal in nature and has about as much theological stability as Pentecostalism in general. The Messianic movement has also detached itself from the church as a whole. Sure, a lot of Gentile churches are still pretty anti-Semitic even when they try not to be. But you can’t rant on about Gentile divisiveness if you are engaged in divisiveness yourself!

  89. Eric,

    ” He’s a great guy, but also a bit of a nutcase. Some friends of mine attend Tikvat David, the Messianic Synagogue where he is Rabbi, but are thinking of leaving because he has gotten so off-the-wall”

    I’m sure he will delighted by the appellation. He’s been called far worse, most likely. What pray tell, is off the wall? I don’t follow him and would like to know.

  90. Just saw the show. I thought you put it very well when you said, “A good father doesn’t feel threatened when his children grow up.” (Or something to that effect.) It illustrates very clearly the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism.

    You did a great job explaining your Protestant beliefs as well. I also liked when you said to Marcus, “I hope we have time to explain the Catholic belief later.” You seemed to be concerned you were explaining your Protestant roots too well. :-)

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  91. Eric,

    I actually think warfare is a great metaphor for the soldiering we do for the Kingdom of Christ…though I realize Lovelace didn’t mean it metaphorically.

    I agree. I had a priest explain once that the responsibilities of a king in the Old testament were to feed the poor, care for widows, and to fight. Likewise, as we share in the kingship of Christ, we are also called to care for widows, feed the poor and fight for our faith.

    Your depiction of Catholic “love” smacks of personal empowerment and sounds to my ears pretty close to what I hear from health-wealth, Word-of-Faith groups. You haven’t been listening to Joel Osteen on the sly, have you?

    Funny you should mention that as my wife (who is Catholic) tends to have him on TV when I wake up on Sunday mornings. Apparently, he follows the news and she just leaves it on while she reads the paper. He personally drives me nuts with his prosperity Gospel and I have to explain to her where/when he starts going off the rails.

    My Catholic definition of “love” is the Catholic definition of “love.”

    CCC2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the “nothingness of the creature” who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name.14 The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

  92. SS,

    The majority of Jewish believing theologians and academics do not agree with your view Robert, and nor do they agree with the catholic view.

    Now THAT’s an interesting. Do you have a list somewhere of all the “Jewish believing theologians and academics” because I’d like to see it. Given that Messianic Jews are an extremely minor segment—regrettably so—of a people group that is also incredibly small, I’m thinking the number of “theologians and academics” can’t be that large. Being generous, I’d hazard a guess that it’s less than 500.

    In any case, orthodoxy isn’t determined by counting noses. Messianic Jews never were a majority of Jews even in the first century.

    Look, I deplore the history of anti-Semitism in the church. But its equally wrong to pretend to stand “outside” the fray as if somehow you are above all of this boasting, whatever that is, and to think you’re doing anything different than anyone else is doing. Talk about prideful. No group is good enough for you to call home, eh? ;)

  93. You’re the gift that keeps on giving. The above is simply more belittling, by way of an appeal to numbers. Since when did numbers matter to truth? Was Noah mistaken because it was simply him and his family on the ark? Afterall, how dare John the Baptist, Jesus and a mere 12 fishermen confront the establishment when they were outnumbered by the tens of thousands? By your own logic, you refute yourself.

    If you look at the list of theologians present at the Helsinki conference, you will find that the majority of them are Messianic and not affiliated with either protestants or catholics.

    There is a key difference in standing outside the fray, as John the Baptist did, for example. I guess you should have taunted him as well “No good is good enough for you eh!”. I’m sure they did taunt him by the way. The difference is this: when the establishment is corrupt and rotten to the core, one has no choice but to remove oneself. It is a regrettable and painful choice, but one that is necessary however for the sake of one’s conscience. It’s good that you recognize that you are part of the boasting, let’s not kid ourselves. But instead of it leading to repentance, you seem to take pride in it. Like I said earlier, nothing out of the ordinary here, the agenda from the days of Paul and Rome (Romans 11), has been the boasting of the gentiles. But all this is coming to an end soon.

  94. Dennis–

    I’ll have to admit, the Catholic Catechism is a beautifully written document! Your definition of “adoration” here is lovely (and so thoroughly Reformed!) It’s hard to find a straightforward definition of love in the creeds, confessions, and catechisms.

    I was going to match you with something from Westminster or the Belgic, but you’ll just have too settle for Rich Mullins:

    There’s a wideness in God’s mercy 
    I cannot find in my own.
    And He keeps His fire burning 
    To melt this heart of stone,
    Keeps me aching with a yearning,
    Keeps me glad to have been caught,
    In the reckless, raging fury 
    That they call the love of God!

    Now, I’ve seen no band of angels,
    But I’ve heard the soldiers’ song.
    Love hangs over them like a banner;
    Love within them leads them on 
    To the battle on the journey,
    And it’s never gonna stop,
    Ever widening their mercies 
    And the fury of His love!

    Joy and sorrow are this ocean,
    And in their every ebb and flow,
    Now, the Lord a door has opened 
    That all Hell could never close.
    Here I’m tested and made worthy,
    Tossed about but lifted up,
    In the reckless, raging fury 
    That they call the love of God!

  95. SS,

    You’re the gift that keeps on giving. The above is simply more belittling, by way of an appeal to numbers. Since when did numbers matter to truth? Was Noah mistaken because it was simply him and his family on the ark? Afterall, how dare John the Baptist, Jesus and a mere 12 fishermen confront the establishment when they were outnumbered by the tens of thousands? By your own logic, you refute yourself.

    Excuse me, I’m not the one who introduced the whole “majority of believing Jewish scholars say X” argument. And I’m a Reformed Protestant. If I thought numbers proved the truth, I wouldn’t be Reformed. Our numbers have never been large.

    There is a key difference in standing outside the fray, as John the Baptist did, for example. I guess you should have taunted him as well “No good is good enough for you eh!”. I’m sure they did taunt him by the way. The difference is this: when the establishment is corrupt and rotten to the core, one has no choice but to remove oneself. It is a regrettable and painful choice, but one that is necessary however for the sake of one’s conscience. It’s good that you recognize that you are part of the boasting, let’s not kid ourselves. But instead of it leading to repentance, you seem to take pride in it. Like I said earlier, nothing out of the ordinary here, the agenda from the days of Paul and Rome (Romans 11), has been the boasting of the gentiles. But all this is coming to an end soon.

    Yeah, you’re the modern-day John the Baptist SS. Maybe the fact that you have to continue reminding us all of the fact that you’re the lone voice crying in the wilderness should say something to you about your humility. Maybe the fact that you keep reminding us of your great sacrifice and pain should say something to you about your motivations.

    Look, I appreciate you wanting to rally for Jewish inclusion, but Eric is right, all you are doing is increasing division. When you can stop and think that maybe, just maybe, a Jewish person could honestly practice his Jewishness as a member of a PCA Church, or even any other tradition for that matter, it’ll be a whole lot easier to take your calls for reunion and fellow-listening seriously. Until then, every time you speak on these specific issues, you just come off as the judge, jury, and executioner whose highest theological authority is your own opinion. And you have the nerve to talk about Protestants being their own popes. ;) As it stands, you’re basically a Campbellite Protestant. Thank God that after the great 2,000-year apostasy you’re here to save us all.

    I have a lot of sins to repent for, but systematically ignoring Messianic Jews just isn’t one of them.

  96. Eric,

    It’s the rare occasion that you and I can find agreement!

    Thanks for sharing Mullins’ song. Beautiful.

    Peace and have a good weekend.

  97. “Excuse me, I’m not the one who introduced the whole “majority of believing Jewish scholars say X” argument. And I’m a Reformed Protestant. If I thought numbers proved the truth, I wouldn’t be Reformed. Our numbers have never been large.”

    Then next time don’t start with this: “Given that Messianic Jews are an extremely minor segment—regrettably so—of a people group that is also incredibly small, I’m thinking the number of “theologians and academics” can’t be that large”. It does not matter that the theologians are a minority: what matters is what they are saying: i.e., they don’t want anything to do with your version of the faith because it is unbiblical in so many ways.

    “Yeah, you’re the modern-day John the Baptist SS. Maybe the fact that you have to continue reminding us all of the fact that you’re the lone voice crying in the wilderness should say something to you about your humility. Maybe the fact that you keep reminding us of your great sacrifice and pain should say something to you about your motivations.”

    No, I don’t have to remind you that I am the modern day JTB. What I have to continue to remind you of is the fact that you and your kind would have been the first to reject JTB in his day, by the kind of logic and reasoning you have presented above. It’s much easier for you to attack my character then to deal with the argument now isn’t it, lol. I’m happy to take your ad hominems as more proof of the fact that you have no answer. In fact, I’ve come to progressively realize how weak your position really is over the years that I’ve been here on this site.

    So you double down in your boasting and continue with your triumphalism and dare lecture others on divisiveness? You are your own pope, because you can tell Jason to come back “home”, when in fact home does not exist today, it is only the figment of your imagination. And I’m not here to save you, but here to tell you that you are severed from the root and tree that was meant to support you. What you do with that is your decision, as is that of every protestant and catholic who ignores what Messianic theologians tell them.

    And no, Campbell did not go far enough, unfortunately. For he too, like you and your forbears suffered from the cumulative result over centuries of an every severing of gentiles from the root that nourished them. Today, campbellites make the same mistake that other protestants do, they claim the mantle of authority, when they have none.

  98. SS,

    Aye-yaye-yaye!

    they don’t want anything to do with your version of the faith because it is unbiblical in so many ways.

    No, they want nothing to do with “my” version of the faith because they read the New Testament through the same Pharisaic traditions that Jesus condemned, ie, the Talmud, and uncritically import vast assumptions from Essenic literature that the NT authors may or may not have known.

    Look, just because someone is raising their hand and saying, “I’m a Jew and I believe in Jesus,” doesn’t automatically mean they have anything worth saying. I’ve known plenty of Messianic Jews and I even worshipped in a Messianic congregation for a short time. Believe me, they’d look at your “guys” and say that they find much of their doctrine contrary to Scripture and to the actual beliefs and practices of the NT.

    You basically want us all to believe that a handful of professedly Messianic Jews born in the mid to late twentieth century, raised in the unbiblical traditions codified in the Talmud, automatically have some greater insight into Scripture because they live in Israel and speak Hebrew while they basically have the nerve to tell us ALL that we’ve gotten it wrong for 2,000 years. And then, you want to believe that somehow that is akin to JBap as a voice crying out in the wilderness when JBap condemned the actions and beliefs of the people who wrote the Talmud, the same interpretative grid you want to force on all things biblical. I’m sorry, but at that point I have to call BS.

    The fact is, you reject the vast majority of Messianic Jews in the world today as not being Jewish. As I said, when you can admit that one can be a Messianic Jew and a communing member, even a leader in the PCA, OPC, or heck, even the RCC, then your diatribes against the rest of us for being severed from the root will be worth listening to. Until then, maybe you’d get farther if you’d tone things down by merely suggesting or encouraging people to consider what these guys of yours have to say. You aren’t going to get anywhere as long as YOU keep making AD HOMINEM attacks against Luther, Calvin, and even the RCC luminaries. You won’t get anywhere as long as you accuse us of boasting simply because we have strong convictions that our beliefs are correct. If that is so, then you’re boasting in reverse.

    You aren’t John the Baptist.

    I’m not here to save you, but here to tell you that you are severed from the root and tree that was meant to support you. What you do with that is your decision, as is that of every protestant and catholic who ignores what Messianic theologians tell them.

    There has been a woeful neglect of Jews in the Christian Church in its history, but to tell me that I’m severed from the root and the tree just because I don’t listen to the Messianic theologians that YOU approve of is insane. There are Messianic Jews who minister to Jews, do theology, and pastor churches within the PCA. But that’s not good enough for you. Again, you’re proving that your concern is not just that people listen to Messianic theologians, your concern is that people listen to some random group that you’ve become enamored with.

    And in the midst of all this, because you do have some interesting things to say, I actually purchased Shulam’s commentary on Galatians. Let me just say that from what I’ve been able to see in it so far, I’m not very impressed. Yeah, it’s scholarly, but so are the works of Bart Ehrman and Rudolf Bultmann. At least Shulam believes in miracles and an early date for Galatians, but when you can write an entire commentary on Galatians with nary a nod to Luther or Calvin—who rightly or wrongly have been some of the most influential commentators on the book in history—then your scholarship is wanting. Even the RCC commentators turn to the Reformers on this.

    You are your own pope, because you can tell Jason to come back “home”, when in fact home does not exist today

    You are your own pope because you can go around telling us that we’ve all been wrong for 2,000 years and, thank God, you’re hear to set us right with a bunch of Johnny-come-lately theologians who have the Magic interpretative key of being able to speak Hebrew and import Talmudic and Essenic beliefs into the NT documents. The only difference between you, a RC, and a fundamentalist Baptist is that the traditions you use to determine the meaning of the biblical documents are different. Your hermeneutical methods are exactly the same. I used to think you were more Protestant in your approach. You’re not, at least not traditionally Protestant. You really don’t do anything differently than a KJV-only Fundamentalist separatist Baptist.

    And how authoritarian is it when a non-Apostle and a non-prophet goes around telling us that none of our churches have authority?

    Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. The schtick of “I’m more humble than thou because by my own reasoning I discern that no authority exists today even as I boast in the superior exegetical methods that I have discerned that you nincompoops lack” is entertaining, though.

  99. Caught your show on Journey Home the other day- just wanted to share my blog site with you [By the way- I'm certainly not anti catholic. My home church is St. Patricks- NYC- I attend the Catholic Cathedral here in C.C. Tx].

    I have taught- in defense of the historic church many a time- though I simply use the lable Christian.

    Ok- God bless Jason- love your site! John mine is Corpus Christi Outreach Ministries

  100. No, they want nothing to do with “my” version of the faith because they read the New Testament through the same Pharisaic traditions that Jesus condemned, ie, the Talmud, and uncritically import vast assumptions from Essenic literature that the NT authors may or may not have known.

    I understand your urge to ad hominem by association, but none of the MJs that I read uncritically assess either the Talmud or any other early literature In fact, Joseph Shulam points out in his reading that the Talmud actually mentions that Christ was a true historical figure, of royal descent (of the House of David), crucified, with disciples. This is much more powerful evidence than Josephus or Suetonius for anyone who doubts of the historicity of the faith. And it also helps greatly in the evangelizing Jewish non believers who tend to dismiss the faith (as do secularists and humanists) as greek mythology.

    Look, just because someone is raising their hand and saying, “I’m a Jew and I believe in Jesus,” doesn’t automatically mean they have anything worth saying.

    Yes, agree completely.

    I’ve known plenty of Messianic Jews and I even worshipped in a Messianic congregation for a short time. Believe me, they’d look at your “guys” and say that they find much of their doctrine contrary to Scripture and to the actual beliefs and practices of the NT.

    Besides the laughable “I have black friends” argument here, this nonsense as per your own statement above. Just because a Jew attends a MJ church does not grant authority or legitimacy to what they are saying. There must be some motives of credibility to take them seriously. And those motives derive from Biblical teaching that all should agree on: that they be leaders who are well respected by all, studied and therefore approved are two key ones. The leaders and theologians that I read have tremendous credentials in that regard.

    You basically want us all to believe that a handful of professedly Messianic Jews born in the mid to late twentieth century, raised in the unbiblical traditions codified in the Talmud, automatically have some greater insight into Scripture because they live in Israel and speak Hebrew while they basically have the nerve to tell us ALL that we’ve gotten it wrong for 2,000 years.

    That’s why you dislike them so much then isn’t it. Because you cannot countenance the fact that they tell you that you are mistaken, and your denomination has been wrong for a long time. Well, I feel for you, because that is not going away any time soon, if anything it will intensify as they consolidate. And yes, if anyone is even remotely concerned about the historical-critical method, then instead of belittling Hebrew Yeshivas and scholarship, they will take that into account as well, insofar as it allows them to better understand the world of Yeshua the Messiah and that of the apostles. You should tell your catholic friends now, “Yeah, Luther had some nerve to tell you that you were wrong!”. The irony is palpable.

    And then, you want to believe that somehow that is akin to JBap as a voice crying out in the wilderness when JBap condemned the actions and beliefs of the people who wrote the Talmud, the same interpretative grid you want to force on all things biblical. I’m sorry, but at that point I have to call BS.

    Your fixation with the Talmud is pure nonsense, sorry but the objective reader will see right through your appeal to emotions.

    The fact is, you reject the vast majority of Messianic Jews in the world today as not being Jewish. As I said, when you can admit that one can be a Messianic Jew and a communing member, even a leader in the PCA, OPC, or heck, even the RCC, then your diatribes against the rest of us for being severed from the root will be worth listening to. Until then, maybe you’d get farther if you’d tone things down by merely suggesting or encouraging people to consider what these guys of yours have to say. You aren’t going to get anywhere as long as YOU keep making AD HOMINEM attacks against Luther, Calvin, and even the RCC luminaries. You won’t get anywhere as long as you accuse us of boasting simply because we have strong convictions that our beliefs are correct. If that is so, then you’re boasting in reverse.

    I have made the case extensively on this site for why I believe that Jewish converts to a flavor of protestantism or catholicism are not being true to Yaakov, Shaul, Kephas, Yohanan. If you want to pick up one of the many arguments I have made and discuss, feel free. Here, let’s start with one: Paul took a Nazirite vow in Acts 18, and later in Acts 21, goes to the temple willingly to participate in Jewish law with 4 other men that he was sponsoring. No protestant or catholic does these things, because these are distinctively Jewish things to do. So what say you? And yet you continue with your nonsense about the apostles being proto protestants. Do yourself a favor, read some Jean Danielou or anyone from the Radical New Perspective on Paul to correct your naive views.

    You aren’t John the Baptist.

    LOL. Thanks for the reminder, even though nowhere have I claimed to be. What I have claimed is that you would reject JTB in his day, by your logic. The former does not follow from the latter.

    There has been a woeful neglect of Jews in the Christian Church in its history, but to tell me that I’m severed from the root and the tree just because I don’t listen to the Messianic theologians that YOU approve of is insane.

    Your own admission works against you. The woeful neglect, for it is indeed woeful, has resulted in a situation where Messianic Theologians have not been part of the leadership of the church now for more than 1,900 years. Why? because gentiles have done precisely what Paul warned them NOT to do, which is to boast over their Jewish believing brethren. I was just reading another antisemitic calvinist besides calvin himself, this time as recent as Rushdoony. Again, I will point everyone to the Messianics who are telling gentiles today, that they are severed from their Jewish roots. I know you will kick and scream, but better that and you confront reality than to stick your heads in the sand.

    There are Messianic Jews who minister to Jews, do theology, and pastor churches within the PCA. But that’s not good enough for you. Again, you’re proving that your concern is not just that people listen to Messianic theologians, your concern is that people listen to some random group that you’ve become enamored with.

    Anyone can play this game Robert. Anyone can tell you that you are ‘enamored’ with your PCA Jews. Here let me try it “You are proving that your concern is not just that people listen to Messianic Jews, your concern is that Jews listen to some random group of protestant jewish converts that you’ve become enamored with’. :-)

    And in the midst of all this, because you do have some interesting things to say, I actually purchased Shulam’s commentary on Galatians. Let me just say that from what I’ve been able to see in it so far, I’m not very impressed. Yeah, it’s scholarly, but so are the works of Bart Ehrman and Rudolf Bultmann. At least Shulam believes in miracles and an early date for Galatians, but when you can write an entire commentary on Galatians with nary a nod to Luther or Calvin—who rightly or wrongly have been some of the most influential commentators on the book in history—then your scholarship is wanting. Even the RCC commentators turn to the Reformers on this.

    Awww, your feelings got hurt because Shulam does not reference Calvin? Lol. I’m sure he did not mean to offend you, because his stated purpose in writing the commentary was NOT to rehash what others have done with eternal debates between calvinists and others, but rather to provide a unique view on the Jewish roots of the epistle to the Galatians. That means taking into account all of the vast literature (as the historical-critical method would require) that has to do with the Jewish setting in life of that epistle. By the way, your arguments on justification based on Galatians 3:10 were pulverized a long time ago on this site.

    You are your own pope because you can go around telling us that we’ve all been wrong for 2,000 years and, thank God, you’re hear to set us right with a bunch of Johnny-come-lately theologians who have the Magic interpretative key of being able to speak Hebrew and import Talmudic and Essenic beliefs into the NT documents. The only difference between you, a RC, and a fundamentalist Baptist is that the traditions you use to determine the meaning of the biblical documents are different. Your hermeneutical methods are exactly the same. I used to think you were more Protestant in your approach. You’re not, at least not traditionally Protestant. You really don’t do anything differently than a KJV-only Fundamentalist separatist Baptist.
    And how authoritarian is it when a non-Apostle and a non-prophet goes around telling us that none of our churches have authority?

    A Pope is someone who claims authority. I say that no one has authority today, certainly not the PCA and certainly not me. We are all severed and scattered, that I am willing to say yes, but that is not an authority claim, only a recognition of reality. If I claimed to have authority, I would do what you and other protestants do, which is to judge the souls of others. But nowhere have I done that. But you, and Jason, go out or your way to mimetically claim the mantle of authority. So yes, it is true, the catholics have their pope, and every protestant is his own pope. Reality stinks doesn’t it?

    Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. The schtick of “I’m more humble than thou because by my own reasoning I discern that no authority exists today even as I boast in the superior exegetical methods that I have discerned that you nincompoops lack” is entertaining, thoug

    I don’t think you are nincompoops, I think you are woefully naive, that’s all.

  101. SS,

    By the way, your arguments on justification based on Galatians 3:10 were pulverized a long time ago on this site.

    Well, since you have to tell me that is so, it might make you feel better. But generally, the more one insists that they have refuted the other person, the less likely it is that they did so.

    Every protestant is his own pope.

    You are your own pope my friend. By you’re own authority, you’re telling us that no church has any authority. Be consistent. Move to Salt Lake City and start the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day SS Messianic Saints.

    And quite frankly, if anyone’s feelings are hurt around here its yours. “Hey you guys really, really, really need to listen to my guy who is completely disconnected from the historic Christian tradition because he’s got all the answers. Meanwhile, I’ll ignore the fact that the sociologically speaking, he’s just a Campbellite Protestant who has the Magic interpretative key that you all lack. And by the way, stop listening to any teacher who’s ever had sin in his life because I know my guys are perfect and would certainly never get tangled up in the state if they had the opportunity or if they were born into it.” Talk about naive.

    I don’t think you are nincompoops, I think you are woefully naive, that’s all.

    Well right back at you. I won’t tell you how many people I’ve known who think disconnecting themselves from the historic Christian tradition and finding some group that seems more Jewish than thou is the answer.

    The woeful neglect, for it is indeed woeful, has resulted in a situation where Messianic Theologians have not been part of the leadership of the church now for more than 1,900 years. Why? because gentiles have done precisely what Paul warned them NOT to do, which is to boast over their Jewish believing brethren. I was just reading another antisemitic calvinist besides calvin himself, this time as recent as Rushdoony.

    First of all, Rushdoony is a loon. Let me start quoting the odd Messianic theologians online who want to force Jewish dietary laws on Gentiles as if their opinion matters.

    Second, it’s real easy to throw out the charge of antisemitism, but Calvin and even Luther were not anti-Semites in any meaningful sense of the world. Antisemitism is a racial bias, not a religious one. I won’t condone their harsh words for the Jews, but they would have had no problem with Jews who believed in Jesus. You can laud the ability of your guys to read the Talmud critically when you start showing the ability to read the Reformers critically. Here’s a hint, it starts with not saying nonsenses such as “Luther was neurotic monk” and “I use Calvin’s works as doorstops.” If you can’t acknowledge any of the tremendous good these men did—which even modern RCs recognize by the way—then you need to get down off your high horse and stop telling us who reads history critically and who doesn’t. I’ll remind you again that it was that “presbyterian rebellion” (per the British) made up of men who were shaped by Calvin that gave you the freedom of religion you enjoy today. We don’t mind having done the heavy lifting for you so that you can enjoy these freedoms, but spitting on their graves is hardly good decorum.

    Third, there is not one mainstream Christian body that is keeping Messianic Jews out of leadership. Not the Roman Catholic Church. Not the Lutheran Church. Not the Presbyterian Church. Not. A. One. This conspiracy theory of yours goes back to my second point above.

    Anyone can play this game Robert. Anyone can tell you that you are ‘enamored’ with your PCA Jews. Here let me try it “You are proving that your concern is not just that people listen to Messianic Jews, your concern is that Jews listen to some random group of protestant jewish converts that you’ve become enamored with’.

    Sorry man, this doesn’t fly because I have listened to scores and scores of people outside of my own tradition, and I don’t find them convincing except on isolated points here and there. Somehow, you’re still going to accuse us of ignoring them. Whatever.

  102. You are your own pope my friend. By you’re own authority, you’re telling us that no church has any authority. Be consistent. Move to Salt Lake City and start the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day SS Messianic Saints. And quite frankly, if anyone’s feelings are hurt around here its yours. “Hey you guys really, really, really need to listen to my guy who is completely disconnected from the historic Christian tradition because he’s got all the answers. Meanwhile, I’ll ignore the fact that the sociologically speaking, he’s just a Campbellite Protestant who has the Magic interpretative key that you all lack. And by the way, stop listening to any teacher who’s ever had sin in his life because I know my guys are perfect and would certainly never get tangled up in the state if they had the opportunity or if they were born into it.” Talk about naive.

    You confuse being a pope with having a conscience. No, by my conscience, I tell you that western Christianity is bathed in violence, blood and corruption, and the latter continues to this day. One does not have to be a pope to recognize this. If I were a pope, I would judge the souls of men as you have done and as every protestant naively does when they lament over their departed friends who embrace catholicism or orthodoxy. Your argument about starting a movement is particularly ironic, because that is exactly what your ungodly leaders did 500 years ago. I find your dislike of Shulam quite telling as well, it shows me that he has really struck a nerve. If you had any inkling of the reality, you would realize that he is not a campbellite, but in fact, a Jew. If he were a campbellite, he would not be the Rabbi of one of the earliest Jewish believing synagogues in Jerusalem, if not the earliest. But you just keep spouting off nonsense. Further, no one is talking about sinlessness, but rather, the attributes we ought to expect out of our leaders. There is difference between being beyond reproach, and sinlessness, too bad you continue to naively obfuscate it.

    First of all, Rushdoony is a loon. Let me start quoting the odd Messianic theologians online who want to force Jewish dietary laws on Gentiles as if their opinion matters. Second, it’s real easy to throw out the charge of antisemitism, but Calvin and even Luther were not anti-Semites in any meaningful sense of the world. Antisemitism is a racial bias, not a religious one. I won’t condone their harsh words for the Jews, but they would have had no problem with Jews who believed in Jesus. You can laud the ability of your guys to read the Talmud critically when you start showing the ability to read the Reformers critically. Here’s a hint, it starts with not saying nonsenses such as “Luther was neurotic monk” and “I use Calvin’s works as doorstops.” If you can’t acknowledge any of the tremendous good these men did—which even modern RCs recognize by the way—then you need to get down off your high horse and stop telling us who reads history critically and who doesn’t. I’ll remind you again that it was that “presbyterian rebellion” (per the British) made up of men who were shaped by Calvin that gave you the freedom of religion you enjoy today. We don’t mind having done the heavy lifting for you so that you can enjoy these freedoms, but spitting on their graves is hardly good decorum.
    Third, there is not one mainstream Christian body that is keeping Messianic Jews out of leadership. Not the Roman Catholic Church. Not the Lutheran Church. Not the Presbyterian Church. Not. A. One. This conspiracy theory of yours goes back to my second point above

    Great to hear you recognize that Rushdoony was indeed a mad man. Why I am not surprised however that you fail toapply the same standard you do to him to Calvin however. People, when someone starts having to qualify their statements with “not an antisemite in the real sense of the word”, you can safely assume that there is no defense here. Your distinction that antisemitism is a racial bias and not a religious one, is a distinction without a difference. Because one of the attributes that any godly leader should have is to do unto his neighbor, as he would have his neighbor do unto him. What do we find Calvin (and Luther) saying instead:

    “Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.”

    Excerpt from “Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio,” by John Calvin; The Jew in Christian Theology, Gerhard Falk, McFarland and Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC and London, 1931.

    This is no different from Rushdoony’s rhetoric, you will condemn him but not Calvin. Oh no, for Calvin, you will start splitting hairs. And you wonder why I use the institutes as a doorstop? It is not even qualified for that job! Calvin was a false teacher from head to toe. I don’t spit on his grave, I simply recognize him for who he was, and reject him and those who follow him and claim authority to judge others’ souls based on their calvin influenced doctrine.

    And yes, protestants and catholics are keeping Messianic Jews out of leadership, by making it a precondition of any fellowship that they bow down to their customs and tradition and hermeneutic. What they ought to do is 1) Offer a genuine mea culpa for 1,900 years of oppression 2) Call for a council to address this huge problem. But who are we kidding? Might as well ask for pigs to fly. Look you can keep doing that, but please don’t expect anyone to take you seriously. The early church, AGAIN, was led by Jews through and through. Where is your answer to my question above re Paul and Acts 18:18 and 21?

    Sorry man, this doesn’t fly because I have listened to scores and scores of people outside of my own tradition, and I don’t find them convincing except on isolated points here and there. Somehow, you’re still going to accuse us of ignoring them. Whatever.

    It’s quite obvious from history that the gentiles in Rome did not find Paul convincing either when he wrote Romans 11. Whether you find it convincing or not is irrelevant, God has spoken and it is coming to pass.

  103. We just saw you on The Journey Home and I remember reading your blog around the time of your conversion. Wonderful episode! God bless and welcome home! Cindy

  104. Listened to the Journey Home today on our local Catholic radio station. My journey was similar to yours – raised a Roman Catholic; joined the Jesus Movement in the early 70′s; joined an evangelical church; and eventually became a confessional Lutheran. It was my Catholic upbringing with it’s teaching on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper that eventually lead me to Lutheranism. While I cannot and will not ever return to Roman Catholicism (just hearing a rosary being prayed would be enough to cure me of that notion) I do wish you well on your journey.

  105. SS,

    Your argument about starting a movement is particularly ironic, because that is exactly what your ungodly leaders did 500 years ago. I find your dislike of Shulam quite telling as well, it shows me that he has really struck a nerve. If you had any inkling of the reality, you would realize that he is not a campbellite, but in fact, a Jew. If he were a campbellite, he would not be the Rabbi of one of the earliest Jewish believing synagogues in Jerusalem, if not the earliest. But you just keep spouting off nonsense. Further, no one is talking about sinlessness, but rather, the attributes we ought to expect out of our leaders. There is difference between being beyond reproach, and sinlessness, too bad you continue to naively obfuscate it.

    Actually, SS, Calvin, Luther, et al were continuing strains of development that were already there, so no, your argument doesn’t work.

    I don’t have any particular dislike for Shulam. I say of him what I say of everyone else, and that is that if they try to add even one work to what Christ has done for their justification they are under Paul’s anathema.

    Aside from that, the general approach of regarding Galatians as a Halakhic letter is just so patently absurd its not even worth considering. Yeah, Paul who’s insistent about not putting Gentiles under Halakah is going to write a Halakhic letter. Sure.

    Yeah, anyone who goes off and says the church has been wrong about everything for 2,000 years is a Campbellite in practice if not in doctrine.

    People, when someone starts having to qualify their statements with “not an antisemite in the real sense of the word”, you can safely assume that there is no defense here. Your distinction that antisemitism is a racial bias and not a religious one, is a distinction without a difference. Because one of the attributes that any godly leader should have is to do unto his neighbor, as he would have his neighbor do unto him. What do we find Calvin (and Luther) saying instead:
    “Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.”

    Yeah, SS, you are from the Al Sharpton school of theology, instead of applying it to black-white relations, you just throw out random accusations of anti-Semitism. Calvin and Luther did not say the things they did because they thought having Jewish blood was inherently evil. They would have been happy to have Jews in their congregations.

    Again, I’m not going to condone such language, but if you cannot understand that no one fully grows past the era in which they lived in, then you’re even more naive than I thought. Apply your standard consistently, and there is no one since the first century who is worthy of your adherence.

    <i.This is no different from Rushdoony’s rhetoric, you will condemn him but not Calvin. Oh no, for Calvin, you will start splitting hairs. And you wonder why I use the institutes as a doorstop? It is not even qualified for that job! Calvin was a false teacher from head to toe. I don’t spit on his grave, I simply recognize him for who he was, and reject him and those who follow him and claim authority to judge others’ souls based on their calvin influenced doctrine.
    And yes, protestants and catholics are keeping Messianic Jews out of leadership, by making it a precondition of any fellowship that they bow down to their customs and tradition and hermeneutic. What they ought to do is 1) Offer a genuine mea culpa for 1,900 years of oppression 2) Call for a council to address this huge problem. But who are we kidding? Might as well ask for pigs to fly. Look you can keep doing that, but please don’t expect anyone to take you seriously. The early church, AGAIN, was led by Jews through and through. Where is your answer to my question above re Paul and Acts 18:18 and 21?

    Rushdoony denied the Holocaust, he’s his own special kind of crazy.

    Calvinists have been dealing with irrational hatred of Calvin from Arminian Campbellite Protestants like yourself for generations. Meanwhile, you continue to enjoy freedoms because the heirs of Calvin translated the Bible into English, established religious freedom in this country, and so much more. But you are so blinded that you cannot even offer a meagre recognition of that fact. No Calvin and Luther, no Reformation, no Reformation, and you’re being burned at the stake for your views. Even I can admit that the papacy has done good in history.

    Yes, the early church was led by Jews. Who is disputing that except for the really odd RC like De Maria around here? When I find a professedly Messianic Jew who knows the gospel, I’ll be happy to follow him. There are several in the PCA. Anyone who says that I’m finally justified by my works is a Judaizer.

    I’m not stopping any Jew from following their traditions. Neither is the PCA. There’s at least one Messianic Jewish PCA congregation that I know of and an entire outreach dedicated to reaching Jews with the gospel in a way that preserves their identity. So again, you just don’t know what you are talking about in the least with this. There isn’t a conspiracy. There are Messianic pastors and theologians who hold to Reformed doctrine. The CHAIM outreach of the PCA is led by Messianic Jews. Richard Harvey—who was at the Helsinki Conference—is a theologian associated with a Reformed Bible college in the UK that explicitly teaches JFBA and imputation.

    Once you escape slavery to your own traditions—which can only happen once you realize that you HAVE them—perhaps you’ll be able to deal with things better. Until then, your irrational hatred of Calvin and all things associated with him leads to this nonsensical views that a true Messianic Jew would never think the WCF is the most accurate summary of biblical doctrine available or that maybe Calvin had something worth saying. You don’t have to agree, but the fact that you cannot even fathom the possibility proves that you are a slave to your Armininan Campbellite Protestant hermeneutic.

    You are a Protestant of a certain stripe through and through. The fact that you protesteth so much just proves that I’m right.

  106. Eric .. Thanks for your replies. I’m sure I must have misconceptions about your Catholicism too. I did think your journey interesting from another perspective as well. In Rev 2-3, Jesus addresses the last churches, the lampstands where He stands in the midst in Rev 1. You seem to have visited them in reverse. I thought your observations were somewhat different that Jeuss’. My view is that you started in Philadelphia, then went to Sardis, then to Thyatira where you ended up. Might be interesting for you to see what Jesus said about each.

  107. Bob–

    Did you mean to address Rich? I never said anything about my journey, at least not that I’m aware of, at least not in this thread.

  108. test

  109. Actually, SS, Calvin, Luther, et al were continuing strains of development that were already there, so no, your argument doesn’t work.

    So when it’s something you like it’s ‘continuing strains of development’ and when not it’s a new sect. I see. Thumbs up for the intellectual rigor here, lol. Putting aside the ad hominem that fills 90% of your posts, when will you start answering the questions regarding Scripture that I have asked you? What’s the matter? You got time to ad hominem but no time to discuss Scripture?

    I don’t have any particular dislike for Shulam. I say of him what I say of everyone else, and that is that if they try to add even one work to what Christ has done for their justification they are under Paul’s anathema.
    Aside from that, the general approach of regarding Galatians as a Halakhic letter is just so patently absurd its not even worth considering. Yeah, Paul who’s insistent about not putting Gentiles under Halakah is going to write a Halakhic letter. Sure.

    You can say you don’t dislike him but your other words really prove your hatred for him. There, does that line of argumentation sound familiar? Why do you obsess about the Talmud? Shulam would be the first to tell that it is not Scripture. He would also tell you that it can be of immeasurable value in discerning extra biblical evidence for the existence of Christ, of His Miracles, His disciples and also in understanding the oral tradition that existed at the time of Christ. When a source that is hostile to Christ has to find a way to rationalize away His being and miracles, you can safely conclude that they indeed took place, that is some of the strongest evidence, if not the strongest in my view, that corroborates the NT accounts.

    Your ‘absurd’ comment above only belies your naivete and ignorance of what halakha is. You give this away in the part of your statement “Yeah, Paul who’s insistent about not putting Gentiles under Halakah is going to write a Halakhic letter. Sure”. My friend, please acquaint yourself with the basics: halakha is the Hebrew word for “Walk”. Paul in Galatians is showing throughout the epistle but more so in chapters 5 and 6 how they ought to walk in the faith. He deliberates on what is permissible and what is not for a gentile disciple of Christ: that is halakhic deliberation as was the binding and loosing that was the conclusion of the apostolic council in Jerusalem (Acts 15). As Peter Tomson writes:

    “Circumcision obviously has to do with halakha. Therefore it is significant that it is in Paul’s polemic against circumcision of gentile Christians that we find a halakha reflected. It appears to be the only explicit halakhic reference in Galatians. In Gal 5:2-3 we read “Now I, Paul, say to you that if you have yourself circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who is circumcised that he is bound to keep the whole Law.”… This is confirmed by comparison with Rabbinic literature. In the first place the introductory phrase marturomai, ‘I testify’, parallels a technical term in Hebrew, which means to quote formally an oral tradition, usually a halakha’….

    Regarding works of the law and justification, we’ve already gone over that umpteenth times in other threads but suffice it to say that in the proper Jewish Honor paradigm, there is no conflict between honoring God out of gratitude for Him and grace, for one flows from the other. There is also no conflict between God rejecting a dishonorable response (which would include boasting by the way) and grace as well. Honor, by definition in the Patron-Client relationship, does not allow for earning or boasting, the only boasting that is possible genuinely is that of boasting in the Lord, as Paul said.

  110. SS,

    there is no conflict between honoring God out of gratitude for Him and grace, for one flows from the other.

    And where in the world have I posited such a conflict. Grace demands an honorable response , but the honorable response is not what gets you into heaven or what justifies you.

    The issue, as always, is whether saving grace always elicits an honorable response. I say yes. You, and other non-Calvinists say no.

    Paul, Jesus, et al certainly reflect their Jewish background and speak in Jewish terms. It’s actually better to say they reflect their background in the Hebrew Scriptures and speak in Hebrew scriptural terms, for apart from some issues, there was no unified Jewish view of anything in the first century just as there is no unified Jewish view today. Jesus, Paul, etc. don’t accept their Jewish “Honor Paradigm” uncritically. If they did, they wouldn’t have started anything new or different than what was already there. This is the point, I fear, that you just do not get.

  111. Jason, I watched the show. You seem like a really nice guy. You got what you wanted man, with your new found popularity in the Roman synagog you became a God, without having to do it by ontological participation. All kidding aside, i wasn’t convinced that you buy what Rome is selling. If your schooled in the Reform your going to have a hard time giving Mary all that dullia man. Especially in light of Isaiah 48 where Christ says he shares his Glory with no other. you were schooled in the true Gospel and now your going to run to another religion. Galations 5: 1-4 says you are now severed from Christ and have fallen from grace. Come back brother. There’s room at the inn!

  112. SS, I am reformed and you are right there has been a history in the church RC and by the reformers of downright abuse of Jews. Augustine participated in this and i am ashamed to say so did Luther, less from Calvin. As much as i love the fat little German i am ashamed of his last message he preached denigrating God’s chosen people. These great men who brought out the doctrine of Grace, shoved the chosen people aside. I’ve always had great love and respect for the Jews because they are Chosen. And although i am an amillinialist i believe the future in some major way factor in the his people. But remember Peter and his group how they were treating the Gentiles in Acts 15. He had to be rebuked by Paul. But for you and I and all that believe in Christ by faith alone we are brothers are we not.

  113. SS , I know I’m jumping in and correct me if i misinterpret you. But Paul uses through Romans, Galations, Ephesians, works of law,works, sometimes law. In Galations 5:4 Paul says ” you who are trying to be justified by law have fallen from grace and been severed from Christ. Give Paul’s enormous antithesis between grace and law, you don’t believe that we are justified in anyway by works of Law. Are you a NPP guy? Ill wait for your response.

  114. Kevin,

    As has happened before more than once, I haven’t been able to post on creedcodecult since Monday. I don’t have any trouble on any other site than this one… Let’s see if this goes through, if it does, I will answer your question.

  115. Kevin,

    SS denies justification by faith alone, as well as most of the rest of magisterial Protestant theology, as well as Roman Catholic theology. He wants us all to hop on a plane to Jerusalem and blow the shofar or something. That second sentence is a bit tongue in cheek, but it’s also not far from the truth. ;)

  116. Kevin,

    The theological reality of Paul’s world and mind is much more nuanced than a “grace vs works of law” dichotomy. As someone once said, you should make things simple, but not any simpler. The first thing you have to realize, is that the full import of the term “grace” and what ensues from it must be derived from a meta analysis of all of Paul’s epistles and not by picking out verse and passages from one or two epistles. This is simply because Paul’s writing was always to a great extent situational, and addressing a specific set of believers, be they Jewish believers sometimes and in other occasions Gentile believers. The closest he ever comes to a systematic theology is the epistle to the Romans, and believe me, if you read the tens of thousands of words that I have written on the topic in prior threads in response to the reformed view, well, let’s just say this, do make the effort to go through all that.

    A few thoughts that all relate to one another:

    - Works of Law/ Law refer most of the time to a use of Torah which is void of Christ.
    - Paul’s concern is not to obviate the Torah, but rather to establish the Torah, (Rom 3:31)
    - One cannot properly fulfill Torah without the full realization that Christ is the Messiah.
    - Grace is in its purest, the manifestation of Messiah in the life of the one who has faith in Him
    - Grace occurs not in a vacuum, but is given freely by the Father towards an end: to redeem and transform man.
    - Grace is a gift given by the Father, our Benefactor, with the goal of eliciting an honorable response.
    - It is within the context of a Patron-Client relationship that Grace is given, and hence Honor is paramount.
    - The Response to a gift of Grace ought to be Honorable, but this is not always so.
    - Sometimes, recipients act dishonorably in response to a gift, and incur the displeasure of the Benefactor.

    Now, with that in mind, come back to Galatians. Yes, Paul is indeed warning gentile believers not to believe those who are telling them that they need to be circumcised. He is correct to warn them that this would be stepping back in time, essentially voiding the Gospel of Christ to the gentiles, by making it a requirement that they seek to enter God’s family through the physical ritual. The beauty of the Gospel, Paul says, is that gentiles have received the blessing of Abraham (who once was a gentile and believed even before he was circumcised) through Christ’s redemptive act (Gal 3:13). But then what? Go back to Gal 5, following the very verses you quoted, 3-4. What does Paul then go on to say in v. 5?

    “For we through the Spirit, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love”.

    The dikaiosunes he speaks of is irrevocably a future declaration of righteousness. Here Paul stresses the ‘not yet’ part in the ‘already not yet’ aspect of justification. Here he summarizes the not yet part here as “faith working through love”. So justification is not a done deal, it remains a future event, even though we can find peace in the present aspect of our justification as well. This future aspect of justification is expanded upon in Romans 2:

    “5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor , and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor , and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.”

    I want to direct your attention to the word ‘honor’ in the above. While acknowledged, its significance to Paul’s theology has been greatly completely overlooked by western theologians. Paul unequivocally states that those gentiles who by patient continuance in doing good, seek for God’s honor will be granted eternal life. We should ask ourselves, what does Paul mean by “in doing good” one, and two what does he mean by “seeks for honor”. Well, I’ve already explained the 2nd: it is God’s honor that a believer seeks when he believes and obeys the Savior (cf. Matt 7:24-25, Matt 25:20-23). So again what is this ‘doing good’? It is simply obedience to Christ and hence, the fulfillment of Torah. This obedience has nothing to do with ‘works of the law’ because the latter have no room for Christ, but are independent of him. In fact, the curse is broken because Christ’s death has released the Spirit who then works in man’s heart to stir Him up to loving obedience, an obedience that is grounded in the right motivation, which is not to earn salvation, but rather to seek the Honor of the Benefactor. It is within this Honor paradigm that grace must be placed. If you fail to do that, you miss Paul completely and are prone to grave mistakes, including cheap grace and antinomianism. Now, like Tullian, you can argue that grace does not encourage laziness. But this is naïve, because in the parable of the talents, the Master gives grace to the 3rd servant, but that 3rd servant instead of honoring his Master (not earning His Master’s approval, because he had nothing to do with the gift of talent and knew he could not repay), dishonors Him. And he is thrown in hell (yes, hell, not some dark room in heaven as Charles Stanley suggests!).

    That is what the reformed do not get. A dishonorable response to grace is sadly possible. This is why Paul, speaking to the Galatian gentiles who have received adoption already, but are now seeking to step back in time and void the significance of the Christ-event, says this:

    “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”

    and

    “8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit

  117. Kevin,

    As a gentile, you should not act like a Jew, for example, be circumcised or even to blow the Shofar. Those are the markers and calling of Jewish believers.

    But let me ask you this: Christmas is approaching and Easter has passed. Do you observe these holy days? If you do, is this observance in the spirit of the Galatians who were seeking to be circumcised? Is it like a ‘work of the law’?

    Thanks,
    SS.

  118. SS, I am reformed and you are right there has been a history in the church RC and by the reformers of downright abuse of Jews. Augustine participated in this and i am ashamed to say so did Luther, less from Calvin. As much as i love the fat little German i am ashamed of his last message he preached denigrating God’s chosen people. These great men who brought out the doctrine of Grace, shoved the chosen people aside. I’ve always had great love and respect for the Jews because they are Chosen. And although i am an amillinialist i believe the future in some major way factor in the his people. But remember Peter and his group how they were treating the Gentiles in Acts 15. He had to be rebuked by Paul. But for you and I and all that believe in Christ by faith alone we are brothers are we not.

    Thank you Kevin for being willing to admit the above and at the same time not attempt a rationalization of the behavior. Now, having done this, I would encourage you to ask yourself this question: Given the very strong warnings given by no less than Christ Himself in Matt 7, and the clear guidelines that we as believers are called to abide by in selecting our elders (1 Tim 3), does it make any sense for you and your tradition to continue to honor these two men? Does it make sense for you to read their books, promote their works, promote their teaching? Read Matt 7 and 1 Tim 3 carefully now, don’t equivocate. Don’t give me this ‘they were men of their time’ nonsense. Menno Simons was a man of his time too, and refused to engage in physical violence.

    Secondly, Peter did not mistreat any gentiles in Acts 15, and he was not rebuked by Paul. That was Paul’s recollection of the ‘face to face’ meeting he had with Peter. The irony is that in Acts 15, it is Yaakov first, and Peter second, speaking in the final deliberation on the question “What do we do these gentiles?”. Note that Paul is a taker here, he is not in any position of authority to decide whatsoever, even though he does indeed share his experience in witnessing to the gentiles, a witnessing that he had been given the authority to do earlier.

    But again what is your point? Is it like one catholic said once here, that James (and now Peter) didn’t get the true gospel? If that is so, you ought to be worried that the Bible contains their deliberation on what we as gentiles can and cannot do. For they bound and loosed us to certain observances in the conclusion of the church council. But sadly, your tradition does not recognize their authority and pronouncement. For protestants, only Paul is valid, forget James and ironically, the purest church that ever existed.

  119. part of my reply to Robert, could not post this on Monday:

    Again, I’m not going to condone such language, but if you cannot understand that no one fully grows past the era in which they lived in, then you’re even more naive than I thought. Apply your standard consistently, and there is no one since the first century who is worthy of your adherence.

    You speak out of both sides of your mouth. You say you don’t condone the language, but then turn around and say I ought not to disqualify Calvin and Luther from being leaders on the basis of their words and actions. I find it interesting how you downgrade the thoughts to mere ‘language’. Well guess what, Yeshua HaMashiach said:

    “45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

    Again Calvin’s words:

    ““Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.”

    There are definitely a few men who have not soiled themselves with the arrogant trappings of worldly power and violence: as mentioned before all it takes to disprove your assertion is to point to Menno Simons, who absolutely refused to engage in violence against those who disagreed with him. You cannot get out of that no matter how hard you stomp your feet.

  120. Rushdoony denied the Holocaust, he’s his own special kind of crazy. Calvinists have been dealing with irrational hatred of Calvin from Arminian Campbellite Protestants like yourself for generations. Meanwhile, you continue to enjoy freedoms because the heirs of Calvin translated the Bible into English, established religious freedom in this country, and so much more. But you are so blinded that you cannot even offer a meagre recognition of that fact. No Calvin and Luther, no Reformation, no Reformation, and you’re being burned at the stake for your views. Even I can admit that the papacy has done good in history.

    To whatever extent Calvinists contributed to the founding of America (witch burning and native killing notwithstanding- see Jason’s thanksgiving post), I am happy to give them credit, together with giving credit to the deists and agnostics who made it a reality. But in no way does this obviate the fact that your tradition was borne in unChrist-like violence and your leaders were ungodly men. I know this will make people pout and stomp around, but if you don’t like it, begin to address their murders and blood shedding and attempt a theological defense. There is none in the age of the Messiah.

    Yes, the early church was led by Jews. Who is disputing that except for the really odd RC like De Maria around here? When I find a professedly Messianic Jew who knows the gospel, I’ll be happy to follow him. There are several in the PCA. Anyone who says that I’m finally justified by my works is a Judaizer.
    I’m not stopping any Jew from following their traditions. Neither is the PCA. There’s at least one Messianic Jewish PCA congregation that I know of and an entire outreach dedicated to reaching Jews with the gospel in a way that preserves their identity. So again, you just don’t know what you are talking about in the least with this. There isn’t a conspiracy. There are Messianic pastors and theologians who hold to Reformed doctrine. The CHAIM outreach of the PCA is led by Messianic Jews. Richard Harvey—who was at the Helsinki Conference—is a theologian associated with a Reformed Bible college in the UK that explicitly teaches JFBA and imputation.
    Once you escape slavery to your own traditions—which can only happen once you realize that you HAVE them—perhaps you’ll be able to deal with things better. Until then, your irrational hatred of Calvin and all things associated with him leads to this nonsensical views that a true Messianic Jew would never think the WCF is the most accurate summary of biblical doctrine available or that maybe Calvin had something worth saying. You don’t have to agree, but the fact that you cannot even fathom the possibility proves that you are a slave to your Armininan Campbellite Protestant hermeneutic.

    Once again, double speak that is classic and to be expected of a calvinist. The church was led by Jews, but Paul for example was really a proto protestant. Can you hear how ridiculous you sound? Here’s a news flash for you: there is a growing number, in the tens of thousands of Messianic Jews who are neither protestants nor catholics and have no desire to be the latter. You can ignore them all you want, but do not beg the question regarding whose voice is authoritative and who is not. You cannot simply point to some PCA converts and say “See, I tode ya that we acknowledge jewish roots”. You have to engage with the arguments that non protestant Messianic Jews such as Shulam among many others are presenting. But your posts on that are nowhere to be found, just some auto repeat/fixation nonsense about the talmud. Again, I asked you a question about Acts 21, Acts 18:18. Where is your answer? Bring me your PCA convert. Invite him to this discussion, let him question me and I will question him if you are not willing to.

  121. You are a Protestant of a certain stripe through and through. The fact that you protesteth so much just proves that I’m right.

    Re your prior comments about being a campbellite and so on. Did you even read what I wrote above in prior posts regarding the CoC? I told you earlier that the Church of Christ, whilst doing well in seeking to restore the roots of the faith, did not go far enough back in history, (same for JH Newman and Jason Stellman as well) which is not surprising giving that Campbell himself and ex Presbyterian Bart Stone completely missed the Jewish roots of the faith themselves. By the way, Stone sure did give you guys a run for your money huh? Lol.

    And what I do is not ‘protesting’ but I call all denominations which are rent and severed from the Jewish roots of the faith to make an effort of repentance to turn back to their Jewish brethren who disagree with them, and to seek reconciliation, in order to return to the state of the church as it was and meant to be in the beginning, before gentiles took it over and Jesus was made out to be a blond haired, blue eyed, WCF reading/English hymn singing Savior.

  122. SS,

    When these guys of yours fall into grievous sin, make sure you have some anti-depressants nearby because its really going to rock your world.

    What is your point about Acts 21? That Paul said he was a Jew? No one is disputing that.

    As far as fixation, you are the one that is fixated on some vast Protestant conspiracy to ignore Messianic Jews. If you really admit that just because someone claims to be a Messianic Jew that that doesn’t automatically mean they are worth a hearing, why is it so hard for you to understand that we look at those who deny JBFA and find them to be extremely short on Scriptural support and so reject them. Why in the world do you think we aren’t doing this with your guys? They aren’t the first that have made some kind of argument that makes our final salvation dependent on our obedience. They aren’t the first Judaizers Paul had to deal with.

    You froth at the mouth so much about Calvin that you don’t seem to realize that people can honestly weigh the evidence and find that the other side’s arguments are wanting. You obviously find Calvin wanting. I guess that must mean you’re dishonest in your reading of the evidence and are under a conspiracy to keep Calvinists away. ;)

    You lack the capacity to even entertain the possibility that a Jewish person could read Paul and think that just maybe he was a “proto-Protestant” or at least that Protestant expressions of Christianity are authentic expressions of the teaching of Rabbi Paul and Yeshua. Look, you don’t have to agree, but this accusation that people are ignoring your guys just has to stop. You keep saying that you don’t want to make Gentiles into Jews, but your incessant whining and moaning about being John the Baptist, the church being apostate for 2,000 years, and our need to have a new Jerusalem council with your handpicked selection of Messianic Jews leading it just completely invalidates those claims. You won’t be happy until we’re all under whatever kosher laws you happen to think are still in force and you know it.

    Here’s a news flash for you. The wall’s been torn down. If a Messianic Jew wants to worship Jesus and keep kosher, then more power to him. But if a Messianic Jew wants to join the PCA and eat bacon, then he’s no less Jewish. You’re the one rebuilding the wall around here, my friend. You don’t get to define what it means to live like a Jew or to be authentically Jewish. You say you have no authority? Start acting like it and stop questioning the Jewish bona fides of Messianic Jewish Reformed Christians.

    And you can stop whining about the PCA only listening to PCA Jews and putting PCA Jews in leadership when you can show me a Messianic fellowship in Israel that would freely admit me if I started telling it that it was all wrong and that Jews must start living as Gentiles. I couldn’t get a hearing any more easily with your guys than a “Messianic Jew” who denies JBFA could get one in the PCA.

  123. SS,

    I refer to you as a Campbellite because like those guys, you believe the church essentially went apostate for 2,000 years and that you have found the answer. And, like them, you don’t seem capable of understanding that you are no less bound by or influenced by your theological tradition than the rest of us. Actually, as long as you pretend not to have a tradition, you are more enslaved to it than even the most traditionalist RC. Admitting your traditional bias is the first step to possibly growing past it.

    Thanks for being the receiver for the Holy Spirit, though. ;)

  124. Agreeing that the church has been in open rebellion for 1,900 years does not make one a Campbellite. So no, this is a pretty shockingly bad logical fail. What part of “the Church of Christ” is severed from its Jewish roots do you not understand?

    Spare me the petty nonsense re the Holy Spirit. Where were you in the dark ages when catholics told Luther and Catholic the very same thing “Thanks for being the receiver for the Holy Spirit though!”. Tough one, isn’t it? Lol.

  125. What is your point about Acts 21? That Paul said he was a Jew? No one is disputing that.

    You do indeed dispute that, because you claim that Paul was a proto protestant. This is double speak. You cannot say that Paul was a Jew and He was a proto protestant. It’s like saying oil is water and water is oil. They don’t mix. Again, in Acts 18:18, Paul has taken a Nazirite vow, which is a Jewish observance. Do protestants do that? Yes or No? In Acts 21, Paul pays for the vows of 4 Jewish men. Do Protestants do that?

    As far as fixation, you are the one that is fixated on some vast Protestant conspiracy to ignore Messianic Jews. If you really admit that just because someone claims to be a Messianic Jew that that doesn’t automatically mean they are worth a hearing, why is it so hard for you to understand that we look at those who deny JBFA and find them to be extremely short on Scriptural support and so reject them. Why in the world do you think we aren’t doing this with your guys? They aren’t the first that have made some kind of argument that makes our final salvation dependent on our obedience. They aren’t the first Judaizers Paul had to deal with.

    Nowhere have I claimed it’s a conspiracy. That’s your own ad homineming nonsense as usual. Not only is it not a conspiracy, it is done in the wide open, with braggadocio for extra measure. Joseph Shulam and other Messianic theologians make massive contributions to the faith and they are conveniently ignored. You simply beg the question re justification by faith. You simply assume that your tradition Paul right. But how can you expect theologians to take your claims seriously when you on the one hand give lip service to the historical critical method, and then fail to acknowledge those who are more equipped then any of yours ever were to enlighten you on the Jewish roots of the faith? As Paul says in Romans 15:27, you owe them blessings for the spiritual blessing they are to you, but one could not tell by the hand writhing going on.

    You froth at the mouth so much about Calvin that you don’t seem to realize that people can honestly weigh the evidence and find that the other side’s arguments are wanting. You obviously find Calvin wanting. I guess that must mean you’re dishonest in your reading of the evidence and are under a conspiracy to keep Calvinists away. ;)

    The only one who frothed at the mouth was Calvin, when he burned Servetus at the stake or wrote of him prior to that “I shall never permit him to depart alive, if my authority means anyone”. Shame on you westerners for your tolerating such for centuries now.

    You lack the capacity to even entertain the possibility that a Jewish person could read Paul and think that just maybe he was a “proto-Protestant” or at least that Protestant expressions of Christianity are authentic expressions of the teaching of Rabbi Paul and Yeshua. Look, you don’t have to agree, but this accusation that people are ignoring your guys just has to stop. You keep saying that you don’t want to make Gentiles into Jews, but your incessant whining and moaning about being John the Baptist, the church being apostate for 2,000 years, and our need to have a new Jerusalem council with your handpicked selection of Messianic Jews leading it just completely invalidates those claims. You won’t be happy until we’re all under whatever kosher laws you happen to think are still in force and you know it.

    I will say it as long as I need to: you in the West have gotten Paul wrong, your exegesis is wanting. Put aside your chest thumping, and argue Acts 18 and 21 with me as a start. What I have said that representatives from all corners ought to send in their best representatives, now watch this: men who are first and foremost respected in their own quarters first and blameless, and second, men who are studied, to discuss the matter. I certainly do not have to be included in that process, and have no interest to be a participant, because my interest is in seeing repentance happen from the inside. It may never happen, but that is what my desire is. It was the role of the church in Acts 15 to decide what laws you are bound by, and if you don’t like that, you have to prove to me that those laws don’t apply to you. You speak of the glory of the Word of God then turn around and nullify it.

    Here’s a news flash for you. The wall’s been torn down. If a Messianic Jew wants to worship Jesus and keep kosher, then more power to him. But if a Messianic Jew wants to join the PCA and eat bacon, then he’s no less Jewish. You’re the one rebuilding the wall around here, my friend. You don’t get to define what it means to live like a Jew or to be authentically Jewish. You say you have no authority? Start acting like it and stop questioning the Jewish bona fides of Messianic Jewish Reformed Christians.

    Here’s a news flash for you: you don’t even know what halakha means, so you ought to be more quiet in this discussion and stop moving your mouth so much when you don’t know. That the wall has been torn down does not imply that ecclesiologically speaking you are doing God’s will. Again, the church in the beginning had Jewish believers AND Gentile believers in its leadership. Today what do you see in the West? Gentiles only. Has been since A.D. 100. So much so that Paul had to tell the Roman gentiles to stop boasting over the natural branches.

    And if you reject what I say about converts to protestant denominations, then neither have you any authority to claim that Presbyterian Jewish converts are Jews. None.

  126. And Robert re your taunt about kosher laws, I guess Jesus didn’t get the reformed memo when He spoke to the church in Pergamos

    ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”

    But no, you see, Robert says eat, eat eat! JBFA! JBFA!

    You know not what you do and do not understand what faith and what grace really is. Neither did your forbears.

  127. You do indeed dispute that, because you claim that Paul was a proto protestant. This is double speak. You cannot say that Paul was a Jew and He was a proto protestant. It’s like saying oil is water and water is oil. They don’t mix. Again, in Acts 18:18, Paul has taken a Nazirite vow, which is a Jewish observance. Do protestants do that? Yes or No? In Acts 21, Paul pays for the vows of 4 Jewish men. Do Protestants do that?

    What Protestant doctrine would prevent Paul from doing any of those things? He was Jewish. If Protestants are right, then holding to Protestant doctrine and doing those things are completely compatible. Your hatred for all things Protestant, the fruit of which enables you to freely go off at the mouth at this point, is just blinding you completely.

    Just to make it simple: One can hold to justification by faith alone and take a Nazirite vow, if one is of Jewish blood. Maybe Protestants don’t take such vows as a rule because—news flash—we’re Gentiles for the most part. But as I’ve said repeatedly, most professing Messianic Jews are Protestants of one stripe or another. My Messianic friends in my hometown celebrate Sukkot and believe they are justified by faith alone. Tell me, what would YOU call them? Are they Protestant or Jewish?

    Nowhere have I claimed it’s a conspiracy. That’s your own ad homineming nonsense as usual. Not only is it not a conspiracy, it is done in the wide open, with braggadocio for extra measure. Joseph Shulam and other Messianic theologians make massive contributions to the faith and they are conveniently ignored. You simply beg the question re justification by faith. You simply assume that your tradition Paul right. But how can you expect theologians to take your claims seriously when you on the one hand give lip service to the historical critical method, and then fail to acknowledge those who are more equipped then any of yours ever were to enlighten you on the Jewish roots of the faith? As Paul says in Romans 15:27, you owe them blessings for the spiritual blessing they are to you, but one could not tell by the hand writhing going on.

    Ridiculous. Nobody is shunning in the open. I guarantee you that vast majority of NT scholars in the world have probably never even heard of Shulam and the others. And here’s another news flash, if these people were making “massive contributions” to the faith, they wouldn’t be “ignored.” They would be noticed. This is what happens in scholarship, or even just the general flow of ideas.

    What makes these guys more equipped, hmm? Twenty-first century Jews raised in a religion that bears little similarity to first-century Judaism have more insight automatically how? You’ve said they don’t, but here you are once again assuming that they do. Interesting. Which is it?

    The only one who frothed at the mouth was Calvin, when he burned Servetus at the stake or wrote of him prior to that “I shall never permit him to depart alive, if my authority means anyone”. Shame on you westerners for your tolerating such for centuries now.

    I know it kills you that Calvin’s heirs gave you the freedoms you enjoy, but you should stop being so obvious about it. Again, I hope you have some anti-depressants nearby when your guys don’t live up to your expectations.

    I will say it as long as I need to: you in the West have gotten Paul wrong, your exegesis is wanting. Put aside your chest thumping, and argue Acts 18 and 21 with me as a start. What I have said that representatives from all corners ought to send in their best representatives, now watch this: men who are first and foremost respected in their own quarters first and blameless, and second, men who are studied, to discuss the matter. I certainly do not have to be included in that process, and have no interest to be a participant, because my interest is in seeing repentance happen from the inside. It may never happen, but that is what my desire is. It was the role of the church in Acts 15 to decide what laws you are bound by, and if you don’t like that, you have to prove to me that those laws don’t apply to you. You speak of the glory of the Word of God then turn around and nullify it.

    That’s fine. It’s not a bad idea actually. But first all the Calvinists will have come together as Calvinists, all the RCs as RCs, Lutherans as Lutherans, Messianic Jews as Messianic Jews, etc.

    Since Jesus made all foods clean, and Paul says that we are to refuse NOTHING if it has been sanctified by prayer, the food laws of Acts 15 were never intended as binding for all time. Period, end of sentence. They don’t reflect creational realities. They were missions-sensitive rules. If I go preach to an orthodox Jew, I’m not going to eat bacon in front of him or a bloody steak. But if I’m at home with my fellow goyim, I’ll eat it to the glory of Christ.

    Here’s a news flash for you: you don’t even know what halakha means, so you ought to be more quiet in this discussion and stop moving your mouth so much when you don’t know. That the wall has been torn down does not imply that ecclesiologically speaking you are doing God’s will. Again, the church in the beginning had Jewish believers AND Gentile believers in its leadership. Today what do you see in the West? Gentiles only. Has been since A.D. 100. So much so that Paul had to tell the Roman gentiles to stop boasting over the natural branches.

    First of all, I know exactly what halakha means, thank you very much. Second, I’m not the one trying to impose Jewish kosher laws on Gentiles, so let’s just be a little more honest and stop trying to make these distinctions that turn Paul into one who embraces Judaizers who may be fine with not circumcising my people but who want to take away the other freedoms I enjoy in Christ. Maybe, just maybe, you need some education in halakha.

    There are Jewish Christians in the PCA. Your claims continue to be absurd. No one is keeping any Messianic Jew out of leadership in any Presbyterian denomination. They’ll keep out those who deny Presbyterian doctrines, but that has nothing to do with them being Jewish. They could be Slovakian, Chinese, African, Kentuckyian—if they can’t affirm the system of doctrine in the WSC, they aren’t going to be Presbyterian leaders. End of discussion.

    Just as I won’t be a leader in Shulam’s church if I don’t affirm the system of doctrine his church/group teaches. I guess that must make him a boaster over Presbyterians.

  128. What Protestant doctrine would prevent Paul from doing any of those things? He was Jewish. If Protestants are right, then holding to Protestant doctrine and doing those things are completely compatible. Your hatred for all things Protestant, the fruit of which enables you to freely go off at the mouth at this point, is just blinding you completely.

    Just to make it simple: One can hold to justification by faith alone and take a Nazirite vow, if one is of Jewish blood. Maybe Protestants don’t take such vows as a rule because—news flash—we’re Gentiles for the most part. But as I’ve said repeatedly, most professing Messianic Jews are Protestants of one stripe or another. My Messianic friends in my hometown celebrate Sukkot and believe they are justified by faith alone. Tell me, what would YOU call them? Are they Protestant or Jewish

    No hatred for all things Protestant, only pity for the massive ignorance. Re your claimed compatibility, this is your own obfuscation, as Presbyterian Samuel Miller (Doctorate in Divinity) and Professor of Ecclesiastical history and church government at Princeton said:

    http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/miller_on_holy_days.htm

    The observance of Fasts and Festivals, by divine direction, under the Old Testament economy, makes nothing in favor of such observances under the New Testament dispensation. That economy was no longer binding, or even lawful after the New Testament Church was set up. It were just as reasonable to plead for the present use of the Passover, the incense, and the burnt offerings of the Old economy, which were confessedly done away by the coming of Christ, as to argue in favor of human inventions, bearing some resemblance to them, as binding in the Christian Church. ”

    and from http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3241

    “Especially troubling to Jews is that Christian missionary efforts like Avodat Yisrael (Messianic Jewish church) seem duplicitous. Messianic Jews use altered English or Hebrew words for traditionally Christian terms in an effort to display a Jewish form of Christianity. The baptismal process is called a mikveh. for example, and the New Testament is the New Covenant or the B’rit Chadashah. Christian symbols like the cross are removed or put to the side. Some Messianic Jews insist they are not Christians, but Jewish followers of “Rabbi Yeshua.”

    Many Presbyterians side with the Jewish critics of Avodat. They worry that Avodat’s blending of Jewish and Christian practice is hurtful to the Jews with whom they have worked hard to foster friendship over the past few generations. Susan Andrews, a pastor who recently served as moderator of the denomination, points to what she regards as a more genuine bridge between Jews and Christians that has been built at her church. Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, has enjoyed a 40-year partnership with Bethesda Jewish Congregation, with whom it shares sacred space, joins in common community outreach and worship, and even argues over theology. Such cooperation and dialogue with Jews is hard-won, rare in the past 20 centuries, and precious to its practitioners. These achievements were perceived to be directly threatened by the PCUSA’s support of Avodat.

    But not all Presbyterians share Andrews’s concern. Advocates for evangelism generally have supported Avodat. So have proponents of ethnic ministries, which make up some 60 percent of new church plants in the denomination. If Presbyterians can support ethnic Korean or Indonesian churches, they argue, why can’t they support Jewish ones? Former PCUSA moderator Fahed AbuAkel, speaking in support of Avodat at the church’s general assembly last year, said: “If we listen to the opposition, then Brother Peter and Brother Paul would not have written the New Testament. For me the gospel is for everyone” (reported in the Presbyterian Layman).

    Several efforts in the Philadelphia presbytery and in the general assembly to cut off Avodat’s funding met with failure. That result may reflect matters of polity as much as theology. Regional presbyteries don’t like national bodies telling them what to do. Also, Presbyterian ministers may be more traditional theologically than their leaders, and laypeople more so. They may be more dedicated to evangelism generally, and undeterred by concerns that seem to them to reflect mere “politically correctness.” The social-ethnic disagreements are also complex. Presbyterians’ commitments to ethnic “diversity” — usually a liberal cause — come into tension with the “liberal” position on not evangelizing Jews.

    Bill Borrer, cochair of a special committee called in to oversee Avodat’s work amidst the controversy, recalls a committee member charging that Avodat is not sufficiently Reformed — that is, aligned with traditional Presbyterian theology stemming from Calvin’s Reformation. When Borrer asked each committee member to define “Reformed,” however, he found there was no consensus. If denominational leaders cannot agree on what it means to be Reformed or Presbyterian, Borrer observed, how can they be sure Avodat is not?

    In an ironic turn, Avodat’s advocates have suggested that their critics, in defending Jewish sensibilities, are actually being anti-Jewish. Sparks reported on the controversy to his presbytery by saying: “The church is a mother that has given birth to a child. This child is Avodat Yisrael. . . . But there is a problem. Some people don’t like the way this baby looks. Some would seek to change the child into something it is not. Some would even like to cast it out of the family.” Sparks also wrote a letter on behalf of Avodat passionately opposing Presbyterian divestment from Israel as a threat to the Jewish relations that Avodat seeks to enhance.”

    So I ask: in addition to your response to Mr Miller above and the rest of my quotes, what does the WCF say about what Jewish Converts to Presbyterianism should do or not do as far as observances, rituals, laws, traditions, holy days and so on?

    Please quote reference, chapter and page number please.

    Since Jesus made all foods clean, and Paul says that we are to refuse NOTHING if it has been sanctified by prayer, the food laws of Acts 15 were never intended as binding for all time. Period, end of sentence. They don’t reflect creational realities. They were missions-sensitive rules. If I go preach to an orthodox Jew, I’m not going to eat bacon in front of him or a bloody steak. But if I’m at home with my fellow goyim, I’ll eat it to the glory of Christ.

    You are 100% mistaken about Jesus declaring all foods clean (see below). He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. If you say he declared all foods clean then why do then turn around and say that Jews can remain Jews and good Presbyterians?! You make zero sense! So let me press you on that: A Presbyterian Jew comes to you and says Robert: “Can I eat pork?” You say, “You are Jew, of course you don’t have to”. But then he overhears you saying “Jesus made all foods clean”. What is he supposed to believe then?

    There is an textual issue where some modern translations have added text to Mark 7:19b: “In saying this, Jesus declared all food ‘clean’”. Dr David Flusser, renowned Hebrew scholar at Hebrew University states: “The passage about the washing of hands does not justify the assumption that Jesus opposed the Jewish legal practice of his time; but by the third century, Origen understood it as signifying the rejection of Jewish dietary laws by Jesus. The overwhelmingly majority of modern translators thoughtlessly accept Origen’s interpretation when they take Mark 7:19b to mean ‘Thus he declared all foods clean’, although the Greek original can hardly be read in this sense”. Dr Fischer follows Dr Flusser’s statement with “Origen and Chrysostom pioneered this interpretation. Neither of them can be viewed as neutral to Jewish people and culture in view of their anti-Jewish writings (e.g., Chrysostom’s ‘Homilies Against the Jews’.”

    And also, you are wrong to say that you can eat your idol sacrificed food with your gentile friends at home. See Jesus’ rebuke of the church at Pergamos above for that. If you did not know where the food was procured from when it is put before you, then yes, you can sanctify it with thanksgiving. But if you know that it was sacrificed to idols you are not allowed by Paul and the church to eat it, period.

    “18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?”

    “First of all, I know exactly what halakha means, thank you very much. Second, I’m not the one trying to impose Jewish kosher laws on Gentiles, so let’s just be a little more honest and stop trying to make these distinctions that turn Paul into one who embraces Judaizers who may be fine with not circumcising my people but who want to take away the other freedoms I enjoy in Christ. Maybe, just maybe, you need some education in halakha.”

    No you don’t know what halakha means, you made that clear in your prior posts. James did not take away your freedom when he commanded you not to eat food sacrificed to idols, as Paul did as well. You refuse halakhic teaching and then turn around and tell me you know what it is? You clearly don’t.

  129. And Robert, when you are done with the above, you better tell people why you believe all your Calvinist friends at puritanboard.com are mistaken, for example:

    http://www.puritanboard.com/f34/what-do-we-make-messianic-judaism-78039/

    Quote Originally Posted by PointyHaired Calvinist View Post

    “Messianic Jews” are a VERY mixed bag. You almost have to address specific groups.

    1) Jewish Christians who are connected with the church. No harm there.
    2) Cultural Jews who are also Christians – they may celebrate the old festivals, use the old prayer shawls, etc. out of a cultural context, but still believe in salvation by grace alone to all peoples. So long as they do this strictly for these reasons, I don’t see a problem. (Chosen People Ministries, who I’ve supported, seem to fit into this group, as well as Jews for Jesus.) Mostly dispensational.
    3) Foolish Galatians – those who still believe in racial/ethnic separation and the superiority of the Jewish race. Many keep the old superstitions of the Jews (writing God and L-rd rather than God or Lord), would possibly concede salvation to the Gentiles (but often not!) and look their noses down on marrying or interacting with Gentile Christians, even using “Christian” as a curse word. These head toward Armstrongism, Sacred Nameism, Arianism, Ebionism and other forms of cultism, often back to Pharisaical Judaism.

    I’ve run into all of them over time. If they are #2, I don’t see any more problems with this than having a Scottish Festival at a Presbyterian Church, or Dutch Reformed folks celebrating their Netherlands background, but it can lead them into #3, which Paul resoundingly condemned.

    Very wise words above,- great distinctions. Likewise Richard’s remarks. By way of addition, I’ll give you some of my very nonscholarly, anecdotal remarks. I have little by way of research into their doctrine (though I get the notion that it isn’t terribly monolithic) so I want to be careful not to go to far in my commentary. Sadly, there was a family of the heretical stripe in my children’s Classical Conversations homeschool tutorial group. I worked with a couple university students who claimed this as their background when I was employed at an institution.

    1. They seem to lay hold of Jewish customs and roots more tenaciously than anything else (whether they be Hebrew descended or not.) They (almost to the person) practiced Passover (one of which claimed that this was the Lord’s Table as commanded by Jesus and restated in 1 Cor 11 is merely Passover; while this is nothing new due to Armstongites and other cults, it is a shameful suggestion.) Many ardently celebrate the “three biblical feasts” (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot), as well as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah (and a few throw in Hanukkah.)

    2. The bit that I’ve gotten to know seem to show that they make a custom (if not a mark of obedience, or even part of the ordo salutis) the observance of the various dietary laws: Most avoid pork and shellfish and insist on keeping of Passover requirements to not eat yeast during this time. I think some use these as an “evangelistic” tool to Jews (nothing wrong with that as such) whereas others seem to hold it in an idolatrous sense as noted above.

    3. Silly reliance on “Jewish” pronunciations of Biblical terms (the silliness comes in the fact that it is typically Yiddish, not even original pronunciation of the Hebrew terms.) Even when it is legitimate, it is almost dogmatic. Jesus must always be “Yeshua.” Again, it isn’t that such is wrong, it is the idolatrous nature of it. They virtually repudiate the fact that the living God was pleased to have the New Testament penned in Koine.

    4. Required “Shabbat” or Saturday worship. I can safely say on this board, we all understand why this is sinful.

    5. The keeping of the Jew – “goyim” distinction. Some sinfully suggest that this is not only Biblical, but in perfect keeping with the Scripture. They note Paul’s circumcision of Timothy as well as the Jewish ritual haircut of Acts 18 that shows that Torah teachings are still fully in force at LEAST for those of “Jewish” heritage (and that takes on different forms in these communities.) This is almost certainly directly fed from the Plymouth Brethren theology. So they repudiate “replacement” theology, known to us as covenant theology. They are fueled by the notion that the church and “the People” are separate bodies that will only enjoy this “parenthesis” together, and even it in we will suffer significant divisions.

    Here are the issues that emerge that puts this movement in conflict with orthodox Christianity:

    1. “Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love…11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” Further, the Gospel accounts of the Lord’s Supper and 1 Cor. 11 show that this is manifestly not either a subset of the Passover (despite the fact that the date of the first taking of the Supper and the elements were taken from the Passover table. In fact, if it were only a subset of the the Passover: a) it is NEVER referred to as such b) only the elements of the Lord’s Supper are mentioned (never Lamb, bitter herbs, etc) c) the warnings Paul offers would be irrelevant (don’t come and glut yourselves as others are hungry- he exhorts them to eat at home before coming to this worship – if it were the Passover, there would be a feast spread at this time!) Further, Act 2 suggests (IMO) that this was being done far more routinely that the one feast per year. Further, here seems to be an eschatalogical fulfillment anticipated and brought to pass in the words of 1 Cor. 5:6-8

    2. Acts 10:11-13 – three words: “…arise, kill, eat.”

    3. The New Testament Scriptures were written in the Greek – we are cautioned to wisely and with careful scholarship to translate these wonderful words into the vulgar language of whatever peoples it comes to. But we are told to consult these original languages when confronted with interpretive difficulties. If all our English versions did as much in terms of using Hebrew names, I would have no problem with this pronunciation. In fact, I refer in prayer (at times) to our Savior as Yeshua. But, as far as I can see, there seems to be almost an idolatrous insistence in some quarters of this movement.

    4. Jesus’ custom prior to his death was in fact Saturday worship (Luke 4:16.) Immediately after, note what his “custom” became and that of his disciples. 1st day of the week, 1st day of the week, 1st day of the week. He was pleased to be Resurrected thereon and to begin a new assembly day for the saints.
    “Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun…9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
    John 20:19 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
    “Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

    Further, unless one assumes that the leaders of the church have Romanish declaratory power over the church, its doctrine and worship it MUST be assumed that 1 Corinthians 16:2 is a command from Christ and not just from tradition of Paul’s apostolic authority, to wit: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The Lord of the Sabbath has declared a new one unto his people: Rev. 1:10

    5. Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” To further solidify this idea, Colossians promises us, “2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Circumcision is gone, for everyone who trusts in Jehovah’s atonement. We all have a new sign. Likewise, New Covenant Sabbath keeping anticipates a MAJOR change in the accidents of it. Is. 58 shows that the Jew-Gentile distinction as one “people” of God, worshiping together, is a picture of a change in the day in powerful way which could never be fulfilled under Old Covenant distinctions. Foreigners couldn’t go beyond the “Gentile” court. Eunuchs couldn’t come AT ALL due to Levitical law. And yet, both are promised a heritage therein according to this passage.

    My final assessment: Christ’s first instructors were “Messianic Jews.” Far be if from me to repudiate that fact! But for those within this movement who marry Jesus Christ to shadowy figures of Old Testament imagery undermine His wonderful work entirely. Insistence on using Yiddish or Hebrew words to “properly” worship the Lord is idolatry of those languages and to be abhorred by God’s people. Holiness is not defined by a keeping of dietary laws made in the Old Testament. One doing so is “will-worshipping” in the New Covenent and committing idolatry. The Sabbath is not what it was – Christ shows us how it is now kept, and when to keep it. Lastly, God made of one blood all peoples- to create some distinction made on flawed eschatology is lethal to our aim of believers. Given the multiplicity of views within the movement, it is hard to nail down.

    But, if I am correct that many of the above tenets are insisted upon, this is a synagogue of Satan. For those that are orthodox on the major points and only observe, say, dietary laws and Yiddish/Hebrew terms on a customary/social/evangelical level, there is nothing condemnable about them. I would tread carefully when dealing with any of them and see that they are not astray in those chief areas of orthodoxy. ”

    This is just priceless and speaks to the confusion that is protestantism and presbyterianism as subset of Ppotestantism.

  130. More evidence for the fact that Presbyterians don’t know what they are talking about, as in this case, a convert to the reformed faith:

    http://roshpinaproject.com/2012/09/17/baruch-maoz-attacks-the-messianic-movement/

  131. SS, you lost all your fervor when you said that God gives grace to a response. If god gave grace to a human act or an ability it wouldn’t be a free gift. It would be a reward. Paul’s problem with the Jews in the epistles was not their Jewishness, its they were lawbreakers. And they were condemned under the law. The antithesis between Law and grace is the leading theme for Paul.

  132. Kevin,

    You don’t know what honor is and how important it is to Paul and the early church.

    Best,
    SS.

  133. By the way Kevin, I asked you some questions above, are you going to answer them or do more drive by posting?

  134. SS, how would you interpret Romans 10:4 ” Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to those who believe. Thx

  135. SS, ill answer them give me some time thx.

  136. I’ll answer you when you answer my question. Btw, all of these single verses you are quoting have been addressed in depth with hundreds and hundreds of posts over the last 2 years on this site, I encourage you to read through every past thread on this site, especially the ones that focused on Romans, Galatians and James.

  137. SS, i do obseeve Christmas and Easter, but I’m not trying to be justified by that. So if i did or did not observe it means nothing, I’m trusting in Christ alone for my salvation. The Judaizers in Galations 5 were trying to undermine the doctrine of justification by faith alone by adding one merit or work to faith to be justified. We know this because Paul describes them as ” you who are trying to be justified by law. Paul says they are severed form Christ and fallen from grace. So the judaizers didn’t deny grace was necessary, but they denied it was sufficient. And Paul says no law. Romans 5:1 is very simple. Therfore having been justified by faith ( aorist past participle) we have true shalom ( present tense) with God. I hope i answered your question my friend.

  138. SS, i don’t know about the honor thing man with Paul, he said he counts all things prior as filthy rags. He says i want nothing named among you except Christ and Christ crucified. He gives his credentials as if there was any boasting he’d be first in line. I think Paul was proud to be a Jew, but he didn’t think that gave him advantage in salvation. He certainly didn’t like the judaizers who were trying to change the Gospel.

  139. SS, I’m new to the site. You can’t expect me to go back and read every post before i engage. This is you and me man. I hope your fine with that. I am really interested in your opinion. I don’t expect you to know all i have said previously.

  140. SS, i do obseeve Christmas and Easter, but I’m not trying to be justified by that.

    Neither is the one who seeks after honor:

    “5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor , and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor , and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.”

    If you don’t understand why the honor paradigm is so important to putting grace in its proper context, please read

    http://www.amazon.com/Honor-Patronage-Kinship-Purity-Unlocking/dp/0830815724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387474221&sr=8-1&keywords=honor+kinship+desilva

    If you are afraid to read a book I recommend, then at least consider that one of the reviewers giving it a positive recommendation is a Lutheran.

  141. SS, Paul’s beef was those trying to be justified by law. I mean Ephesians 2 :8 is pretty clear, it isn’t of yourself, and it isn’t of works. Its a gift. You and I aren’t going to agree on Romans 2. The culmination is 3:19-20 we should both shut up. None of us can keep the law. Read Galations 3:10. And I’m still waiting on your take on Romans 10: 4. The SS. Hope your having a great Christmas season.

  142. You are not interested in a real discussion and you remind me of a poster by the name of Steve Martin (aka TheOldAdam or something like that), who used to do drive by postings like this. Sorry, but you’re going to have to wade through the material on this site if you want an answer. I don’t suffer this kind of posting.

    Merry Xmas,
    SS.

  143. SS, You told me you would answer my questions when i answered yours. I answered your and you didn’t answer mine. Plus stop being an asshole. I have been kind to you. Are you going to address romans 10:4 or are you going to make value judgments and criticize the length of peoples posts. Now i answered your question. Step up like a real man of honor, quit condescending on people and give an answer.

  144. Eric … Your journey is the topic of this blog and of “The Journey Home,” right? And I was saying that you actually “backtracked” in your journey from “kept the word of My patience”(Rev 3:10) to “the depths of Satan,” Rev 2:24. I’m saying that you travelled the “Pilgrim’s REgress” from the rapture (Rev 3:10) to “great tribulation,” 2:22. I came from your same origin but I never lost my faith.

  145. Bob,

    It’s Jason who writes this blog and who appeared on “The Journey Home.”

  146. SS,

    Ay, Ay, Ay. Look SS, before you quote Presbyterians to me, you need to have a better view of Presbyterian authority because apparently you don’t get it. Couple of things to start:

    1. Samuel Miller is not my pope.
    2. The second quote is from a PCUSA church. The PCUSA is an apostate denomination. Quoting the PCUSA as an accurate reader of the WCF is like me quoting modern-day Ebionites—who do exist—as authoritative representatives of Messianic Jewish Theology. IOW, what the modern PCUSA says is largely irrelevant because the denomination wouldn’t know historic Reformed theology if it bit them. (That’s not to say that there aren’t individual churches who are trying to hold the line, but IMO it is a lost cause. Those churches need to leave.)
    3. The “Presbyterians” who side with Avodat are liberals who do not believe Jews need to believe in Jesus. The PCUSA as a whole takes all manner of weird positions on Israel, believing on the one hand that Jews (and really anyone else) can be saved without faith in Jesus, but also cutting off investments in Israel because the modern Jewish state defends itself from suicide bombers.

    Historically speaking, the Puritan tradition that birthed the WCF was largely opposed to festival days, and this largely because they were responding to Roman Catholicism that added all manner of obligatory holy days. Biblically speaking, I think they were correct to say that there is no obligatory day of worship besides the Lord’s Day. Where I believe they (many of the Puritans) were wrong is to say that it is wrong for the church to celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. as special days. This is an area of Christian liberty. The church has no authority to “force” people to observe days outside of the Lord’s Day such as Christmas or Good Friday. It also has no authority to tell people that it is a sin to observe such days.

    Now that is a brief and in some ways a simplistic view of the Puritan tradition. The question at hand is about what the WCF says about holidays, specifically Jewish festivals and whatnot.

    1. The WCF doesn’t really address it directly. There weren’t Messianic Jews pounding down the door to break into the Westminster Assembly. That may fit with your conspiracy theories, but there weren’t really any Messianic Jews period anywhere that I know of until the twentieth century.
    2. I can’t find where the WCF forbids it explicitly.
    3. The WCF does say that there are appropriate occasions on which special thanksgivings, etc. can be offered (WCF 21.5). This would seem to allow for non-obligatory festivals and what not. And, in fact, most modern Presbyterians agree since most modern Presbyterians celebrate holy days other than Sunday. I think they are exactly right to do so, and I celebrate Christmas and Easter myself. What would be wrong is for my church to tell anyone they are sinning by not attending Christmas Eve worship. Of course, my church doesn’t do that.
    4. Even if the WCF explicitly were to forbid such things, the WCF is not inerrant and denominations allow people to take exceptions to portions of the confession and still be ordained as long as those exceptions don’t touch the system of doctrine in a way that destroys it. So, for example, many presbyteries in the PCA ordain men who do not have the same strict view of Sabbath observance as the WCF promotes. But they’re not going to ordain anyone who denies JBFA because JBFA is a core part of the overall doctrinal system in a way that strict Sabbath observance is not.
    5. The PCA (my denomination) does not view Messianic Jewish holidays as inherently wrong or out of accord with the WCF. They have an approved outreach to Jews (CHAIM), and there are at least two Messianic Presbyterian congregations that I know of that worship on the traditional Jewish Sabbath. Here’s one of them:

    http://www.rockofisrael.com/FAQsE.htm

    So, in sum, the WCF is largely silent on the matter but has enough to say that Jewish celebrations are allowable, at least for believers of a Jewish background. But it also says that they cannot be mandated. This speaks to some of the other quotes you give, as we will see.

    You said: You are 100% mistaken about Jesus declaring all foods clean (see below). He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. If you say he declared all foods clean then why do then turn around and say that Jews can remain Jews and good Presbyterians?! You make zero sense! So let me press you on that: A Presbyterian Jew comes to you and says Robert: “Can I eat pork?” You say, “You are Jew, of course you don’t have to”. But then he overhears you saying “Jesus made all foods clean”. What is he supposed to believe then?

    There is absolutely nothing unclear about this. He is to believe that Jesus made all food clean and that there is nothing inherently sinful about anyone eating bacon. If, as a matter of custom, he does not want to eat bacon, he is free in the Lord not to eat bacon. If he still thinks he is bound by it, he is immature in the faith, and we are to respect him and not get all high and mighty about it—we are not to be boasting :) in our freedom. What the Messianic Jew is not free to do in the Lord is tell his Jewish brother who wants to eat bacon that his Jewishness forbids him from doing so.

    Messianic Jew: “Robert, can I eat pork?”
    Robert: “Sure, if you want to. But you don’t have to if you don’t.”
    Messianic Jew: “But didn’t you say Jesus made all foods clean?”
    Robert: “Yes, which is why you can eat pork but don’t have to just as I can eat blood pudding though I don’t want to because the thought repulses me.”
    Messianic Jew: “But I don’t think pork is clean. Jesus fulfilled the law, he didn’t abolish it.”
    Robert: “If your conscience tells you it is unclean, it is unclean for you, not because pigs are bad but because you would not be eating in faith and to not eat in faith is sin. As you study, you will come to realize that the kosher laws do not apply anymore—just as the sacrificial laws don’t—but until you are convinced of that, I’m not going to eat bacon in front of you and thus, we’re all going to get along. Part of that means that its your responsibility not to go around judging Jews who do eat bacon and calling them unJewish.”

    Jesus fulfilled the law, and yes, that doesn’t mean he came to abolish it. But fulfilling doesn’t mean everything carries over as is. If it did, then we all need to observe the temple sacrifices because Jesus fulfilled those just as much as he did the kosher laws.

  147. SS, i went back and read your posts. Let me say you are apostate dude. For Paul the issue in Galations isn’t about ceremonies, its about adding any merit to faith to find favor with God. Are you and old testament jew or a new testament christian ( jbfa)?Read the end of the chapter. ” but may it never be that i would boast, except in the cross of our Lord” ” for circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything. Dude, do you get that it aint anything in the new covenant. Paul could be eating pork sandwiches every day or kosher food it meant nothing because he was trusting Christ alone. Now if he thought that being honorable or eating kosher got him to heaven, thats another thing. ” For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing” he deceives himself. And you said i remind you of somebody, well you remind me of a campbellite i once new. Robert destroyed you, in my humble opinion.

  148. There is an textual issue where some modern translations have added text to Mark 7:19b: “In saying this, Jesus declared all food ‘clean’”. Dr David Flusser, renowned Hebrew scholar at Hebrew University states: “The passage about the washing of hands does not justify the assumption that Jesus opposed the Jewish legal practice of his time; but by the third century, Origen understood it as signifying the rejection of Jewish dietary laws by Jesus. The overwhelmingly majority of modern translators thoughtlessly accept Origen’s interpretation when they take Mark 7:19b to mean ‘Thus he declared all foods clean’, although the Greek original can hardly be read in this sense”. Dr Fischer follows Dr Flusser’s statement with “Origen and Chrysostom pioneered this interpretation. Neither of them can be viewed as neutral to Jewish people and culture in view of their anti-Jewish writings (e.g., Chrysostom’s ‘Homilies Against the Jews’.”

    I think you may be confused here. This is a translation issue, not a textual one. “Cleansing all foods” is the literal rendering of the end of the verse, and the question is what this participial clause is dependent on and what the subject of “cleansing is.” So, yes it is barely possible that the verse itself is just saying all foods end up in the latrine in the end, but that’s not the best rendering of the text contra Flusser. Mark often makes editorial comments to explain what Jesus meant by certain things, and this fits well as an editorial comment. And to say that Jesus did not oppose the legal practice of his time is just so wrong from any honest reading of the gospels that Flusser is hardly to be taken seriously. True, Jesus in all likelihood believed that washing hands and other such things were not inherently sinful in themselves. It is when they rise to the position of being imposed as if they were divine laws that is the problem. Jesus very clearly opposed this in Mark 7, if he didn’t he could have easily said, “well we do think it right to wash hands but not for the reason you say it is…” He doesn’t do that. He defends the practice of eating without washing hands and condemns the Pharisees were making up such rules in order to get around what God’s word says. Outer Handwashing as proof of cleanliness gets around the fact that God demands inward cleanliness first and foremost. The corban rule sets one part of God’s Word against another.

    In any case, the belief that all foods are clean now is not dependent only on those words from Jesus but also on the aforementioned passages by Paul, Peter’s vision in Acts 10, and more.

    And also, you are wrong to say that you can eat your idol sacrificed food with your gentile friends at home. See Jesus’ rebuke of the church at Pergamos above for that.

    Actually, it’s more likely that what Revelation 2 is talking about is taking part in festival banquets that honor a pagan deity. In such cases, one had to take part to remain part of a guild and one’s livelihood, so Jesus isn’t dealing with food left over after a sacrifice that is sold in the market. On this the Reformed and non-Reformed commentaries that I own on Revelation agree.

    If you did not know where the food was procured from when it is put before you, then yes, you can sanctify it with thanksgiving. But if you know that it was sacrificed to idols you are not allowed by Paul and the church to eat it, period.

    18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?”

    That’s just wrong and a misreading of the entire context of Paul’s teaching as well as his views of the stronger and weaker brothers. To partake of the Lord’s table is to take part in public worship, so partaking of the table of demons has to refer to that as well and not the mere practice of eating foods that have been sacrificed to idols in private or in a non-worship context.

    Second, the problem is not the food itself but the intent behind it, and you completely miss that. 1 Corinthians 8 introduces the whole subject by talking about contexts in which you are eating meat with people who do not understand that idols are nothing and that offering food to them doesn’t do anything to the food itself. When you are around such people who think food offered to idols makes it inherently unclean, you don’t eat such food in front of them because they might copy you and all the while convince themselves that they are sinning while they eat, or they will misread the setting and think that you are encouraging sin because they are not.

    Paul is not laying down some rule in 1 Cor. 10 that is universal and applicable in every situation the same way. If it were so, he could not make the distinctions he makes in 1 Cor. 8, nor would he speak so “carelessly” elsewhere about all foods being clean if received with prayer. Going to the market and buying meat left over from an idol sacrifice, and then eating it is wrong only when done in contexts where others—because they are immature in the faith or are unbelievers—falsely attribute power and existence to idols, and then it is wrong only because it will confuse those people and not because food offered to idols is inherently unclean.

    It’s always wrong to eat in a pagan worship service. It’s sometimes wrong to eat food left over from that service when you haven’t participated in it. It’s not wrong in all situations.

    No you don’t know what halakha means, you made that clear in your prior posts. James did not take away your freedom when he commanded you not to eat food sacrificed to idols, as Paul did as well. You refuse halakhic teaching and then turn around and tell me you know what it is? You clearly don’t.

    I’m refusing Jewish halakha in non-missionary contexts because that is what Paul and James do. Where I am ministering to orthodox Jews (Reformed Jews don’t really care), I’ll become as a Jew insofar as I am able. I won’t eat food offered to idols, bacon, or a nice juicy steak. When I am among believers who are mature and understand these things, I’ll exercise my freedom without fear.

    Yes, “halakha” basically means “walk.” One could speak of Christian “halakha” insofar as we speak of the law of Christ that is to describe how we are to walk after him. But you are talking Christian halakha basically to mean the Mosaic law in all of its specifics, more or less, plus Jesus. It doesn’t work that way. There is no evidence that the comments about food were meant to be universally binding for all situations. They were missionary rules designed to help the Jews deal with the fact that Gentiles could come in without being circumcised. They were God’s gracious condescension. The latter New Testament epistles do not show these rules being applied in any universally binding way, and they do not reflect creational realities the way laws against sexual immorality do.

    You don’t really understand Christian liberty, and that is because you are following people who cannot really be viewed as anything other than Judaizers, assuming of course that you are reflecting their views accurately. You are taking what was temporary and for specific contexts and making it eternal and for all people and all places. That is basically the error that Paul had to oppose in Galatia.

  149. SS,

    Last post was for you.

  150. Kevin,

    As a brother in Christ, I commend your zeal for the grace of God. Can I ask that you tone down the language a bit?(note the expletive in one of your posts above). It can be easy to get heated, I know.

    SS is very confused, but he is generally a stand-up guy who makes some interesting points. Unfortunately, he’s fallen in with some modern-day Judaizers and confuses what they’re saying with first-century Judaism and first-century Christianity much of the time. His call for the church to remember its Jewish roots is a good one, it’s just misapplied a good bit of the time.

  151. Robert, again just another a clear pertinent argument you have made. Well done brother! Where did SS go?

  152. Yes’ Robert, I apologize to everyone and especially SS for some of my words. Robert don’t forget Mathew 10:34. I acted wrongly. But i have been kind to him in engaging him. And he is arrogant and dismissive with me.

  153. Robert, I understand. The conflation of two covenants right. From my reading of his previous posts he sound like a campbellite?

  154. Robert, are you a Pastor. I am learning a lot from you. My wife and I live in scottsdale Az. I have really become more reformed in the last few years. k

  155. I think you may be confused here. This is a translation issue, not a textual one. “Cleansing all foods” is the literal rendering of the end of the verse, and the question is what this participial clause is dependent on and what the subject of “cleansing is.” So, yes it is barely possible that the verse itself is just saying all foods end up in the latrine in the end, but that’s not the best rendering of the text contra Flusser. Mark often makes editorial comments to explain what Jesus meant by certain things, and this fits well as an editorial comment. And to say that Jesus did not oppose the legal practice of his time is just so wrong from any honest reading of the gospels that Flusser is hardly to be taken seriously. True, Jesus in all likelihood believed that washing hands and other such things were not inherently sinful in themselves. It is when they rise to the position of being imposed as if they were divine laws that is the problem. Jesus very clearly opposed this in Mark 7, if he didn’t he could have easily said, “well we do think it right to wash hands but not for the reason you say it is…” He doesn’t do that. He defends the practice of eating without washing hands and condemns the Pharisees were making up such rules in order to get around what God’s word says. Outer Handwashing as proof of cleanliness gets around the fact that God demands inward cleanliness first and foremost. The corban rule sets one part of God’s Word against another.

    No Robert. The NIV and other contemporary versions translate the clause “katharizon panta ta bromata” (cleansing all the foods) as ‘thus He declared all foods clean’. The KJV and NKJV instead translate as:

    “19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats

    The latter is the correct translation because there is no “Thus He Declared” in the Greek, neither in the Majority Text (btw, also not in the oldest extant manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus.) That’s the kind of game Jehovah’s Witnesses like to play when they insert prepositions and articles when it suits them in John 1:1 for instance. And that is why this ought to be viewed as textual corruption. This inference, “Thus He Declared” for an inference it is, was an utter mistake, as Flusser is teaching you. As he reminds us, it was Origen and Chrysostom who pioneered the inference that Jesus was abrogating Jewish dietary law. These two, as Flusser insightfully notes, were far from neutral to the Jewish people, and this fact besides obvious exegetical mistakes here ought to make one very wary of such a translation. And you misunderstand what Flusser means by Jewish legal practice; he is not referring to the fencing in of the Pharisees/hand washing rules which were not part of the Torah, but instead to Torah teaching and dietary laws when he says “Jewish legal practice”. He is actually saying the opposite of what you are carelessly claiming. You ought to read the text in its context, which begins with a debate over why they were eating with unwashed hands. The whole exchange was over eating with unwashed hands , and not over Jewish dietary law! In Matt 15:20, Jesus summarizes the conclusion as such:

    “16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man. ” (notice too here the lack of “Thus, He declared ….)

    It is highly ironic that you conclude the above by saying “The corban rule sets one part of God’s Word against another” because that is precisely what you and other gentile translators do when they argue for the “Thus He declared all foods clean” interpretation. You nullify the Word of God which teaches that God’s chosen people, the Jews, are to keep the dietary instruction given them (not gentiles, who are not required to keep them, see Acts 15). You also give Jews who reject Jesus a reason to do so, because the Messiah was not supposed to come and abolish the Torah for them, but to fulfill it. But Jesus never taught any Jew to break Torah, instead He properly interpreted Torah for them, because they could not, and He lived it as well.

    In any case, the belief that all foods are clean now is not dependent only on those words from Jesus but also on the aforementioned passages by Paul, Peter’s vision in Acts 10, and more.

    No, you cannot just casually state one sentence like this and expect to be believed. Peter’s vision in Acts 10 is another completely misunderstood text by gentiles, as is Paul’s halakha on idolatry and food. The issue in Acts 10 and the vision was also about what was considered ‘common’/koinon, i.e., tainted by association with gentiles. And Peter concludes the whole event not by saying that unkosher food was now legally clean for him, but rather that:

    “28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

    Not “I should call any food common or unclean” but rather any man unclean. Which makes sense because gentiles are justified by faith and receive the blessing of Abraham as well, now that Christ has died for them as well and there is no reason for any Jew to separate himself from a gentile on the basis of food laws, which was also the issue in the table fellowship incident, where Peter hypocritically went back on what God had shown him earlier.

    That’s just wrong and a misreading of the entire context of Paul’s teaching as well as his views of the stronger and weaker brothers. To partake of the Lord’s table is to take part in public worship, so partaking of the table of demons has to refer to that as well and not the mere practice of eating foods that have been sacrificed to idols in private or in a non-worship context.

    That’s a distinction without a difference because you cannot separate public worship from sacrifices and meat eating. And Paul categorically tells you “you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons”. Partaking of the table of demons does not only refer to demon worship, but also to eating food sacrificed to them.

    Second, the problem is not the food itself but the intent behind it, and you completely miss that. 1 Corinthians 8 introduces the whole subject by talking about contexts in which you are eating meat with people who do not understand that idols are nothing and that offering food to them doesn’t do anything to the food itself. When you are around such people who think food offered to idols makes it inherently unclean, you don’t eat such food in front of them because they might copy you and all the while convince themselves that they are sinning while they eat, or they will misread the setting and think that you are encouraging sin because they are not.

    It’s no about offering food to them, it’s about them offering food to you. Just because you do not eat food sacrificed to idols around people who might misunderstand you, this does not obviate the other instruction from Paul, which is to never eat food that you know has been sacrificed to idols.

    Paul is not laying down some rule in 1 Cor. 10 that is universal and applicable in every situation the same way. If it were so, he could not make the distinctions he makes in 1 Cor. 8, nor would he speak so “carelessly” elsewhere about all foods being clean if received with prayer. Going to the market and buying meat left over from an idol sacrifice, and then eating it is wrong only when done in contexts where others—because they are immature in the faith or are unbelievers—falsely attribute power and existence to idols, and then it is wrong only because it will confuse those people and not because food offered to idols is inherently unclean.

    Paul was far from careless, you are the one who is careless in thought and analysis. Paul is speaking to gentiles and introduces a halakhic distinction that expands upon what James and the Council had concluded in Acts 15: that gentiles are not to eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul basically is doing halakha within halakha when he says, look here Greeks, if someone puts food before you and tells you it is from an idol sacrifice, do not eat it. This is perfectly in line with James. But if nothing is said, and no questions are asked, you can go ahead and eat anything that is put before you, because the earth and its fullness is the Lord’s. That too does not violate James’ pronouncement because Paul is using a jewish interpretative method akin to kayotzei bo mimakom acher (analogy made from another passage, in this case, Psalm 24:1) to make an allowance for this specific kind of situation without contradicting the council’s conclusion.

    It’s always wrong to eat in a pagan worship service. It’s sometimes wrong to eat food left over from that service when you haven’t participated in it. It’s not wrong in all situations

    I never said that it is wrong in all situations, and am glad you recognize that it is always wrong to eat in a pagan worship service. By admitting the two situations above, you basically admit that you are still bound by the Church’s conclusion regarding gentiles at the Jerusalem Council.

    I’m refusing Jewish halakha in non-missionary contexts because that is what Paul and James do. Where I am ministering to orthodox Jews (Reformed Jews don’t really care), I’ll become as a Jew insofar as I am able. I won’t eat food offered to idols, bacon, or a nice juicy steak. When I am among believers who are mature and understand these things, I’ll exercise my freedom without fear.

    Paul and James were Jews who kept the dietary laws themselves. If that were not the case, Paul can safely be ignored as a liar and hypocrite, since he boldly states in Acts 24:

    14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the L Law and in the Prophets.”

    However, they both set halakha for gentiles, and told us what is acceptable and what is not, and how we should walk in a pagan world. You are simply not entitled to eat meat sacrificed to idols when it is presented to you as such It is good that you won’t offer any non kosher food to a Jewish believer, because as Paul says “nor if we do not eat are we the worse”. BTW, you claimed earlier that I as a gentile do not have any right to call reformed converts who are ethnic Jews not Jews. Then neither do you have the right, by your own logic, to call them Jews.

    Yes, “halakha” basically means “walk.” One could speak of Christian “halakha” insofar as we speak of the law of Christ that is to describe how we are to walk after him. But you are talking Christian halakha basically to mean the Mosaic law in all of its specifics, more or less, plus Jesus. It doesn’t work that way. There is no evidence that the comments about food were meant to be universally binding for all situations. They were missionary rules designed to help the Jews deal with the fact that Gentiles could come in without being circumcised. They were God’s gracious condescension. The latter New Testament epistles do not show these rules being applied in any universally binding way, and they do not reflect creational realities the way laws against sexual immorality do.

    No, you misrepresent what I have said again. Nowhere have I said that gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all of its specifics “more or less” plus Jesus. This is a cheap shot at me, and why I am not surprised that you dare take it. But it will only show the reader that your analysis is weak, wanting and mistake ridden.

    You don’t really understand Christian liberty, and that is because you are following people who cannot really be viewed as anything other than Judaizers, assuming of course that you are reflecting their views accurately. You are taking what was temporary and for specific contexts and making it eternal and for all people and all places. That is basically the error that Paul had to oppose in Galatia.

    The Jewish theologians I read do not teach that gentiles are bound by Mosaic dietary laws at all, (and also, certainly not circumcision either) and neither do I, so again more misrepresentation and shameless lying on your part. Again you reach for the sensational “Judaizer! Judaizer!” but can’t reason your way out of a paper bag.
    Again, nowhere does James or the church council in its conclusion that gentiles are to avoid meat sacrificed to idols say this is temporary pronouncement, that is your eisegesis fueled by a misreading of Paul. In summary Paul reinforces this when he says do not partake of the table of demons, which includes not eating meat involved in those ceremonies. This is inline with James. Paul offers one halakhic distinction when he appeals to Psalm 24:1 to allow believers to eat meat if they do not ask questions about where it came and are not told that it was sacrificed to idols (otherwise, if told that the meat is offered to idols again they are not to eat). That is the reality of Paul’s thought, which you really don’t understand.

  156. Kevin wrote:

    SS, You told me you would answer my questions when i answered yours. I answered your and you didn’t answer mine. Plus stop being an asshole.

    Yes’ Robert, I apologize to everyone and especially SS for some of my words. Robert don’t forget Mathew 10:34. I acted wrongly. But i have been kind to him in engaging him. And he is arrogant and dismissive with me.

    I receive your insult with joy. I also accept your apology. This just goes to show that the stereotype that the reformed are arrogant is indeed true and there for a reason.

    Matt 10:34 does not give you excuse for verbal violence of the kind above and your interpretation of it shows yet another gentile misunderstanding of Jewish culture. Jesus was not advocating the use of the sword literally to further the kingdom, but rather using an extreme figure of speech to make a point, as he did when he said better to enter the kingdom of heaven with your hand cut off than to enter hell whole. It’s a shame that the fat german and thin swiss didn’t get that in their cold blooded murders of those who disagreed with them. All told, I should be thankful it’s just cursing from the reformed and nothing else. Things could be a lot worse…

  157. SS,

    The issue with Mark 7:19 is not textual. There is no textual variant in the Greek apparatus (I have it on my desk, thank you very much). Everybody agrees that “thus he said” or “thus he declared” is not reflected in the Greek text literally. The issue is translational. The question is what the participial phrase is modifying, what is its subject. Is it the stomach or is it Jesus. The fact that you so casually wave away what Origen and Chrysostom said based on one scholar’s opinion shows that you do not understand the issues at all.

    In any case, Origen and Chrysostom could well be wrong. Other commentators note that the KJV translation could be correct. The commentaries I have note that it is a “bare possibility.” Assuming Origen and Chrysostom are correct, however, my reading of the specific issue of food being sacrificed to idols stand.

    you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons”. Partaking of the table of demons does not only refer to demon worship, but also to eating food sacrificed to them.

    Mere assertion. Prove it. The only context in which you partake of the Lord’s table is in a public worship context. You don’t participate in the Lord’s table at home with friends in a casual setting, at least the early church didn’t.

    You are missing Paul’s point entirely. 1 Cor. 8 is talking about eating with Christians who are weaker in the faith. Paul says don’t eat meat sacrificed to idols in that context because the weaker brothers don’t understand, not because it is inherently wrong to eat such meat. Then, you jump over to 1 Cor. 10 and want to change Paul’s intent entirely. Don’t eat in front of unbelievers because meat offered to idols in inherently unclean. Sorry, doesn’t work. You are making Paul say it is both inherently wrong and not inherently wrong at the same time.

    Sure Paul and James kept the dietary laws among Jews. But how do we know that Paul, at least, kept them among Gentiles? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but simply because Paul says he believes everything in the Mosaic Law doesn’t mean he kept kosher everywhere he went. I believe everything in the Laws and Prophets and I don’t keep kosher.

    No, you misrepresent what I have said again. Nowhere have I said that gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all of its specifics “more or less” plus Jesus. This is a cheap shot at me, and why I am not surprised that you dare take it. But it will only show the reader that your analysis is weak, wanting and mistake ridden

    I never said that you said Gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all its specifics. What I am saying is that your understanding of the Mosaic law ultimately gives you no good reason to think anything has changed. What you have is James and Paul allowing for circumcision without any good broader theological context. To be more accurate, your position logically boils down to the fact that Gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all of its specifics plus Jesus minus circumcision.

    The Jewish theologians I read do not teach that gentiles are bound by Mosaic dietary laws at all, (and also, certainly not circumcision either) and neither do I, so again more misrepresentation and shameless lying on your part. Again you reach for the sensational “Judaizer! Judaizer!” but can’t reason your way out of a paper bag.

    And you accuse me of cheap thoughts? Paper bag? Thanks for making my day.

    You and your theologians are Judaizers, plain and simple. You aren’t the exact same Judaizers as Paul fought, but the fact that you have this insistence of food laws that do not apply to Gentiles just proves it. In order to be justified I have to believe in Jesus AND keep some of the kosher laws.

    Again, nowhere does James or the church council in its conclusion that gentiles are to avoid meat sacrificed to idols say this is temporary pronouncement,

    Well since the church was at that point still trying to figure things out, and since it was so hard to show the Jews that circumcision was not required, it is entirely reasonable to believe that this decree could and would either be changed or that the council expected the church to wisely apply its ruling and understand what parts of it were contextually-defined.

    Ignorance is no excuse for sin. The one who knows his master’s will and doesn’t do it gets more beatings than the one who doesn’t know his master’s will. But the one who doesn’t know the master’s will still gets beatings. If it were inherently wrong to eat food sacrificed to idols, there can be no exception. There would be no point to arguing that idols are really nothing and that the stronger brother knows that the offering to them doesn’t in itself make the foods unclean. There could be no blanket statements to believers living in an entirely Gentile context that ALL foods are sanctified by prayer because there is one category of foods that cannot be sanctified by prayer.

    In your misguided insistence that these “Jewish theologians” have unlocked the secrets to the New Testament, you stumble over the simplest and clearest reading of the text.

    Do not partake of the table of demons, which includes not eating meat involved in those ceremonies.

    Bare assertion. Prove it.

  158. SS,

    It’s a shame that the fat german and thin swiss didn’t get that in their cold blooded murders of those who disagreed with them

    Speaking of cheap shots…

  159. SS, you receive an apology by scolding me and arrogance. If your not rusting in Christ alone dude you got worse things to worry about than Robert and I. Robert asked me to apologize to you and i thought it was appropriate. The way you have treated people on this site including me. I have been kind in all my words to you. Anything you add to faith to attain the favor ( justification) it won’t matter how well you know the mosaic Law.

  160. SS, lose the you hold my people down dude. And drop the victim thing you baby. Me calling you an asshole had nothing to do with your ethnicity, it had to do with your arrogant attitude. So stop the I’m being persecuted by the disciples of Clalvin thing. I can’t speak for Robert but i love the jewish people and would love to see Jews come to christ in drove.

  161. SS, 1 Corintians 6:12″ Paul says, “All things are lawful for me , but not all things are profitable. It is lawful for a Jew not to practice any Law bro.

  162. Ay, Ay, Ay. Look SS, before you quote Presbyterians to me, you need to have a better view of Presbyterian authority because apparently you don’t get it. Couple of things to start:

    No you don’t get it, that was my whole point of my quoting Presbyterians: as Jason and other catholics have told you repeatedly, you have no authority to define ‘the Presbyterian authority’ because it doesn’t exist, at best it is a mirage (even though that does not imply that catholics therefore necessarily do, have authority however, the CC was born in the late 2nd century, it is not the earliest church, but a discontinuity from it). I cannot have a better view of that which does not exist.

    1. Samuel Miller is not my pope.

    Yes, indeed, you are your own pope, ex communicating and condemning (using endearing terms such as Judaizers to that end, I guess John Wesley was one too) whoever disagrees with your understanding of justification, just as your reformed friend Kevin does (who called me an apostate and something else earlier). So you say that Samuel Miller with a Doctorate in Divinity and Princeton Professor of Theology did not know what he was talking about. Good, one more we can cross of the list as incompetent.

    2. The second quote is from a PCUSA church. The PCUSA is an apostate denomination. Quoting the PCUSA as an accurate reader of the WCF is like me quoting modern-day Ebionites—who do exist—as authoritative representatives of Messianic Jewish Theology. IOW, what the modern PCUSA says is largely irrelevant because the denomination wouldn’t know historic Reformed theology if it bit them. (That’s not to say that there aren’t individual churches who are trying to hold the line, but IMO it is a lost cause. Those churches need to leave.)
    3. The “Presbyterians” who side with Avodat are liberals who do not believe Jews need to believe in Jesus. The PCUSA as a whole takes all manner of weird positions on Israel, believing on the one hand that Jews (and really anyone else) can be saved without faith in Jesus, but also cutting off investments in Israel because the modern Jewish state defends itself from suicide bombers.

    By whose authority do you claim they are apostate? By the burning in your bosom? LOL. You say by the Bible, so do the Presbyterians who themselves are confused about what the WCF teaches and cannot come to a consensus, which is to be expected because this protestant sect , like all others including the Church of Christ, (and any other sola scriptura group) has no epistemological grounding whatsoever. I had highlighted this especially with:

    Bill Borrer, cochair of a special committee called in to oversee Avodat’s work amidst the controversy, recalls a committee member charging that Avodat is not sufficiently Reformed — that is, aligned with traditional Presbyterian theology stemming from Calvin’s Reformation. When Borrer asked each committee member to define “Reformed,” however, he found there was no consensus. If denominational leaders cannot agree on what it means to be Reformed or Presbyterian, Borrer observed, how can they be sure Avodat is not?

    But of course, no reference from you about that. I noticed that you conveniently avoid entire sections of my responses…and this repeatedly so…. the reader will draw his own inferences. A Presbyterian in the story about Avodat made the very same claim you are making Robert about your brothers in the PCUSA, that they do not know Reformed Theology. And yet when Mr Borrer asked each committee member to define Reformed, there was no consensus. I’m sure if you were there, you would be jumping with your hand raised “pick me, pick me, pick my sect, ‘reformed-iz-us’!”. But that is hardly how it ought to be resolved.

    Historically speaking, the Puritan tradition that birthed the WCF was largely opposed to festival days, and this largely because they were responding to Roman Catholicism that added all manner of obligatory holy days. Biblically speaking, I think they were correct to say that there is no obligatory day of worship besides the Lord’s Day. Where I believe they (many of the Puritans) were wrong is to say that it is wrong for the church to celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. as special days. This is an area of Christian liberty. The church has no authority to “force” people to observe days outside of the Lord’s Day such as Christmas or Good Friday. It also has no authority to tell people that it is a sin to observe such days.

    That’s what you believe, see below:

    Now that is a brief and in some ways a simplistic view of the Puritan tradition. The question at hand is about what the WCF says about holidays, specifically Jewish festivals and whatnot.

    1. The WCF doesn’t really address it directly. There weren’t Messianic Jews pounding down the door to break into the Westminster Assembly. That may fit with your conspiracy theories, but there weren’t really any Messianic Jews period anywhere that I know of until the twentieth century.

    Exactly, the WCF does NOT address it. So who are you to tell your Messianic Jewish friends that they are free to celebrate sukkot? By what authority do you claim to do that? You will say by the authority of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Well, thanks for being the receiver of the Holy Spirit and all that (sound familiar?), but so did Samuel Miller and the Puritans by the way, and they make the very same inspiration claim. All this shows is that you have no epistemological basis whatsoever to make declarations about what Messianic Jews ought to be doing or not doing and as a corollary, that protestantism is cursed into being a house divided forever.

    2. I can’t find where the WCF forbids it explicitly.

    Exactly, thank you again. And in the absence of explicit halakha, which is what the church needs badly today, but does not have given its exclusively gentile nature in the West, you have no authority to tell Messianic Jews what is kosher and what is not.

    3. The WCF does say that there are appropriate occasions on which special thanksgivings, etc. can be offered (WCF 21.5). This would seem to allow for non-obligatory festivals and what not. And, in fact, most modern Presbyterians agree since most modern Presbyterians celebrate holy days other than Sunday. I think they are exactly right to do so, and I celebrate Christmas and Easter myself. What would be wrong is for my church to tell anyone they are sinning by not attending Christmas Eve worship. Of course, my church doesn’t do that.

    It is not a question of what your church decides, because the Creed is there to guide your church, and when its lacunas are exposed in regards to Jewish believers, there is no guidance to be offered.. Contrast that with the Torah which explicitly tells Jews to keep the feasts, as did Jesus, Peter, Paul, James and every other disciple and the early church. I looked over section 21.5 and under the detailing of “extraordinary elements of worship”, the definitions for oaths and bows, and fastings are drawn by definitions from the dictionary… (Webster 1913). Absolutely NOTHING about the Jewish feasts, no detail or direct references to any kinds of observances that any Jew would understandably want to keep. Again, the WCF does not provide for any of that, and that is the ultimate proof for the fact that it was built by gentiles and for gentiles only. There’s no room at the inn for a Jewish believer there.

    4. Even if the WCF explicitly were to forbid such things, the WCF is not inerrant and denominations allow people to take exceptions to portions of the confession and still be ordained as long as those exceptions don’t touch the system of doctrine in a way that destroys it. So, for example, many presbyteries in the PCA ordain men who do not have the same strict view of Sabbath observance as the WCF promotes. But they’re not going to ordain anyone who denies JBFA because JBFA is a core part of the overall doctrinal system in a way that strict Sabbath observance is not.

    The WCF has already been shot down. It simply doesn’t have a voice on such matters, which ought to highlight the fact that it is a document that woefully inadequate to address the reality that the church was always from the beginning, meant to be led by Jews proper and Gentiles proper, not jewish converts to gentile denominations, for Paul was not a Presbyterian and Peter not a Reformed Baptist, but Jewish believers period. No protestant takes nazirite vows for example, as Paul did, or keeps Jewish feasts as Jesus, Paul and every other apostle did.

    You are right to mention strict Sabbath observance that is upheld by the WCF. But when a Messianic Jew wants to be strict in his observance of the original Sabbath, suddenly the Calvinists at puritanboard.com go wild on him and call him a Judaizer at worst and cast aspersions on the his motives and doctrine at worst. The irony is palpable.

    5. The PCA (my denomination) does not view Messianic Jewish holidays as inherently wrong or out of accord with the WCF. They have an approved outreach to Jews (CHAIM), and there are at least two Messianic Presbyterian congregations that I know of that worship on the traditional Jewish Sabbath. Here’s one of them:

    http://www.rockofisrael.com/FAQsE.htm

    As I pointed above to you, Baruch Maoz, Israeli Hebrew and Jew and Reformed Pastor disagrees with you. He would most likely point to the same section of WCF, 21.5 and make the same argument I made against your position. You know what he calls rockofisrael? Judaizing. So who is telling the truth? You have no unity, no authority, and you should just be quiet and let the people of God who are trying to work it out as Jews alone. You will throw Baruch Maoz under the bus as you did Samuel Miller, but guess what they both throw you under the bus too, because epistemologically they have no other choice but to do that.

    So, in sum, the WCF is largely silent on the matter but has enough to say that Jewish celebrations are allowable, at least for believers of a Jewish background. But it also says that they cannot be mandated. This speaks to some of the other quotes you give, as we will see.

    Nonsense. The WCF cannot be silent on the matter and then at the same time allow for Jewish celebrations, that’s a contradiction in terms. Baruch Maoz again, disagrees entirely with you. What’s so funny is that he calls what you support Judaizing. Isn’t that rich?

    There is absolutely nothing unclear about this. He is to believe that Jesus made all food clean and that there is nothing inherently sinful about anyone eating bacon. If, as a matter of custom, he does not want to eat bacon, he is free in the Lord not to eat bacon. If he still thinks he is bound by it, he is immature in the faith, and we are to respect him and not get all high and mighty about it—we are not to be boasting :) in our freedom. What the Messianic Jew is not free to do in the Lord is tell his Jewish brother who wants to eat bacon that his Jewishness forbids him from doing so.

    Messianic Jew: “Robert, can I eat pork?”
    Robert: “Sure, if you want to. But you don’t have to if you don’t.”
    Messianic Jew: “But didn’t you say Jesus made all foods clean?”
    Robert: “Yes, which is why you can eat pork but don’t have to just as I can eat blood pudding though I don’t want to because the thought repulses me.”
    Messianic Jew: “But I don’t think pork is clean. Jesus fulfilled the law, he didn’t abolish it.”
    Robert: “If your conscience tells you it is unclean, it is unclean for you, not because pigs are bad but because you would not be eating in faith and to not eat in faith is sin. As you study, you will come to realize that the kosher laws do not apply anymore—just as the sacrificial laws don’t—but until you are convinced of that, I’m not going to eat bacon in front of you and thus, we’re all going to get along. Part of that means that its your responsibility not to go around judging Jews who do eat bacon and calling them unJewish.”

    Jesus fulfilled the law, and yes, that doesn’t mean he came to abolish it. But fulfilling doesn’t mean everything carries over as is. If it did, then we all need to observe the temple sacrifices because Jesus fulfilled those just as much as he did the kosher laws.

    Jesus did NOT make all foods clean (more on that in my next post), I’ve explained that to you above and you are utterly mistaken. While gentiles are not required to keep kosher, Jews on the other hand, and Jewish believers were never encouraged, not once, by Jesus to eat non kosher food. In fact, Jesus told them to keep the minor aspects of the Torah (tithing on their dill) as well as the major ones such as mercy, justice, charity and so on. He also said do what they (the Pharisees) tell you to do (meaning when they read the Law of Moses) in Matt 23:1-3

    By kal vahomer/a fortiori, how much more would Jesus not encourage them to break dietary laws!

    Let me ask you this, was Jesus encouraging Jewish disciples to trust in anything else except justification by faith alone in Him alone when he told them they ought to dill on their cumin? Yes or no? If you say no, you cannot then turn around and tell me that I am Judaizer for telling Messianic Jews that if they want to authentically Jewish believers in their Messiah, they ought to keep the Torah, because that is what their Messiah told them to do!

    I as a gentile on the other hand, do not have to keep Torah, only to obey the church. And the church said this:

    “23 They wrote this letter by them:

    The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

    To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

    Greetings.

    24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols , from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

    Farewell”

    The above is perfectly in line with Paul’s teaching, who defines the above in more detail.

  163. Robert wrote:

    Speaking of cheap shots

    I was not the one who called Luther a fat german, so if your friend can, so can I.

    And if you think it is a cheap shot to tell the truth about the men of violence that Luther and Calvin were, then you must not have gotten the memo, this statement is cold historical fact, whether you like it or not, and nothing but the truth.

  164. Kevin,

    I will reiterate what I said to you earlier above, I have no interest in a conversation with you.

    Merry Xmas,
    SS.

  165. The issue with Mark 7:19 is not textual. There is no textual variant in the Greek apparatus (I have it on my desk, thank you very much). Everybody agrees that “thus he said” or “thus he declared” is not reflected in the Greek text literally. The issue is translational. The question is what the participial phrase is modifying, what is its subject. Is it the stomach or is it Jesus. The fact that you so casually wave away what Origen and Chrysostom said based on one scholar’s opinion shows that you do not understand the issues at all.

    In any case, Origen and Chrysostom could well be wrong. Other commentators note that the KJV translation could be correct. The commentaries I have note that it is a “bare possibility.” Assuming Origen and Chrysostom are correct, however, my reading of the specific issue of food being sacrificed to idols stand.

    Your reasoning is completely off Robert again. You say that I casually wave away Origen and Chrysostom based on one scholar’s opinion. Simply quoting Flusser doesn’t necessarily imply that I am basing my conclusion on him only. You make strings of non sequiturs in your thinking… you ought to slow down and think before you post. The biggest non sequitur you make in the above, isn’t what I just mentioned, it is your conclusion: there is no reason to believe that O and C’s beliefs on what Jesus said or did not say about all bromata is necessarily linked to the issue of food sacrificed to idols. After all, Jesus does rebuke the church at Pergamos for eating food sacrificed to idols doesn’t he?

    ” But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality”

    By pure logic, how could Jesus say that he had this against them at Pergamos, that they eat things sacrificed to idols, all the while having ‘declared all foods clean’, which by definition includes foods sacrificed in a pagan temple? This is an epic logical failure Robert, you have no way out of this. O & C were more than likely viewing their interpreted clause ‘thus He declared all foods clean’ as relating to Jewish dietary laws, and not specifically as relating to idolatry.

    SS: “you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons”. Partaking of the table of demons does not only refer to demon worship, but also to eating food sacrificed to them.

    Robert: Mere assertion. Prove it. The only context in which you partake of the Lord’s table is in a public worship context. You don’t participate in the Lord’s table at home with friends in a casual setting, at least the early church didn’t.

    What do you mean ‘prove it’? You might as well ask me to prove that the sky is blue, LOL. Look, this is common knowledge among anyone who’s done any basic reading on thebackground to the epistles to the Corinthians. May I suggest Ken Bailey’s “Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies…” He states on pg 231, speaking of the problem with idolatry at Corinth:

    “Most of the meat available was first offered to one of the many idols and then sold in the market. In the ancient city of Corinth the central market was virtually surrounded by pagan temples, and the great archaic temple almost overshadowed the meat market.”

    and no other then John Piper says

    “but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.”

    “So here is the key word again: sharers. What does it mean? Again it does not mean that we eat demons when we eat meat offered to idols. It means that we get entangled in their power. We submit to them. We become vulnerable to them. We enter into some kind of fellowship. We affirm them in some way and give them leeway in our lives”

    You are missing Paul’s point entirely. 1 Cor. 8 is talking about eating with Christians who are weaker in the faith. Paul says don’t eat meat sacrificed to idols in that context because the weaker brothers don’t understand, not because it is inherently wrong to eat such meat. Then, you jump over to 1 Cor. 10 and want to change Paul’s intent entirely. Don’t eat in front of unbelievers because meat offered to idols in inherently unclean. Sorry, doesn’t work. You are making Paul say it is both inherently wrong and not inherently wrong at the same time.

    No. Paul does not say that it is ok to eat such meat! That is faulty reasoning again:

    “9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. ”

    When Paul says “If anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple”, there is nothing in that statement that suggests that Paul is A.O.K with those eating in the temple! That is a logical failure. Also, just because he focused here, in this section in chapter 8, on the effect on those who are willfully partaking of pagan temple sacrifices, it does not follow that he is fine with other believers eating (who know that the idols are nothing) such meat. His intent has never changed, it is always the same:

    “14 Therefore , my beloved, flee from idolatry … 8 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?”

    What he is saying is this: ‘I know that you know that idols are nothing, but you should flee the temple and not eat the meat sold there, regardless of that knowledge, for not only is this idolatry but also makes those who are taking part in pagan rituals at the temple and eating stumble by them believing that it’s ok to do so.’ He then halakhically offers one allowance: he says if you don’t know where the meat is from or those offering it to you say nothing about it, then simply give thanks and eat, for the earth is the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1). This is a beautiful way to honor the Spirit of the Lord in making provision for the poor (see Bailey above) without violating the command given by James and the church in Acts 15.

    Sure Paul and James kept the dietary laws among Jews. But how do we know that Paul, at least, kept them among Gentiles? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but simply because Paul says he believes everything in the Mosaic Law doesn’t mean he kept kosher everywhere he went. I believe everything in the Laws and Prophets and I don’t keep kosher.

    Paul was speaking to the gentiles, at Corinth you need context. I am sure he did keep kosher, because when he spoke Acts 24:4 he meant it and was not lying. If he was lying, you should wonder why he rebuked Peter for being a hypocrite. You destroy the integrity of the NT in asserting what you do.

    SS: No, you misrepresent what I have said again. Nowhere have I said that gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all of its specifics “more or less” plus Jesus. This is a cheap shot at me, and why I am not surprised that you dare take it. But it will only show the reader that your analysis is weak, wanting and mistake ridden

    Robert: I never said that you said Gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all its specifics. What I am saying is that your understanding of the Mosaic law ultimately gives you no good reason to think anything has changed. What you have is James and Paul allowing for circumcision without any good broader theological context. To be more accurate, your position logically boils down to the fact that Gentiles are to follow the Mosaic law in all of its specifics plus Jesus minus circumcision.

    How so? It’s easy to make statements, not so easy to back them up. I reiterate:

    Jewish believers are called to be Jewish in their practice of their faith. Just as the male remains male and the female female, even though they are both saved by the grace of God, so does the Jew remain a Jew and the gentile a gentile. And what do you mean by “James and Paul allowing for circumcision?” They did not allow circumcision for gentiles, and that was indeed correct because Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, so it does not depend on the latter but on Messiah’s grace.

    I don’t know how you can come to such a conclusion above and keep a straight face. So let’s make it very clear for anyone reading: As a gentile, I am not required to follow the Mosaic Law. What I am required to do is obey the church and my elders (Heb 13:17) when they stated in Acts 15 that I ought to refrain from 4 things. This is consistent with Paul’s and Jesus’ teaching as well. I do so out of love for the Messiah and love for what is right in God’s eyes. Again, the Jewish theologians I read do not teach that gentiles are bound by Mosaic dietary laws at all, (and also, certainly not circumcision either) and neither do I, so again this is just misrepresentation and shameless lying on your part.

    You and your theologians are Judaizers, plain and simple. You aren’t the exact same Judaizers as Paul fought, but the fact that you have this insistence of food laws that do not apply to Gentiles just proves it. In order to be justified I have to believe in Jesus AND keep some of the kosher laws.

    No, again, a reasoning failure. I don’t have any insistence on Jewish dietary laws for Gentiles. I have an insistence that nowhere are gentiles taught to eat meat offered to idols, except in one narrow circumstance, as discussed above (Paul’s exemption as per Psalm 24:1). To hold to this is hardly a contradiction of justification by faith given that Jesus Himself rebukes the church at Pergamos for eating food sacrificed to idols as pointed out earlier! By your logic, Jesus should have never rebuked the people at Pergamos, because afterall according to you He declared all foods clean!

    Well since the church was at that point still trying to figure things out, and since it was so hard to show the Jews that circumcision was not required, it is entirely reasonable to believe that this decree could and would either be changed or that the council expected the church to wisely apply its ruling and understand what parts of it were contextually-defined.

    You are no different than a catholic who says that Jerusalem Council was overturned at Florence. You should then have no issues with Mormons telling you that new revelation overturns the conclusions of prior councils that you happen to arbitrarily pick and choose. It is not entirely reasonable at all, because this kind of cafeteria style Christianity opens itself to epistemological quicksand and cannot survive. This is no different than some saying that the laws on what is morally acceptable or not have to be changed because ‘the context’ has changed.

    Ignorance is no excuse for sin. The one who knows his master’s will and doesn’t do it gets more beatings than the one who doesn’t know his master’s will. But the one who doesn’t know the master’s will still gets beatings. If it were inherently wrong to eat food sacrificed to idols, there can be no exception. There would be no point to arguing that idols are really nothing and that the stronger brother knows that the offering to them doesn’t in itself make the foods unclean. There could be no blanket statements to believers living in an entirely Gentile context that ALL foods are sanctified by prayer because there is one category of foods that cannot be sanctified by prayer.

    You misunderstand Paul, it’s that simple.

  166. SS: Do not partake of the table of demons, which includes not eating meat involved in those ceremonies.

    Robert: Bare assertion. Prove it.

    If the above isn’t enough for you, an example chosen with care from another one of your homeboys, RC Sproul:

    “Although the Lord’s Supper is for sinners, it is not for impenitent sinners. Paul addresses this in today’s passage when he says that we cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and the table of demons (10:21). In this text, the Apostle addresses Corinthian believers who were participating in some of the meals that were a part of pagan worship. Buying meat in the marketplace left over from pagan sacrifices, which was permissible for the Corinthians (v. 25), was one thing, but engaging in the worship of pagan idols was another. This was a flagrant sin if there ever were one, and continued participation would have demonstrated a failure to trust Christ fully and no willingness at all to turn from sin.”

  167. SS,

    Are you even paying attention? My entire argument is based on what RC is saying. I agree with RC, you are the one that doesn’t. So, either we’ve been talking past each other this whole time, I haven’t been clear enough, or you aren’t paying attention.

    What is forbidden is taking part of pagan worship and eating meals in that context. What is not forbidden is eating meat that had been sacrificed to an idol that was later sold in the marketplace.

    IOW,

    Bad: Going to the temple and eating a meal with pagans in the honor of Zeus
    Not necessarily bad, depending on the context: Eating meat somewhere else that you know was left over from a pagan sacrifice to Zeus in which you did not participate.

    Sheesh.

  168. SS,

    Couple of points about your inane rant about Presbyterians and Protestants and authority, as well as a few other things:

    1. Yes, any authority that I would ever claim for anything I say is based on Scripture. Whether that authority is mine or not depends on whether what I say reflects what Scripture teaches.

    2. If, as you claim, you have no authority, then you have no authority to tell any of us that we’re wrong, which makes me wonder why in the world you bother. Apparently you are just running on a burning in the bosom too. Pot meet kettle.

    3. Leaving an existing church, which is what I think you did based on other conversations we’ve had, for another group is not any different than what you claim Protestants do. You are fragmenting the church even more, if that is even possible. So quit labeling others as arrogant for doing exactly what you do. Talk about hypocrisy. You don’t stand above our outside of us. You are doing exactly what the rest of us are doing but because your guys blow a Shofar every Sabbath you think that it is somehow more sanctified. Give me a break.

    4. Speaking of churches, if no church has any authority, does your church just sit around and have coffee and give opinions. And if your church has no authority, I guess that means you can’t discipline sinners. So the professing believer who is caught in adultery gets to preach and hang out with you guys, right? Or do you kick him out if he is impenitent? And if so, how can you do that if no church has any authority?

    5. Jesus rebukes the church at Pergamum for participating either in pagan worship or for attending trade guild meals held in honor of a pagan deity, not because they bought meat left over from pagan sacrifices in the marketplace and ate it at home. Any number of Revelation commentaries point in this direction, the ones by Aune and Keener (non-Reformed scholars BTW, as far as I know) for a start.

    6. Yes, even though we are not in a context where meat is sold that has been sacrificed to idols, if we were you want to impose specifically Jewish scruples drawn from the law to forbid such things. So while you are not a Judaizer on the matter of circumcision, you are a Judaizer on the matter of foods in general as in wanting to name things as unclean that Paul and the Apostles do not name as permanently unclean. I’m not going to reiterate what I just said above about this. I’ve said my peace on it.

    7. The fact that I haven’t gotten to everything you have said doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you. It means either a) I do have other things going on; b) I’m trying hard not to repeat myself so if I addressed one related matter I may feel no need to address it; and/or c) Not everything you say is necessarily worth addressing (just as not everything I say is necessarily worth addressing)

    8. I’m not sure the larger context of the Piper quote. The Bailey quote does not seem to disagree with anything I’ve said, but I don’t know the larger context of that either. The commentaries I have on Corinthians say To partake of the table of demons=going to the temple and joining in a meal at the temple wherein the gods are being worshipped. That is specifically what Paul is addressing in chapter 10. That is always forbidden. Matters change when Pagan Joe takes the leftover meat from the meal to the marketplace and Christian Sue—who has never stepped foot in a pagan temple—buys it because she needs meat and the only place to get meat is the marketplace

    Of course, since you apparently think that quote from Ligonier’s website is correct, maybe we don’t disagree… ;)

  169. IOW,

    Bad: Going to the temple and eating a meal with pagans in the honor of Zeus

    Not necessarily bad, depending on the context: Eating meat somewhere else that you know was left over from a pagan sacrifice to Zeus in which you did not participate.

    I agree on point 1 above, not point 2. Here’s why:

    As long as you know for sure that the meat was sacrificed to idols, you are not to eat it, according to James and Paul. Again, if this not the truth, then why did Jesus rebuke the church at Pergamos for eating idol sacrificed meat? John Piper got it right on this one.

    However, if you don’t know when you are buying the meat, whether it has been offered or not offered to pagan gods, then Paul says go ahead and buy and eat. That’s what he means by ‘asking no questions for conscience’ sake’. This might help you understand what he’s doing, he is effectively halakhically introducing a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that offers the believers at Corinth a way to deal with the challenges of their culture without violating their conscience and the church’s teaching. How he weaves in Psalm 24:1 is nothing short of pure genius really, in my view, and shows you not only the man’s brilliance and inspiration but also his training from Gamaliel, Hillel’s grandson. By weaving in Psalm 24:1, “the earth and all of its fullness is the Lord’s”, he opens up the way to allow poorer Christians to buy the meat (for it was often at a discount in those quarters) without defiling their conscience one, and two without violating James’ and the Council’s instruction for gentiles (Acts 15).

    So the operative question for gentile believers is this: “What do you know and when did you know it?” If you did not know that the meat was offered up, you cannot be judged as the people at Pergamos were by Jesus. If you do know however, you are liable to the same judgment.

    Can you see how Paul skillfully uses halakhah to accommodate the Corinthians, especially the poorer among them, without violating Torah and Jesus? He uses part of Torah to introduce, what I call, a halakhah (his own) within another halakhah (James’), thereby maintaining unity in the church’s teaching and at the same time, helping believers at Corinth in their day to day life.

    “25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”

    27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”

  170. The whole point of the above Robert is to show you that your prior claim that James’ and the council’s conclusion in Acts 15 as pertaining to gentiles was temporary, (same argument is made by catholics) is mistaken. In fact it still remains in force. Paul did not supercede James, he only worked within the framework dictated to him by James.

  171. 1. Yes, any authority that I would ever claim for anything I say is based on Scripture. Whether that authority is mine or not depends on whether what I say reflects what Scripture teaches.

    Essentially, proving that Bryan Cross was right when he said sola scriptura and solo scriptura are indistinguishable.

    2. If, as you claim, you have no authority, then you have no authority to tell any of us that we’re wrong, which makes me wonder why in the world you bother. Apparently you are just running on a burning in the bosom too. Pot meet kettle.

    Yes, absolutely, I have no authority, this is what, the 10th time I have said so on this site? Now remember what I said about non sequiturs in your reasoning above? You make another one here: it does not follow from the view that I have no authority, that what I say cannot be construed to be reasonable, and worthy of pursuing. Both you and Eric have said more than once, that what I have suggested is good in many respects, especially the idea of reformation from the inside, not the creation of a new denomination, where the best theologians and representatives from each denomination agree to gather, and make an effort at theological reconciliation through something akin to a conciliar process. So whether I have authority or not is irrelevant. What is relevant however, is the possibility that anyone who hears my message will take it to their group and discuss it with a view towards repentance from the inside out. I am glad to have nothing to do personally with this process, and to forever stay anonymous, especially if this can be done.

    3. Leaving an existing church, which is what I think you did based on other conversations we’ve had, for another group is not any different than what you claim Protestants do. You are fragmenting the church even more, if that is even possible. So quit labeling others as arrogant for doing exactly what you do. Talk about hypocrisy. You don’t stand above our outside of us. You are doing exactly what the rest of us are doing but because your guys blow a Shofar every Sabbath you think that it is somehow more sanctified. Give me a break.

    I agree in some respects, but you have to understand that separating is the only choice someone has, without them violating their conscience. But it is done with a view, as the French would say “on recule pour mieux sauter”. Meaning we take a step back to jump further ahead. And it’s continually uncharitable for you to continue with this Shofar thing, I don’t blow it at my church, since we are gentiles, and we have no desire to do so. I don’t think I am more sanctified than anyone, but I do believe that the gentile church is severed from its roots. The two beliefs can coexist without contradicting each other.

    4. Speaking of churches, if no church has any authority, does your church just sit around and have coffee and give opinions. And if your church has no authority, I guess that means you can’t discipline sinners. So the professing believer who is caught in adultery gets to preach and hang out with you guys, right? Or do you kick him out if he is impenitent? And if so, how can you do that if no church has any authority?

    The church was always local in the beginning. So each local church, in the midst of deep global division, and the latter notwithstanding has to do its best it can according to its own conscience, given the circumstances. But again, this does not remove the reality that the gentile church is severed from its roots. My discussion on the WCF and Messianic Jews should help you understand this.

    5. Jesus rebukes the church at Pergamum for participating either in pagan worship or for attending trade guild meals held in honor of a pagan deity, not because they bought meat left over from pagan sacrifices in the marketplace and ate it at home. Any number of Revelation commentaries point in this direction, the ones by Aune and Keener (non-Reformed scholars BTW, as far as I know) for a start.

    The point is that they ate trade guild meals held in honor of a pagan deity and are rebuked by Christ for it. And as I explained above in the clarification (prior post) to your second point, as long as you eat idol sacrificed meat knowing that it is idol sacrificed meat, you are liable to the same rebuke of Christ. But Paul gives the Corinthians a way out, he says: don’t ask, don’t tell as I explained above.

    6. Yes, even though we are not in a context where meat is sold that has been sacrificed to idols, if we were you want to impose specifically Jewish scruples drawn from the law to forbid such things. So while you are not a Judaizer on the matter of circumcision, you are a Judaizer on the matter of foods in general as in wanting to name things as unclean that Paul and the Apostles do not name as permanently unclean. I’m not going to reiterate what I just said above about this. I’ve said my peace on it.

    See my earlier point re Jesus and the rebuke to the church at Pergamos. It is logically impossible and untenable of you to believe two things simulatenously: that I am Judaizer and that Jesus was correct in rebuking the church at Pergamos. One of these two is wrong, they cannot both be right. IOW, if you say I am a Judaizer, so is Jesus.

    7. The fact that I haven’t gotten to everything you have said doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you. It means either a) I do have other things going on; b) I’m trying hard not to repeat myself so if I addressed one related matter I may feel no need to address it; and/or c) Not everything you say is necessarily worth addressing (just as not everything I say is necessarily worth addressing)

    I didn’t say you were ignoring me. I let the reader draw his own inferences.

    8. I’m not sure the larger context of the Piper quote. The Bailey quote does not seem to disagree with anything I’ve said, but I don’t know the larger context of that either. The commentaries I have on Corinthians say To partake of the table of demons=going to the temple and joining in a meal at the temple wherein the gods are being worshipped. That is specifically what Paul is addressing in chapter 10. That is always forbidden. Matters change when Pagan Joe takes the leftover meat from the meal to the marketplace and Christian Sue—who has never stepped foot in a pagan temple—buys it because she needs meat and the only place to get meat is the marketplace

    Of course you’re not sure, lol. What else can you say? I offer you material from your own camp, so of course you’re going to try and straddle the fence. If your commentaries say the above, then why did you say earlier that what I was saying was mere assertion (that pagan worship involves eating food sacrificed to pagan deities) and ask me to ‘prove it’? You need to slow down Robert, you just go off the cliff at 80 mph… As long as you acknowledge that it is forbidden to eat even that little bit of meat at a temple, you are admitting to being bound by the conclusion of the Jerusalem council and you are also admitting that you cannot call me a Judaizer, by the same logic. But of course, you irrationally persist in the charge.

    Of course, since you apparently think that quote from Ligonier’s website is correct, maybe we don’t disagree… ;)

    The only purpose of the Ligonier quote was to make sure that you were mistaken in your earlier assertion. I deliberately picked a quote from someone in your camp to help you reason through this, not because I think Ligonier is of any worth. AFAIC, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    Regards and Merry Xmas,
    SS.

  172. Robert, can i ask you in 1 Corinthians 6:12 where Paul says all things are Lawful but not all things are profitable. My understanding has always been Paul, after speaking about sexual immorality, makes this statement, but the all things are lawful had an old testament connection with Paul regarding the freedom of eating foods. Paul’s point was exact opposite of SS’S freedom in what food’s he eats. Am i correct by understanding that christians are free to eat foods even sacrificed to idols as long as they are not doing it in participation of a pagan ceremony.

  173. I needed to expand on your excellent question below Robert, so I edited my answer as following:

    2. If, as you claim, you have no authority, then you have no authority to tell any of us that we’re wrong, which makes me wonder why in the world you bother. Apparently you are just running on a burning in the bosom too. Pot meet kettle.

    This is not a case of Mr Pot meeting Mr Kettle because Mr Pot doesn’t go around making ex cathedra pronouncements or offering judgments on the souls of others. That kind of behavior is the fruit of believing that one’s denomination/sect is the one true church. If I was doing that despite my claim to not having authority, you would be justified in playing this card, but you are not.

    Yes, absolutely, I have no authority, this is what, the 10th time I have said so on this site? Now remember what I said about non sequiturs in your reasoning above? You make another one here: it does not follow from the view that I have no authority, that what I say cannot be construed to be reasonable, and worthy of pursuing. Both you and Eric have said more than once, that what I have suggested is good in many respects, especially the idea of reformation from the inside, not the creation of a new denomination, where the best theologians and representatives from each denomination agree to gather, and make an effort at theological reconciliation through something akin to a conciliar process. So whether I have authority or not is irrelevant. What is relevant however, is the possibility that anyone who hears my message will take it to their group and discuss it with a view towards repentance from the inside out, eventually leading to unity and thereby true authority as it existed in the church in Jerusalem, the church of James, Peter, Paul and others. I am glad to have nothing to do personally with this process, and to forever stay anonymous, especially if this can be done.

    So again, I view the emergence, as we are witnessing this very day, of Messianic Jews who worship neither as protestants nor catholics, but as Jews in their own right as the catalyst that given the opportunity, can serve as the synthesizing of the protestant-catholic dialectic/divide. If it were at all possible to reconcile theologically, the next step would be then to set up Jerusalem Council 2.0, where we would have both Jewish and Gentile believers in leadership, with a leader chosen by both camps to be the ‘first among equals’ and with conciliar deliberations resolving doctrinal questions and providing guidance on matters concerning the believer’s walk. Only then would we have true authority that is grounded in the will of God and speaking with one voice as Christ had prayed for in the garden (John 17).

  174. Jason … Your journey is the topic of this blog and of “The Journey Home,” right? And I was saying that you actually “backtracked” in your journey from “kept the word of My patience”(Rev 3:10) to “the depths of Satan,” Rev 2:24. I’m saying that you travelled the “Pilgrim’s REgress” from the rapture (Rev 3:10) to “great tribulation,” 2:22. I came from your same origin but I never lost my faith.

  175. The real error of the Judaizers a modern error as well as ancient. It is found in the modern church where men seek salvation by surrender instead of faith or by their own character instead of imputed the righteousness of Christ, or by making Christ master in the life instead of trusting in His redeeming blood. Error where men say the real essentials are love, justice, mercy and other virtues, as contrasted with the great doctrines of God’s word. These are ways of exhaling the merit of man over the cross of Christ. Preoccupation wit Jewish law, ill let the reader be the judge.

  176. SS–

    Though Scripture is somewhat ambiguous on the topic, I don’t happen to think it correct for Messianic Jews to be halakhically observant in anything beyond the feasts and holidays.

    I do sympathize with you at least on the Acts 15 Noahide prohibitions, which the early Western church kept in place and which is still practiced in the East, if I am not mistaken. If it is viewed NOT as some legalistic dietary restriction (blood and strangled things), but as homage to the reconciliation between Gentile and Jew, in what sense have circumstances changed? It’s not as if the need for better relations has ever gone away or even lessened.

    Your hope for conciliar action to bridge the gap between Catholic and Protestant is probably too idealistic. There is no conceivable synthesis between them even if you could get them to the table. The best you could do (without the motivation of some catastrophic eschatological scenario) is to set up a third way…a separate branch of Christendom to experiment with the changes you propose.

  177. What was the central theme for Paul. It was the entrance into this holistic salvation, justification by faith. It wasn’t necessarily the central dogma, but it was the deal breaker. Whether the Philippians jailer, or the rich young ruler. They asked how can i be saved. Paul and Jesus in both cases were very clear there is only one way in faith in Christ. In fact the rich young ruler had kept the whole law since his childhood. So what. Christ was the only way in. Whether someone observes a dietary law is inconsequential when it comes to the central theme. It wasn’t to Christ and it wasn’t for Paul.

  178. SS,

    Of course you’re not sure, lol. What else can you say? I offer you material from your own camp, so of course you’re going to try and straddle the fence. If your commentaries say the above, then why did you say earlier that what I was saying was mere assertion (that pagan worship involves eating food sacrificed to pagan deities) and ask me to ‘prove it’? You need to slow down Robert, you just go off the cliff at 80 mph… As long as you acknowledge that it is forbidden to eat even that little bit of meat at a temple, you are admitting to being bound by the conclusion of the Jerusalem council and you are also admitting that you cannot call me a Judaizer, by the same logic. But of course, you irrationally persist in the charge.

    As you zoom past me at 200 mph, you quoted to me from several authors. Since I don’t have the sources in front of me except for the Ligonier quote, I have to deal with them the best I can.

    So, to make sure I follow your argument, this is what I believe you are saying:

    SS: To knowingly eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, under any circumstances, is to partake of the table of demons. Or, if you know that the meat you are eating with other mature Christians that was simply purchased at the marketplace after having been sacrificed to idols, then you are partaking of the table of demons.

    I’m assuming that is your argument. If it’s not, then we’ve been arguing to no purpose.

    I asked you to prove that every time a person knowingly eats meat offered to idols, even at home when he did not participate in the pagan worship that offered it, that person is partaking of the table of demons. Aside from your own arguments, you quoted to me three sources that you think agree with you.

    1. Bailey—I’m not sure the point of this quote. Of course everybody knows that the Corinthian market was surrounded by temples and that the meat sold there was often, if not almost always, left over from pagan sacrifices. That’s the whole reason for Paul’s discussion and ours.
    2. Piper—I don’t know the larger context. If Piper is making the same argument you are, then he is wrong. I think Piper is wrong on several things.
    3. Ligonier—Apparently you think this quote agrees with you. It doesn’t. It is making the point I’m making.

    1 Cor. 10:14–22 makes the argument that “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

    What I am saying is that this is speaking to the context of pagan worship, not the context of what to do on Thursday night when you are hanging out with other mature Christian friends. The cup and table of the Lord are references to the Lord’s Supper, which was always conducted in the context of Christian worship. The cup and table of the demons must therefore be a reference to pagan worship. It is simply not talking about every situation where you know the food has been offered to idols

    Verses 23–30 talk about two different but related situations. One is the course of normal daily business and eating. This is the don’t ask, don’t tell situation, but even that is too simple because the buyers knew that about 95 percent of what was sold there was sacrificed to idols. Paul is basically saying, don’t worry because when food is offered to idols it does not become inherently contaminated and put you in a position in which you are fellowshipping with demons. If it did become so contaminated, there could be no circumstances at all under which it was okay to eat it. Plus, Paul says the food itself is nothing just a few verses earlier. It all depends on the context. You don’t eat meat while you are participating in pagan worship because you shouldn’t be participating in pagan worship.

    This is further confirmed a few verses later when Paul says don’t knowingly eat meat sacrificed to idols when you are hanging out with the unbelievers—FOR THE SAKE OF THE UNBELIEVERS’ CONSCIENCE, NOT YOUR OWN. The fact that the meat has been left over from a sacrifice is in itself irrelevant. But if your pagan friend brings it up, it’s because he’s troubled by it and doesn’t want to harm the friendship, because he wants to make sure you are faithful to your Lord, maybe even because he wants to test you. He (falsely) believes that to have sacrificed the meat to an idol makes it inherently unclean for you and either cares too much about you to have you defile yourself (even though you really wouldn’t, but he doesn’t understand that) or because he’s testing your allegiance (maybe to ask, Does Robert really make Jesus is all or is he just like the rest of the blokes I know?) Either way, you don’t eat so that the friendship can be maintained, so that his conscience isn’t troubled or so that he doesn’t falsely interpret the situation and thereby DAMAGE THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THAT PERSON TO CHRIST.

    Paul is not talking in chapter 10 about what to do when Christians are hanging out and having dinner together or life within a specifically Christian context where everyone is a believer. That goes back to chapter 8, and there you don’t eat if it troubles a weaker brother FOR THE SAKE OF THE WEAKER BROTHER AND SO THAT HE IS NOT ENTICED INTO DOING SOMETHING THAT HE (FALSELY) BELIEVES IS NOT OF FAITH BUT IS SIN, FOR WHATEVER IS NOT OF FAITH IS SIN.

    So:

    1. Never eat meat while participating in a pagan worship service, because you should never be participating in a pagan worship service or festival that honors a pagan god, etc. etc. This is what Jesus is condemning in the book of Revelation, not the mere fact of knowingly eating meat offered to idols.
    2. Never eat meat in the context of fellowshipping with a nonbeliever if the nonbeliever has told you it has been sacrificed to idols, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE BUT FOR HIS.
    3. Never eat meat in the context of fellowshipping with a weaker believer who is troubled by past association by idols, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE BUT FOR HIS.
    4. Eat meat while fellowshipping with other strong Christians no matter where the meat is from because you all know that idols are nothing and that food offered to it is not inherently unclean. This is a good and necessary deduction from the explicit commands and reasons not to eat listed above. We are never told not to eat in a private setting because the food is inherently unclean. Paul in fact explicitly denies that. Our mere knowing the source of the meat cannot make it unclean. My knowledge is irrelevant as to whether something is unclean. The reason we are given not to eat is because how it will affect other people who are immature. It has nothing to do with partaking of demons because the way you partake of demons is not the mere fact of eating meat left over from their altars but by going to the altar/temple service with the pagans and taking part in their pagan worship.

    Apparently, you deny #4. I think you are wrong and have made argument as to why that is so. At this point I’m not going to say anything else about it because I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. But the Ligonier quote agrees with me, so don’t think I’m somehow not “toeing” the line of “my guys.” The fact that you can quote the Ligonier source as if it is contravening what I am saying shows that you are not paying attention either to what I am saying or what Ligonier is saying. Regardless of whether you like Ligonier—your irrational hatred of all things Calvinistic obviously means you don’t—you should at least use your sources more responsibly.

  179. Kevin,

    Am i correct by understanding that christians are free to eat foods even sacrificed to idols as long as they are not doing it in participation of a pagan ceremony.

    Basically yes, except in two circumstances:

    1. You are eating with a pagan and he volunteered the information.
    2. You are eating with a weaker brother.

    In both cases you don’t eat because of the other person, not because eating meat offered to idols is inherently wrong.

  180. This is from SS

    Though Scripture is somewhat ambiguous on the topic, I don’t happen to think it correct for Messianic Jews to be halakhically observant in anything beyond the feasts and holidays.

    Eric, thanks for your thoughts.

    Scripture is the opposite of ambiguous on the topic, it is exceedingly clear.
    Besides the Messiah Himself, believing Jews such as Peter, Paul, James etc all observed the feasts, prayed in the temple, Paul took Nazirite vows. Truly, it was in the temple, and not in a gentile setting, that the faith took its first
    steps:

    Luke 24:
    “52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.

    Paul said imitate me as I imitate Christ. Christ Himself went up to Jerusalem, not just to evangelize, but to be in His Father’s House. So did Paul after Christ had risen. He didn’t go up to the temple simply to preach the Gospel, but also to pray and worship God as the earlier believers did (see Luke 24:52-53).

    17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me,”

    Not only did Paul keep the Passover (1 Cor 5), he also instructed the Corinthians to do so. In Acts 20, he keeps the feast of Unleavened Bread ahead of Passover (Luke was with him by the way). So everyone gentile reading keeps ‘Easter’ and ‘Christmas’ (Christmas especially which is nowhere to be found in the NT!, but let’s not get into that since I am not against its observance) and not are not ‘earning their salvation’ or introducing ‘merit’, but suddenly when the issue of feasts comes up for Jews this is Judaizing… (sigh).

    Now for further implications stemming from your belief that Jews should not be observant of anything but feasts and holidays. In that case, to be consistent and true to your belief, you should reject Paul and the integrity of the NT as soon as possible. Because He himself was observant of more than feasts.
    He had taken a Nazirite vow in Acts 18:18, and not only that, he paid for
    4 other men’s Nazirite vows in Acts 21.

    Moreover, here is an even bigger issue for you: none of you reformed and protestants at large can agree on what Jewish believers are allowed or not allowed to do. You personally happen to express your discomfort of anything for them beyond feasts and holidays. The next guy, whom you have referred to before, Baruch Maoz, Hebrew Israeli Reformed convert, says they should keep nothing at all , and anyone who says to the contrary is a Judaizer, so that would include you Eric. Do you get the irony here? Then Robert sits on the fence and says, you know, um, I’m really not sure what the WCF says or doesn’t say, it seems to allow provision for all these things in section 21.5 (no it doesn’t as I have shown him). Then Samuel Miller, D.D and Professor of Church History at Princeton Seminary and reformed theologian says that the Old Testament observances are no longer valid, period. Then every tom dick and harry at puritanboard has his own wrinkle on the issue. So can you see what’s going on here? Putting the aside the issue of confusion, the obvious implication of all this is as follows: it only proves that the gentile church is not the church that was in the beginning. She was severed from her roots
    1,900 years ago after the Jews were expelled from Rome, and even in the 20th century, after Israel was reborn, she has made little efforts to repent of her mistakes vis a vis believing Jews.

    I mean you’ve got to read Romans 11 without the blinders on for a minute. The ultimate irony is that the champion of the gentile church is rebuking gentiles at Rome for an attitude of superiority to their Jewish brethren and yet this is what the gentile church continued to do for centuries on end, until now, when the times of the gentiles has been fulfilled (Luke 21:24). This world is absurd, and reality is stranger than fiction.

    I do sympathize with you at least on the Acts 15 Noahide prohibitions, which the early Western church kept in place and which is still practiced in the East, if I am not mistaken. If it is viewed NOT as some legalistic dietary restriction (blood and strangled things), but as homage to the reconciliation between Gentile and Jew, in what sense have circumstances changed? It’s not as if the need for better relations has ever gone away or even lessened.

    Yes, you are right, these prohibitions are practiced in the East. Look, there is no way for you to argue legalistic anything. You tithe every Sunday. If it were not so, your church and all churches in America would not exist. The pastors live off the people’s tithes. Do you then strain to ensure that the tithing is not some legalistic restriction? Yes or no? If you say, yes I do make the effort to not be legalistic, but to tithe in faith, then I must ask you, why do you deny that possibility to a believer who keeps the true church’s conclusions from the Jerusalem Council, attested to by Scripture?

    You are correct that the Noahide prohibitions were about smoothing the table fellowship between Jews and Gentiles. But it does not follow from that that this was the only intention of James and the Council. It is obvious that sexual immorality is to be avoided regardless of table fellowship issues. So, no again read the prior paragraph.

    Your hope for conciliar action to bridge the gap between Catholic and Protestant is probably too idealistic. There is no conceivable synthesis between them even if you could get them to the table. The best you could do (without the motivation of some catastrophic eschatological scenario) is to set up a third way…a separate branch of Christendom to experiment with the changes you propose.

    I think you are right on the handicapping of the odds here. After all, did not Christ say “Will the Son of Man find faith on earth when He returns?”. Does not sound triumphant at all, especially in the light of “many are called, and few are chosen”. I believe that there could be a synthesis, but the issue is that the world and its trappings (money, prestige, sectarianism) will dominate. There is no humility, no recognition of failure.

    And I refuse to set up a third way/seek a national movement, because it is no solution at all. History has already spoken on the failure of such and the only change worth pursuing is change that is effected by each group, from the inside out. For me, it is do it right (see conciliar process above) or go home.

  181. Robert, Thanks bro.

  182. Eric, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 ‘And when i came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech of of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For i determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified. Oh wait i forgot also blowing the shofar, keeping dietary laws etc. Now i mean this, that each one of you is saying, ” I am of Paul,I am of Appolos, I am of Cephas, I am of Christ, I am of Bryan cross, I am of Sproul, I am of Samuel Miller, I am of ……….! Has christ been divided? ” For christ did not send me to baptize, but preach the Gospel, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

  183. Eric, can you tell your friend SS, because he does not want to engage me, that comparing gentile observances of Christmas and Eater to the Jews adding law to faith is bogus. Why, the issue wasn’t their observance of their customs, but trying to attain acceptance by law in any way. The rich young ruler came to Jesus and he said bug out. Its all me or nothing. Jesus rejected a life of blowing the shofar, Jewish honor, keeping laws, Why? because the rich young ruler thought it was important in salvation. When one is making such an issue of a rite, a custom, a law, a tradition, you have to wonder, why? In Galations 5 the reason circumcision was an issue is because the Judaizers were saying it is necessary addition to faith. And Paul, just like the Jesus to the rich ruler, said no those of you who are trying to be justified by law. Thats what our RC friends will never get. If your trying to climb Jacob’s latter in merit, mysticism, or speculation you will find outer darkness. God came to Jacob while he was sleeping and gave him salvation. Jacob never climbs the latter. When your more obsessed with customs and laws and how your people have been treated, instead of our own sin, then its misguided.

  184. SS,

    I’m not saying I don’t know what the WCF says about the issue at hand. This is an ecclesiological issue, and based on my reading of the confession it just doesn’t speak to the matter at hand directly. The divines weren’t even thinking about it. The confession can’t cover every possible scenario, if it did, it would be unreadable because it would be so darn long.

    So, no, you haven’t proved that WCF doesn’t allow for such things. That is the most ridiculous thing you’ve said yet. The PCA obviously thinks it is permissible under the confession, I’m in the PCA, so I’m going with their judgment, which is not objectionable to my reading of the confession.

    The fact that some Tom, Dick, and Harry might disagree signifies nothing more than when Messianic Jews disagree over how Jewish observance is to be practiced.

    Don’t fault the Westminster Divines for not thinking through this issue when it wasn’t presenting itself. There weren’t any Messianic Jews beating down the doors of the assembly or anywhere else for that matter. There was no conspiracy to keep them out—there weren’t any to keep out!

    And I’ve said before, there are plenty of Messianic Jews who have no problem with the fact that there weren’t any Messianic Jews at the assembly. They think it is the most accurate summary of biblical doctrine available. Lord knows, we know you don’t agree, but you’re not a Messianic Jew so your opinion is really irrelevant on this specific matter. If the Messianic Jews in the PCA and your guys want to hash it out, that would be another matter.

  185. Eric, can you also tell SS we reformed can determine what Jews ought to do and ought not to do. The ought to obey God from faith alone. And they ought not to add anything from the law to faith to be justified. And here is how the law was subsumed in the new testament, Love the Lord God with all your heart, and your neighbor. Thats for everybody! Robert does not sit on the fence. Its just like asking us which sins are mortal, all of them. Paul said he died to the Law. The law was fulfilled in us by christ’s offering. Tell SS if he is trusting in Christ alone he need no worry about his feast. But if he thinks that any part of the Mosaic law is meritorious with God in salvation, then he’s wrong. Abraham did many righteous works and probably did some customs. But he was trusting in christ alone for his salvation and justified by faith. not his Jewishness. Just like the Roman synagog won’t can’t take Mary to the eschaton, or the scapular, or the beads, or their view of ontological participation riding the treadmill to God

  186. Eric, can you also tell SS the church now has not been severed from the root. The root is Jesus not Jews or Gentiles. All those who believe in Christ, Jew and Gentile are a branch in the Vine. I got no problem saying I’m a lowly gentile grafted in. And I got no problem giving the respect due God’s chosen people. Tell SS, and we are not even RC, were sorry for what happened to the Jews. Tell him he is right people are going to have to answer for how they treated God’s chosen people, unbelievers to hell, and believers at the bema seat. Come on in their is room for everyone who wants to come. But Paul would say the same thing today, you can only come by Christ. Don’t bring anything if you think its necessary in salvation.

  187. Robert,

    Yes, the early church was led by Jews. Who is disputing that except for the really odd RC like De Maria around here?

    Lol! Tried to sneak that one in there did you? But I notice that you will avoid addressing any of my comments directly. Why? You skeered? :-)

    When did I dispute that?

    In fact, the Catholic Church is still led by Jews. We are the true Jews who are baptized and receive the circumcision not made by human hands:

    Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    What you have not understood is that the early Church was led by men born of Jewish stock. But they left behind their heritage and counted it dung in exchange for Christ.

    Philippians 3:8
    Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    Try reading the Scripture according to the instructions of Scripture:
    2 Corinthians 3:6
    Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

    Then you might get a little understanding.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  188. So, to make sure I follow your argument, this is what I believe you are saying:
    SS: To knowingly eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, under any circumstances, is to partake of the table of demons. Or, if you know that the meat you are eating with other mature Christians that was simply purchased at the marketplace after having been sacrificed to idols, then you are partaking of the table of demons.
    I’m assuming that is your argument. If it’s not, then we’ve been arguing to no purpose.

    We are going to do some halakha here, since you insist that you are correct in eating meat that you know is sacrificed to idols with your mature christian friends. You are wrong:

    My argument is that Paul says:

    1. We are not to eat meat sacrificed in a pagan temple while participating in the pagan service.

    2. We are not to eat meat offered to us if our host says that it has been sacrificed to idols.

    3. We can eat whatever meat is sold in the market, asking no questions , for the earth is the Lord’s.

    Two inferences follow from the above:

    (a) From point 2, it follows that if the believer goes to the meat market and asks the question “Is this meat sacrificed to idols?”, he ought not to buy and eat. One can reason, well, if they say “no it has not been offered to idols”, why would he refuse? Because by the very act of asking the question, he is implying that idols might have some power over meat. He should not ask any questions, period, because the earth and the fullness therein is the Lord’s.

    (b) Likewise, following from point 2, if the believer goes to the meat market and is explicitly told “This meat was sacrificed to idols”, he ought not to buy and eat, and this even if his intention is to go and ‘hang out with his mature christian friends’ as you say. The only exemption Paul gives the believer when buying meat the market is this, “ask no questions”, it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    I asked you to prove that every time a person knowingly eats meat offered to idols, even at home when he did not participate in the pagan worship that offered it, that person is partaking of the table of demons. Aside from your own arguments, you quoted to me three sources that you think agree with you.

    1. Bailey—I’m not sure the point of this quote. Of course everybody knows that the Corinthian market was surrounded by temples and that the meat sold there was often, if not almost always, left over from pagan sacrifices. That’s the whole reason for Paul’s discussion and ours.
    2. Piper—I don’t know the larger context. If Piper is making the same argument you are, then he is wrong. I think Piper is wrong on several things.
    3. Ligonier—Apparently you think this quote agrees with you. It doesn’t. It is making the point I’m making.

    You agree that if a believer is in the temple, participating in the service and eating meat, this is a sin, worthy of rebuke and judgment by Christ. Why then, do you say that Jesus declared all foods clean? All foods means, ALL FOODS. That includes food distributed in the middle of a pagan service. So if Jesus declared all foods clean as you say (He did not, that issue was about hand washing for the Jews and not their dietary laws), why does He judge the church at Pergamos for eating food sacrificed to idols? He should have judged them for their immorality and temple participation, but not for eating, because according to your logic, the food was clean in and of itself and nothing.
    1 Cor. 10:14–22 makes the argument that “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
    What I am saying is that this is speaking to the context of pagan worship, not the context of what to do on Thursday night when you are hanging out with other mature Christian friends. The cup and table of the Lord are references to the Lord’s Supper, which was always conducted in the context of Christian worship. The cup and table of the demons must therefore be a reference to pagan worship. It is simply not talking about every situation where you know the food has been offered to idols

    If the cup and table of demons is always and everywhere pagan worship in a temple, why then does Paul give a condition involving knowledge to the Corinthians as it pertains to them buying meat in the market, i.e., said condition being “asking no questions”?

    If Paul believed as you did, that you can eat food you know has been sacrificed to idols in the company of mature christian friends, he would have said “Buy and eat whatever meat you find in the market, for nothing is clean or unclean”. But that’s not what he says, he adds in addition to the latter the “knowledge” condition, “asking no questions”.

    Secondly,

    “27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake;for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “

    Look at v 27: he says “if any of those who do not believe”, clearly pagans. Look at v 28: “But if anyone says to you….” This ‘anyone’ means anyone, either unbelievers or believers. The host could very well be a weak believer who thinks eating such meat is fine for him. If you wish to argue that anyone means only pagans, the burden of proof is upon you to prove it. You cannot appeal to v 27 and say “If any of those who do not believe” necessarily qualifies the ‘anyone’ in v 28, because if that’s the point Paul wanted to make, he would have simply said in v 28 “But if they say to you”. He doesn’t, instead he says “But if anyone …”.

    This is why you are mistaken in your insistence that you can eat food that you know is sacrificed to idols if you are in the company of ‘mature’ christian friends. And here’s another thought: mature christian friends do not buy stuff that is associated with evil or patronizes it, au contraire, they avoid it because they want to ‘flee idolatry’ as Paul says.

    Verses 23–30 talk about two different but related situations. One is the course of normal daily business and eating. This is the don’t ask, don’t tell situation, but even that is too simple because the buyers knew that about 95 percent of what was sold there was sacrificed to idols. Paul is basically saying, don’t worry because when food is offered to idols it does not become inherently contaminated and put you in a position in which you are fellowshipping with demons. If it did become so contaminated, there could be no circumstances at all under which it was okay to eat it. Plus, Paul says the food itself is nothing just a few verses earlier. It all depends on the context. You don’t eat meat while you are participating in pagan worship because you shouldn’t be participating in pagan worship.

    No, it’s not too simple, you’re basically saying that Paul’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy was silly. This begs the question, why did he give the instruction to not ask any questions at all then? When Paul says the food itself is nothing of itself earlier, he is affirming what he had taught them before, but he is not happy with the fact that they are not fleeing idolatry. If they had understood from the beginning that they were not to even remotely step foot in the temple, Paul would not have issued such a stern warning in Chapter 10 and given them halakhic instructions at all!

    This is further confirmed a few verses later when Paul says don’t knowingly eat meat sacrificed to idols when you are hanging out with the unbelievers—FOR THE SAKE OF THE UNBELIEVERS’ CONSCIENCE, NOT YOUR OWN. The fact that the meat has been left over from a sacrifice is in itself irrelevant. But if your pagan friend brings it up, it’s because he’s troubled by it and doesn’t want to harm the friendship, because he wants to make sure you are faithful to your Lord, maybe even because he wants to test you. He (falsely) believes that to have sacrificed the meat to an idol makes it inherently unclean for you and either cares too much about you to have you defile yourself (even though you really wouldn’t, but he doesn’t understand that) or because he’s testing your allegiance (maybe to ask, Does Robert really make Jesus is all or is he just like the rest of the blokes I know?) Either way, you don’t eat so that the friendship can be maintained, so that his conscience isn’t troubled or so that he doesn’t falsely interpret the situation and thereby DAMAGE THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THAT PERSON TO CHRIST.

    All this is besides my point. Regardless of the reason why, the bottom line I emphasize is that Paul says do not eat if your host says the meat was sacrificed to idols. You agree with this apparently. So if you agree, why then do you say Jesus declared all foods clean?

    And again, it can never be an issue about your own conscience because if you are a faithful and mature believer, you will do what Paul says, and not ask any questions when you are at the meat market. Your conscience cannot be tried for something it doesn’t acknowlege and something that it doesn’t know (see my inference (a) above).
    Paul is not talking in chapter 10 about what to do when Christians are hanging out and having dinner together or life within a specifically Christian context where everyone is a believer. That goes back to chapter 8, and there you don’t eat if it troubles a weaker brother FOR THE SAKE OF THE WEAKER BROTHER AND SO THAT HE IS NOT ENTICED INTO DOING SOMETHING THAT HE (FALSELY) BELIEVES IS NOT OF FAITH BUT IS SIN, FOR WHATEVER IS NOT OF FAITH IS SIN.
    So:
    1. Never eat meat while participating in a pagan worship service, because you should never be participating in a pagan worship service or festival that honors a pagan god, etc. etc. This is what Jesus is condemning in the book of Revelation, not the mere fact of knowingly eating meat offered to idols.
    2. Never eat meat in the context of fellowshipping with a nonbeliever if the nonbeliever has told you it has been sacrificed to idols, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE BUT FOR HIS.
    3. Never eat meat in the context of fellowshipping with a weaker believer who is troubled by past association by idols, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE BUT FOR HIS.
    4. Eat meat while fellowshipping with other strong Christians no matter where the meat is from because you all know that idols are nothing and that food offered to it is not inherently unclean. This is a good and necessary deduction from the explicit commands and reasons not to eat listed above. We are never told not to eat in a private setting because the food is inherently unclean. Paul in fact explicitly denies that. Our mere knowing the source of the meat cannot make it unclean. My knowledge is irrelevant as to whether something is unclean. The reason we are given not to eat is because how it will affect other people who are immature. It has nothing to do with partaking of demons because the way you partake of demons is not the mere fact of eating meat left over from their altars but by going to the altar/temple service with the pagans and taking part in their pagan worship.
    Apparently, you deny #4. I think you are wrong and have made argument as to why that is so. At this point I’m not going to say anything else about it because I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. But the Ligonier quote agrees with me, so don’t think I’m somehow not “toeing” the line of “my guys.” The fact that you can quote the Ligonier source as if it is contravening what I am saying shows that you are not paying attention either to what I am saying or what Ligonier is saying. Regardless of whether you like Ligonier—your irrational hatred of all things Calvinistic obviously means you don’t—you should at least use your sources more responsibly.

    Yes, #4 is wrong. Just because you know that idols are nothing, you ought not to knowingly endorse anything that has any association with demon worship. While the idols in and of themselves are nothing, the spiritual realities that they point to are real. That is why John Piper says not to be sharers in the cup and table of demons. Besides, why in the world would any believer knowingly buy food that has been offered up to idols and demons behind them? In the case of the Corinthians who were buying from the shambles, they had no choice because that was often the only meat they could afford, and there was a possibility that it had in fact not been offered to idols. So by not asking questions and thereby attributing any power to the idols, they were fine. But what excuse do you have? Has not Paul told you what fellowship does light have with darkness?

  189. Robert wrote:

    I’m not saying I don’t know what the WCF says about the issue at hand. This is an ecclesiological issue, and based on my reading of the confession it just doesn’t speak to the matter at hand directly. The divines weren’t even thinking about it. The confession can’t cover every possible scenario, if it did, it would be unreadable because it would be so darn long.

    That’s precisely my point: the ‘divines’ weren’t so ‘divine’. If they had any authority from God, they would have included instruction for Jewish believers as well. But as I said this is a gentile church built for gentiles only or converts to a gentile lifestyle only. There is no room at the inn for the Jewish believer who wants to be authentically Jewish, as the apostles were authentically Jewish, and as Jesus was Himself.

    So, no, you haven’t proved that WCF doesn’t allow for such things. That is the most ridiculous thing you’ve said yet. The PCA obviously thinks it is permissible under the confession, I’m in the PCA, so I’m going with their judgment, which is not objectionable to my reading of the confession.

    You just said above that the WCF doesn’t speak to the matter at hand ‘directly’. And I have shown why your quote of 21.5 is not even an indirect speaking to the matter at hand. Instead, it is a reformulation of Jewish practices to fit the mold of gentile worship. Now, regarding you being in the PCA, I am not contesting that. So what? What does being in the PCA have anything to do with anything.? You have no way of convincing anyone, especially not Baruch Maoz, a Hebrew Reformed pastor of all people, who believes that what you suggest is Judaizing.

    The fact that some Tom, Dick, and Harry might disagree signifies nothing more than when Messianic Jews disagree over how Jewish observance is to be practiced.

    The fact that both groups disagree amongst themselves only goes to show that I am correct in calling for repentance from all sides, and to make every effort to be at peace with each other, for the sake of the unity of the faith. I have never said that the answer is in this particular group, but always in a the conciliar process, as it is blessed by a humble willingness to recognize wrongs, sins and disunity, and to right these. Does that mean that I therefore don’t have beliefs about what doctrine? Of course not. But what I am not doing is sitting here, saying I am the true church and therefore I am going to judge everyone else as invalid and unsaved, as you do. When you throw everyone under the bus who isn’t PCA, that is basically what you do.

    Don’t fault the Westminster Divines for not thinking through this issue when it wasn’t presenting itself. There weren’t any Messianic Jews beating down the doors of the assembly or anywhere else for that matter. There was no conspiracy to keep them out—there weren’t any to keep out!

    What do you mean when it wasn’t presenting itself? Paul told them 2,000 years ago that the natural branches would be grafted back in, and they ought to have been ready and looking out for their older brother. No you have no excuse my friend. And again, it wasn’t a conspiracy, but wide open disdain for Jewish believers which only started to change in the 20th century. The authors of the WCF were inspired by both Calvin and Luther who were both virulent anti-semites.

    And I’ve said before, there are plenty of Messianic Jews who have no problem with the fact that there weren’t any Messianic Jews at the assembly. They think it is the most accurate summary of biblical doctrine available. Lord knows, we know you don’t agree, but you’re not a Messianic Jew so your opinion is really irrelevant on this specific matter. If the Messianic Jews in the PCA and your guys want to hash it out, that would be another matter.

    I can have an opinion, because I don’t claim to be an authority, you do on the other hand. Yes, that’s precisely what I advocate for, let the Messianic Jews debate it among themselves. But don’t for a minute believe that your little PCA is the bastion of truth and orthodoxy, it is not as I have amply shown on this site.

  190. SS,

    When you throw everyone under the bus who isn’t PCA, that is basically what you do.

    SS, I grew up Lutheran, attended Pentecostal Churches, was a member in the Church of the Nazarene, and participated in other groups long before I was in the PCA. The only person I’d throw “under the bus” is anyone who does not trust in Christ alone for salvation, but that is what Paul does.

    But don’t for a minute believe that your little PCA is the bastion of truth and orthodoxy, it is not as I have amply shown on this site.

    I don’t believe my “little PCA” is the bastion of truth and orthodoxy (what are you RC, now defending orthodoxy based on numbers?). There are many orthodox churches on the planet, even orthodox churches that aren’t Calvinists. Shocking that I might believe that, I know! If y0u weren’t so blinded by irrational hatred of all things Calvinist, you might actually know what I and other Calvinists believe. The PCA doesn’t believe it is the only true churc, and it has .

    The authors of the WCF were inspired by both Calvin and Luther who were both virulent anti-semites.

    Yes to the first, category error to the second.

    And I have shown why your quote of 21.5 is not even an indirect speaking to the matter at hand. Instead, it is a reformulation of Jewish practices to fit the mold of gentile worship.

    You looked up in a dictionary published in 1913 to determine what a sixteenth century confessional document means. Yeah, that’s about the caliber of scholarship that’ll get you respected. Have you ever read an edition of the confession of the catechism with Scripture proofs? The oaths and everything else listed there are cited with reference to the Hebrew Scriptures. Have you read the minutes of the assembly.

    If your biggest complaint and proof for the WCF error is that it was written by a bunch of Englishmen who didn’t know any Jews and didn’t come up with a section on Messianic Jews, then you are beyond help. You don’t want to learn. You just want to keep spitting on Calvin’s grave even while you enjoy all the rights you have because of Protestants. Presbyterians don’t believe the WCF is inerrant, they don’t believe it says everything that could be said. It is a confessional document outlining the core truths of the Bible. It is subject to amendment and correction, and it has been amended in history. You just have no idea what you are talking about here. It’s just embarassing for you, my friend.

    There’s enough in the WCF that I don’t agree with. Everybody has to start somewhere, however. There is no perfect confession of faith. I don’t particularly care that you don’t like the WCF. But your complaints about it because it doesn’t specifically mention Messianic Jews make about as much sense as me complaining that the council in Acts 15 doesn’t have a section on the proper use of the Internet for ministry.

    There is no room at the inn for the Jewish believer who wants to be authentically Jewish, as the apostles were authentically Jewish, and as Jesus was Himself.

    Ridiculous. If that were true, there would be no confessional church like the PCA with Messianic Jewish congregations. This is just your virulent anti-Calvinism coming out. You don’t know what you’re talking about and now you are just ranting and raving. Oh wait, because I can find some people who disagree on a message board somewhere, that must mean the WCF has no room at the inn for Jewish Christians. Yeah, that makes sense.

    What do you mean when it wasn’t presenting itself? Paul told them 2,000 years ago that the natural branches would be grafted back in, and they ought to have been ready and looking out for their older brother.

    So unless a confession thinks of every possible eventuality, it can’t be true. Well, I suppose if the Westminster divines claimed to be divinely inspired that criticism would make sense. Divine is just another term for theologian, its no claim to infallibility). I guess based on your logic the ruling of Acts 15 must be rejected because it does not speak to the specifics of buying meat in pagan marketplaces. I mean, the gathered Apostles should have known about that. They saw those marketplaces every day.

    You’ve become so myopically focused on this theory that we’re all blocking the way for Jewish believers to be received as Jews that you don’t even see it. You aren’t dealing with the “opposing side” (if one can call it that, because neither I nor many of your Reformed interlocutors want to kick Messianic Jews to the curb) fairly at all. Chillax.

  191. SS, I grew up Lutheran, attended Pentecostal Churches, was a member in the Church of the Nazarene, and participated in other groups long before I was in the PCA. The only person I’d throw “under the bus” is anyone who does not trust in Christ alone for salvation, but that is what Paul does.

    Baruch Maoz says you are a Judaizer. If you say to him, that Scripture says otherwise, he will quote Scripture too. How can both of you claim to have authority? Neither of you have any authority. Authority can only come from an institution put into place by God, such as the council of the church in Jerusalem, which included Jewish believers, not converts to a gentile faith, but Jews period.

    I don’t believe my “little PCA” is the bastion of truth and orthodoxy (what are you RC, now defending orthodoxy based on numbers?). There are many orthodox churches on the planet, even orthodox churches that aren’t Calvinists. Shocking that I might believe that, I know! If y0u weren’t so blinded by irrational hatred of all things Calvinist, you might actually know what I and other Calvinists believe. The PCA doesn’t believe it is the only true churc, and it has .

    Regardless, you claim authority for yourself when you claim to have the only true understanding of justification by faith, and of grace. You understand neither, but do both concepts a great disservice.

    The authors of the WCF were inspired by both Calvin and Luther who were both virulent anti-semites.

    Yes to the first, category error to the second.

    Anyone can read Calvin and Luther’s words about Jews for themselves. As Christ said, out of the heart the mouth speaks.

    You looked up in a dictionary published in 1913 to determine what a sixteenth century confessional document means. Yeah, that’s about the caliber of scholarship that’ll get you respected. Have you ever read an edition of the confession of the catechism with Scripture proofs? The oaths and everything else listed there are cited with reference to the Hebrew Scriptures. Have you read the minutes of the assembly.

    No, I didn’t look up a dictionary, I pointed out that the definition of terms in the WCF was derived from Webster, 1913. Again, there is no instruction in the WCF as to how Jewish believers are to walk, only instruction for gentile believers.

    If your biggest complaint and proof for the WCF error is that it was written by a bunch of Englishmen who didn’t know any Jews and didn’t come up with a section on Messianic Jews, then you are beyond help. You don’t want to learn. You just want to keep spitting on Calvin’s grave even while you enjoy all the rights you have because of Protestants. Presbyterians don’t believe the WCF is inerrant, they don’t believe it says everything that could be said. It is a confessional document outlining the core truths of the Bible. It is subject to amendment and correction, and it has been amended in history. You just have no idea what you are talking about here. It’s just embarassing for you, my friend.

    No, that’s not my biggest complaint, you simply misrepresent my earlier statement. I don’t spit on Calvin’s grave, I simply recognize him for who he was, a ravenous wolf of a false teacher. And its precisely Presbyterians and protestants who reference the WCF is not inerrant that they can never have any unity and any authority. That is precisely why you all are epistemologically bankrupt and why your positions reduce to solo scriptura. The only embarrassment is that the brits behind the WCF did not have the decency to heed Jesus’ warning about who they were to follow after, and Calvin and Luther were certainly not qualified to be their inspiration.

    There’s enough in the WCF that I don’t agree with. Everybody has to start somewhere, however. There is no perfect confession of faith. I don’t particularly care that you don’t like the WCF. But your complaints about it because it doesn’t specifically mention Messianic Jews make about as much sense as me complaining that the council in Acts 15 doesn’t have a section on the proper use of the Internet for ministry.

    More evidence of gentile boasting that Paul warned you not to do in Romans 11.

    SS: There is no room at the inn for the Jewish believer who wants to be authentically Jewish, as the apostles were authentically Jewish, and as Jesus was Himself.

    Robert: Ridiculous. If that were true, there would be no confessional church like the PCA with Messianic Jewish congregations. This is just your virulent anti-Calvinism coming out. You don’t know what you’re talking about and now you are just ranting and raving. Oh wait, because I can find some people who disagree on a message board somewhere, that must mean the WCF has no room at the inn for Jewish Christians. Yeah, that makes sense.

    You have argued that you are fine with those MJ congregations. But many among your ranks are not fine with them. Even Eric says that he is not comfortable with many aspects of their observance. Baruch Maoz is another who calls you Judaizers. How do you expect anything of what you say to have any authority? You have none.

    What do you mean when it wasn’t presenting itself? Paul told them 2,000 years ago that the natural branches would be grafted back in, and they ought to have been ready and looking out for their older brother.

    So unless a confession thinks of every possible eventuality, it can’t be true. Well, I suppose if the Westminster divines claimed to be divinely inspired that criticism would make sense. Divine is just another term for theologian, its no claim to infallibility). I guess based on your logic the ruling of Acts 15 must be rejected because it does not speak to the specifics of buying meat in pagan marketplaces. I mean, the gathered Apostles should have known about that. They saw those marketplaces every day.

    Jewish believers were never ‘every possible eventuality’. The apostles are the foundation of the church says Scripture. They were there from the beginning. It just goes to show how out of touch and blinded the gentile church eventually got to be.

    You’ve become so myopically focused on this theory that we’re all blocking the way for Jewish believers to be received as Jews that you don’t even see it. You aren’t dealing with the “opposing side” (if one can call it that, because neither I nor many of your Reformed interlocutors want to kick Messianic Jews to the curb) fairly at all. Chillax

    You call my arguing and discussion ‘inane rants’ and then ask me to ‘chill’? Take your own medicine my friend.

  192. Robert,

    Another question for you:

    You said earlier and repeatedly, that James’ and the church’s pronouncement at the end of Acts 15 was temporary in regards to food sacrificed to idols.

    How can you hold that belief and then turn around and tell me that you cannot eat food sacrificed to idols at a pagan worship service? You contradict yourself.

    The truth is that you are still bound by James and the Jersualem Council, whether you like it or not. Their conclusion has not been superceded in any way. That idea is the product of faulty protestant thinking.

  193. SS, And how does your hate for presbyterians and Calvinist and Luther and the gentile church differ from Luther’s antisemitism. Your a hypocrite. Telling Robert he does not know what JBFA is. He has the same authority as anyone else who is a believer to tell someone who places their faith in Christ their sins have been forgiven. That wasn’t given to an institution, but all of us. Man quit whining, its old. Paul said rejoice in the Lord always again i said rejoice. You can’t cure all the wrongs in the world. Do i understand why the church has persecuted the Jews historically. No, but the Jews weren’t saints either. They continued to turn their back on God. But when we are faithless he remains faithful. We should be fighting the Lord’s battles against the wrong gospel which is the only time Paul ever fought. Galations 1:9. Spurgeon said we can have no peace with Rome and they can’t have peace with us. He said this war, to the knife with her. We will love their priests and their people but hate their doctrines as the doctrines of devils. Don’t fight over the Jews ability to practice their customs in a gentile church. Fight for the gospel bro.

  194. Robert, Peter said, Acts 15:9 “and God made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now , therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus., in the same way that they are also,” Deuteronomy 14:21″ do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it a foreigner residing in your towns, and they may eat it or may sell it to any other foreigner. Are we to believe that we are bound by 4 laws and the Jews 613.

  195. Comment

  196. Merry Christmas everybody!

  197. Robert, this is MacArthur’s comment” James and other leaders did not want the Gentiles to revel in their freedom in Christ, which could cause the Jewish believers to follow that same liberty and violate their consciences. So James proposed that the Gentiles abstain from four pagan, idolatrous practices that were violations of the Law of Moses so as not to offend Jews. Food offered to pagan gods and then sold in temple butcher shops. Because idolatry was repulsive to Jews, and forbidden by God. they would avoid anything to do with idols, including meat offered to idols. The Gentiles were to avoid being offensive to Jewish sensibilities in their marriages and any relationship with opposite sex. Your thoughts?

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