113 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 9-15-18

  1. Morning all you are arriving on my day in mid afternoon. Welcome. I think my cold is finally getting better, though, I admit, I haven’t tried to speak today. I did buy some vitamin c yesterday.

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  2. Bonne Anniversaire, Kevin.

    Re: Yesterday, about why English translations of the Old Testament use LORD for Jehovah/Yahweh. Translators often consult previous translations of the Scriptures for precedents on how to translate certain words. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew New Testament, was used extensively by the early church, since much of the early church did not know Hebrew. The Septuagint, like the New Testament, uses kurios for Yahweh/Jehovah. The translators, for example, of the King James Version definitely consulted the Septuagint (they mention using it in their introductory note). That is why they used the English translation of the Greek kurios, lord, for Jehovah/Yahweh, placing it in all capital letters to signal when it was the tetragrammaton [tetragrammaton is the term used for the Hebrew word Yahweh/Jehovah, as it is simply written as four Hebrew consonants, and has been variously transliterated into English as Jehovah or Yahweh, depending on the understanding of how to pronounce the Hebrew consonants]. The New Testament writers often were quoting the Septuagint (which was translated before the New Testament era), as can be seen by how they worded their quotations from the Old Testament. Thus, the inspired writers of the New Testament treated the Greek translation of the Old Testament as having as much reliability as the Hebrew original.

    As for having encountered those evangelicals who say that we should use Yahweh for God in English (but not Jehovah, perhaps because the Jehovah’s Witness say that term is the only correct one for God), there is a whole movement towards that in modern evangelicalism. I have a blood relative who holds to that idea, always using Yahweh when speaking about God in his social media posts. I have read claims that the Septuagint translators were tainted by Babylonian paganism (another variation on the Babylonian conspiracy theory) and thus deliberately watered down the Old Testament by not using Yahweh, and instead introducing the pagan Greek kurios.

    The Babylonian conspiracy theory, as I have mentioned before, holds that certain of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity incorporated the Babylonian religion into their practices, and that was really what Jesus was reproving the scribes and the Pharisees for – a manifestly false interpretation, as Jesus said, in the opening of his reproof of the Pharisees, that: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat. Whatsoever, therefore, they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works, for they say and do not.” If Jesus had thought the scribes and Pharisees were tainted by paganism, he would not have said they sat in Moses’ seat and told his listeners to obey them. Jesus was angry at their hypocrisy, an interpretation so well established that the word Pharisee is now synonymous with hypocrite.

    There are many other modern evangelical trends based in this whole idea of the Jews being tainted by their stay in Babylon, such as objections to the term Shekinah when speaking of the glory of God hovering over the tabernacle and temple (they claim that because Shekinah is a feminine noun that its use is a coded message about the tainted Jews seeing God as feminine – apparently, they haven’t read Proverbs 8); the ridiculous attempt to link the English word Easter to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar (as if Anglo Saxons from northern Europe had some contact with Babylon in the Middle East), and the old chestnut about fallen angels mating with men in a gross misinterpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 (yet another theory contradicted by the plain meaning of Scripture – Matthew 22:30). The more I learn about what Babylonian conspiracy theory proponents think, the more I realize the truth of Paul’s warning to Timothy to refuse profane and old wives’ fables (I Timothy 4:7). I have found that many of those who promulgate such variations of the theory also hold heretical views about God, for example: I found, on reading the comments under one video that a blood relative shared on FB about how Hanukah was a pagan insertion into Judaism, that the maker of the video, although claiming to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, denied that Jesus Christ was fully God. Yet Christians, such as the relative who shared the video, keep on falling for these sensational claims.

    In its worst forms, the Babylonian conspiracy theory leads to anti-Semitism, as the holders of hardcore forms of the theory say the Jews are still behind all worldly ills, infecting all levels of Western government with their Satanic Babylonian religion and end up claiming that the Nazi Holocaust was both justifiable anger and not as bad as it is made out to be. You can all guess from where I have learned about those particularly horrible claims – but I also have blood relatives (evangelical Christians) that at least believe in the part about there being a Satanic religion infecting all levels of Western government, but who also support Israel in all that country does. The Babylonian conspiracy theory takes on many forms, but it is ultimately based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Word of God. The Bible isn’t telling about a dualistic world, where Satan struggles with God for domination and Satan has a vast organized network of human minions who deliberately plot to do evil. The Bible is about a world that is created and sustained by God, where the struggles of God’s enemies are futile, chaotic, and already defeated by Jesus Christ, where humans are naturally fallen and enslaved and in desperate need of salvation, and where God works everything out for good to them that love Him.

    I also know that not all those who fulminate for the use of Yahweh in English, as if it was somehow wrong to use the English LORD and God, understand from what kind of school of thought the modern trend to repudiate the use of the word LORD ultimately stems from. But, an understanding of the Scripture shows that the trend is not from any legitimate spiritual concerns. As Christians, every believer has the Spirit of God to guide them into all truth (John 16:3. It did not occur to English speaking Christians in previous generations that there was anything wrong with using LORD and God. They did not have any less of the Spirit of God than we have. This new trend is not from the Spirit of God, who, through the Apostles, warned against those who did not consent to wholesome doctrine but wrangled over words (I Timothy 6:3-5, also verses 20-21). Those who began questioning the use of kurios in the Septuagint were wrangling over words, and the theories associated with that questioning show that they also did not consent to sound doctrine. I grew up being exposed to all these theories from books I found around Christians’ houses and from adult Christians who had not been well taught (not my parents, although some of the books were owned by my father, who had little time to read them). It was a relief to come into maturity and realize that all of that was unnecessary to my Christian walk, but I am seeing the same theories being perpetuated in the next generation by yet more unstable Christians.

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  3. I should mention, so you can see the link more clearly, that the blood relative who shared the highly questionable video on FB about Hanukah being a pagan insertion is the same blood relative who insists on using Yahweh for God. He is also the relative who really likes Francis Chan’s Secret Church movement (now you know why I have such grave objections to Francis Chan).

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  4. Morning! And Happy Birthday Kevin!! 🎂
    No rain here but we sorely are in need of it!
    Praying your cold is remedied soon Jo…they are no fun at all…and continued prayers that your arm rash goes away quickly Chas….my Dad would always say “if it’s not one thing it’s another”!! 😊
    We had another gathering last evening at my neighbor’s home under construction. What a lovely evening sitting under the stars, fellowshipping and laughing til it hurt. Some of these guys can tell stories like none other. They surely could take their act on the road!

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  5. The Septuagint was the Greek translation of the OT. The NT was written in Greek. It is called Septuagint, because, as I was taught. seventy translators in Egypt translated the Hebrew to Greek in seventy days.
    Leaswtwise, that’s the tradition.

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  6. Hanukah was likely the celebration Jesus was attending in John 10:22. It was called the “dedication” because the temple was cleansed after Antiochus Ephipines performed the abomination of sacrificing a sow on the altar. The miracle of the oil burning for seven days; since they couldn’t replenish it. It is the oldest religious celebration I know of. .

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  7. Chas, yes, I meant to say the Septuagint was the translation of Hebrew Old Testament, but the word New snuck in there without my noticing. And I agree about Jesus observing Hanukah. My knowledge of the Feast of Dedication that Jesus attended helped me understand just how wrong both my relative and the maker of the video he shared were. As I said, there are many badly educated Christians out there who are straying into error by false teachers who promulgate sensational theories.

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  8. ¡Feliz cumpleaños, Kevin!

    If mumsee thinks you’re much younger, and thus, more immature, that means that she is much, much younger than I and so is much more immature. (Trying to use some logic, here. I know, logic escapes some people.)

    BTW- There is still an hour or so for you to pick your football choices. Only 5 participating this time.

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  9. Roscuro, I hadn’t heard about that particular sect or that particular belief system. But I can assure you that they are not the only ones who say that God gave us His covenant name, Yahweh, and using the more generic “Lord” instead is not at all a helpful translation choice. Two different names are translated “Lord” in the King James and most other versions, so they are distinguished by being Lord and LORD (capital L and small caps ord for Yahweh), a distinction that is almost meaningless. In fact, most books that quote Scripture do not keep that distinction, rendering both simply “Lord.” Copy and paste from Bible Gateway and you’ll probably just get “Lord,” since software like that used in WordPress doesn’t seem to permit small caps.

    My former, retired pastor, who would now be about 80 and was I think a real language scholar, was one of those people who always read the LORD passages as Yahweh. And my husband chafes at such crazy results of that translation choice (to designate it as LORD, not Yahweh) as this:

    God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.” (Exodus 6:3)

    God here is saying, “Moses, you may call me by my covenant name; that is how new and intimate this relationship is.” But translators are saying, “Whoa, no, that’s too much. Let’s not.”

    Those who have spent time around Jews, either those practicing Judaism or many of those converted to Christianity, know that they avoid using the name of God. They will, in writing, put G-d or J—s. God gave them His name, but in fear of breaking the commandment against using the name of God in vain, they chose not to use it at all. That isn’t an extra level of holiness; that’s superstition.

    Oh, and I haven’t researched this, but an elder / Sunday school teacher / professor who knew the biblical languages said that the New Testament used the Septuagint selectively, since some portions were translated well and others weren’t. It would seem to be like quoting the King James, not like citing the original or an inspired translation. Obviously those passages included in Scripture are themselves inspired in translation, but I don’t think it is safe to say the translation itself was flawless.

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  10. I too would like to hear more about the “secret church” movement. I have a brother who has asked me about Francis Chan (he likes him), and though I that there was some reason for concern, I have not studied him, read him, etc. and had nothing to tell him (except that I haven’t read him).

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  11. Roscuro, I ran your comments by my husband for his thoughts, and he pointed out that your argument is guilt by association. Just because one false sect is arguing for the use of Yahweh does not invalidate the argument itself. Also, I understand that no one knows for sure the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, largely because of the Jewish refusal to use the name, but it is now believed more likely that it is a hard Y than a J (Yahweh as opposed to Jehovah), though we can only guess what the vowels were since the language was written without vowels (or word spaces or capitals, as I understand).

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  12. Peter L, that would make sense however, studies and anecdotal evidence point to the FACT that boys mature much more slowly than girls, so obviously, by this age…..well, I won’t say more.

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  13. What I liked about Francis Chan: we need to love God with all our hearts (as only God can work through us), taking the time to read His Word and listen as well as bring our concerns and adoration to him, and because of that, we will love our brethren through service. I did not see anything wrong there.

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  14. Painter is here early, I think he realized his mistake in using the dark-tinted primer under wood on the patio that will be painted cream, not the darker brandywine being used on the stucco base of the house. But he did some patch comparisons and insists it doesn’t make any difference anyway. I can’t tell (nor do I think he can tell) just by a “sight” test in a shady area. I think he is being a bit defensive. But I also told him that going forward we probably should use a lighter primer under areas that will be getting the lighter top coats.

    You’d think since this has been going so slowly it would at least get done right … I’m trying not be too “picky,” but that struck me as obvious (using lighter primer under lighter top coats). Now I feel like I need to keep a pretty close watch on it all. We’ve talked about the color placements forever and thought he had it pretty much down.

    (The other thing he’ll do is try to argue for changing color schemes or placements; but that’s what I paid the historic house guy for last year — to come up with this color plan and placements, not the dog park handyman’s notions of, hey, why don’t you do this color here? I’ve never painted a house exterior before and don’t plan to do it again so I just wanted to get it ‘right’ rather than have to live with something that was an impulsive “guess” for colors, mine or someone else’s).

    Also dealing today with neighbors who are covering their side of the house with plastic to make sure none of the sprayer paint gets onto their home. Neighbors have been great, but also are none too happy with how horribly long this ordeal is taking. My guy should have been the one to cover their house but I don’t think they trusted him, frankly. I offered to pay for the plastic they’re buying but they said no … I’ll have to do something for them when this is all over with, they’ve kind of been “through it” with me, from the roof to the foundation to the driveway sewer line all going on right next door to them with all the noise and dust. I think I also owe her a counseling fee for listening to me moaning and groaning through these past couple of years!

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  15. Loving God with all our hearts — impossible, of course, which is why we need Christ.

    I still remember the opening of our sermon series on the 10 Commandments — our pastor said one result would be that we’d all realize anew how bad we all are, every day, at keeping God’s commandments.

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  16. I don’t know if I need to make painter redo the patio area with the more appropriate primer now. He said he would (if I insisted, he implied). It’s his mistake. It’s in the back of the house and generally is the underside of the patio wood overhang along with the supporting posts. So maybe it’s fine since it’s back there anyway, but he almost was trying to convince me it didn’t matter going forward for priming the wood trim around windows, etc., and that’s where I said definitely not. I can’t believe that it won’t alter the light topcoat color.

    Ugh. Well, since I have to go to the paint store anyway to buy more plain primer, I’ll run it by them and see what they think.

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  17. And we need more tinted primer since they blew through so much of that yesterday (putting it where it really shouldn’t have gone).

    Neighbor is leaning on them to finish that one side of my house by tomorrow as they don’t want to live with protective plastic draping over their house for any longer than that, especially since husband is having 2nd eye cataract surgery Monday and won’t be able to deal with plastic sheeting, taking down, putting up, etc.

    And the beat goes on …

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  18. Oh, Donna. How discouraging yet again. Deduct the cost of the replacement primer from his payment.

    We’re in Sherwood Park today. Husband is working and the dogs and I are hanging out at the hotel. We’ll head out for a walk and then lunch shortly. After lunch I’m going to a used bookstore to look for treasures. 🙂

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  19. Cheryl, the New Testament usage of kurios for Yahweh alone is enough to make clear that using the tetragrammaton of Yahweh is not necessary for preaching or believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is enough grounds for saying that teaching that we should use Yahweh when speaking of God is wrangling about words. I went into detail about the sources where I heard such teaching from to demonstrate that the argument existed in evangelical circles.

    In past struggles of faith, I once encountered the sly mental argument that how could we know the New Testament was really the fulfillment of the Old, seeing that Yahweh/Jehovah is never used in the New Testament. It is a devilish argument to counteract if one places too much emphasis on Yahweh being the only legitimate personal name of the Creator of heaven and earth. It was while battling that entirely mental battle of my own (I was influenced by arguments that I had read for using Yahweh, but the suggestion to doubt the NT on those grounds was entirely unvoiced, so that I recognized it as an arrow of spiritual attack), and reading the Bible and about the word choices in the Bible, that I began to understand that the words used for the almighty Creator are not as important as the modern evangelical community seems to think they are. I am not saying we should use Zeus, or Brahma, or Jove, or Thor, as substitutes for God, as those are clearly defined false deities with drawn out characters that do not match the character of God, but the use of whatever language’s word for the Supreme Being or Creator or Deity to speak of the God of Christianity is entirely appropriate. It is what the Apostles did, in using theos and kurios, and we have no need to set ourselves up as being more spiritual than the Apostles.

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  20. Since languages are a passionate interest of mine, I cannot help observing that linguistically and phonetically, using J for the first Hebrew consonant in the tetragrammaton Yahweh/Jehovah is as legitimate as using Y, and the same for the third consonant, which has been transliterated as both W and V. In the Indo-European languages, J and Y, as well as V and W (and also B) are frequently interchangeable consonants, especially in dealing with consonants from non Indo-European languages. Nowhere is the interchangeability of J and Y consonants more obvious than in the Western languages rendering of Christian names of Hebrew/Aramaic origin: Joseph, James, Jacob, John and of course, Jesus. The English speakers pronounce them with a hard J, more like a soft G. In Celtic languages, the J of those names becomes more of a Y sound, as in the Gaelic form of John, which is Ian. Peter will attest that the J or Y sound becomes entirely aspirated in those names in Spanish, as in Juan, and Jacobo, and Jesus. The Germans compromise by spelling with a J but pronouncing it as a Y, as in Johannes. The Germans, of course, are notorious for mixing V and W, while the English regional Cockney accent famously switches V and W, as demonstrated by the Cockney character Samuel Weller (or as the character pronounced his name, “Veller”) in Dickens’ The Pickwick [Cockney pronunciation: Pickvick] Papers”. Peter could tell you more about the ambiguity between the Spanish B and V, but it is a very subtle difference to English ears; and I noticed, in watching Hindi language films, that even they switch the W, V, and B sounds all the time in words, depending on the speakers’ accent. So, it is entirely an esoteric linguistic argument about whether Yahweh or Jehovah is more accurate to ancient Hebrew pronunciation. Something that is up for good natured debate, but is of no spiritual significance whatsoever.

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  21. I had to make a run to the paint store for more primer and asked them about the accidental use of tinted under what will be a light top coat and they said should not matter so we’ll let the back of the house & dark primer on patio go.

    They have managed to mostly finish the north side of my house with the tinted primer which was good progress. The neighbor (who is now hated by painters, but they didn’t have a great relationship anyway) at least managed to light a fire under them today with her deadline of “by the end of Sunday” get that wall done or else.

    They’re a-scramblin’

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  22. Roscuro, I never said that it is necessary for preaching or believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or that we are more spiritual than the apostles if we do so. I said it would have been better to have kept His name in the Old Testament than to replace it with a generic.

    As to whether we are seeing it as more important than those who wrote Scripture, I doubt it, simply because most of us don’t see names as very important at all, and they did. Names had meaning and significance. In modern cultures, we are likely to choose a name just because it’s pretty or name a child for someone we admire (someone we may not even know personally). We use nicknames at will. Names held far more importance than that in Scripture, which is one reason we have multiple instances of God changing someone’s name (Abram, Sarai, Simon Peter, Saul, etc.). For God to tell humans His name was super significant.

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  23. I almost included this in my earlier (3:01) comment, but wasn’t sure how to write it. Would it matter if the New Testament left out the name Jesus? What if the translators had decided that it was disrespectful to use His name, so they translated every use of “Jesus” as “Son”? Would it matter?

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  24. God didn’t tell us His name. When Moses asked Him for His name outright, what was God’s reply? It was, “I AM THAT I AM.” (Genesis 3:13-14). In essence, God told Moses that He has no need for identifiers because HE IS. Yahweh is, in Strong’s, defined as meaning “the self-Existent, the Eternal” – it comes from the Hebrew root hayah meaning “to be” (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3068&t=KJV). The term refers to the fact that God, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, was, is, and ever shall be. The Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus calling himself in Revelation 1 the Alpha and Omega (Greek letters), the beginning and the end, was saying He was the One who identified Himself to Moses as I AM. The only proper name that we have in Scripture is for God the Son after His incarnation, Jesus, which is the Anglicized rendering of the Greek Iesous, which is sometimes rendered in Hebrew as Yeshua (shortening of Yehoshua – the same as the English Joshua), meaning, “God saves”. Incidentally, there is a whole body of argument that claims we shouldn’t use Jesus, but Yeshua, as that was Jesus’ ‘real’ name, and its proponents do not scruple to condemn the English version as Satanic. That is where the argument about what name to use for God ultimately leads – legalism about whether one is saved or not by how one pronounces Jesus’ name. The names Yahweh and Yeshua become a Shibboleth for who is saved or not so that those whose tongues cannot frame to pronounce them right are doomed to perdition (Judges 12:5-6).

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  25. Cheryl, in Hebrews 7:21, the writer quotes Psalm 110:4, which reads: “The LORD (Yahweh/Jehovah in Hebrew) swore and will not repent…”, which in the Hebrews 9:4 passage is in the Greek kurios (also transliterated kyrios, depending on the linguist – the vowel sound in the Greek doesn’t correspond exactly to either English vowel). Jesus also quotes this Psalm (110:1) in his argument with the Pharisees: “The LORD (Yahweh) said unto my Lord.” In the Greek gospel, it looks like Jesus says in Matthew, Mark, and Luke: “The LORD (kurios) said unto my Lord (kurios)” (https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/mar/12/36/t_conc_969036). So, the argument that using LORD for Jehovah/Yahweh is confusing breaks down when we consider that is exactly what the Apostles and Gospel writers did, they used kurios for both LORD and Lord in Psalm 110:1.

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  26. Mumsee, my distrust of Chan is based in the fruits of what I see in my relatives (there is another in that same branch of the family who also likes Chan’s ‘Secret Church). Both my relatives are markedly ill taught in the proper weighing of Scripture, tending to jump on bandwagons as they pass. The fact that they like to participate in Secret Church tells me that Chan is not teaching his followers well – they are not equipped to sift truth from error. I also see a tendency in both relatives to distrust established churches, while being drawn to Chan’s Secret Church, with one hosting Secret Church gatherings in his house. The New Testament epistles make it clear that each local church is to have their own elders and deacons. What Chan is creating with Secret Church is pockets of Christians who listen to him instead of attending a local church.

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  27. Good afternoon. I went to a nice mini writer’s seminar today where I was in a class about social media and another class about writing magazine articles. I really like this group which overlaps with my Word Weavers group. I joined this one today partly because the event with lunch was free, and I want to support this group although they mostly meet at night and I can’t navigate Atlanta expressways at night right now.

    The skies have been spectacular lately. I may send a photo to AJ.

    Miss Bosley is glad to have her lap back home. This a.m. she sat in Art’s lap while I made our breakfast. He said it would never be her first choice.

    Looking forward to the Pigskin Picks results. I won at least once last year so that whetted my appetite.

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  28. Hmmm, maybe he has taken a wrong turn somewhere, or maybe your sources are confused as to what he is teaching. I watched several of the you tubes and he always seemed to be saying, “Come to know God, if you don’t; serve Him and not people by serving people; be in a local church body with local authority of those who love Him and desire to serve Him; don’t just go to church like it is a Sunday morning entertainment event, but get involved.” Of course, that might just have been my take. Guess it is time to continue praying for him and his family.

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  29. Happy Birthday, Kevin!

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    ChoppedToastedPecansSprinkledOn
    WholeToastedPecansSurroundCake
    GingerbreadMen&LadiesCircleCake
    (RepresentAllTheBlogFamilyWishing
    KevinAVeryHappyBirthdayFor2018)

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  30. Mumsee, I didn’t say Chan was teaching all the things my relative holds to, such as only using Yahweh and subscribing to conspiracy theories, but rather that Chan’s teaching, which I know my relative is listening to, as he shares Chan’s messages on FB, is inadequate in helping my relative to become mature enough to reject those other very questionable beliefs that he holds to.

    However, I realize, on investigating that Chan’s movement is called We Are Church, and it is David Platt who is promulgating Secret Church. My relatives have shared both Platt and Chan’s messages, so that is why I mixed the names of the people and the movements. I have questions about Platt and his movement, which is also in competition with the local church (it was set up to imitate a house church setting, and simultaneous podcasts by Platt are sent out to those holding Secret Church meetings in their homes, once again, as if he had a multi-site church with many tiny branches). But here are Chan’s goals for the We Are Church movement, with quotes of just what Chan thinks should be the pastor’s role: http://wearechurch.com/structure-1/
    When we gather as a church, rather than having the pastor preach a sermon, we have a discussion led by the pastor around what everyone read through the week.We have intentionally structured things to create space for everyone in the body to contribute in the gatherings and in everyday life…

    The pastors have an important calling to lead and shepherd, but it doesn’t mean that they are the only voice that needs to be heard. We don’t have long monologue sermons in our house gatherings because we don’t want any one person to dominate things.

    Our pastors lead the Scripture discussion in gatherings, and a big task for them is to draw people into utilizing their gifts. Leaders shouldn’t be dominating the discussion. They might be quiet at points, even if no one has anything to say, so that the church feels the weight of the need of everyone contributing with what they have received from the Lord that week.

    In your gatherings, at points you might want to call out for the prophets in your church. Ask to see if anyone has a sense of having received something from the Spirit…

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  31. Chan’s brilliant idea has been tried before. Gothard released a book to ATI families titled The Sevenfold Power of First Century Churches. In it, he advocated for ATI families to form their own house churches, and some did, including a few that we knew. The last I heard (from a mutual relative) the daughter of one of those families now hosts a church with her husband in their home in which dancing as a spiritual expression forms a part of the service. Gothard would have completely disapproved of the dancing, but that is what happens when Christians go solo without a structured church with elders and deacons.

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  32. That all sounds quite reasonable to me, after having heard Chan speak. In the past, and unless things have changed, still is, talking about what people have learned from the Bible that the Spirit has made more clear to individuals over the week. Not about people coming up with random new relevations. Just as we believers on here might say, “This is what the Lord has been teaching me this week…I need to take every thought captive” or whatever.

    Still concerned about the Secret Church thing. I did see one topic, which I did not pursue, that came up with Secret Church and Francis Chan, something about how the gospel is going to become hate speech at the rate we are going in this country. I took it to mean something similar to the underground churches in certain countries.

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  33. Mumsee, I have seen that kind of model that Chan promulgates at work, only it was at a Bible study, not a church gathering. In fact, I have seen it in two different Bible study gatherings that I had occasion to attend over the years. In neither was it a good idea. The people were as sheep without shepherds, floundering in their attempts to explain the passages they were reading using their individual opinions, and with no Philip the evangelist to come alongside and explain what they were reading. They were only Bible studies, I cannot imagine having the entire church service be like that.

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  34. How to people get to the point of being elders and deacons and pastors? Can’t they take what they learned and move into the populace? Isn’t that what church planting is? Our church in Nezpere is a Southern Baptist Church. They say they are autonomous. They get to run their church their way. How is that different from a house church? And I do realize that a house church can very quickly devolve into something ugly, that is why the participants are warned to be wary of false teaching and have Bibles.

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  35. Come to think of it, a lot of mainstream churches can devolve into something ugly. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in, and being discerning with His guidance. But that too can be interpreted and reshaped into “the Holy Spirit told me to have seventy wives”.

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  36. We now have tinted primer (2 colors as they apparently gave me the wrong formula in the batch I bought today) over the north wall and the front of the house. So beginning to get a “feel” for what the new look will be, though the real color will be much prettier.

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  37. I will say, as a young believer, when I first started attending church, I only thought of Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, figuring all the others might be cults or weird sects. With nobody to advise me, I attended the Methodist because I had heard my grandmother had at one time. They baptized me. One time the youth group went to the home of the youth leaders (man and wife) and they had stacks of Playboy on their coffee table. I decided that church was not for me and moved on to Presbyterian. Why did I think that only long organized churches were authentic? Why can’t the Body of Believers get together and have church, holding each other accountable? The discernment of the Holy Spirit should be used of course. But there are good groups of people all over the world meeting for fellowship and call it church. I don’t see the formal thing as being the only way.

    I do believe we are to be using the Bible, not some person’s opinion or “special revelation” and we need to be diligent about that. And other bodies of believers should be aware and willing to stick their noses in if necessary. But I see nothing in Scripture saying we must attend a certain church with a certain format run by certain people.

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  38. Mumsee, quick answer to your question, the Bible gives instructions about the church, including the presence of deacons and elders, an authority structure, the elders teaching the flock and warning against false doctrine, the service being done decently and in order, etc. Today we have a lot of men who have basically ordained themselves and call themselves pastors or teachers and are under no one’s authority. Bill Gothard is but one example; his “ministry” has done real damage to the church and to individuals and families, but with no one to hold him accountable and in a church culture that hates to be “negative,” he got away with it for decades. I’d be very leery of a group that doesn’t find any denomination they agree with but wants the authority of being called a church.

    I have a close relative who has attended more than one church that chooses not to be accountable to others, and some of their beliefs are clearly contrary to Scripture. One of those churches, the pastor is clearly guilty of spiritual abuse and even of allowing crime(s) with witnesses, within the church building, to go unreported. Lack of accountability is dangerous in several ways.

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  39. but what is the accountability? Who decided Methodists could exist? Who decided Presbyterians could? It comes down to a group of people deciding they would be a church. Just because it happened a couple hundred years ago does not make it the only way. Or we might all be Waldensians or something. Catholic maybe.

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  40. A group of believers can get together, come up with a constitution and by laws, elect elders and deacons, run an orderly service that may not look just like yours, and still call themselves a church. We see disagreement all the time between the main bodies. How is this different? I am sure you believe your denomination has a lock on truth, that is the reason most folks attend their church. They don’t generally attend a church unless they agree with what is being taught.

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  41. It sounds more and more like some sort of hierarchy of believers. Some are better than others and I know you don’t believe that.

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  42. No, Mumsee, I don’t believe in a hierarchy of believers, but I do believe that truth matters. If a group of people stranded from all other believers (the stereotypical “desert island”) finds a Bible, comes to Christ, and decides to meet weekly and worship God, that is appropriate worship (even if they get a lot of things wrong, as they likely will). If a person is in prison for his faith and cannot meet with his church family at all, but can pray and worship God privately, that too is appropriate worship. In China, official, state-sanctioned churches operate under government rules, and frequently the more faithful house churches operate privately and secretly and with less structure–by necessity.

    Those circumstances are all much different from what we face today. Operating without accountability or connection to other believers is not the biblical pattern for a church. Pastors are not to “ordain” themselves, and those who choose to do so are often wolves.

    Do I think my denomination has a lock on truth, absolutely not. But I do believe they take it very seriously, as they also take outreach very seriously. We chose our church before we chose the city where we are living, that is how seriously we take it that a church deal correctly with the holiness of God and His stated desires for His church.

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  43. Roscuro @ 2:59 pm Yes, I can attest to the Spanish J sounding like a very hard (almost gutteral) English H. But some dialects pronounce both the J and the Y (along with LL) as a soft English J. My Grandmother, and other Spanish speakers, pronounced English names beginning with J as a Y. My brother was known a Jimmy when he was young,and Grandma always called him “Yee-mee”.

    And the B and V are identical sounding in Spanish, with two different phonemes (sounds, in lay terms), depending on where in the word they are, either as a stop like our B, or a voiced bilabial fricative (linguistic terms), which is made by putting the lips together, blowing and using the vocal chords. There is no equivalent sound in English. Our V is lower lip to upper teeth.

    Thus ends your linguistic lesson for the day. No homework since it’s Saturday night.

    You’re dismissed.

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  44. When the church I attend now was accused (ridiculously, but still …) of being a “cult” some 25+ years ago, it prompted our pastor to ask, How do we know we’re not a cult? The church was a Branch of Hope (Pentecostal) plant but was formally (very) independent and answered to no one but themselves.

    That led the elders at the time to travel down a multi-year process of examining the ancient church creeds and catechisms, realizing that that there was a wealth of church history that they could draw on — from some of the brightest theological minds there were.

    (Why do we think we somehow know more than some of those who were the spiritual and theological giants of the church during a much more disciplined and thoughtful time?)

    Our church (this was all before I joined) ended up adopting the Westminster Confession of Faith which has stood the test of time and, then, joining with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I transferred to the church after that when our own very small OPC church was struggling and shrinking dramatically for a host of reasons.

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  45. Wait, Mumsee, I just realized I assumed you were saying this to me: “It sounds more and more like some sort of hierarchy of believers. Some are better than others and I know you don’t believe that,” but you didn’t say that you were writing to me, and I didn’t say anything to suggest I believe that, so I’m sorry if I butted in on a comment to someone else.

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  46. I think what our elders and pastor discovered was that the popular and present-day or recent evangelicalism of the west — of which they were a part and had been nurtured in — had its own “orthodoxy” with commercially popular books & authors. (The “cult” charge made against our church back in the day came when an attender accused the church of that because the pastor had dared to criticize Kay Arthur; but since when was she the test of Christian orthodoxy?).

    The church (as a whole) had separated itself from its own rich and deep history, adopting the ‘popular’ and being ignorant of the theology that was foundational to the church, especially in our Reformed Protestant tradition, for several centuries.

    Why did we think that was wise?

    The popular culture had (and has) invaded much of western ‘evangelicalism’ (following the wayward and leftward lurch of the mainline churches) but evangelicalism itself was (and is) now in danger of basically “winging it,” enamored with every popular “spiritual” trend that comes down the pike.

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  47. So my house is half kind of pinkish-brown and half brownish-pink. All mis-matched primer, so there’s still hope that the top coat will somehow look the same.

    But who knows what I will end up with?

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  48. On the work front, I feel a little bit empowered — I’ve “unfollowed” (but not unjoined) the closed 10,000-member FB activist group that basically was bullying me personally and the paper in general.

    That means their angry and really sometimes ugly posts won’t be appearing in my FB news feed, at least.

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  49. I greatly respect the theologians of the past who took the time to think and pray and discuss these things that most churches have come to accept. What churches did they belong to? Again, how do we determine when a church is not a church and when it is? How do we determine when somebody is an elder and when he isn’t? I really am curious. I have been in a wide variety of churches over the years, start ups and established. Military chapels and Baptist missionary churches. Missionary churches that never mentioned what denomination had sent them and they ministered to people from all walks of the Christian faith. I just don’t recall any sort of special thing that made them elders other than being asked by the church authorities or asking to be one.

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  50. Awesome as our church has just launched (last week) a whole sermon series on “the church” — what it is, what it was meant to be in the NT, how to know if yours is within the fold. …

    _____________________________________

    “We opened with a pretty remarkable promise by Jesus (“On This Rock: An Unkept Promise? Matt. 16:18). He promises that He will build His church upon a rock. He then promises that this church He builds will advance in such a way as to overcome the gates of hell. And yet, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the gates of hell are (at least in our culture) appearing to prevail. Professions of faith in Christ are down. Church attendance is down. Biblical immorality is on the rise. The waning of godliness, at least within our own borders, seems obvious. What do we make of this? …

    Prior to Christ, Israel possessed a unique place as God’s light on the earth. This could be compared to the single strand of light of an ascending firework on a dark night. When Christ would come, that firework would explode and light up the entire sky. Just how bright Jesus will make that sky is difficult to say with pure accuracy.

    I quite enjoy the words of Isaac Watts in his great Christmas hymn ‘Joy to the World’ where he suggests that the blessings of Christ will flow as ‘far as the curse is found.’ But one needn’t be overly optimistic to arrive at the exegetical/biblical conclusion that the promises associated with the (first) coming of Jesus are quite extraordinary, as suggested by the promise in our opening text that the gates of hell ‘shall not prevail.’ …

    … (So) Is this an unkept promise? First, let us all recognize that when Christ makes a promise it is as good as kept. Let us also recognize that the trajectory of the great promise is filled with vicissitudes (ups and downs). That is to say that the brightening of that dark sky happens over a long period of time and contains eras where the three steps forward are followed by two steps backward. the sky, though ultimately getting brighter, will have periods where it is darker.”‘…
    ____________________________________

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  51. More:

    _______________________

    “A great 20th century irony is how so many organizations have hijacked the word ‘church’ and how many churches have sought to distance themselves from the word. My friend (mentioned in the sermon earlier) had no problem calling the ocean his ‘church.’ There is the church of religious science and the church of spiritual healing. There is even the First Church of Atheism. It is not uncommon for professing Christians to view an informal Bible study or times of personal prayer as their church.

    At the same time, many churches have chosen to abandon the name, preferring titles such as ‘Christian fellowship’ or ‘Christian center.’ Be that as it may, the word ‘church’ has become a very liquid and undefined term. This is not a new problem.

    Shortly after the Reformation of the 16th century, when many Christians felt liberated form the constraints of the Roman Catholic Church, there was a sort of ecclesiastical pandemonium taking place. It became like a religious Spring Break for many professing believers who recklessly organized churches which didn’t (in the eyes of many learned believers) appear to be true churches at all.

    This was something that many Roman Catholics feared would happen and they were correct. Even Luther (who also anticipated that this might happen if he translated the Bible into the common language, but thought it was worth it) was horrified at what was taking place in these neo-religious communities. The issue had to be addressed post-haste.

    What makes a church a church? One of the earliest Protestant confessions … The Belgic Confession offered a description of the defining marks of a true church that has remained the gold standard for centuries:

    ‘The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church — and no one ought to be separated from it.’

    … Prayer, singing, fellowship, love, giving, acts of service and mercy and so forth should be happening (as well), but are not restricted to that organism called the church (an organism with pastors, elders and deacons). Believers can, and are encouraged to, pursue those activities both publicly and privately. … (and) Those other necessary attributes are the Spirit generated fruit of a church that remains committed to its prime directive of word, sacrament and discipline. …

    … It is no stretch to say that these marks (of the true church) are a flickering wick in western evangelicalism. The very largest churches with the highest amount of media output (and please don’t take my words as heavy-handed or mean-spirited) appear bereft of preaching a true gospel. The sacraments are either misunderstood or neglected and church discipline (which is the most difficult and loving thing a church can extend to a wayward soul) is viewed as harsh, invasive and almost never happens.

    Why are the gates of hell appearing to prevail against the church and its members? Perhaps it is because the church is not the church at all. … ” …
    __________________________________________

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  52. Mumsee, good questions, as to how you know if someone is an elder (or a church member, for that matter) or isn’t. If a church has nothing clearly stating such things, it has a problem.

    I know of an instance where a pastor was defrocked by his denomination, and without any time of repentance or reflection, or even any appeal of their decision, he fled to a friend (who had in effect started his own denomination) and got reordained. Last I heard, his anti-authority mindset had gotten him in deeper trouble, and he had been arrested. I’m purposely being vague, but it was all quite serious, with many people hurt.

    A pastor’s wife I know once told me that their church doesn’t have doctrine, but it just teaches the Bible. That sounds all humble and all, but it’s really fairly arrogant. It says something like this: “Other people need hundreds of years and many scholars to come up with theology they believe to be accurate, but we don’t need all that. Nope, we’re ready to teach based only on our own private reading. With no biases that might get in the way of truth, we can do a better job than they do at teaching what the Bible really says.” Would we do that in teaching math, or electrical engineering, or anything else?

    Or, to look at it from another direction, let’s say 20 Christians decide to start their own church, and start from scratch as to how it should function, with no input from any denominational ideas. First of all, it isn’t possible that they come to it with no ideas from outside, unless they are all brand-new Christians (in which case none of them is qualified to be an elder, anyway). But in this discussion, they have lots and lots to iron out. For instance, as they choose a pastor, who is considered to be qualified? Will the women be on the ballot, or just the men? Will they have an official membership? What kind of baptism will they accept as valid, and what kind will they themselves do? Wine or grape juice? Is speaking in tongues a valid gift today? What does it mean to be saved? What does a church service look like? How will the pastor make a living? Will they seek new members, and if so, how? Where will they meet? Is the goal to eventually meet in a larger building, or will they stay in homes? How will they decide when to subdivide, and how will they do it?

    You will inevitably come up with people who insist that if a potential member was not immersed, or was baptized as a baby, then that baptism simply is not valid. Some will insist women be considered to be elders, and others will insist that’s unbiblical. Some will be open to speaking in tongues during the service, and others will not. You could just say, “OK, let’s forget all this arguing over doctrine, and just have a Bible study. We won’t call it a church at all.” But then you risk pulling people out of their churches into this wishy-washy parachurch.

    It sounds good in theory to say we shouldn’t have denominations or should be able to transcend them, but it’s hard to keep that from turning into an organization where theology doesn’t matter, that competes with the church. My former denomination is going through hard times right now, because of one group that wants to accept anyone and kinda forget theology (and that side is forging alliances with, among others, Roman Catholics and homosexuals) and one group that says theology actually matters. It’s all well and good to say that those who insist on doctrine are the bad guys in that discussion, but it really isn’t the case. Those who want to accept anything and everything (everything and everyone who is willing to be “tolerant” enough, anyway) are just going the way of the PC(USA) and United Methodists, and toward the Unitarian Universalists who aren’t anything close to being a church. Without some sort of theological line in the sand, it’s just a social club.

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  53. And what is to keep those twenty people from using one of the confessions? I am sure there are a lot of home churches that go for the free look and end up in a bad place. But there are also good ones who do listen to the years gone by and incorporate that in. But perhaps they live in a community without a sound church. One that does not follow Scripture in many ways. Maybe they let their pastors come in drunk and beat their wives and the children run amok. So the group wants a more real fellowship, closer aligned with Truth so they can reach out to the community and offer healing. They use the old teachings and maybe have studied at seminary and finished but elected not to go the traditional route because they have a special situation that requires them to stay, or a heart for the town and its people. God uses His people as He would. Scripture is clear on how to select a pastor and elders and deacons. It is clear on the meaning of the table.

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  54. Mumsee, I am not opposed to church plants. The church up north that was my church until a few months ago began in a home Bible study by people who wanted a solid Reformed church in the area. The first attempt didn’t “take” (they moved to a different town and it fizzled), but they tried again and eventually called a pastor and went through the process of becoming a church. That’s not a church reinventing the wheel, though, and speaking out against “the institutional church” as though it’s an evil thing (which is being done by many in the current trendy house church movement). The church is Jesus’ bride, and we are to love her.

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  55. The church is the people, not the denomination. The Roman Catholics thought they had it right and should be loved too.

    I have always wondered what the Christians did back in say, seven hundred Did everybody attend the Roman Catholic mass or were there Christians who did not but still met? I know the Catholics say they started with Peter, and I know there are those of us who disagree with that. There had to be people who were following God but not through Catholicism.

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  56. I don'[t know who this Chan person is. And I haven’t seen any evidence that I should care.

    It’s Sunday morning. But it’s raining and we aren’t going anywhere. It wouldn’t have mattered in H’ville because we had a walk in garage. But here it takes Elvera about two minutes to get from the front door into the car. She/we would be drenched.
    First time ever (that I remember) that rain has kept us from going somewhere.

    It’s surprising how many “first time experiences” you can have as you age.

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  57. Jo: No news at all that would interest you.
    It’s all the hurricane.
    And what is left is about Judge Kavanagh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
    Seems that some woman sent some woman a letter that Kavanagh did something while he was in high school.
    Nobody knows who or what it was but it is bound to affect the vote.
    Maybe stepped on a toe during a prom and he didn’t apologize.

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  58. NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH FOR JO.
    I know this belongs on the politics thread but Jo is looking for the news.

    FLASSH: Trump is using the White House for a bully pulpit.
    YS! that’s what the news is.

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  59. 😦 It just occurred to me. I shouldn’t have said anything, now Jo won’t be able to sleep tonight.
    Try to forget it and hit the rack, Jo.

    Don’t you wish I were in church?

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  60. Interesting discussion about churches. One book I read several years ago is Harold Brown’s Heresies . I found the discussion in the book of all the major heresies in the past years was not only fascinating but gives one a real feel for how much thinking went into doctrine through the years. It also gives one a view of how much damage and destruction can be done in both promoting and defending heresy.

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  61. Mumsee asked: Peter L, are you deliberately staying out of this discussion?

    I presume you are referring to the discussion of what is a church? As the one person here who probably attends the smallest gathering of believers, in a small farm house in the middle of nowhere, all I can say is you have had a very good discussion going, showing how people of differing opinions can disagree without getting all nasty and rude.

    My thought: The CHURCH is all believers. A church is a gathering of those believers in whatever locale, worshiping God as one, following the doctrines of the Apostles. That local body can meet in a large building with stained glass windows and have a pastor, with a seminary degree or two, wearing a fancy robe. Or it can be led by a farmer ordained by other pastors, wearing bib overalls and preaching with a rural twang using simple language.

    Our church has 9 people, 6 of whom are baptized believers. We are not organized, but are recognized by other local assemblies and are accountable to them. There are 5 or 6 other like-minded gatherings in the region, with contacts all over the US and in other countries. We have fellowship with anyone who recognizes the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Savior. Some would not consider us a “church” since we have no constitution or board of deacons. But did the first church?

    Enough said. I need to leave for “church” in 10 minutes.

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  62. Accountability seems to be the key here.

    I use The Sift, Jo, and it’s helpful.

    Survived another day; talk went well, 5-year-old birthday party was fun and a hit when the honoree got a “Fancy Nancy” outfit for a gift. Her grin went from ear to ear. 🙂

    Off to church, another swing at helping in 3/4th grade Sunday School (I failed last week), buying lunch for the Voter’s Meeting, home to prepare the house for husband birthday party and 13 guests. Spaghetti sauce is in the crockpot.

    I’ve decided to just drink a cup of Yogi sleepy tea each night at bedtime, rather than tossing and turning for an hour or two before getting up to drink one. That seems to be the only thing, lately, to settle me down enough to fall asleep. It’s the little things.

    Weather is beautiful here. No rain in sight which is good and bad. We need the rain. Rain on the hillsides, 1/2 million acres of charred land, would start to slide. Lord have mercy.

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  63. Oh, in other news that DJ would appreciate, the 11-year-old boy who lives two doors away from our eldest son, ran into the backyard last weekend when he saw a mountain lion enter through an open gate.

    He grabbed a baseball bat because his younger sister was feeding the chickens.

    Dad didn’t hear screaming. No sign of the golden retriever–she may have been caged and wasn’t barking.

    The boy, Hunter is his name, went after mountain lion, who turned on him. Hunter swung the bat and the mountain lion slashed his cheek with a fierce claw.

    Dad finally arrived. Mountain lion slunk off, Hunter went to ER for stitches.

    After my horror died down from this story, I said, “Aren’t you glad you have Rambo (the Boston terrier) to protect the kids?”

    My son shook his head. “Rambo is deaf. He wouldn’t have helped.”

    Just one more thing to add to the prayer list, sigh.

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  64. Chas, there is also the news on typhoon Mangkhut and its devastation in the Phillipines and into China, but it is not much covered in American news. Forty nine deaths so far. May the Christians be of service to their neighbors, holding out the hope that is in them.

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  65. Another warm, toasty day for us today, should top out around 80 degrees.

    But before leaving for church I need to check in with painters to see if they’re in immediate need of supplies. We should be OK, today’s the day they’ll put the *real* color top coat on the north wall facing the neighbors (who are anxious to take their plastic sheeting down already).

    Sorry you’re having to miss church, Chas.

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  66. Lions, tigers and bears and coyotes. Very scary story, Michelle.

    Saw another story about a woman (can’t remember where she lives) who got up in the night to find a coyote in her bedroom! All crunched up in the corner of the room. The story didn’t say but the presumption was it was after her dog and cat and had entered through the doggie door. No one, animal or person, was hurt but she had to call authorities as she couldn’t “shoo” it out with her broom.

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  67. Kick-butt neighbor laid down the law about their getting the north wall (bordering their home) done by the end of the day today. I agreed, the neighbors have been through a lot with my “projects” and they don’t want a plastic tarp hanging down on their side of the house (to protect it from random sprays) for more than 2 days. This is Day 2.

    There will always be exceptions to any rule.

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  68. Yay for kick-butt neighbour!!

    What a brave young man. I’m glad he’s okay and I hope that cougar learned a lesson – leave kiddoes alone.

    Night 2 in the hotel was good – my boy dogs are so good. Today we visit son and then coffee with his in-laws.

    I’ll have to get out of the room so they can clean shortly.

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  69. The results are in. Someone finally got the correct winner on the tie breaker. But two others had better scores. See whom Mrs L randomly picked this time.

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  70. Chas sometimes you just need to stay home even though you may want to go. We have had to stay in on occasion when a blizzard decides to hit on a Sunday morning. ❄️
    Scary story, hopefully brave young man learns he cannot tussle with a mountain lion, even while wielding a baseball bat !
    The mama dear and her fawn have been visiting our bird bath out back regularly for their source of water. We have been so dry around here and are sorely in need of rain…..
    It was a good sermon given this morning at church and we met a visiting couple from PA…what a delightful older retired couple were they. I love how our Lord weaves us together….

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  71. Okay, well, first I would like to thank my family and all my supporters for encouraging me to get involved and stay involved in the Pigskin….wait. What? I lost again? Dead last? Agaiin???
    Oh, never mind…..

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  72. I have been missing church here. There is a church nearby, but I am not sure if it is the Anglican or Pentecostal, as both are said to be in the community, because the sign is completely in Inuktitut. I take that to indicate the service is conducted in that tongue (it is a musical and gentle tongue). Anglican churches in Canada can be extremely liberal, so I’m shy of attending a service there without knowing the beliefs of the priest, and the last Pentecostal church I was in had a manifestation of tongues and prophecies instead of a sermon (in fairness to the pastor, he expressed some concern over that afterwards – I think he was gently trying to train his somewhat volatile congregation to do all things decently and in order) so I am not sure what to expect. I really would like to meet the people from either church before attending.

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  73. We just hopped into whatever church was closest and worked from there. A good way to find out how other believers are doing things. You can usually tell by the end of the first visit if it is along what you believe. And you can find yourself worshipping with people you never would have thought you would.

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  74. I went to church this morning and really enjoyed the service. I had been alternating between the two services, but now I am pretty much sticking with the one with the older people because of the Sunday school class available. The older men’s quartet sang this morning which I would not get to hear in the later service. We’ve had between twenty and thirty people to join our church since January. It is all so different than before. It feels exciting to see what will happen next. And yet still going through transition feels a bit unsettling. I went to my first Communications team meeting today. I dropped out of the Discipleship team and joined this instead in hopes of helping with the website. That is not up yet because the webmaster had a family health crisis to deal with. It was interesting to be in a group with techie people so I can learn some new things.

    It seems so coincidental that some of what you all are discussing is right in line with my pastor’s sermon from Acts 14:21-28, What Defines Ministry? In verses 23-25, he spoke about lesdership and the differences between the denominations with hierarchies, elders, deacons, etc. I don’t ever remember hearing that covered in a service before. He did not claim one to be more correct than others, but did say that the younger churches tend to use elders more. He pointed out different verses that use the various terms that make all seem valid. At least that was my take. I would need to hear it all avain to fine tune my understanding.

    In another coincidence of blog topics, I was talking with my Bro and someone in his church recently visited with Bill Gothard and was told charges had been dropped. I don’t know any more than that. It just seems like a small world. I have met the person who visited with him.

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  75. The other coincidental thing at church this morning related to this blog discussion was on the Sunday school program we are doing, a young Korean man was shown on the video who was working in ministry at Menlo Park Pres and he stepped out in faith to help start the church in San Francisco with Francis Chan. This was not about Chan, but about making decisions about two choices when doors open and either would be good. Mostly in summary the lesson was about praying to God for wisdom tools to make good decisions.

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  76. There are reasons that I have for being cautious: knowledge of past history and present conditions, as well as an inner warning to proceed with caution. So I ask for guidance and wait until the next step becomes clear to me.

    Janice, charges were never laid against Gothard. There was a lawsuit that was dropped. I have reason to think the accusations leveled against in regard to his conduct towards young women were accurate as I saw the way he behaved towards an attractive young woman. But whether or not those accusations were true is immaterial to the false spiritual teaching that he perpetrated. That is a crime that he will have to answer before the final Judge.

    As for how the church should be set up, it is quite clear from I Timothy 2 and Ephesians 4:11-12 that there is to be some kind of order in the church, and that the Holy Spirit has gifted those who are to be leaders. The church in Jerusalem had a body of elders, headed by James, the Lord’s brother, and a body of deacons, of whom Stephen was one and Philip the evangelist another. It is not a matter of one Christian being more important than another – as Paul pointed out in I Corinthians 12, all members of the body are equally important, though they have different functions. As the city church is looking for another pastor, since our pastor has now retired, I see the value of a board of elders, men who meet the qualifications set out in I Timothy 2. They spoke to the church, in the last general meeting, explaining how they were all meeting to pray together to make sure they had the unity of the Spirit before moving forward in the search for a new pastor.

    My family church, by contrast, has yet to even begin looking, two years since the resignation of the last pastor, and the board of deacons – one being YIL – is unstable, driven with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) lacking any firm leadership (the interim pastor is a good Bible teacher but unwilling to lead in any other way). YIL at one time desired to be a pastor, but didn’t want to go to Bible school – I shudder to think of the destruction he would wreak in a church with his conspiracy theories now. I have already seen him trying to share his theories with simple churchgoers who are working class, and it angers me to see how he uses his intellect (he has a university degree) to try to persuade them. I know of a church, now closed, which was run by a man who was a self taught, unordained pastor. There were some very unsound teachings coming out of that church, some which resembled those views YIL now holds, as I knew several people who attended the church. I grew up in an independent Baptist church, and am now a member of a non-denominational church. I am not one that can be accused of holding to old established churches. But the Bible is clear, there are to be under shepherds guiding the flock – the sheep are not to be left to their own devices, for they are but sheep and there are many ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing who would come in, as Paul warned the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:28-31).

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  77. Mumsee, in most communities, the “nearest church” thing wouldn’t work. Where we used to live, the two closest were both United Methodist. Another close one was PC(USA). In Chicago I was closest to a Roman Catholic church at one point.

    Being careful which church we attend in “new” situations (say on vacation), we’ve still ended up with some doozies (on one such vacation, or attending church with someone we’re visiting, or attending a funeral), so I definitely wouldn’t just walk into a church at random on the Lord’s day. I might do that with a restaurant, but proper worship is too important to just show up anywhere. (Now, going to the nearest church that isn’t in a denomination that is mostly heretical, when one hasn’t had time to do further research, could work. In Nashville I was going to work my way through the phone book, all the PCA churches, until I found one, but I had done “narrowing down” first in terms of knowing the denomination in advance. Even that is more risky than I knew then; I thought the PCA was more consistently sound than it in fact is. But I probably wasn’t going to see Sesame Street puppets reenacting the crucifixion, as I saw in one church as a teen, or hear Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes described in gruesome detail, as was done in one church where our research told us the theology was likely sound and my sister could bring her children and come with us, when we were all going to be out of town soon after her husband died–she and the children ended up not coming because she ended up in the ER that morning, but they were supposed to be with us.)

    My husband did well when we were looking to move–here’s a good chance to brag on him. He looked at national directories of like-minded churches (several denominations) and chose a few towns that had churches that might be sound. He did research in a few of those cities to see if there was any possibility we could end up there (e.g., a couple of cities were ruled out because property taxes were more than we could afford). When we had a couple of cities that might work, he started listening to sermons on Sermon Audio, and then I listened to one or two. We then took a trip to our first-choice city, contacting the pastor ahead of time so that we could sit down with him in a coffee shop; we talked with him for 90 minutes or so. Next (I don’t think it was on the same trip) we attended a service, and we also went out with a real-estate agent to look at some properties for sale. But we had to know the church was sound before we committed ourselves even that far.

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  78. I heard squealing outside and looked out to see a large group of junior high girls had spread out a tarp for a water slide in my neighbors yard. They are sure having fun in the rain.

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  79. The children and I went out walking and found the closest church. We went to a Methodist church, met some neat people. That was the only one the pastor ever visited with us in our home in an attempt to see if we would be a good match. We marched around again. We went, turned out to be some sort of Pentecostal. We attended the Bible Study but stopped going when it appeared we knew a lot more about the Bible than the people teaching. We called it the rock and roll church because they had a live band. We moved to the next but they only had services in Spanish so we moved on. Eventually, husband met an interesting fellow at the homeschool roller skating event and he directed us to his church which was quite a distance away. Lots of good fellowship and worship time. We left when we moved. Sadly, the man’s wife ran off with the pastor. Churches come in all shapes and sizes , as long as they conform to the Scripture descriptions, I am fine with it. And all of the churches are filled with people who need to be resisting the enemy and clinging to God. If not, they can quickly get off on a side trail and drag a lot of people into corruption.

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  80. Related to the church topic: While in Tucson we visited a church we found online that sounded good. It’s pastor graduated from Master’s College. Last week some friends here told about a pastor they liked that was voted out when the deacons didn’t like what he was doing, which seemed like good things. Our friends left that church when he did. They said he’s now in Arizona. Turns out he’s the same one we met in Tucson. Small world.

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  81. So mumsee won. Last week, but still.

    I need to re-examine my north wall in the morning to see if the pumpkin shade is still as glaring. I think it’s just the natural lighting, the front of the house looked fine. Same bucket of paint, same primer (well, 2 shades, but both shades used on north wall with no perceptible difference).

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  82. Art and I attend our closest churches, each about five minutes away by car in different directions. Many years ago we attended a church in the middle of downtown, where we got married, across the street from the state capitol. Later we moved churches to closer to our home, but to another (downtown) in our local vicinity town which is actually a town older than Atlanta. It is a separater town from Atlanta, but it is usally considered in Atlanta because it is part of the big metro area. As time passed we changed churches getting even closer to our home. In a place so big as Atlanta, it has been nice to go to these community churches so we end up knowing a lot of people in our neighborhood who we would not know otherwise.

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  83. DJ, I think pumpkin color would be nice in the true natural lighter shade of the outershell, but the color of the inner flesh would be a bit too bright. I am trying to picture your color.

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