How do you “get it right” when it comes to parenting?

February 12, 2007 at 6:30 pm (God thoughts, Random thoughts)

While the alcohol discussion is still in many ways continuing there has been a clear bent towards bringing in children of different denominational affiliations to prove the superior position. Though this really has nothing to do with alcohol it has become a topic of interest to the Den visitors. Consequently this new thread has been formed for you who wish to point out who has the better kids. I don’t have children so I may not be the best source of information on this subject, however I can call upon my own experiences being raised not only in a Christian home, but a Pastors family as well. Many are aware of the stereotypes of “PK’s”; they either end up in jail or as pastors themselves. Though I personally don’t contradict that stereotype at least two of my siblings do, for they are neither in clergy nor are they incarcerated. Consequently I call my own family as a case in point that rejects the notion “reformed kids” are better behaved. I would prefer to avoid using names or specific references when referring to “bad kids” and truthfully we shouldn’t be comparing at all. But for the purpose of bettering parenting abilities of all Den visitors lets establish some points that we can all agree are the foundation of helping direct children into righteous paths.

Advertisements

151 Comments

  1. danielbalc said,

    I often try to figure out what it is that my folks did that helped my siblings and I turn out “ok”. I can’t escape a couple of things.

    1) Love for God
    2) Love for each other
    3) Love for the church
    4) Love for us as kids

    Things that weren’t a part of our lives that are commonly associated with good Christian parenting.

    1) We didn’t do “devotionals”.
    2) We were never very physically affectionate.

    Things that may have contributed.

    1) Long Family Trips in the mini-van (i.e. month long)
    2) Spankings and other discipline.
    3) Strict but fair rules
    4) Common interests (sports for boys, shopping for girls)

  2. itsasecret2u said,

    I think discipline is key.

    I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so I could probably list a lot of “don’ts” for raising children, but I feel bad doing that because I love my parents.

  3. Echo_ohcE said,

    For the record, this is how it started:

    Echo said:
    “But I was at my parents’ house on a Sunday afternoon, and he happened to show up. Just him. So there I was, not knowing how he felt or reacted. So I talked to him, and his father and mother drink moderately, and he had no problem with any of it. He had been properly instructed, and even agreed that they were good things, and that he was ok with the fact that he wasn’t old enough yet. I was actually quite astonished and impressed at his level headed maturity about it. But of course, I have continually been impressed at the children of reformed people. When I think back to when I was in high school…shudder.”

    In saying this, I was only trying to talk about how well this kid had been trained. I then asserted that I have continually been impressed by the children of reformed people, implying that I am impressed at how well they are trained/nurtured.

    I suppose that there is an implication here, if you choose to take it that way, that I was insulting everyone who is not reformed, and making the claim that they couldn’t possibly raise decent, God honoring children who grow up to be decent, God honoring adults. You could take it that way if you like.

    That would be to interpret my comments in the MOST personal way, and in the MOST offensive way. I might dare even to say that someone who would interpret these comments this way are looking for ways to be offended.

    But if you want to be offended, that’s fine. Be offended. Be very angry at me. Be angry at me that I made the claim that education has an effect, because that’s all this amounts to.

    Look, I go to a reformed church because I believe they have the best grasp of the truth out there. And I’ve been around the block in evangelical circles. I’ve been to lots and lots and lots of churches. I grew up in a Pentecostal church for my entire childhood. I’ve spent lots of time in Baptist churches, and I’ve visited a number of churches in between. I’ve also visited many reformed churches, and gotten to know people from many other denominational backgrounds intimately, and have had a lot of conversations about these things.

    My point is that I’ve been around the block, and I have settled where I am convinced the grasp of the Scriptures is the greatest.

    Would any of you say anything different? Aren’t you at the church that you think has got the most things right, and isn’t that WHY you go there?

    But if we are all convinced that we’ve got it right, or that we’re attending the best option out there, then why wouldn’t we also believe that our children are getting the best education available by attending the best church available?

    My comments were not intended as an insult to you or to anyone else, but as praise for the reformed churches, for reformed parents, and especially for reformed children. They have taught me to actually like children.

    Hate me for it if you want, but common sense is all I’m employing here. I have been impressed with the children in reformed churches. That’s all. If you met them, you’d be impressed with them too. Maybe you can say that about your church as well. Fine, great. I haven’t been anywhere near as impressed with children in other churches, but maybe your experience is different. Maybe that’s just something God has used to bring me to where I am.

    But I hereby challenge ANYONE reading this: go to a reformed church for 4 weeks in a row, and then TRY to tell me you aren’t impressed with the children.

    If you’re unwilling to do that because you don’t want to leave your church for 4 weeks, fine. I can understand that. But that fact alone doesn’t answer the challenge. It takes you out of the game, nothing more.

    As a matter of fact, visit it once and observe the children real closely. I said 4 weeks because after that long you’re sure to notice. But go once at least and observe them. Go on a Sunday night if it pleases you, so you don’t miss your own church. Go and tell me that the children are listless and inattentive. Go and tell me that none of them can sit still during the service, and that none of them obey their parents. Go and tell me what you see. As a matter of fact, go and tell me that you didn’t sit under an excellent sermon that made you think. Go and tell me that you saw no evidence of people loving each other, or people who enjoyed going to church. Go ahead. Try to find a critique point more substantial than that the worship wasn’t exciting and what you are used to. Try to say something other than that you hated it because it wasn’t a carnival atmosphere.

    Hate me if you like. That’s fine. But you will not find fault with a reformed church if you give it half a chance, if you give it a listen. You will be impressed. Perhaps you’ll at least be impressed that the reformed churches aren’t full of mean people who only want to tell you how wrong you are.

    E

  4. Matt S said,

    But I hereby challenge ANYONE reading this: go to a reformed church for 4 weeks in a row, and then TRY to tell me you aren’t impressed with the children.

    Won’t I have to sign a binding membership contract in my own blood after the 3rd week? Too risky for me, maybe one week will do! 🙂

  5. Matt S said,

    Perhaps you’ll at least be impressed that the reformed churches aren’t full of mean people who only want to tell you how wrong you are.

    Which churches do these people go to?

  6. danielbalc said,

    haha, e-machine, I don’t know why you think everything is personally against something you said.

    For the record how many kids could we expect to see at your church?

    What is the educational background (percentage wise) behind these kids? Homeschool? Public School? Private school? etc…

    finally, If we did what you were suggesting we would probably get arrested.

    “visit it once and observe the children real closely”

  7. itsasecret2u said,

    Daniel, you sicko…

    I was going to bring up the education thing too (talking about ways to successfully raise children). The biggest difference I have seen among Christians teens is not in the denomination or church they were raised in, necessarily, but in their educational background.

    As Echo is so impressed with reformed children, I have been equally impressed with homeschooled children. I’m mostly talking about teens here, so don’t think I am trying to congratulate myself, as my oldest is in kindergarten… Anyway, when I go to class day with the Christian homeschool network we belong to, I very often see the teenagers sitting around discussing theology, world events, different bible translations they favor and why, etc. Very impressive, considering what you’d hear on the average public high school campus during break or lunch.

    (A good, Christian private school might be a good alternative, but I don’t have much personal experience with that, so I’m not sure.)

  8. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 6

    You said:
    “haha, e-machine, I don’t know why you think everything is personally against something you said.”

    – Echo:
    I don’t. Consider that I might have another motive in saying that.

    E

  9. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re; 6

    You said:
    “For the record how many kids could we expect to see at your church?”

    – Echo:
    I dunno. A lot. Maybe 20 or so out of 75-80 people present.

    You said:
    “What is the educational background (percentage wise) behind these kids? Homeschool? Public School? Private school? etc…”

    – Echo:
    I dunno. Not what I meant by education. I meant family education and church education.

    E

  10. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 7

    *standing ovation*

    – the crowd dies down…

    but bursts into another: *standing ovation*

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the crowd is on their feet. I haven’t seen this much standing ovation since the last state of the union address. But of course, the amount of applause during that speech is almost overdone so as to come across as contrived. Here, though, is genuine appreciation from this crowd for what is being said. I think I hear them chanting…what are they saying…secret?”

    E

  11. itsasecret2u said,

    Why, because I called Daniel a sicko?

  12. Echo_ohcE said,

    NO! The rest of it!

    Although, he did have that coming…

    E

  13. itsasecret2u said,

    Haha Kidding, Daniel!!

    Hmm, Echo… I dunno. Why do you like post 7 so well? Or were you being sarcastic? 🙂

  14. Echo_ohcE said,

    You brought up an important point that helps to illustrate the point I am making. I wasn’t being sarcastic at all.

    In fact, I was applauding your clear thinking and willingness to associate things that should properly be associated, but often aren’t.

    Many, too many parents pass their kids off on other people to raise for them, and then put them on drugs when it doesn’t work. I’m not saying that sending your kids to public school is committing this crime. I’m actually talking about an attitude of the heart. Many send their kids away to school thinking that they’ll learn all they need to know from their teachers. Then at the end of the day, mom and dad think their only responsibility is to get along with the kids. As long as the kids don’t bother me, they think, everything is fine, as long as I get the peace and quiet I deserve at the end of the day. Yes, they pass them off to teachers, and then maybe they go to church, and they send the children out to children’s church and Sunday School, and the kids end up learning everything they know from someone other than their parents. Their parents teach them little if anything at all. The parents aren’t involved in their lives at all.

    Then along comes Secret, refreshingly alllllllllllll the way at the other end of the spectrum. And lo and behold, what do you find? Sharp, engaging young people who seem mature far beyond their years, discussing matters of theology and translations and other things that most of us wouldn’t expect from high school students. Little children who look you in the eye and address you respectfully, and do what they’re told when their parents speak to them.

    How many parents wouldn’t give their left hand to have children like that? But they won’t get off their lazy butt to train them properly, nurturing them with the Word of God, teaching them to obey their God, that their only hope is Christ, consistently disciplining them fairly according to the Word of God. Apparently, nothing can make them do that.

    Anyway, one distinctive of the reformed culture (unique in that we baptize infants, which gives us a slightly different view of children, for better or for worse) is that I have noticed that reformed parents seem more involved in their children’s lives. They teach them the catechism, many of them home school, the children stay in the worship service and are taught to sit still and quiet (albeit with some exceptions). These things have a huge, huge effect. I think the practice of infant baptism contributes to the mindset that the children too are members of the church, and need to be there in the worship service participating: singing the songs, standing when we stand, sitting when we sit, listening to the sermon, etc. I had children’s church growing up, but the reformed have won me over. I think it’s a bad thing. I think they need to be there with their parents, listening, sitting still, being good, etc. I have seen it bearing good fruit. You should hear these darling little children recite a catechism question. It’s enough to bring a tear even to my eye.

    Say whatever you will about infant baptism, but it bears good fruit in contributing to a culture of nurture of the little children. I have never seen children held in such high regard, seen as so precious as I have in the reformed churches. It has really won me over.

    E

  15. RubeRad said,

    I’ll join in Echo’s sarasm-free ovation for #7. I think what Secret is recognizing has something to do with what I see in the broad-brush category of “reformed children”. And I’m willing to name names. Think of a whole church where most of the families have piles of kids like the Arriolas (sorry Echo, you won’t get the reference, but these guys all know who I’m talking about).

    There is some correlation with homeschooling, but I think, as Echo points out, prevalence of homeschooling is not the primary cause, but another co-symptom of the parental attitude to all aspects of their children’s education: academic, scriptural, moral. So even if all these parents were to send their kids to public school, the fact that the parents would throw so much more education at them would leave the kids in about the same state. It’s not the homeschooling itself that produces the excellent kids, as much as parental committment to holistic education — as a side-effect, the type of parent who understands that also happens to be more likely to homeschool.

    See also here for my take on some statistics about homeschooling and “religious retention rate”.

  16. danielbalc said,

    Clearly no one here is arguing against Secret or her conclusions.

    I will at least caution you all however that the appearance’s of the children in elementary school, junior high and high school says nothing about how they will respond to the crucible of secular university. An argument could even be made (though i won’t make it because I don’t necessarily agree with it it) that homeschooled children are at a disadvantage when it comes to secular university because they haven’t had the opportunity to resist temptation during their first 18 years.

    Again I don’t agree but i can at least see that argument being made.

    To All:
    What steps in the parenting process do you suppose will help your children to be better prepared for the “real life” experiences that await them outside of your care?

  17. RubeRad said,

    1) Proper training in orthodox Christian doctrine, so that the chief end of their lives is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever, rather than to fulfill their self(ish nature), as our culture would have them believe.

    2) Proper training in orthodox Christian doctrine, so that when they grow up, they may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

    3) Proper training in orthodox Christian doctrine, so that when they go to a secular university, and enter the secular workplace, they can recognize the bankruptcy of atheistic worldviews, and so they have a proper (Christian) understanding of science and liberal arts, and will not be shaken by what others see as a conflict between academia (esp. science) and religion.

    Can you see a theme here?

  18. danielbalc said,

    Please define the following

    “Proper”

    “Training”

    “Orthodox”

    “Christian”

    “Doctrine”

    Each one of these words carries with it a subjective nature that needs to be distinguished. Even “orthodox”, which should be relatively plain in it’s understanding can be taken in many different ways.

    Practically speaking, what does “proper training in orthodox Christian doctrine” look like? You expressed what the end of it would (ideally) be, but how do we get there?

  19. itsasecret2u said,

    Hmmm…..

    Does our parenting really have too much to do with whether our children will end up serving the Lord? Certainly we are called to raise our children in His ways because He commands us to, but does this affect their salvation and ultimate destiny much? They’re either elect or not, right? I’m not saying we should slack as parents or not be extremely diligent with raising our children because it is a very serious responsibility, but how much does it actually have to do with “religious retention?” Just wondering…

    Anyway, I think that in order to properly prepare your children for the “real world,” basically you need to do what Rube said. I think it is also important to make sure your children are “in the world, but not of the world.” My son’s (Christian) homeschool curriculum for this year (kinder) references all different cultures, including their religious beliefs (read: idol worship, false doctrines). Do I shield him from the fact that these things exist? No. I just tell it to him like it is: “Many people in this part of the world worship idols. See the statues they are praying to? What does God say in the Bible about worshiping idols? (He recites a commandment here.) That’s right. That is why it is very important that we pray for the people in this part of the world. We want them to understand about God and about Jesus the way we do. We can pray for (insert missionary’s name) who is a missionary that ministers in that part of the world.” As he (and his brother) get older and more mature, these discussions will progress to our particular brand of American idol-worship, which is a little less concrete as our idols are typically ourselves (but celebrities would also be idols in our culture, I suppose).

  20. RubeRad said,

    Certainly we are called to raise our children in His ways because He commands us to, but does this affect their salvation and ultimate destiny much? They’re either elect or not, right?

    I understand you’re not advocating letting our children twist in the wind, but this perspective seems dangerously Hyper-Calvinist to me (and that’s a strong statement, given that some already consider me to be a Hyper-Calvinist!) To the extent that our “free” will brings consequences that are under our control, it is definitely possible for our bad parenting to “cause” our children to fall away from Christianity. It is also possible (and I can cite many examples — I’m sure we all can) where excellent Christian parenting fails — a child just inexplicably falls away, when other siblings do not.

    I do not believe that God’s promises to us “and our children” operate in a legalistic, mechanistic fashion (if I do this, then God is obligated to (have) elect(ed) my children), but I do believe we should hang out more in the realm of “I need to strive to parent such that if any of my children fall away, there’s no way it could be my fault”, rather than “They’re either elect or not, right?”

    Please define the following: “Proper” “Training” “Orthodox” “Christian” “Doctrine”

    This could take a long time, but this is really the point of this thread anyways, so here’s a stab!

    Proper: I’ll grant that this word is redundant and unnecessary.

    Training: No assumption that kids will absorb Christianity by osmosis, if they spend enough time between church walls. Parents need to proactively train, not passively hope they learn.

    Orthodox: This just means “correct”, i.e. not heretical. That’s what it means in “Orthodox Presbyterian Church” as a denominational name; Machen was just pointing out that PCUSA had fallen into heretical liberalism. Obviously I’m not talking about Greek/Eastern Orthodox. Perhaps this word is also redundant or unnecessary.

    Christian: Also redundant, given the word ‘Doctrine’? I mean none of us would advocate Proper Training in Orthodox Buddhist Doctrine, right?

    Doctrine: We should not shy away from teaching our children (or our lay churchmembers) actual theology. The alternative is experiential Christianity, which (when experience turns downhill) will go the way of all of the unfruitful soils. “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart” is not enough. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” is more like it. Faith needs to be anchored outside of self, and rooted in the unchanging word of God. “I believe in Jesus” is not enough. Understanding the “correct” Jesus is important; to the extent that someone believes in a conception of Jesus that deviates from biblical truth, that belief is susceptible to destruction when assailed by other hard realities of life.

    This is the problem with bad doctrine. Someone may still be a Christian, and hold some inconsistent beliefs, but inconsistent beliefs are hard to pass on through generations of children. Eventually, children recognize the inconsistencies, and the only two alternatives are to jettison Christianity because it appears wrong, or study to correct the errors, and recover orthodox doctrine. Which alternative do you think is more likely?

    (As a side note, this may explain much of the frustration between Dbalc and Echo on points of doctrine; Dbalc is often focusing on a short view of “OK, we disagree, so somebody is incorrect, but you still recognize that I am a Christian, right?”, but Echo is focusing on a longer view of “We disagree, so somebody is incorrect, and propagation of error is going to (has already) weakened the church. Compounding Error will eventually lead to branches being cut off like Israel, so we need to prune now!”)

    So eliminating possibly redundant words, my strategy for preparing children to face the real world is: “Doctrinal Training”.

    So come one and all, and shoot me down with accusations of “dry, lifeless religion; faith without works; heart, not head; God is love”

  21. itsasecret2u said,

    I understand you’re not advocating letting our children twist in the wind, but this perspective seems dangerously Hyper-Calvinist to me (and that’s a strong statement, given that some already consider me to be a Hyper-Calvinist!)

    This is actually really funny because I am barely Calvinist, not in that I barely believe it, more in that I just recently discovered I believe it. So, honestly, I have some philosophical questions about Calvinism, and this is one of them: how much affect do we have on our child’s eternal destiny? So it’s actually not my perspective, I was thinking through it outloud, hoping you Calvin-lovers could help me out with it. 🙂

  22. danielbalc said,

    Dbalc is often focusing on a short view of “OK, we disagree, so somebody is incorrect, but you still recognize that I am a Christian, right?”

    Ouch, is that really how I come across? I don’t really think that at all. I think Echo is very much wrong on points of Infant Baptism and Charismatic gifts. That’s about it. That’s why I seek for things to be OK between us. I want Echo to accept my words on the basis of what they say, not the labels he wrongly places on me. I think this would be a relevant practice of all denominational adherents (non-denom included) and would further the purposes of unity. Basically the cream would rise to the top type of scenario. But it doesn’t happen when people insist that anyone outside of their circle can’t be right about anything.

    I am not a universalist despite what you try to label me.

  23. danielbalc said,

    I just recently discovered I believe it

    how did you come to this crazy belief?

  24. itsasecret2u said,

    how did you come to this crazy belief?

    😀 Here is the progression:

    1. New-believer Secret is completely turned off by the Calvinist/Arminian debate 7 years ago at former church by the incessant squabbling and meanness of said debates. She doesn’t care to think about it for the next 7 years (for shame, I know…).
    2. Secret stumbles across Rube’s blog (through Daniel’s) and reads hundreds of posts/comments ranging on everything from infant baptism to Sanctity of Life Sunday to Calvinism.
    3. Secret, now a more mature believer, realizes it is extremely important to have all one’s theology figured out, meanness of arguments aside (though this does still bother me).
    4. Secret prays for revelation on this particular subject, as some of the truths of Calvinism still seem difficult to understand, especially considering that I really, really, really want to believe that all people have a chance to receive grace instead of judgment and that destinies are not set in stone.
    5. During the course of my regular daily bible reading, TULIP-supporting verses pop out all over the place at me (though I can also find some that seem to elude to choice).
    6. Secret’s husband runs into Daniel at the gym or Target and talks to him about this subject briefly. Daniel points him toward a particular part of a book that Daniel lent us months ago. Secret and husband read it and it makes sense.
    7. Secret tentatively asks questions on Rube’s blog about Calvinism and evangelism (more of the philosophical/theological questions she has), thus completely screwing up his “Grace” thread (sorry Rube).
    8. Secret gets some answers and some revelation and it makes sense, though it honestly makes me a little sad and it makes me view God a little differently. This is not a bad thing, though. It just brings home the dichotomy of grace/judgment that is God’s holy righteousness.
    9. Secret has read so many of Echo’s dissertations, er, I mean posts, that she actually begins speaking in the third person… and likes it!!

  25. RubeRad said,

    Well that just tickles my cockles and warms my fancy! Blogging is worth something after all! Secret, I’m glad that our discussions could be of benefit to you, and I’m sorry about any meanness that might have gotten in the way!

    I hope your husband buys you tulips tomorrow…

  26. RubeRad said,

    PS Daniel, what is this magical book?

  27. itsasecret2u said,

    “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith” by RC Sproul.

    (P.S. Daniel, I promise we are still making our way through it… it’s just taking us forever!)

  28. danielbalc said,

    RC Sproul, Essential truths of the Christian faith.

    I think Secret is the exception unfortunately. I know many others who have visited bloggoreah and been turned off (no offense a lot more have been turned off by my blog).

  29. danielbalc said,

    It’s more of a reference book, take your time. I’ve given that book to more people then I can count.

    I probably sell more of those books then RC himself.

  30. itsasecret2u said,

    I probably am the exception. Initially I was turned off because the first thread I read was on infant baptism and a lot of people were, essentially, saying my children were not part of the covenant family of God because they had merely been dedicated and not baptised. Needless to say, this is a bit upsetting. However, theological discussion, whether online or otherwise, is usually beneficial in some way (if it’s not too mean, serving to tear brothers apart), right? Either you think of things in a new way that you hadn’t thought of before (Calvinism for me), or you are reaffirmed in your previous belief, whatever it was (infant baptism for me). If it causes someone to dig into the scriptures more and seek more clarity, it has to be positive.

    And Daniel, I am really enjoying the book, even reading it like a novel (or whatever). Comlicated things, simply put… that’s what I like.

  31. danielbalc said,

    BTW I stumbled across this church web site that I think does a fantastic job of articulating relevant reformed doctrine. I also happen to like that they are charismatic in ministry and Evangelical in Mission as well.

    Evidently Gregg Harris is a big time home school dude and his son Josh is famous for the “i kissed dating goodbye” book. that aside I really like the way they express their doctrines.

  32. Echo_ohcE said,

    Rube,

    I applaud 15 as being a great testimony of what is biblical.

    E

  33. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 16

    2Pe 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
    2Pe 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
    2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
    2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2Pe 1:9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

    So just a guess here, but the best thing to do to/for your children is drill the gospel into their heads as deep as possible, so that they speak of it even in their sleep, so that they will not forget that they have been forgiven of their sins.

    Gospel – or – Death

    E

  34. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 18

    You said:
    “Practically speaking, what does “proper training in orthodox Christian doctrine” look like? You expressed what the end of it would (ideally) be, but how do we get there?”

    – Echo:
    I recommend the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Have your children memorize it, recite it often. Perhaps occasionally ask them to explain it to you, so that you know they aren’t memorizing something without understanding it.

    Further, children are excellent at memorizing stuff. Therefore, cram their little heads with as much of the Scripture as possible. Read it to them constantly. Have part of their education be reading aloud from the Scriptures everyday. Make them read it again and again and again and again. Tell them to explain it over and over and over.

    But above all else, cram the gospel into their heads so deeply it comes out in their toenails.

    E

  35. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 19

    You said:
    “Does our parenting really have too much to do with whether our children will end up serving the Lord? Certainly we are called to raise our children in His ways because He commands us to, but does this affect their salvation and ultimate destiny much? They’re either elect or not, right? I’m not saying we should slack as parents or not be extremely diligent with raising our children because it is a very serious responsibility, but how much does it actually have to do with “religious retention?” Just wondering…”

    – Echo:
    And what, do you suppose, is the percentage of people in most churches who grew up in church? It’s almost all of them. Probably around 90-95%.

    Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

    About the laws of God, God commands Israel:
    Deu 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

    Deu 6:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’
    Deu 6:21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

    Children are very important in the Bible. This isn’t just the OT:
    Mat 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

    What an amazing statement! The very kingdom of heaven belongs to them! Children are not excluded from the promises of God. Therefore, they ought to be trained in them.

    E

  36. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 21

    I once knew a young man whose mother had raised him in a bizarre church that only loosely resembled the truth of Scripture. One day, when they had come into a reformed church, the son turned to his mother and said, “Mom, I feel like I’m going to church for the first time.”

    Rather than be glad at the joy her son had found, she gave herself over to guilt, because she thought that his remark reflected less the joy in his heart at the refreshing nurturing he suddenly found himself receiving, and more his bitterness at her mistakes as his mother. So she said, “I’m so sorry for how we raised you in that awful church. I really regret it.” She looked away to nurse her tears.

    But then her son said something absolutely astonishing that she would never forget. He said, “Mom, don’t cry. The Lord is my shepherd.”

    E

  37. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    22

    Now, you’ve been right on lots of things, and I’ve said so. You not being OPC doesn’t mean you can’t be right on some things. You can.

    Sure, it means you’re wrong on a lot of things, but not everything. Hahahaha…

    I mean, you just said that you don’t think drinking is a sin, and I said that that was awesome, and so we don’t need to discuss your view of alcohol, but we DO need to discuss logical implication, etc.

    You can be right.

    On Mondays.

    In Feburary.

    In leap year.

    When I’m in a good mood.

    E

  38. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 24

    I’m thrilled for you!

    Just remember that you haven’t left Christianity, nor come into it, merely grown more deeply into it.

    How’s that Daniel?

    E

    PS Why don’t you post some of the things that you still find confusing on your blog? Some people – I have no idea who – just might be interested in taking a crack at answering them.

  39. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 28

    I once heard of a church that didn’t call a guy to be their pastor because of his mustache. No kidding.

    E

  40. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 30

    This is not thread jacking but an aside.

    Baptism doesn’t bring people into the covenant, but is the sign of the covenant. It is applied to those who are already shown to be in the covenant, whether by profession of faith or birth to Christian parents. Baptism doesn’t bring them in, but because they’re in already, they’re baptized.

    In a similar way, Moses had to circumcize his son, or God would kill him. God doesn’t kill everyone, but as Moses’ son, he was already a member of the covenant, so the sign needed to be applied. The sign is not the thing signified. 🙂

    E

  41. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 31

    I came across this old document written by these very articulate, educated men, which has been agreed upon by thousands and thousands of ordained men, given to the church by God to grow them into maturity.

    But nevermind, that’s not important.

    E

  42. itsasecret2u said,

    Why don’t you post some of the things that you still find confusing on your blog? Some people – I have no idea who – just might be interested in taking a crack at answering them.

    I think I shall.

  43. Echo_ohcE said,

    Excellent!

    I can’t wait!

    I mean…umm…someone is sure to take a crack at answering them…

  44. Echo_ohcE said,

    …but there IS a sort of simple thing to bear in mind when rearing kids that I’ve been thinking about.

    Law – Confession – Punishment – Pardon

    Tell the kid what they have done wrong, get them to admit it, inflict some form of punishment, and then declare the child forgiven on the basis of having paid the consequences.

    Then you can tell them that spankings or whatever are only the punishment from you, while God is another matter. You can tell them that Jesus took on an eternity of spankings for you. Yay!

    E

  45. itsasecret2u said,

    An eternity of spankings. haha

  46. RubeRad said,

    This is actually really funny because I am barely Calvinist, not in that I barely believe it, more in that I just recently discovered I believe it.

    This may be a good time to let you know that it is quite common for new Calvinists to go overboard, and become hyper-Calvinists for a time, before they mature further and come back. If you are aware of the potential pitfalls, I’m sure you can avoid them! This is a great article (which you might have already read, if you’ve wandered through the Calvinist/Arminian section of my blog): http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil//articles/hypercal.htm

  47. danielbalc said,

    I have no idea what your childhood background was like Echo, nor do i really care to find out, but that which you are describing (memorizing WSC; cramming gospel into brain), if not handled delicately will lead to the stereotypical PK I described earlier. the one who rebels and fights and pushes away and does everything to try to empty out all the gospel you crammed into his little head. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to teach your kids the Bible (far from it), but I’m saying how you teach is almost as important as what you teach. That is the purpose of this post (before it became Secrets confessions).

    How?

  48. RubeRad said,

    If you recall, Echo’s AoG childhood background was AoG, and certainly included no catechism memorization. And I’ll bet you a dollar Echo now wishes he had been raised with catechism memorization.

    I would contend also that catechism is very near the top of the list of what Reformed parents do differently than other parents, and therefore a prime candidate for this elusive “Reformed children” factor.

    And a lot of the “how you teach” factor has to do with cultural environment. If all the kids at your church are memorizing scripture & catechism from a very young age, kids will be much less likely to resent it, or feel put upon.

    As long as you do it consistently, it doesn’t even have to be that much. The 3rd&4th grade class I teach, for instance, averages out at probably one verse per week (some weeks two verses, some weeks just review). In 1st&2nd grade, my son will end up memorizing a whole (small-sized) psalm in a quarter. Even in my past, when I went to BCA, our age group (5th-6th grade?) was required to memorize a passage of about a dozen verses per month. As our church’s preaching is currently in Heb 12, I was telling Lucas the other day about how I remember having to memorize & recite all of Heb 12.

    As much as we tout it, however, catechism is sadly neglected in practice. We’ll refer to them or read them occasionally, but very rarely do you run into somebody who actually has an entire catechism memorized, or who has fully catechized their children. I only started with the Catechism for Younger Children this year. Great stuff.

    I think that knowing how the bible supports that simple catechism covers about 90% of what Christians need to know. I’d peg the Westminster Shorter Catechism at 95%, and the Westminster Confession at 99%.

    Seriously, go read that children’s catechism, and imagine if every member of your church could give a coherent, biblically correct answer to every one of those questions off-the-cuff. What would they be missing, doctrine-wise? The historic catechisms are just incredibly concise and comprehensive summaries of Christianity.

  49. itsasecret2u said,

    Psh. I didn’t purposely thread-jack this time. You asked me the question.

    But I am inclined to agree that one must be careful with the “how” to avoid rebellion. With my oldest, I can tell when I am pushing it. He starts to get that glazed-over look in his eyes and I can tell I’m “cramming,” which he will probably resent. He does, after all, take in a children’s worship service, a regular worship service, Sunday School in the evening, and Sunday school in the morning weekly, plus 5 days per week of Christian-based curriculum, plus independent Bible-reading in his children’s bible (which I don’t insist upon at this age, but he does of his own free will), and a Bible-based Leap Pad thingy that he will play around with a lot, sometimes for hours at a time. I can get in a couple good, theological-type discussions with him every week and that’s about his limit.

    Of course, I think it is also very important to have these discussions at opportune times. For example, we talk about what the Bible says about various topics (such as discipline, respecting parents, lying, etc.) when they come up in real-life situations. This reminds children that the Bible is not just some abstract thing we talk about on Sundays or learn about in school. It is completely applicable and relevant to everyday life.

  50. danielbalc said,

    I did ask the question, and with purely selfish motives because I knew the answer and I thought it might make me look better in the eyes of E-machine and Rube. Backfire! They seem to have gotten the glory for your journey. Dough!

    What you are describing for your oldest seems like a lot, and what echo has described seems like a lot, but I often question quality verses quantity. Is it better to be able to mechanically be able to recite answers (the picture I get from Rubes 48 post) or to know rationally articulate answers? Personally I am a mechanical kind of guy. i follow strict routines, do the same thing over and over. I want stuff answered my way, how I think it should sound. But then again, It’s not about me, it’s about Christ.

    With so many unique parenting styles and results, not only from different families in one church, but from different kids in each family, I find it impossible to honestly say, “have your kids memorize this” and think it’s going to work. Good for the goose, good for the gander?

    Again, that’s the purpose of this post, to see how folks do it.

  51. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 47

    I think you and I are operating under two different definitions of “gospel”.

    E

  52. Echo_ohcE said,

    Rube,

    Re: 48

    http://www.gcp.org/teacher_catechism.asp

    Catechism helps: workbooks, songbooks, audio CD’s, etc.

    And here’s how I’ve memorized most of the WSC:

    http://www.reformedmusic.com/wsc.asp

    E

  53. ineedsheetmusic said,

    Re: 48 and the catechism for younger children, what’s up with 7, 8 & 9?

    Q. 7. In how many persons does this one God exist?
    A. In three persons.

    Q. 8. What are they?
    A. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    Q. 9. What is God?
    A. God is a Spirit, and has not a body like men.

    Shouldn’t that read “God is a ghost”?

  54. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 50

    Start the children very young and ask a lot of them. They can memorize way easier than we can because they haven’t really developed thier ability to reason yet. Children can learn languages like champs. They can memorize at the drop of a hat, and with the resources above that puts the catechisms to music, it’s a snap. Children actually like to learn.

    But perhaps the MOST important thing for a child is consistent discipline. So you have to train them. You have to train them to be obedient, you have to train them to do their work, you have to train them to do everything. And you have to be perfectly consistent. If you spank them for it one day and let it go the next, you will confuse the children and the fruit will be rebellion. Every single time. Not all rebellion is the result of a parent’s failure, but most of it is. There are exceptions. But many people blame a unique personality for a child’s rebellion, when if you watch them, they don’t discipline properly.

    For example, if you have to tell your child to do something more than once, you’ve failed. You tell them to do it once, and if they don’t do it, there’s a spanking. Every time. Many parents would find this unreasonable, but I’ve seen it in practice, and it doesn’t entail as much spanking as it sounds like. It works like a charm, and turns the children into obedient angels before you know it. They must obey their parents instantly and unquestioningly. They can learn to question when they get older just fine, don’t worry. When they are young, you need them to be obedient more than anything else.

    Anyway, if you train them to be obedient, everything else works better.

    E

  55. Echo_ohcE said,

    PS Obedience breeds love in the home. The parents are a lot less frustrated with the children, so show them more love. The children are a lot less resentful of their parents, because they understand precisely how to please them, and find that they are often able to do just that. This breeds love, and in this environment, the gospel makes sense and has the desired effect. When the children learn what Christ has done for them, they will understand because they will understand how much their parents love them.

  56. RubeRad said,

    I remember having to memorize & recite all of Heb 12.

    Check that — actually only vv 1–13. Oopx!

    They seem to have gotten the glory for your journey!

    To God be the glory!: Here is the most crucial part of the journey:

    5. During the course of my regular daily bible reading, TULIP-supporting verses pop out all over the place at me

    Is it better to be able to mechanically be able to recite answers (the picture I get from Rubes 48 post) or to know rationally articulate answers?

    Note carefully: “I think that knowing how the bible supports that simple catechism covers about 90% of what Christians need to know.” and “imagine if every member of your church could give a coherent, biblically correct answer to every one of those questions off-the-cuff.” Being able to recite catechism Q&A word-for-word is only icing on the cake. The cake is understanding the bible. Catechism is just a means. And when I work on catechism questions with my boys, I stress the distinction between “a right answer” and “the exact words in the catechism”, and praise is also given for a right answer.

    But especially for young children, they can’t be expected to have deep understanding of anything, really. So you teach them the words, the words are internalized, and as they grow up, they become more meaningful. I agree; the (non-existent) extreme of memorizing catechism, and never cracking the Bible is ridiculous. It’s like trying to ice a cake that doesn’t exist — like putting icing on air! There is no value in merely citing catechism Q&A. The goal is that one be familiar with the catechism as a summary of doctrine. And when any one doctrine is discussed, one should be able to back up the rote summary by going here in scripture and there in scripture, and showing why the summary is true. I.e. the end is that somebody is “mechanically able to recite answers”, and those answers are “rationally articulate answers” because there is understanding behind them.

  57. RubeRad said,

    But perhaps the MOST important thing for a child is consistent discipline…

    Amen. I was originally going to include “consistent discipline” in my list, but I couldn’t shoehorn it into “doctrine, doctrine, doctrine”. Echo speaks with wisdom here — I can’t imagine how much wiser he’ll be on this topic when he actually has kids!

  58. RubeRad said,

    Note on #55: jumping from one blockquote (“…pop out all over the place at me”) to another (“Is it better…”) was supposed to be a radical shift in my train of typing. I didn’t mean to connect catechism with bible as “most crucial”. Just very, very useful.

  59. Echo_ohcE said,

    Rube,

    Re: 56

    Exactly!

    Someone very wise once said a long time ago that you have to have memorized a lot of facts before understanding can occur. There must be something in the head to be understood. There must be facts to be understood. There must be facts on which to base concepts. Concepts w/o facts have no connection to reality. Understanding concepts without memorizing facts is understanding without knowing, perhaps a logical impossibility, since knowing is part of the very definition of understanding.

    So yeah, memorize the catechism at a young age, and this will do much by way of having an answer when someone (an unbeliever perhaps) asks you a question about your faith. You’ll have an answer ready at hand. You’ll have a depth of understanding of WHAT you believe, which is the first step in understanding WHY you believe. You can’t get the why without first having the what. People don’t seem to grasp that. There’s another bonus argument for laymen not being evangelists to the masses: they don’t know what they believe in toto, so how could they know why? And if they don’t know why they believe, how on earth are they going to convince anyone else? This is a great argument for the need for theological education prior to the pulpit. Rah, rah, seminary, go team! Hehehehe…

    E

  60. Matt S said,

    Ok I will chime in on this subject.

    All the stuff on this thread sounds good and important, and I would have no problem with someone that wants to raise their kids in this way. Personally, it will not be my choice to go to such extremes in raising my kids.

    No matter how much Bible you inprint on a kid’s life in their developmental years, there will come a time (most likely when they are in their teens) when they will have to make a decision for themselves as to the direction they will go in their life. We as parents will not be able to force them to memorize verses, read the Bible, attend church, etc… it will be up them to make a decision FOR THEMSELVES to serve the Lord.

    I can think of a handlful of my friends that grew up in the environment that has been described above (although maybe not to the extremes) that are no longer walking with the Lord. What happened? Their parents serve the Lord, shouldn’t they follow suit? There was never a transition from “my parents make me” to “I have decided personally”.

    This is why I think it is more important to instill in kids a love for the things of God, instead of too much rigidity in memorization, etc… Show them by your actions that going to church in enjoyable, that reading the Bible is enjoyable, that serving in the church is enjoyable, that worship is enjoyable. Develop in your kids a LOVE for the things of God.

    If you are successful in doing this then when they get older and decision time comes, they will, Lord-willing, make the right decision because it is what they LOVE to do.

    This is what my parents did for me and my brothers and we are all serving the Lord in different capacities and this is what I will do with my kids.

  61. itsasecret2u said,

    Daniel actually touches on an important point, I think, when it comes to teaching your children. They will all be different. I think most parents who have more than one child would probably agree that temperament and personality are very much inborn.

    (And Echo, just as a side note, some children are more inclined to rebel than others as part of this inborn temperament, but this certainly does not exclude the parent from consistently disciplining them.)

    Daniel mentioned that what I do with my oldest sounds like a lot. It is. But he is capable of that. He is very smart and a hard-worker when something captures his interest (thankfully, the bible seems to be one of these things). He’s tough and rational. He also has a very strong will, is independent to a fault, and seems to consider himself the third “boss” of the house. Ahem. We talk about lying, respect for parents, etc. because he struggles with these things. But he is an academic type and the way in which we go about it suits him.

    My little one, on the other hand, has a totally different way about him. He’s shy, extremely affectionate, typically obedient (though he is in the thick of the terrible-two’s), and very compassionate. He shows a natural athletic ability and is a very physical kid. He may not take so well to all of the reading my oldest loves. It’s hard to tell at this age, but he does not yet like to sit on my lap and have me read to him. I’m sure my oldest did at this age and even younger. So we’ll see. I will probably have to completely adjust the curriculum I use with my oldest to suit the younger’s style, which may be more kinetic.

    Bottom line: I think it is important to be sensitive to your children’s unique personalities if you want to really reach your children and instigate true learning.

  62. RubeRad said,

    This is why I think it is more important to instill in kids a love for the things of God, instead of too much rigidity in memorization, etc… Show them by your actions that going to church in enjoyable, that reading the Bible is enjoyable, that serving in the church is enjoyable, that worship is enjoyable. Develop in your kids a LOVE for the things of God.

    Doctrine is a thing of God. You are not wrong in what you say, but there’s no reason to set doctrine apart from the list of reading the Bible, serving in the church, worship, etc. If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a LOVE for doctrine, and I’m sure I won’t be able to avoid demonstrating that to my kids by my actions, and I sincerely hope it instills in them a love of doctrine. I hold the same hope that my life will back up my words in demonstrating love for God in those other areas as well.

    And when they reach the age where my decisions for them are replaced by their own individual committments, the stronger their doctrine is, the more chance they’ll make the right choice. The weaker their doctrine is, the more chance the will turn away from Christianity because they reject the false straw-man christianity that lives inside their minds.

    Here’s a calvinistic concept. It is not possible for someone to reject true Christianity. That’s what makes grace (tul_I_p) irresistable. If God elects someone, then he reveals the truth to them, and the person’s FREE response is to understand, believe, and accept that truth. And the only thing standing between a non-Christian and Christianity is that God has not elected to reveal himself. So the non-elect doesn’t have the truth, and when he rejects Christianity, he is rejecting a false, twisted version of it. If God revealed the truth to him (then he would be elect and) he would be unable to reject it.

    In short, if you truly understand (because God reveals himself), you gotta love him!

    That’s how I reconcile free will and sovereignty, anyways.

  63. RubeRad said,

    Show them by your actions that going to church in enjoyable, that reading the Bible is enjoyable, that serving in the church is enjoyable, that worship is enjoyable.

    Another way to say why doctrine is so important; if your kid learns that going to church is enjoyable, he might be able to find equivalent (or better) enjoyment with other social activities, like going to a dance class, or going to a star trek convention.

    If your kid learns that reading the Bible is enjoyable, he might be able to find equivalent enjoyment in reading the Koran, or reading Plato.

    If your kid learns that serving in the church is enjoyable, he might be able to find equivalent enjoyment at Habitat for Humanity, or the Peace Corps.

    If your kid learns that worship is enjoyable, he might be able to find equivalent enjoyment by joining a choir or starting a rock band, or attending public lectures, or donating to charities.

    But doctrine is different. A love for doctrine can only be satisfied by the Christian Church. It is doctrine that separates any of these possible human substitutes for various elements of Christianity (which by common grace, can be legitimately enjoyable), from the Real Thing.

  64. Matt S said,

    Doctrine is a thing of God. You are not wrong in what you say, but there’s no reason to set doctrine apart from the list of reading the Bible, serving in the church, worship, etc.

    This is a good point. This is at the heart of what I want for my kids, and the operative word is BALANCE. I think just as some of us (probably myself) are a little light on the emphasis of doctrine, others are a little light in other areas such as bible reading, church service, worship, fellowship, loving others etc…

    It is important to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy physically and it is important to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy spiritually

  65. Matt S said,

    RE: 63

    I would say that these temptations will be there for our kids whether church as a viable and better option existed or not.

    The importance is making them realize that those things exist and can be enjoyable but church and the things of God are more enjoyable and they should focus their time and energy there.

  66. itsasecret2u said,

    he might be able to find equivalent (or better) enjoyment with other social activities, like going to a dance class, or going to a star trek convention.

    The importance is making them realize that those things exist and can be enjoyable…

    I contest the implication that a Star Trek convention could be enjoyable.

    I think Matt and Rube both bring up good points. My question is how does one actually instill a “love” of anything in another person? Do we lead by example, hoping they will imitate and eventually own it? Do we force them, hoping they will eventually own it (fake it till you make it)? Some combination of these two, or something else?

    My oldest seems to love church and bible study at this point in his life, but I honestly can’t tell you why. What was it that made him love it? It can’t just be the enjoyment factor, right? If it is, I worry about what will happen when he finds something more amusing, like Rube was saying.

  67. Matt S said,

    It can’t just be the enjoyment factor, right?

    Why not? Church and the things of God can and should be enjoyable. This is a great start for the young guy! Now mix in a little doctine so Rube is happy(just kidding Rube 🙂 ) and you will have a winner!

  68. itsasecret2u said,

    Why not? Church and the things of God can and should be enjoyable.

    I agree! But I recently asked a (small) group of teenagers why they came to church and their responses varried from “to socialize with my church friends” to “I have to.” They’d probably rather be at the movies, hanging with their friends, or even with their church friends and leaders, just doing something other than bible study. It won’t hold the same “funness factor” for him (my son, I mean) forever, I’m afraid. So I hope there can be something more substantial in addition to enjoyment, because I certainly also want him to think of church as something enjoyable, like we do!

  69. I'd rather not say said,

    Daniel- Run not walk to a computer that has speakers that work, because the songs you were telling me about today are awesome. I had to listen to all of them.

  70. danielbalc said,

    “Not say” is referring to echo’s 52 post with the link to “reformed music”.

    One thing’s for sure if you want your kid to enjoy doctrine that’s probably not the best CD you can get.

  71. Alex said,

    Itsasecret2u,

    Training is an action. Look for the opportunities to teach your child the things of God. Remeber that being a parent is a blessing. A Huge responsibility and at times very difficult, but nonetheless a huge blessing from God. As the head of my household I’m up for the challenge. I see the ways of the world and how it’s getting darker and darker as time goes on but that just reminds me of how much I need to be training my children. I’m not a big believer in sheltering my children from the world, these kids are going to be living in this world by themselves someday. I also understand they are children and they don’t understand the concept fully of there sin nature. I have to teach them that through discipline.That’s my job. No lip service. All action. I dreaded the “bible studies” my Dad used to make us sit (sleep) through. Were they ineffective? I don’t know. I did however watch my Dad like a hawk. He loves God’s word. He loves his wife. He loves serving in God’s house. He loves giving. He loves working hard. Did he fail because he didn’t teach us doctrine? I’ll let you answer that. Now for myself I have to step up even more with my kid’s. I’m sure that will include doctrine amongst all the other stuff but I’m more concerned about their actions. I don’t neccesarily care if they recite me verses by memory. I don’t care how much theology they know when they leave my house I want them to know what it is to serve for example. I want them to be givers. I want them to know what Worship is. I want them to have an intimate relationship with God. I want them to see the need for God’s Word in their life. I don’t care how much head knowledge they have of the Word when they leave my house. Satan knows the Word. He couldn’t put it into action. He couldn’t love the Lord with all his heart. Knowing God’s Word is extremely important but knowledge in itself is not what saves us. Remember, God is faithfu. This doesn’t mean your kid’s wont go through difficult seasons in there walk but God is faithful. Commit to praying for your kids everyday. Literally everyday. He is faithful!!!!!!

  72. itsasecret2u said,

    Rube,

    I forgot to thank you for the hyper-Calvinist link. I am about 3/4 of the way through it, as I am taking time to digest as I read. It’s very interesting and has answered a lot of my questions, so the ones I am posting on my blog are, sadly, a little ridiculous. It seems I was confusing some hyper-Cal concepts with classic-Cal. Anyway, thanks!

    Daniel,

    I should like to ammend my original confession, so as to give you more glory for my Calvinistic conversion. I probably would not have taken many of the Calvin posts on Blogorreah terribly seriously if I had not seen that Daniel agreed with the majority over there. I may not have dug into the past posts without this realization. While I make this statement purely to stroke Daniel’s ego, because apparently he needs that, it also happens to be true. So there you go. It was DANIEL, Rube, Echo, the other Blogorreah guys, and… oh, God too. Definitely Him.

  73. danielbalc said,

    I don’t want credit for you turning calvinst. Avoid the title. Your confusion of “classic cal” for “hyper cal” unfortunately is the norm. Classic “if the shoe fits” shift in word association. Once you take on the label ‘calvinist’ you are doomed to be ostracized, ridiculed and have your ministry limited by those subscribing to stereotypes.

    Think long and hard about how you want to be recognized.

  74. itsasecret2u said,

    Hmmm… So then what does one say?

  75. itsasecret2u said,

    Won’t people attach stereotypes to any label we have, whether it be Calvinist, charismatic, reformed, Arminian, baptist, or even (and especially) Christian in general? If I find Calvinism to be true, much like I find Christianity to be true, why shy away from the label?

  76. Echo_ohcE said,

    Calvinism = apostolic Christianity

  77. danielbalc said,

    stereotypical “Calvinist” deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit and insist upon infant baptism.

    Is that you?

  78. danielbalc said,

    is that apostolic Christianity?

  79. itsasecret2u said,

    Nope. Not me. Can we coin a new term? Charismatic Calvinist? Or spirit-filled TULIP-lover?

    I do see what you’re saying, but consider the stereotype associated with the word “charismatic.” Don’t we still call ourselves such, stereotype be darned?

    Or how about the stereotype associated with the term “Christian” in the world? Mindless, illogical, rigid, prudish, lemming-like, unenlightened, unloving, etc. Or we can examine the single-best example of the way much of “the world” views Christians: Ned Flanders. That’s not me either. At least I don’t think it is…

  80. RubeRad said,

    Do you wear glasses and have a whiskbroom moustache?

    [Threadjack alert: ] My favorite Ned Flanders moment ever: His house burns down, and he can’t rebuild because he had no insurance, because he believed insurance was a form of gambling.

  81. Echo_ohcE said,

    There is no one who is “saved” who does not also have the Spirit.

  82. Echo_ohcE said,

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
    Rom 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
    Rom 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
    Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
    Rom 8:6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
    Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
    Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
    Rom 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    Rom 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

  83. Echo_ohcE said,

    Previous post proves having the Spirit = saved

  84. danielbalc said,

    E,

    “There is no one who is “saved” who does not also have the Spirit.”

    I don’t disagree

  85. Echo_ohcE said,

    Then what is the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

    E

  86. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 77

    Cessationists don’t deny the validity “a priori” of the gifts of tongues and prophesy. They are not anti-miracles or somehow predjudiced against them. They aren’t confronted with miracles and then refuse to believe that they have actually witnessed a miracle. It’s not like someone has truly spoken in tongues, and then we have quenched the Spirit by saying that what the Spirit is doing is invalid. That’s what YOU believe about cessationists, but that’s not the truth of the matter, nor what a cessationist believes.

    Cessationists believe very firmly and unwaveringly that tongues were valid and prophesy was valid at that time in redemptive history. But they believe that in our time, when we have a completed canon, that it is sufficient, and so tongues and prophesy are no longer necessary, hence the Spirit no longer works that way. And it is NOT merely a matter of this being a modern age. No – it is because God has ordained the preaching of the Word and the sacraments to be the means through which he works. He has ordained that we should put our hope in the Word of God and the promises contained therein. He does not want miraculous signs to be the object of our faith. Miraculous signs were used to bear witness to what ought to be the object of our faith, namely Christ, the Word of God incarnate, the covenant incarnate, the promises incarnate, the law incarnate, the gospel incarnate.

    Jesus Christ, the object of our faith, what we have faith IN, is himself the law and the gospel in his very person. He is the law because he alone fulfilled the duties of the law, and also because he bore the curse of the law which we had merited by our sin. He is the promise of eternal life in the flesh because he earned that life for us in his flesh, in his body. His coming meant that all of the promises of salvation in the OT were fulfilled. But it didn’t just mean it, it WAS the fulfillment. The gospel is the good news that Christ has come in the flesh, has fulfilled the law on our behalf, has died to bear the curse in his body merited by our sin, has raised to new life because he has conquered death and hell and has ascended on high to sit enthroned at the right hand of God, showing us that he is the glory to come for us. He is lifted up and exalted above every name.

    There is no such thing as a miracle that doesn’t bear witness to this in some way. But we now have the completed canon. The testimony is complete. We have the complete testimony. We have no need of tongues, prophesies, miracles, etc. We no longer need those to bear witness to our authority as the church.

    What I mean is, when you preach, you don’t perform a sign in order to show that you have the authority to say what you are saying. Rather, you quote the Bible. You read from it, you say, “See, it is written right here.” On this ground alone, the people ought to believe it. Christians ought to believe whatever is shown to them in the Bible. It is the Word of God, we say. So what is in the Bible is what God has said. We ought to believe it, obey it, submit to it, etc. So when you preach, you don’t have to perform some miracle to convince the people that what you’re saying legitimately comes from God. All you do is point to the Scriptures and show them that what you’re saying has already been written for 2 millennia in the Word of God. God has said it, and I’m merely repeating it, you say.

    And rightfully so. Now zoom back in time to the apostolic era. They were saying things far beyond what was written in what was commonly held to be Scripture. They were saying that a man, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Messiah to come, and they were explaining how he had fulfilled the OT. But meanwhile, nothing about the man Jesus of Nazareth is in the OT, unless of course you believe that Jesus truly is the Messiah.

    Whatever the case, they were going beyond the Word of God. It was NEW revelation. How were people supposed to accept this just because a man said it? I am certain that you would have been a sceptical member of those audiences who heard the apostles preach. You might have wondered if Jesus really WAS the Messiah. Until of course some miraculous sign was performed by the apostle speaking. Perhaps someone fell out the window and died, and Paul raised him from the dead right before your eyes. You might just be inclined to believe that Paul comes from God bringing his Word, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s the POINT of miracles. To prove the authority of the NEW WORD.

    Jesus told the Jews that they were wicked for seeking after miraculous signs. WHY? Have you ever thought about that? Moses was given the ability to do miracles in order to prove his credibility, and other prophets did various things to prove theirs, even though not all of them are said to have. But not all of them really needed to either, because not all of them truly brought new revelation. Most of them prosecuted the Israelites for their sin. But their sin was no secret, so nothing remarkable about that, and the terms of the covenant were no secret either. So when the prophets asserted merely these facts, no miraculous signs were needed. Sometimes they predicted things to come, and when they came true, there could be no doubt that the man who predicted it had come from God.

    The point of all of this is simply to say that there is no need for miracles, because no one is bringing any new word from God. When you preach, you don’t say anything beyond what the Scriptures say. It’s not new revelation. Sure, you apply it to a new audience in a new time, but it is the OLD Word, the ancient Word of God, which has now been complete for nearly 2000 years. THAT is your authority. THAT is how you claim that what you say is God’s Word, because here it is in the text.

    Calvinists, cessationists, whatever, are not anti-miracles. They do not despise the notion of miracles. They don’t believe that there is any current NEED for them, they don’t believe that God sends them to us TODAY. The circumstances today are different than the circumstances of the early church. It is because of the nature of these circumstances that cessationists don’t believe that miracles and signs are necessary today.

    Thus, they see the Charismatic movement as a false one. They do not deny the Holy Spirit to be legitimate, they deny your teachings on tongues to be OF the Holy Spirit. They would repeat to you the words of Jesus Christ our Lord to the Pharisees who sought after signs rather than what the signs signified. They would affirm that it is a wicked desire to seek after signs as ends in themselves. They affirm that we have faith in CHRIST not signs, because the signs always and only point to Christ, when they are truly signs.

    They see, rightly I think, charismatics seeking comfort in tongues and perhaps other signs when they should be seeking that comfort in the promises of the gospel.

    As I have said before elsewhere, there are some (some, not all) charismatics that seek signs as proof that Jesus really is with them and loves them and has not left them. But why do they seek this sign, when the Scripture clearly says that GOD himself says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Why on earth would that be written in Scripture if we weren’t obligated to believe it?

    Granted, our faith is weak. Granted, we need help. But if we don’t believe the Word of God to be true when it says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”, then why would God indulge our unbelief in the Scriptures by giving us something else to believe in? Do you see my point here? We are saying that our belief in the Scriptures are weak and we need something else. Why would God then GIVE us something else when he elsewhere CLEARLY says that faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, that is the preached word of the gospel, that is the promises of God with regard to our salvation in Christ? Faith comes by hearing the Word, not by seeing the miracle. If we don’t believe the Word we hear, God doesn’t give us an alternative way to discover, find and grow in faith. He has given us the Word and the sacraments, and that’s it.

    The purpose of miracles at that time was to lend credibility to THESE things because it was new revelation. They were laying a new foundation. Well, now the foundation is laid. We have the completed canon. It is not a new foundation. We all recognize the authority of the Bible. We believe it by faith. We have that faith. Therefore, we do not need anything else to ADD to the Word of God, to ADD to our faith in that Word. To do so is contrary to Scripture.

    The miracles at that time pointed them to the truths of Scripture. You have already been pointed toward Scripture. There is no need for new revelation. You have all you need.

    Disagree if you like. I can certainly understand that you would. For crying out loud, I once believed as you do! If anyone in the reformed camp can understand where you’re coming from, I can. I don’t condemn you for your belief, nor does God condemn you either, because there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus. But the reformed, the cessationists, believe that on this point you are simply wrong. No one is going to rightly say that this simple fact condemns you to hell. But you are nevertheless wrong, and we think the Scriptures make that pretty clear.

    You said above that Calvinists “deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit” and that’s just wrong. That’s a mischaracterization. We deny that what you have IS a gift of the Spirit. We deny that the Spirit causes or encourages you to do what you refer to as speaking in tongues. In fact, we deny that what you do even looks the same as what was done in the early church. There is perhaps nothing clearer than when in charismatic churches, they all pray individually in tongues: this is the very thing that Paul says NOT to do in 1 Cor 14. Yet at least some charismatic churches do it. Then they argue that tongues are still valid. How can they be valid when they are being practiced in ways that Paul commanded even THEM not to practice them? And why, if what they were doing was in fact valid, would Paul have commanded them not to do it? The Corinthian church had perverted tongues into something it never was intended to be. Yet modern charismatics do the very thing Paul commanded the Corinthians NOT to do. How can such a thing be the work of the Holy Spirit?

    And since the apostles baptized infants, I say, yep, whole heartedly, the reformed churches are faithfully practicing apostolic Christianity.

    PS Yes, I am aware that there is nowhere in Scripture that says that the apostles baptized an infant. You might notice that there is also nowhere that says that they gave communion to a woman. Nowhere. But who would deny that the apostles gave communion to women? Not me. So just because of the simple fact that it doesn’t say, “…and then Paul baptized the infant child of…” is not sufficient grounds to say that it didn’t happen. Unless you would ALSO argue that they never served communion to women. If you want to argue that, then I will grant the validity of your argument about infant baptism, namely that it’s not explicitly stated. But of course, I’d be happy to discuss that then. But the simple fact that there’s no narrative saying that it happened is not a sufficient argument. It proves nothing.

    Echo

  87. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    Re: 79

    You may be pleased to know that Christians are logical, reasonable and rational, while unbelievers are irrational, and sin itself is irrational. Rom 1 makes that pretty clear when it says that unbelievers suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This means that it is necessary to ignore the truth and embrace a lie in order to also embrace sin. You have to deny reality in order to sin. Fascinating, eh? I wonder if this has anything to do with the cerebral reputation of the reformed.

    I wonder – now, I’m just thinking out loud here – could it be that the more you embrace the truth, the more you embrace reality, and thus the more clear your thinking and understanding of and about reality becomes? And since the more you embrace the truth, the more you turn from sin is true, then it follows that the more sanctified you are, the more clear your thinking will become? Then does that mean that the Christians who embrace more of the truth will actually think more clearly and understand reality more clearly? Could that mean – and I’m just wondering – that since the reformed are regarded as deeper thinkers and more scholarly, that it’s really just because they are more sanctified, because they have more firmly embraced the Word of God, and that they actually understand it better than say, someone who goes to Willow Creek and the like?

    Could it be that the more sinful you are, the more confused you will be, the more you will hate to think, the less likely you will be to want to read, the more likely it is that you will be irrational and embrace lies rather than the truth?

    Could this have anything at ALL to do with the fact that the reformed children I and many others have encountered are bright and sharp and just generally more impressive? Could it have anything to do with the fact that homeschoolers are brighter and sharper than those raised in other forms of education, because they are being raised by their parents, who simply care about them more, are more patient with them, work more closely with them, etc? Could this actually have an effect on sanctification, and could this account for people of average intelligence coming across as uncommon geniuses?

    Hmmm…

    Lest anyone be offended and say, “Echo, I resent that you have called me stupid because I’m not reformed like you,” let me nip that in the bud.

    I have not said that YOU are stupid, whoever you are that’s reading this. Unless of course you go to Willow Creek. Just kidding! I’m not calling anyone stupid, actually. We are born with a certain capacity for rational thought, and we call it an IQ. Or at least, that’s what we call how we measure it. No matter how sinful you are, your IQ doesn’t change. However, the more sinful you are, the less you are actually utilizing the intelligence God gave you. And this only makes sense if you have to deny reality in order to embrace your sin.

    Here’s an example, let’s say your 8 year old son has a real problem with lying. He lies all the time and never tells the truth. Let’s compare him to your other son, who is 10, who has never, to your knowledge, told a lie. Which one of them is more in touch with reality? Which one understands the world better? Which one would seem more intelligent, even though their intelligence is likely to be comparable? The one who lies is out of touch with what’s real. I was a little kid who lied a lot, and I got very confused about what I had lied about and what had actually happened. I didn’t know what was real anymore. All little kids experience the same thing to a degree. Ask any child psychologist, or perhaps think back to your own childhood. In order to tell a convincing lie, you need to believe it to be true. And anyway, saying it at least claims that it is true, and what you say matters a great deal, thus the commandment forbidding lying.

    Or imagine the man who has an affair with another woman. He keeps it a secret and doesn’t tell his wife because he doesn’t want to ruin his marriage. Isn’t that ironic and contrary to the reality of the situation? He’s already ruining his marriage by having the affair! His only hope of saving his marriage begins by telling his wife what happened and asking her forgiveness! And of course, giving up the affair. But in order to hold onto the affair, he lies and denies the truth even to himself. He tells himself that confessing his sin to his wife would actually be what ruins the marriage. here, he thinks an act of righteousness will ruin his marriage, when in reality, he’s denying that it’s his affair that ruins his marriage.

    So this makes sense in sins like this, but we sin constantly everyday. We turn a thousand things into idols everyday. We embrace lots of little sins. And to do it, we deny the truth. This confuses us, making things complicated. In order to numb ourselves to our guilt, we simply refuse to think about it. That’s our default solution to such problems. This refusal to engage reality is what I’m saying atrophies clear thinking, leading to anti-intellectualism, something which we all know is VERY common today. Everyone hates to think hard.

    Or read long posts.

    E

  88. danielbalc said,

    To anyone who may be deceived by Echo’s 86 post.

    Note very carefully the double talk that all cessationist depend on to make their arguments. His opening paragraph is clearly contradicted throughout the rest of his diatribe.

    The crux of the cessationist argument is that the “spiritual gifts” (wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles, tongues, prophecy etc.) described in I Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and other places are NOT spiritual gifts, but rather “signs” .

    As far as fallacious characterizations go, this is perhaps the easiest to destroy. Just read I Corinthians and look for how often Paul calls these things “signs” and how often he calls them “gifts”. Shoot don’t stop in I Corinthians read ALL of the Pauline epistles, or at least just search them with a concordance to find the things Paul calls “gifts” and the things Paul calls “signs”. It is true that they are spoken of together in a few verses i.e. Romans 15:19 “by the power of signs and miracles” or II Corinthians 12:12 ” the things that mark an apostle- signs, wonders and miracles” But even in these you can see that “signs” are separate from individual gifts. If they are synonymous then why are they listed with commas between them? Why doesn’t the detailed descriptions and instructions of I Corinthians 12-14 tell us that they are signs? Why does the Bible instruct us how to use them?

    I think the confusion comes when the cessationist (perhaps unwittingly) mistakes spiritual gifts for what the Jews demanded in I Corinthians 1:22 ” Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom” Of course if Paul was telling them to make that association then he wouldn’t have said, just a few verses earlier (1:7) “therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed”. In fact if you embrace the whole context of that verse you see all the more the importance of spiritual gifts

    3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithfu

    l.

    There is an unmistakable connection between the practice of spiritual gifts with the confirmation of the Gospel inside an individual. In other words “now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

    And just so you don’t get confused and think this is a theme only carried by Paul notice what the Holy Spirit said through Peter in I Peter 4:7-11

    7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

    “Apostolic Christianity” teaches that we have been given spiritual gifts to build up the church, to the praise of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and that this is something the church will do till the end.

  89. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    It’s your blog.

    I for one am taken by surprise with your distinction between gifts and signs. I am not convinced that this really has any relevance.

    You claim that the Apostles taught that all the gifts will be exercised until the end, ostensibly the end of the church, which would mean the return of Christ. But that is nowhere stated in Scripture.

    But it’s your blog.

    E

  90. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Maybe something you could clear up for me: how does speaking in tongues as you practice it and experience it point you and others to hope exclusively in Christ?

    E

  91. Matt S said,

    Cessationists believe very firmly and unwaveringly that tongues were valid and prophesy was valid at that time in redemptive history. But they believe that in our time, when we have a completed canon, that it is sufficient, and so tongues and prophesy are no longer necessary, hence the Spirit no longer works that way.

    What verses do you use to defend this position?

    If it is I Corinthians 13:8 I would ask has knowledge ceased? The two go hand in hand and will come to pass when Christ returns.

    Speaking in tongues is used to edify the believer only, not the church(unless there is an interpretation). Prophecy is used to edify the church.

    I speak in tongues during a worship service and it edifies my spirit. I do not do it loudly so others are distracted, but it is audible.

    All the prophecy I have ever heard in a church service has been a reiteration of the Word of God, an encouraging word. It is not adding to the Scripture or revealing a better source other than the Bible as there is none.

    1 Corinthians 14:1-4 “For anyone who speaks in a tongues does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”

    It seems pretty simple to me.

  92. danielbalc said,

    Echo,

    You claim that the Apostles taught that all the gifts will be exercised until the end, ostensibly the end of the church, which would mean the return of Christ. But that is nowhere stated in Scripture.

    Did you read I Corinthians 1:7-8? It’s posted right there (88).

  93. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    It says:
    1Co 1:7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    1Co 1:8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It says that Jesus will sustain you to the end and that you won’t lack anything, any gift from the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t say that tongues will continue to the end.

    E

  94. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel and Matt,

    Do you guys believe that interpreting the Bible consists in more than proof-texting?

    If you believe in the validity of the doctrine of the Trinity, I suppose your answer is yes…

    E

  95. Matt said,

    Where are you going with this one?

    Are you advocating using more than the Bible to support a stance?

  96. Echo_ohcE said,

    No.

    But the demand to see it clearly in writing as such is an unreasonable demand. Not everything we believe is clearly laid out in Scripture. It doesn’t say “Trinity” anywhere, nor does it say that God is one God who exists eternally as Three Persons. It doesn’t say that. It says things that IMPLY that. Further, nowhere in Scripture will you see the command to give communion to women. But who would say that communion shouldn’t be given to women?

    Not everything we believe is always spelled out A-B-C. Sometimes you have to compare Scripture with Scripture and think about it a little bit.

    Like it or not, no one was speaking in tongues from the time of the apostles all the up until about the 19th century, when it was unanimously condemned, which is why the entire church didn’t embrace the movement, but they set up their own charismatic churches.

    Now this fact alone doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Lord knows just because the church has unanimously confessed it doesn’t make it right. There was a gigantic consensus among the medeival churches, for example, that justification was by faith and works, so you don’t want to say that the church doesn’t make mistakes, because it clearly does. However, when there is a clear unanimous assent to the same thing, you might have reason to at least think twice or maybe even more than that.

    How come no one spoke in tongues for at least 1600 years? Why is that? Did the Holy Spirit just not want people to get the full experience? And why now?

    The fact that these questions must be asked does not prove that tongues today are false. But these questions need to be answered. Essentially the charismatic movement sees itself as being a more pure movement of Christianity because they have tongues. But Daniel wouldn’t agree with tons of stuff that many charismatics believe.

    The bottom line is this: for at least 1600 years or so, maybe longer, no one spoke in tongues. Perhaps the Spirit has been quenched for a very long time. Perhaps. But all those many theologians and pastors had access to the exact same Bible you do. And I know we tend to think of ancient people as being stupid or whatever, but they’re a lot more clever than we typically give them credit for. Certainly you agree that the Reformation was a good movement. Why weren’t tongues a part of it? For the first time in over 1000 years, people started believing the true and full gospel again: justification by faith alone. That’s something you believe, right? If it was such a great movement of the Holy Spirit, how come tongues didn’t accompany it?

    It’s because for a very, very long time now, people who are saved, who have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who have been called by God to teach and train his people, to govern his people, have judged tongues the exact same way I am judging it: not from the Holy Spirit. False.

    I grew up in the Assembly of God. I spoke in “tongues” and I know for a fact that it is false. I have experienced it myself to be false, though I once believed it. I have also come to understand it to be false according to the Scriptures.

    It’s false. It’s not the Holy Spirit. Call it a gift, call it a sign, call it whatever you will. It’s false. I have made the argument a thousand times. It’s false.

    1Co 14:22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.
    1Co 14:23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

    Paul calls it a sign for believers. But Daniel can say that it’s not a sign all he wants. It’s a sign to believers that serves a purpose. That purpose has already been served. The sign doesn’t repeat over and over and over again.

    The purpose of the sign was to show that God was in fact working in people other than the Hebrews. It also carried content that when translated was considered prophesy. It was a sign and it also brought revelation with it. We have the BIBLE. We don’t need this sign anymore. The foundation is laid.

    Ah, whatever. You can’t get over the personal offense you feel about it. You can’t get over the fact that someone is telling you that you believe in something that is false. You just plain cannot and will not accept that. You rule it out as even being a possibility. You don’t want to believe you have been deceived. You don’t want to believe that all those “beautiful” emotional experiences you’ve had are a lie that YOU have told yourself. You can’t believe that because you don’t want to believe that. You don’t want to think that you are WRONG. You can’t and won’t accept that.

    Besides, you have been taught, probably without realizing it, to trust in this “sign”. If you suddenly thought it was false, you’d probably begin to doubt your salvation. Your ego would take a major hit, and you’d feel foolish and you’d be afraid that you weren’t a real Christian.

    But these things are simply not true. You can be a Christian and be way, way off base on a lot of things, and tongues isn’t the worst error that a Christian, a true believer, can fall prey to. Meanwhile, you don’t have to feel foolish for being duped, because we have all been duped. It’s called sin. And The Son of God himself came to earth to die for us in order to solve our sin problem. The problem has been solved. You don’t have to be afraid to admit that there’s a problem. You don’t have to be ashamed anymore. You can take comfort in Christ. You don’t need the comfort of false signs to convince you of your salvation. All you need is the Bible. It tells you that God has promised, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” You can embrace that, and you don’t need to pray in tongues for that to be real to you. You don’t need tongues to prove the Bible valid. You don’t need it.

    You only need Jesus Christ.

    But you probably won’t accept that, because you want to hold onto your belief in tongues, for the reasons already mentioned. You want to pretend that it is YOU who are inerrant. You want to tell yourself that YOU don’t and can’t make mistakes.

    I make mistakes all the time, I admit it freely. I am a wicked sinner, but Christ is my righteousness. Trust me, being able to look in the mirror and say that and know it to be true is far more comforting than a thousand hours of speaking in tongues and asking God for a second chance.

    There are no second chances with God. Christ died once for all. End of story. He is not the God of second chances.

    E

  97. Matt S said,

    Your dogmatic approach to a topic that at the very least is “up for debate” is nauseating.

  98. Echo_ohcE said,

    That nausea is either:
    1. The Holy Spirit telling you that I am evil.
    2. A sure sign that you should never eat Taco Bell again.
    3. Your imagination.

    E

  99. Matt S said,

    Reconcile I Corinthians 13:8 with your stance before you take such a hard line.

  100. Echo_ohcE said,

    1Co 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

    Love will NEVER pass away. It is of great importance for this reason. At some point, prophesies will be no more, same with tongues, same with knowledge. These things are temporary, but love will last forever.

    This doesn’t prove my point nor disprove it. He’s talking about love.

    Notice that it does not say that prophesies, tongues and knowledge will all pass away at the same time at the end of the age.

    For proof:
    1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    THEN I SHALL KNOW FULLY.

    So, hmmm…he’s not saying that there will come a time when we won’t have any knowledge, and when that happens, only then will tongues and prophesy cease. No. Do you think your mind will be obliterated when you are raised in glory? it won’t be. You will still know God. You will probably know a whole lot of other things too.

    Anyway, all it’s saying is that love never ends, love is forever, while these other things are temporary and fleeting. He’s speaking more about the character of love versus the character of knowledge. It’s not that there will come a time when YOU will know nothing, but rather that everything that is known passes away at some point, because time keeps marching on. You forget many things.

    But love is forever.

    Now reconcile your tongue speaking in church with Paul’s command not to.

    1Co 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
    1Co 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
    1Co 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”
    1Co 14:22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.
    1Co 14:23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

  101. danielbalc said,

    Echo, these are your 4 arguments against tongues from post 96

    1) The implication of the scriptures- you claim the Bible teaches clearly tongues had a purpose and have served their purpose and are thus no longer.

    2) The historical absence- you claim that for 1600 years no one spoke in tongues.

    3) Your personal experience- you claim that you faked tongues, thus it can’t be real

    4) Unnecessary nature- you claim that all we need in Jesus Christ.

    my response to your arguments in reverse order.

    4) You contradict yourself by saying

    “You only need Jesus Christ”

    after you wrote

    “all you need is the Bible”

    . Wouldn’t you also say we only need faith? and we only need grace? and all we need is the sacraments? How many things do we “only need”? What else can we remove from Christianity using this logic? Prayer? who needs it? Worship? ahh phooey. Fellowship? whatever. Evangelism? nope. Pastors? hahaha. Confessions? yeah right. “All I need is Jesus” has become the mantra of liberalism. I have had people I love dearly tell me “I go to church by surfing”. How did they figure that? I guess all they needed was Jesus. But then I tried to tell them they needed the Bible and they insisted they didn’t. How could I argue with them, I was unaware of the clever technique of “only needing” Jesus AND “only needing the Bible”.

    I’m sorry but that argument is slippery to say the least. Taking out parts of the Bible to insist that all we need is the Bible doesn’t make sense.

    3) Ok so you had a bad experience, you witnessed abuses, clearly then it must be wrong. But wait a second, lets go to your boy, John Calvin. What kind of bad “experiences” did his followers have? Well lets see they were commanded to torture those opposed to Calvin’s doctrine. They were burned alive and beheaded. Gosh I hope those negative experiences didn’t cause them to reject the right doctrines of Calvin. You would of course agree that this was an example of power being abused, perhaps even authority faked. Does this mean everything Calvin said and taught was wrong? not at all. likewise I don’t agree with everything that has been said, done and taught under the title of “charismatic” but I am not about to deny the scriptures and try and teach something they don’t say like…

    “Now reconcile your tongue speaking in church with Paul’s command not to.”

    Paul commands people NOT to speak in tongues? WHAT? Where? do you mean I Corinthians 14:5 “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues” or do you mean I Corinthians 14:39 “therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.”

    You have said a lot of smart things and a lot of stupid things over the past couple of months of blogging (and so have I ) but I have never seen you say anything dumber than that. I’m sorry to put it so harshly but it’s true and it’s out there for everyone to read. This particular argument against tongues is purely out of spite and hatred for people whom YOU have now labeled to be false-teachers. you’ve let your emotions take over the better part of your ability to judge scripturally and you are in a sad place.

    2) Your argument for the historical absence is irrelevant by your own evidence …

    “Lord knows just because the church has unanimously confessed it doesn’t make it right. There was a gigantic consensus among the medeival churches, for example, that justification was by faith and works, so you don’t want to say that the church doesn’t make mistakes, because it clearly does.”

    you then rely on a strange argument about how great the reformation was basically saying that IF tongues were real it would have come out then and that people then had the same Bible we had. Well lets see, IF the reformation was such a great time of the pouring out of the holy spirit would Calvin have been beheading and burning in is theocratic fashion? Would Luther have been so mixed up about the Lords Supper? And just how many folks had the same Bible that we have? How prevalent was general Bible knowledge? I’m certainly not accusing people 400 years ago of being fools, but I think that I may have better access to the scriptures then the majority of people then did, wouldn’t you?

    I know you won’t put too much stock into the historical absence argument, because it clearly is pretty weak.

    and finally…

    1) The implication of scriptures is that tongues was only for the time until the canon was completed to prove the authority of the authors of the scripture. Ironically this was the one I emphatically denied with the previous quotations of scripture (post 88) I Corinthians 1:3-9 and I Peter 4:7-11) which teach that exercising of spiritual gifts is something that will be done within the church until Christ returns.

    Kind of like prayer, worship, baptism, the Lord’s supper, giving, etc. These things were not just UNTIL we got the Bible, rather the Bible instructs us on how to properly employ these things. Let us be faithful to those words and not take them out because they make us uncomfortable.

  102. Matt S said,

    All those verses are related to how tongues are to fit into a corporate worship service. The Corinthians were having trouble with this and Paul is instructing them. He is not telling them not to use tongues, just not to use them aloud without an interpretation.

    Lets go on a little journey….

    First stop Mark 16:17 (this is Jesus speaking)

    “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    Speaking in tongues is not man’s idea, but Jesus’ idea.

    I Corinthians 14:2

    “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.”

    Tongues is used to speak to God, not men, thus Pauls admonishing the Corinthian church to use the gift properly.

    I Corinthians 14:3-4

    “On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

    And… Jude 20

    “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.”

    We are able to build ourselves up by using the gift of tongues.

    I Corinthians 14:14-17

    “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.”

    I am giving thanks when I speak in tongues

    Finally…. I Corinthians 14:18

    “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.”

    I will be following the example of Paul by speaking in tongues.

    This is why I speak in tongues, and why you should as well. Do not be scared to use a gift because there is a possibility for error, as there is this possibility in everything we do. Correct usage is very beneficial to the believer.

  103. danielbalc said,

    Echo, In another blog you make this statement…

    But only God is the one with the authority to declare what sin is. So anyone who says that something is sin that is not biblical has set himself up to be God, enthroning himself over the entire universe.

    In doing so you condemn yourself as a legalist, the same thing you repeatedly accused me of being in the alcohol discussion. Fact is you care more about wine then you do about the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 should ring in your ears, not just every time you take a sip of wine, but every time you deny that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still being practiced today.

  104. itsasecret2u said,

    I’m gone for a few days and now it’s going to take me eons to read through everything! But I’m glad I started with this one…

  105. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 101

    Wow.

    You know, on the one hand, I’d like to say that your response reflects such a deep misunderstanding not only of what I said but of a thousand different things, that it’s not even worth the effort. I am very discouraged. On the other hand, I feel like if I don’t answer, then perhaps truth will be robbed of its victory over error, and you will be robbed of your chance to embrace it.

    I am caught in a difficult situation. Pretend you’re me, and you really believe what I’m saying. If I don’t answer you, your response will go something like this, if nowhere else but in your own mind: See! You can’t answer my clever arguments! But if I DO answer you, I fear it will only lead to more argumentation, and you haven’t demonstrated an honest willingness to interact with what I’ve actually said.

    Of course, to this you will reply that I have not honestly interacted with what you have said, or perhaps that I have at least failed to give satisfactory answers. Further, you will cite your righteous indignation at my calling what you practice to be false as grounds for not taking what I’m saying seriously.

    I think perhaps I’ll compromise, and say a little bit, without saying everything that could be said.

    Argument 4: I don’t appreciate your twisting my words. For salvation, all we require is the work of Christ applied to us. To obtain this application, all we need is faith. To understand this, all we need is Scripture. So we don’t need tongues to earn our salvation. We don’t need tongues for assurance of salvation. We don’t need tongues to understand our salvation. We don’t need tongues to embrace our salvation.

    3: You overlooked two words: “in church”. I said that in the passage I cited, Paul seems to command not to speak in tongues in church. I said that Matt ought to now – in response to my reconciling what he asked me to reconcile – reconcile his practice of speaking in tongues in church with this passage which certainly seems to forbid it. Now, that reconciliation can take a lot of forms. Maybe you tell me how to interpret the passage correctly. Maybe you tell me how it’s ok to blow off what Paul says here. I have no idea, it’s Matt’s reconciliation, not mine. It’s up to him – or to you if you wish to answer – to tell me how to reconcile it. I’m really sorry you interpreted my statements the way you did, but since I’m now telling you that you misinterpreted them, you no longer have the right to continue to do so honestly.

    2: I did not say that the argument from history was definitive, but that it should be answered. I think that if you’re honest, you’ll acknowledge that fact. Yeah, you can blow it off by saying that it carries NO weight at all, but that’s less than honest. You’ll notice that when I cite the example of 1000 years of church error, I do not fail to treat this error with some necessary legitimacy. The ENTIRE church believed it. But regrettably so, because it was an error, and anyone who has ever even heard of the Reformation recognizes that that was a big deal. You do not disagree with 1000 years of consensus among the ENTIRE church lightly. You do so only very slowly and carefully, as the Reformation did.

    By the way, your characterization of John Calvin is historically extremely inaccurate. Here you go:
    http://www.the-highway.com/theocracy_Horton.html
    Now, if you would like to dispute what Dr. Horton has said here, that’s fine, but you had better be able to back it up, because he clearly did.

    1: I answered your post. Argue against my answer if you like, don’t merely reassert your post as if I didn’t answer it.

    E

  106. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 103

    Your statement of course presupposes that I cannot back up my statements with Scripture, which I claim to be able to do. You have judged me unfairly.

    E

  107. Echo_ohcE said,

    Matt,

    Re: 102

    Thanks for the careful, honest answer I was looking for.

    What I was concerned with asking you is this: is it or is it not the case that in a typical charismatic church, at some point in the service, or perhaps in many places in the service, everyone is speaking in tongues, which are uninterpreted? Maybe that’s not the practice in your church, but I have never seen a tongues believing church that didn’t practice that, and it seems like Paul is specifically addressing that particular practice, and saying not to do it.

    Please note I’m not asking you to defend the entire practice of tongues, but this particular practice, which I have understood to be a matter of course in tongues believing churches. My assumption is that the same practice takes place in your church, but I’m ready to be corrected on that. I’m assuming it, but I’m nonetheless asking the question.

    Comments?

    E

  108. RubeRad said,

    I didn’t want to get sucked into this tarbaby again, but I will reiterate my observation of practice, at Daniel & Matt’s church (my family was saved into its mother church in about 79, and we were in the daughter church from New Years 86 (last service in the Poway Rd building) until the early 2000’s (my sister’s family is still there — BTW, Alex is my brother-in-law).

    Through that ~20 year span, I observed a gradual decline in what was known as speaking in tongues / “songs of the spirit” / “prophecy” in church services. It used to be (1) sing songs (real songs with real words), (2) free worship (everybody praising with a “new song unto the Lord” or in tongues, then (3) settle down and wait for someone to speak a prophecy or sing a “Song of the Lord”. Part (3) seemed to have disappeared, and part (2) seemed to have continued strong, but with diminishing tongues. That’s a big part of what gives me the impression that the modern conception of tongues is a passing fad, and not the real thing.

    On the plus side, the church services have become more orderly (1 Cor 14:40), and less likely for a guest to walk in and think “these people are crazy” (1 Cor 14:23).

  109. danielbalc said,

    E-machine, that you seem to think my remarks to be over the top either in tone or in rhetoric is surprising. I don’t think I speak any harder then you often do, perhaps your “wow” experience should tell you how we feel just about every time you post. If ANYONE should be able to take accusatory statements it should be you.

    in response to your 4 arguments.

    4) I wasn’t twisting your words so much as pointing out what you said. I agree with the “sola’s” just as much as you do. I am saying that we do not claim tongues as something necessary for salvation but rather something that is a part of Christian worship. Are the other things I listed necessary to earn or assure us of salvation? certainly not, so why do you continually accuse me of making tongues out to be either A) something that earns salvation or B) something that assures us of salvation. Neither is the case same as prayer, giving, singing of hymns etc. They are a part of worship.

    3) You’re right I did overlook the two words “in church”. I apologize for that. first off I want to ask , are you then making allowance for tongues speaking in private? and secondly I have to point out that tongues speaking in church still isn’t prohibited by Paul.

    I Corinthians 14:26-28 ” What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.”

    strangely in post 100 you quoted up until verse 23 and somehow forgot to read a few more verses to get to the point where Paul instructs them as to how they SHOULD speak in tongues during service. not only should they, but they “must” be done for the strengthening of the church. It seems clear you you have either manipulated the scriptures of been totally ignorant of them. I am not sure which is worse.

    third I do wish to challenge the way you have characterized our worship services, for the types of things you imagine certainly don’t happen here. We endeavor to follow the scriptural instructions when it comes to practicing spiritual gifts at our church and for that reason you will not see public tongues, though someone may speak to himself and to God quietly in tongues they don’t do so as a show or a public display. I understand there have been numerous misunderstandings of this and abuses of these things throughout the “charismatic” community. Our church in particular has had to cut ties with many churches who strayed from the biblical prescriptions. Again though, just because someone does it wrong doesn’t mean you reject the whole practice. You still practice infant baptism even though that catholics do it wrong. you still practice the lord’s supper even though you disagree with how the Lutherans do it. you see my point?

    2) I don’t mean to make the historical argument irrelevant either it simply can’t be definitive. The answer to that argument may rest in a couple of things most notably the sovereignty of God. Similar to secrets question about the number of elect Chinese we may ponder as to the timing of God in regards to the restoration of the knowledge of spiritual gifts. Second we don’t know that this gift has been absent throughout the years. Just like I am sure there was a remnant of the true church even in the dark ages there may very well have been a remnant of those who had these spiritual gifts. But the most likely reason (and I fell on this a long time ago in a different post) is the lack of faith or the discipline of God. Again I quote John Calvin commenting on the abundance of spiritual gifts in Paul’s day

    “Today we see our own slender resources, our poverty in fact; but this is undoubtedly the punishment we deserve, as the reward for our own ingratitude. For God’s riches are not exhausted, nor has his liberty grown less; but we are not worthy of his largess, or capable of receiving all the he gives.”

    Calvin’s commentary on I Corinthians p. 305

    If I recall correctly you dismissed this quote previously by saying something like “that’s not what Calvin is talking about”. Ok well I say it is. And he’s right. And it makes sense.

    As for Calvin NOT being a killer, ok, I guess I’ll take the guys blog over the majority of historical narratives. To be fair I haven’t yet read it, but I doubt that I will be convinced that Calvin wasn’t the theocratic monster that he has been perceived as for the past 400 years.

    1) how did you answer?

  110. Echo_ohcE said,

    The article about Calvin is not from some moron’s blog.

    It is an actual published article by Michael Horton. You know, famous theologian, has a PhD, has published many, many books, has a radio show called the White Horse Inn, etc.

    Disagree with him if you like, but like disagreeing with history, disagreeing with someone with his credentials should not be done lightly. Nor should disagreeing with someone with YOUR credentials be done lightly. You probably wouldn’t appreciate it too much if someone in your church just dismissed what you said out of hand by saying, “No, you’re wrong.” You’d probably be pretty frustrated. How come? Do you have any…dare I use the word…authority?

    Unwise to simply disagree with men like that out of hand. So I’d encourage you not to.

    As for the rest…

    4. I’d like to see a greater explanation as to why you think that no one in your church looks to tongues as any kind of assurance of salvation. I am aware that that is not your church’s official position or your official position, but I want to hear you argue against what I have said to Albino about people associating the experience with the nearness of God’s presence. Please tell me how it’s absolutely impossible for anyone who practices tongues as you do to view it as any kind of assurance of salvation.

    3. “are you then making allowance for tongues speaking in private?” Of course not, I just was limiting the scope of the discussion. So let me get this straight. If I came to your church, I wouldn’t hear a lot of chatter going on during prayers?

    2. Do you think I don’t disagree with Calvin on anything?

    1. Sigh.

    E

  111. danielbalc said,

    First off I apologize for dismissing published articles you consider to be relevant, however for every published article defending Calvin I am sure I could find a published article by someone else accusing him. I don’t think you can recuse Calvin of any crime based on Dr Hortons research any more so then you can convince me that we are all descendants of monkeys based on nearly every Dr at a major university. I don’t know why Dr Horton is seeking to absolve Calvin of negative stereotypes but he clearly has an agenda. He makes Calvin out to be a saintly character who never did any wrong. I think this is a telling final paragraph from wikipedia regarding this subject…

    History has certainly judged Calvin to be in the wrong on this issue, and modern Calvinists do not defend his actions against Servetus.[19] Yet, Calvin’s admirers generally picture him as a man who sinned and failed to transcend the ethics of his time but who is still deserving of honor because of his contributions elsewhere, while many detractors picture him more as a man who craved power above all else, who could not abide any dissent, and who is unworthy of the respect that is commonly given to him.

    “Calvinist do not defend his actions against Servetus.” But Dr Horton does. Well he is clearly in the minority both historically and within his own allegiances. That tells me he has an agenda. Simply put, you accused my characterization of Calvin to be “historically extremely inaccurate” then you linked me to Dr. Hortons article. Sorry but Dr Horton doesn’t define historical accuracy, history does. He is seeking to redefine it and is doing so against the majority. That’s fine for him to try but until he has succeeded I don’t think you can really say I am being unfaithful to history. WOW, that was a totally unnecessary side track from the relevant conversation. Back to it…

    4) I’d like to see you prove that no one in your church gains assurance of their salvation from their baptism as infants. You make a preposterous request
    “Please tell me how it’s absolutely impossible for anyone who practices tongues as you do to view it as any kind of assurance of salvation.”
    which again depends on your own insinuation. Seriously how can you keep saying stuff like that?

    3) If you sat next to the right person at the right time you may hear them speaking in tongues, but thats a far cry from what Paul is describing. Paul is describing a service that is out of order. Our services are in order.

    2) No, I think you disagree with whoever and you want whenever you want. I think you have set yourself and your abilities to understand the Bible as the final authority.

    1) exactly

  112. RubeRad said,

    History has certainly judged Calvin to be in the wrong on this issue

    History hasn’t been very kind to the New England Puritans (is “Puritan” not an insult?) either. I would suggest that history generally tends to revile Christ whenever it can find a reflection of him.

  113. Matt S said,

    Echo

    RE 107

    Our church, and every church I have been to, operates in regards to tongues in the way Paul is urging the Corinthian church to operate, in order.

    The only time speaking in tongues would ever be heard would be in the first 20-25 minutes of service during the worship time. When songs are being sung, we are singing the songs, but there is a time for “free worship” (as Rube described in post #108) and this would be the most likely time (a period of a couple minutes at the most).

    During this time, you would still be hard-pressed to hear anyone because 1)not everyone speaks in tongues in our service (which is perfectly ok) 2) no one does it loudly (you would have to be immediately next to them)

    Tongues in our church is used to edify and build up the individual, thus I speak in tongues in my daily personal prayer time more so than at church. It is never pushed from the pulpit as necessary.

    Once again the gift used correctly is edifying for the believer.

  114. Matt S said,

    Rube

    RE 108

    This is a pretty accurate assesment of what our services are like today.

    I will say (Daniel can probably speak with more certainty) that the “prophetic words” that used to be commonplace and are now very sporadic are so because of logistical issues more than a “different view” on the topic. It would be much harder now in a larger building to have the congregation be able to hear someone speaking without a mic, thus it does not take place. (although pastor will do so in an “altar call” situation at times).

    That’s a big part of what gives me the impression that the modern conception of tongues is a passing fad, and not the real thing.

    If it is a “passing fad” then it is a very very slow moving fad because it is still taking place 2000+ years after Pentecost.

  115. RubeRad said,

    Where was the “slow-moving fad” between the earliest church and Azusa Street?

  116. danielbalc said,

    part of it may be logistics a bigger part is people. The people of the church are much different then the people of the church when Rube was here. Different people have different spiritual gifts and varying degrees of confidence when it comes to using those spiritual gifts. I don’t agree that it’s a fad. I don’t ever think it appeared to be “out of order” but that could be bias. Fact of the matter is if anyone from any denomination in America was at a service similar to the early church they would probably feel very uncomfortable and out of place. The model that many “orthodox” churches follow is based more on 400 years ago European churches and that carrying heavy catholic undertones and liturgy. That certainly doesn’t make them any closer to the apostles church then non-denominational churches which could be said to be based on contemporary Californian culture. And what of the African churches that meet under trees? The Chinese churches meeting in basements and the South American church in a soccer stadium? All those different churches all over the world have been known to have people “speaking in tongues” and “prophesying” in them. Do you really think this is a fad? Do you really think this is faked? Do you really think God is disgusted by all this? That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it, but it is an opinion not backed up by scripture.

  117. danielbalc said,

    Where was the “slow moving fad” of missions for 1800 years?

  118. danielbalc said,

    The “slow-moving fad” of justification by faith for 1500 years?

  119. RubeRad said,

    The “slow-moving fad” of justification by faith was hiding in England. Also, the RC church was not corrupted in this regard until relatively near the Reformation (which is why people jokingly call Augustine a “Calvinist”), i.e. through the Medieval period when the Pope became an Emperor with financial, political, and military power beyond imagining.

    This right here is great listening:
    [audio src="http://mp3.sa-media.com/media/3270411352/3270411352.mp3" /]

  120. danielbalc said,

    Why England? Why not Spain or Morocco? Why not India or Tibet? I’m asking those questions sarcastically because, like echo before, you are trying to argue “absence in history”. Something that was validly argued against justification by faith. Hence a reformation was necessary. Was the reformation completed in a 20, 50 or even 100 year period? Maybe it’s taken 500 years? It took them 200 years to get rid of theocracy. 300 years to start Missions. 400 years to abolish slavery why not 500 years to understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

  121. RubeRad said,

    Theocracy is gone for good. Missions is here for good. Slavery is gone for good. Why is tongues (in my observation) fading?

    History shows that charismatic movements of various flavors have come and gone throughout church history. You know why the Quakers are called Quakers? Or the How about the Shakers? How’s that Toronto Blessing doing?

    In any case, I’ll concede that historical argument is not biblical argument, and I’ll let you and Echo get back to re-doing the 500-comment tongues war that you already did on my blog.

  122. danielbalc said,

    Yeah we have already had this conversation it is pretty tedious.

    I don’t think tongues is fading, I think your distancing of yourself from it is causing it to appear faded.

  123. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Your goal is to simply to defend your view and to make me look foolish, because you despise me. It’s ok to admit it. From your point of view, you probably have a lot of good reasons to despise me.

    Meanwhile, while I think I have been trying simply to challenge your belief and defend my own, there are also hard feelings on my part too. I am becoming increasingly frustrated.

    This is not a recipe for honest Christian debate and discourse. It has become personal for us both.

    For my part, I want to be perfectly transparent. I don’t like tongues. I don’t like the practice. I don’t think that it’s right. I don’t think it’s biblical to be done today, and I don’t think what is practiced today is what was practiced then. Further, I think the practice undermines our ability to have hope solely in Christ. I think it does.

    That’s why I get so fired up about it. I see the current practice called “tongues” to be something that is at odds with the gospel. So I take it seriously and get fired up about it.

    You, however, practice it, and you teach other people to practice it. So you take it seriously, and get fired up about it, because it’s intensely personal for you. Since you do it, it would take a whole lot to convince you that it’s wrong, given that you believe that it comes from the Holy Spirit.

    You see me denying the gift of the Spirit, I see you as harming the gospel. Both view the other as misunderstanding the Word of God. Thus both are offended at the other.

    But there can be no honest interaction on the matter until we both get over our offense at the other person.

    I find myself frustrated, because I feel like only one of us has actually given both sides a fair hearing. I wasn’t born reformed. I had to discover it later in life. I grew up speaking in tongues. You cannot accuse me of simply being predjudiced against tongues – I practiced it for what still amounts to the majority of my life!

    But I am frustrated about this, because I find myself doubting that you have ever given cessation a fair hearing. If you have read anything about it at all, you have come at it hating it already and seeking only to defend yourself against it.

    While I understand how you feel – I’m not just saying that – you are making me feel like I’m talking to a brick wall. I probably don’t really have a right to feel that way, but that’s how I feel. I can’t even talk to you. Neither one of us can get over our offense at the other, and I’m particularly frustrated because I’m the only one of us who has actually lived and breathed in both camps.

    This conversation is therefore totally pointless, even dangerous for us to continue.

    Here are the two best books on the subject from the reformed perspective:

    http://www.amazon.com/Final-Word-O-Palmer-Robertson/dp/0851516599/sr=8-1/qid=1172112928/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-3032588-7791940?ie=UTF8&s=books

    That’s the Final Word by O Palmer Robertson.

    http://www.amazon.com/Perspectives-Pentecost-Richard-Jr-Gaffin/dp/0875522696/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b/104-3032588-7791940

    That’s Perspectives on Pentecost by Richard Gaffin.

    Either one of these can make a far better argument than I, and since it’s a book, it’s less personal.

    You can get OPRobertson’s book for 3 bucks used.

    I’m not telling you, here, read a book, O ignorant one. I’m not telling you that at all. I’m telling you simply that it might be good for you to look at the arguments fairly, in a bit more sterile way, since a book isn’t personal. At the very least, perhaps it will help you better to interact with future people like me who might come into your church and challenge you.

    This is probably not the last time you will be asked to defend your view. It would thus be good for you to really examine the best cessationist arguments for yourself and contemplate your own objections to these arguments. Gaffin’s book is probably better, but that’ll cost you 10 bucks. He’s a professor at Westminster Philly. I think you’d like him, though you probably won’t like his book. But anyway, I hope you give it a fair hearing, so perhaps you can deal with the next Echo…differently.

    I’m sure you will be challenged many, many times on many personal issues in the future, and I’m sure I will too.

    I obviously have a bit more growing to do. It’s hard for me not to be resentful of the entire charismatic movement. Sure, I think it’s theologically wrong, but I don’t have to resent anyone for being wrong. I resent them for having oppressed me for so many years. And I cringe when I am reminded of that. I gotta get over that.

    E

  124. Albino Hayford said,

    Rube, you are confusing shaking, falling, laughing, and other activities of dubious legitimacy with tongues-speaking, which is taught in Paul’s section on how to have orderly worship in Corinth and the church in general. That’s where you cessationists have demonstrated lots of weakness.

    In summary, Paul clearly encourages tongues speaking and commands us not to forbid it, but never mentions shaking, falling, laughing, drooling, covering people on the floor with blankets, and numerous other popular expressions of “Holy Spirit power” that has been popular of late.

    Pastor Doug suffered a great personal cost because of his convictions to stick with the Scripture and not embrace many of the popular fads of the last 2 decades.

  125. Echo_ohcE said,

    Of the last two decades?

    The roots of the charismatic movement are in these so-called “fads”.

    http://www.bible.ca/tongues-neo-montanism.htm

  126. danielbalc said,

    Wow, E

    that was a pretty interesting web link. thank you for that. I can see why you might be afraid of charismatics after viewing that dark history. Here’s the funny thing. So am I! Yeah, it;’s true… 90% of the stuff in there scares me. Every one of the men and women mentioned in the article are completely disregarded by our congregation.

  127. Bruce S. said,

    For intensely personal reasons, I sort of have a policy drawing the line on getting involved in debates over this issue. But here I have to say regarding this very interesting statement you made:

    Every one of the men and women mentioned in the article are completely disregarded by our congregation.

    Not quite. BMT traces its roots directly to the North Battleford Saskatchewan “latter rain” revival, which revival is the genesis of the “presbytery – laying of of hands – personal prophecy – impartation of some gift” now practiced at LWC. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you will find your DNA in Echo’s link.

    Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latter_Rain_Movement and see if you recognize any names/doctrines/ecclesiological practices.

  128. Matt S said,

    very interesting Bruce, many of the people my parents knew and fellowshiped with were in the article (Heck, I even grew up in Ern Baxter’s old house).

  129. danielbalc said,

    Fair enough Bruce, I considered clarifying that before submitting it but chose not to. I guess I must now….

    True the “DNA” of the church can be found in that line, but as far as the names I read in the article in question the ones that I recognized were once we distance ourselves from. As you well know LWC has severed many relationships due in part to abuse of practice and straying from the scripture. Not only have relationships been severed but intense pressure to join MFI has been rejected as well. It’s been an strange decade for LWC trying to recalibrate which churches to align ourselves with in fellowship.

    Uncertainty in fellowships aside I am convinced that we have demonstrated by our actions that we are committed to an “uncompromising belief in the Bible as God’s standard of authority” . We have been faithful to the word of God especially when it comes to having to chose something like “tradition” or “fellowships” or “heritage”. This standard is uncompromisable. Has our church been perfect., every word without error, confusion or corruption? Can any church claim something like that?

    We are constantly being challenged to understand better the word of God, and I think we are rising up to that challenge…

    even if it means cutting ties with old friends who go a different way.

  130. RubeRad said,

    LWC trying to recalibrate which churches to align ourselves with in fellowship

    In 15+ years of being a “member”, I was never aware of any concept that LWC aligned itself with any other churches. Is this new? Anyways, just a gratuitous jab: that’s your denomination. It’s a loosely-defined one, but whatever your criteria for which churches are OK for you to align with, and which are doctrinally too wrong/different/whatever, that’s your confession.

  131. danielbalc said,

    The problem with our “denomination” (non) is that it allows us to fellowship with too many different churches.

    Who we line up with most comfortably is a different question all together.

  132. RubeRad said,

    Translation: “It’s not practically possible for a Christian church to exist without some loosely equivalent concepts of denomination & confession”

  133. danielbalc said,

    Sure, I don’t disagree.

  134. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    You said:
    “that was a pretty interesting web link. thank you for that. I can see why you might be afraid of charismatics after viewing that dark history. Here’s the funny thing. So am I! Yeah, it;’s true… 90% of the stuff in there scares me. Every one of the men and women mentioned in the article are completely disregarded by our congregation.”

    I am not afraid of charismatics as a result of viewing that dark history. Remember, I grew up Pentecostal, and left that church long before I knew where the proper place was to turn. I had no idea about this history. It was after spending 20 years of my life in the Pentecostal church, having grown up in it, that I figured out that it was illegitimate.

    Maybe that’s an interesting question. Why DID I leave the Pentecostal church? I couldn’t tell you. I just thought they were all phoney. Fake. Hypocritical. I became very cynical about the church in general. I went to church after church saying, “They don’t know God, they don’t know God, they don’t know God.” I thought I knew God, though I really didn’t know him all that well. But I didn’t know where to go to find people who DID know God, and so I eventually gave up looking.

    8 or so years later, I finally heard about TULIP and decided to go to a church that taught that, realizing that now I finally knew why it was that I had thought all those other churches didn’t know God. I had had a point after all. I was one of those weird people who embraced TULIP the moment it was presented to me. That’s because it was shown to me in Scripture. Suddenly I had found what was lacking in the churches I had gone to, and I was immediately ready to go back to church. But I was in the Marines and had to go on deployment first. Interestingly, providentially, our chaplain was OPC.

    So when I got out of the Marines, I went to an OPC and haven’t looked back since. But when I started going to the OPC, I didn’t know anything about cessationist arguments. Not one thing. I had concluded it was false after years of being immersed in it and practicing it. I had no idea why it wouldn’t be genuine, I just knew that it wasn’t. I couldn’t have even begun to tell anyone why. Perhaps my judgments were all based on fruit. I guess I just didn’t see any real good coming of it. Well, maybe that’s not right either. There were a couple of key incidents that led me to believe it was all fake.

    There are two in particular that stick out in my mind. The first was at a youth convention. So there are all these people, high school students, and they’re all slain in the Spirit. I’m standing there, and all these people are on the ground and shaking and uttering and whatever. We had been having a discussion among us about this very experience just the night before. We had all agreed that being slain in the spirit was not biblical. But nonetheless, there were still two opinions. One said that even though it wasn’t in the Bible, it was ok, since the Spirit was doing it after all. The other opinion held that it wasn’t ok, because it wasn’t in the Bible. I didn’t really know where I stood, but I leaned heavily toward it not being ok. I had – thankfully – been taught the importance of the Bible. But I was confused on this issue. So there I was at this youth convention, and they’re all slain in the Spirit. I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed. I said, “God, I don’t know if this is from you, but if it is, I want it.” That’s it. That’s all I said. I had been taught my whole life that if you wanted something from God, you had to pray long and hard, cry some tears, beat your breast, deny yourself food, etc, just so that God would answer your prayer. I was beginning to think all of that was pretty stupid. He was God. He didn’t need me to get his attention. I already had it. He knew what was in my heart. He was there when we were discussing this last night, he knows that I’m confused about this, he knows why I’m asking this the way I am. If this experience is from him, this would be the perfect time for him to give it to me, and for the perfect reason.

    So I waited.

    And waited.

    I looked around at my fellow youth. They had streams of tears falling down their cheeks. Their lips were all moving. Their hands were lifted up. Their eyes were closed. Many of them were laying on the ground doing the same thing.

    Still I waited.

    As I stood there waiting, reality began to sink in. This is not from God. This is wrong. Having worked myself into an emotional frenzy many, many times, I began to peice together what was happening to these people. They were all just like me. They all wanted it so bad that they just began imitating the sounds of those around them. They didn’t want to be left out. They imitated others, and didn’t know when their imitation stopped and the work of the Spirit began. And I know that after a while, that line gets blurred even more, because you want it to get blurred. Then you doubt that it was ever you in the first place, and you think it was the Spirit all along. And so, when you go to church, you simply allow yourself to get lost in it all, thinking that you have been taken up into heavenly bliss, when in reality, you have done it to yourself by inciting the emotions.

    This realization began to hit me at that youth convention. Then I realized that the room was full not just of youth who didn’t know any better, but there were youth pastors all over the place and ministers of all types. And they were orchestrating it all.

    They were lying to us. They were telling us that something that wasn’t in the Bible was from God, but it wasn’t. It was false. It was all false. It was nothing but lies.

    But coupled with that was a different youth convention, when the guest speaker took three offerings from high school students. After the first offering was counted, he yelled at us and told us that we were spitting on God. Nevermind that we had paid a fee to come to the conference. (Guess who the offering was going to?) He yelled and screamed at us and took another offering.

    When that offering was counted, apparently it wasn’t good enough, so he yelled and screamed some more, this time telling us that we needed to put in our 5 bucks that we had for McDonald’s on the way home, and in this way he took a third offering.

    Again, the room was full of ministers. And none of them said later that what we had witnessed was wrong. I wonder what you would have done, Daniel, if you were the youth pastor, and someone at a convention was yelling at your kids and telling them that they were spitting on God, and that they needed to go without food to line this guy’s pockets. Would you stand up and rebuke him in front of 2000 youth and the other ministers? Well, don’t be too quick to say you would. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to. But none of them did. I don’t want to judge them too harshly, but seriously, how does this happen? In my mind, this was evidence that there were far greater problems than just this one guy. Sure, he was a theif and a liar, but after that traumatic experience, I noticed similarities in all the pastors I saw. They all had…that same sort of air about them. Granted it’s usually far, far more subtle, but after that, I always got rubbed the wrong way every time offering was taken. I still get a little creeped out about it from time to time.

    But are you following me here? This was an ordained minister in my denomination who was robbing children right in front of a bunch of other ministers with their blessing and consent, even if it was only through their silence. They went along. They knew better than I what was going on.

    Well, it probably doesn’t surprise you that having had such experiences, and others like them, during my teenage years, that when I got to college, I ceased going to church altogether. Sure, I visited the churches in the area, but they were all hypocrites and liars in my eyes, or else so old and stuffy and boring as to be a complete waste of time. So I stopped going to church. About 8 years. Funny, I never went to a Presbyterian church of any kind during that time.

    I guess I wanted the excitement of a charismatic worship service, but couldn’t stand the hypocracy of it, the falseness of it. I couldn’t be happy and satisfied anywhere. I tried lots of charismatic churches, but found them all to be essentially the same. Some were more sincere, granted, but all essentially the same. Though every now and then I would try again and go one or two Sundays, but then I would remember how much I hated it, and wouldn’t go back. So it went for about 8 years.

    Then I found out about TULIP, and started going to the OPC. That’s where I discovered the arguments for cessation. I was already a cessationist anyway, even though it made no sense to me, so when I started to hear the arguments, it only made me feel very happy and confirmed. I was ready and willing to embrace it.

    And I can’t tell you what a relief it was to discover that just about everything I had been told growing up was a lie. The Left Behind series was a lie. That was a BIG relief, because I had always wanted to be “left behind” in order to help the people who were also left behind and wanted to find salvation. After all, I reasoned, they will all just be baby Christians with no one to guide them, so I want to be left behind to help instruct them. They’ll need someone like that. Boy was I relieved to discover that there is no such thing as a Tribulation such as that book describes. There won’t be a secret rapture that takes Christians off the earth, so that everyone who’s left behind suddenly becomes afraid, realizes there’s a God, but doesn’t know how to find him. (Looking for God and being unable to find him is my worst nightmare, which I had the displeasure of living for 8 years, so I’ve no desire to ever wish that upon anyone.) And then failing to find him, harden their hearts against him and hate him all the more. I’m glad to find out that’s a crock of you know what. And honestly, that’s what it is. Pure foolishness.

    The one thing I had the most trouble with was infant baptism. That was the only thing that I really had trouble with. But I only had trouble with it so long as I didn’t understand it. That was the one doctrine where I was won over through argumentation. And the WSC grad that helped me through that is now my best friend. Thus the reason why I am here is revealed.

    Perhaps the best thing I discovered when becoming OPC was that I had been lied to my entire life about our great salvation. Oh yes, I had heard that Jesus died for me all the time. Oh yeah. I knew that.

    But I had no idea what it meant. For all you fancy amateur theologians out there, I believed in and understood Christ’s passive obedience, but not his active obedience.

    You see, during that 8 year haitus from the church, I managed to drop out of college twice and ended up well over 300 pounds. No surprise, I suppose, because I was looking for God and couldn’t find him, and then gave up the search to wallow in self pity and misery. But I figured that if I joined the Marines, I’d solve all my problems in one fell swoop. I’d lose weight, and never be fat again, I’d get money to go back to college and finally finish (because my parents weren’t going to help me a third time), and I’d get discipline that would last me the rest of my life. I was on the road to self perfection, self redemption. My view was semi-Pelagian at best, full on Pelagian at worst. I needed to perfect myself, to make myself acceptable to God. I sought to be my own Christ.

    All that to say, when I came to the OPC, it was there that I really heard the gospel for the first time: you can’t earn God’s approval, you can’t earn your salvation – but Christ earned it for you.

    Whoa. That was exactly the language I needed to hear it in. THAT was what changed my life. Sure, TULIP began to push me in that direction, and it got me interested in trying to find God again, but it was hearing the gospel that set me free, that took the chains off, that lifted the burdens off. This was salvation, finally.

    All my life, I realized, I suffered apart from this knowledge. I paid a terrific price that I have only begun to sketch here. I haven’t told you of the horrible times I had in the Marines or the struggles I went through, or what it was like to be a twice over college dropout who spends a couple hours a day for a year getting yelled at by his parents, whom I had alienated by my dropping out and failure to go to church, my giving up the search for God. I haven’t told you about hitting rock bottom and wanting to end my life, and not doing it ONLY because I thought I would go to hell if I did, but wanting to do it more than anything. I haven’t told you about sinking so low, and then trying to be Atlas and pull myself out of the pit, to try to conquer sin myself and failing, failing, failing. I haven’t even begun to tell you my struggles. I haven’t told you of how much pain I have suffered at the hands of reckless men who have no regard for the true gospel of Jesus Christ, who tried successfully for many years to bar my path to heaven, to the foot of the cross.

    I haven’t even begun to tell you how much misery has been poured down upon my head at my own hand and at the hands of others – who all spoke in tongues and encouraged me to do so.

    Jaded? Bitter? Resentful? Hateful?

    It is far, far, far worse than that.

    No, I don’t fear charismatics. I want the belief to be stamped out. I find it to be associated with all sorts of horrible wickedness with a remarkable consistency. And I have found that the only churches that teach the gospel don’t even consider tongues to be an option.

    Jesus said, “By their fruit you shall know them.”

    Is that a valid test or isn’t it?

    The beginning of the charismatic movement is marked with all sorts of stuff that I have described. It continues to be marked with the stuff I have described.

    Maybe your church is a little different. But your church wouldn’t be speaking in tongues if it hadn’t started with these “90%” that you refer to.

    Now, perhaps your church, by the grace of God, doesn’t bear such wicked, awful, horrible fruit. Maybe it doesn’t. I’m grateful for it. If your church practices tongues explicitly in the precise way that Paul commanded the Corinthian church to practice it, that’s great. I’ve never, ever seen such a thing, and I’ve seen a lot of charismatic churches, but if your church does it, that’s far better than the nonsense I grew up in. It’s still wrong, but there are bigger errors.

    Like not teaching the active obedience of Christ. Like teaching people to trust their tears instead of the promises of Scripture. That’s not to say tears are bad, but for Christ’s sake, don’t we have to say that they aren’t meant to be assurance of salvation? For HIS sake don’t we have to say that, because it cheapens his sacrifice to teach people to hope in tears?

    Do you follow what I mean by teaching people to hope in tears? I hope that you don’t do this, and I’m happy to take your word for it that you don’t. But what I have found generally goes along with the practice/belief of tongues is a certain emotionalism. Because I have found that it is necessary to stir the emotions in order to have the result of the tongues speaking experience. Perhaps you sing many, many worship choruses, repeating phrases over and over, lulling yourself into a strange emotional state. I’ve been there. Maybe your church isn’t like this at all. That’s great. But go to the local A/G church if you want a demonstration. I’m CONFIDENT you’ll see what I mean. Anyway, the goal is to get everyone all worked up emotionally, get them crying, get them coming forward to beg God for a second chance (which undermines the once for all nature of Christ’s sacrifice by the way), saying “We’ll try harder this week, God”, and crying and wanting to speak in tongues, because then they will know that God has heard them and forgives them.

    Wait a minute.

    Yep, that’s how it works. They come forward to the altar, begging God for forgiveness and another chance. “All this we will do.” And they’re crying and begging God and beating their breasts and seeking, seeking, seeking, and finally, overcome with emotion, they begin to speak in tongues. THEN they know that God will give them that second chance. Then they know the Holy Spirit has not departed from them. Then they know that the Spirit is working in their heart. God has favored them, he has responded to them, he has heard them, and he has answered. It is a “right now” answer. It is instant assurance of salvation.

    Far more than any cessation argument, I am against tongues for this reason. I find that it teaches people to put their trust in an emotional experience. Sure, they are all but guaranteed that when they come to church they can have this emotional experience, and thus are assured of their salvation and feel secure in it.

    But the problem is, they don’t KNOW they’re saved because of what the Bible says. They don’t KNOW they’re saved because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” They KNOW they’re saved because they come to church and speak in tongues, and if they speak in tongues, they MUST be saved. That’s really why I’m against it at the end of the day. It teaches people, inadvertently, to trust in emotional experiences rather than the Word of God.

    But this is why cessationists are always talking about the sufficiency of Scripture to make their point. Unfortunately, most cessationists have never experienced it, so they don’t really understand why the sufficiency of Scripture is a good argument against tongues.

    Usually what they say is that tongues and prophesy are revelatory, but the canon is closed, so we don’t need tongues and prophesy, and therefore, tongues and prophesy are false.

    And while I think that has merit, I don’t see that as EVER convincing anyone. I mean, how do you respond to that argument, Daniel? You respond by saying that you don’t believe the canon is open, and that the cessationist has no idea what he’s talking about.

    And that makes sense. You have a point. Of course, the cessationist isn’t actually trying to say that by believing in tongues you necessarily believe the canon is open and that prophetic utterances or even translated tongues should count as Scripture. You would probably say that such utterances are only valid insofar as they “Echo_ohcE” the words of Scripture. And that’s fine. Of course, this is a different kind of prophesy than what they were practicing in the NT, because those prophetic utterances did not always agree with Scripture, such as the guy who told Paul that he’d be arrested in Jerusalem. You won’t find that in Scripture! Nevertheless, you aren’t guilty of claiming that the canon is open, so this argument will never convince you.

    But something that I think will convince you in the end is this assurance business. Maybe it won’t. Maybe nothing will convince you. Ok. But at least I think this should give you pause. I’d like to think that you care about the fact that people in your congregation might be trusting in emotional experience rather than the Word of God.

    Now, you might be saying in your own mind in response to this that there’s no conflict here.

    I could see how you could have a valid point here. All you would need to do is say that people can have emotional experiences, and tongues that goes along with it, and still place all their hope only in the promises of Scripture.

    You could also say that in your church, you don’t orchestrate things such that people are drawn into being given over to emotional experiences. You could say that you aren’t trying to get people to cry and have an Aristotelian catharsis experience (I am speaking of Aristotle’s discussion of Greek tragedy, in which he says that it’s good for people to view tragedies, because they cry, and thus expend these pent up emotions). I am very glad if this is not the practice of your church. Very glad.

    But this would make your church extremely unique among charismatic churches. And in fact, I suppose your pro-TULIP stance is already a gnat’s eyelash slice of the charismatic camp to begin with. As you said, you’ve distanced yourselves from 90% of the movement.

    But let’s just talk about churches in which there is this emotional thing going on. Emotions are not bad. Not at all. But when people are inadvertently trained to seek emotional experiences as a way of gaining assurance of salvation, which all the charismatic churches I have seen do INADVERTENTLY teach – because of course they would never say that – surely you will agree that this is a bad thing.

    No one should consider speaking in tongues, whether emotional or not, as something that serves as evidence of salvation.

    The question is, does the Holy Spirit literally take control of your tongue, so that you are no longer in control of it, or do YOU do it, as the Holy Spirit has gifted you to be able to do?

    For example, some people are gifted at hospitality. But when they are being hospitable, the Spirit hasn’t taken control of their mind and body, such that when they make the food it isn’t really them doing it. Furthermore, some men have been gifted to preach, but Daniel, you know that when you preach, it’s YOU doing the preaching. You say what you want to say. Granted, you may find that what you say proves to be especially beyond your ability or whatever, but nonetheless, when you preach, it is YOU preaching. Some men have been gifted with leadership. But they are the one who exercises this gift. They make the decisions according to the wisdom God has given them.

    And I think we’d have to argue that all the gifts of the Spirit work like that.

    But for my part, this is not what I’ve believed tongues was all about. This is not what I was trained to believe about tongues. I was trained to believe that the Holy Spirit actually takes control of your tongue, throat, whatever, and so what you speak is not really of your own doing.

    It is only THIS impression of tongues that can serve as evidence of salvation, because a person who believes this about tongues thinks that the Spirit has taken over their tongue and actually literally causes the utterance. If the Spirit does this in you, it CANNOT be the case that you aren’t saved.

    So a crucial question is, what do you believe about tongues, and what have you told your congregation about tongues? Have you told them that it is NOT a matter of the Spirit actually taking control of their tongue? Or do you believe the Spirit actually controls the tongue?

    If you don’t believe the Spirit controls the tongue, but that someone speaks in tongues in a similar way to when you preach or practice hospitality – empowered by the Spirit, gifted by the Spirit, yet it is still YOU doing it – then I would suspect that the slice of the charismatic movement that you represent has become even smaller. In fact, I might go so far as to call your church an anomaly.

    But if you are teaching, or are allowing people to believe that it’s actually the Spirit moving their tongue, and that they aren’t doing it, but purely passively receiving it, then for that person, that experience serves as evidence of their salvation, it serves as assurance. This assurance should only come from the Word of God.

    I think 1 Cor 14 actually makes it pretty clear that you don’t lose control of your tongue, because Paul instructs that in some cases you should be silent, for example when there is no interpreter. This necessarily implies that at no time does the tongue speaker lose control of their tongue. They need to be trained when to use it, in order to use it properly.

    If this is borne in mind about tongues, then the tongues utterance cannot serve as evidence of salvation, because the Holy Spirit has not taken over control of your tongue, such that you cannot help but utter what you are uttering. This would mean that it is YOU who have chosen to utter what you are uttering. You can choose to remain silent. You can choose to speak. You have not lost control over whether or not you utter the utterance.

    This cannot serve as assurance of salvation, because you might be exercising a gift that you don’t have. You might be making it up. You might be practicing it the way I practiced it, merely mimicking the sounds of those around me.

    Of course, the other side of the coin is that it is possible that you would be uttering a valid utterance, but at an inappropriate time.

    The fact is, you don’t know. Not until it has been interpreted. But even then, the interpretation might not be an interpretation at all, but rather a prophetic utterance.

    At any rate, tongues serving as assurance is bad, just as if you sought assurance of your salvation in the fact that you preach. You don’t get up there and preach and then walk away knowing that you’re saved because you preached. You know you’re saved based on faith in the promises of Scripture. But certainly, people can preach without being true believers. So people can also speak in tongues without being true believers. It does not and should not serve as evidence of salvation anymore than your preaching does. Hopefully you are, but your preaching simply doesn’t prove that to anyone, and hopefully it doesn’t prove that to you. Hopefully what proves it to you is the truth of Scripture.

    There I go talking about the sufficiency of Scripture again.

    Echo

  135. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 131

    I daresay that I think you might be even more narrow minded than I am! Hehehe…

    By the way, did you know that we don’t force members to agree to the Westminster Confession of Faith prior to membership? Yep, you can even join our church if you don’t believe in infant baptism. Of course, that’s a goal, and if you have kids it’d be an issue, but say a single man with no kids, or even a couple with no kids, they don’t have to worry about that just now.

    Our membership vows are four:
    1. The Scriptures are the Word of God,
    2. You abhor yourself because of sins and cling to Christ alone for salvation,
    3. You promise to put the sinful nature to death,
    4. You promise to submit to the governance of the church.

    That’s not exact quoting, but a summary. If you want to see the direct quote, I’ll be happy to find it, but I’ve captured the essence here. Nothing about infant baptism, cessation, etc.

    E

  136. danielbalc said,

    difficult to respond to all of 133 but I will give you a couple things.
    First off, I guess you would have to call our church the “anomaly”. they way you (sort of) described what a balanced charismatic church would look like, thats how we are (in my opinion). We absolutely teach that you have control. “the spirit of the prophets is subject to the control of the prophets.” If the fruit of the Spirit is “self control” then how can we not keep ourselves from falling on the ground, laughing and barking like dogs? that’s certainly not a spirit of God. It’s funny you described an experience where everyone was “slain in the spirit” and you cynically stood there and said, “this isn’t from God”. Well the same type of experience happened to my sister when she was attending Portland bible college (she left after a year). There were all of her classmates, roommates, friends, falling under the power of the “spirit” and her saying to herself, “this isn’t biblical, my pastor said so.” This is pretty significant because her pastor also happens to be our Dad. My whole life i have been taught, we have been taught, the church has been taught that Spiritual gifts are to be used to build up the church, to build up your faith, but that they follow the patterns in scriptures and they don’t take control of you, but you control them. There have been some along the way who come to our church and find the pastors to “quench the fire” by correcting them in unbiblical practices. They aren’t around. There have been churches that we once were close to who adopted unbiblical practices. We don’t have much fellowship with them anymore.

    yeah, I guess we are an anomaly. i guess we are weird. but we believe the Bible.

  137. RubeRad said,

    Echo,

    I can totally relate to your history. Just like you, it was because I couldn’t drum up enough emotion that I started questioning my faith. And not even especially with regards to tongues (although that was a small part of it), but just more emotionalism in general. I don’t know if you ever read this small post of mine that talks about how God brought me out of that bondage. (BTW, that was at a PCA church, and that’s where I first learned that faith itself is a gift from God — and where I first learned of the existence of the Westminster standards, although I didn’t dig into them)

  138. Echo_ohcE said,

    Daniel,

    I am glad to hear of your anamalous status. I still would take issue with what you’re teaching, but I’ve certainly softened quite a bit to hear some of the specific things you are saying.

    But let me ask you this. How does tongues build up your faith? Could you explain that to me? It’s an honest question. I am aware that you probably have a proof text handy, but I’m not looking for something that merely affirms the fact. What I’m looking for is your systematic-theological explanation as to how it works.

    For example, I believe that we are justified by faith alone. Someone might ask me how that works. Sure, I could quote Scripture that says it, but it wouldn’t explain how it works. I’d have to tell them a story about covenants and federal headship and how trusting in Christ for salvation obtains his merits, and thus we are justified in the covenant of grace by faith alone, because by faith we obtain Christ as our federal head within the covenant of works. We are not under the covenant of works, but Christ came and stood in that covenant for us, and we obtain this by faith, etc.

    That’s the type of answer I’m looking for. So – a little help?

    Specifically what I’m looking to do is to distinguish your view of tongues that build up faith on the one hand, and my fear that tongues serve as evidence/assurance of salvation. I’d like to pursue that a little bit more if you’re game.

    But let me just say that I do not and cannot condemn you. God is your only judge. It’s only before him that you have to stand. And I would certainly never affirm that believing in tongues will keep someone out of heaven. I even think someone can possibly be saved despite lots of things, such as praying to Mary. While I think praying to Mary is grievous idolatry, a true believe might be sucked into that sort of thing. And certainly, no matter what I think about your practice of tongues, it’s nowhere even remotely in the same camp. So let’s just have a mature discussion about this point. I do not condemn you. But I want to understand precisely what you’re thinking and why you’re thinking it and what it means and implies. It will be helpful for me.

    E

  139. Echo_ohcE said,

  140. itsasecret2u said,

    Re: 133

    It’s very strange to read this post and imagine that people must assume our church is like the one you grew up in, Echo. I am very sorry that the things you speak of occur.

    I have never even heard the words “slain in the spirit.” I have never seen people rolling around on the ground, laughing, barking, wailing, or even too much crying. The idea of “emotionalism” and “trusting in tears” is very unappealing to me and I could never attend a church which trusted in such things, taught such things, or practiced such things.

    I don’t know if I am a good example or a bad one, in regards to what LWC teaches. I think maybe a good one, though I haven’t been there as long as some others (6 years in the fall). I say this because I have attended 3 churches in my life: a Presbyterian church in high school for 1 year, a non-denom. church in high school and a little after for about 2 years, and LWC for 5 1/2 years. I can tell you my experiences at my first two churches were fairly worthless. I learned nothing of Scripture, salvation, law, gospel, Christ, theology, you-name-it, I didn’t learn it. So, essentially, everything I’ve learned about anything, I’ve learned at LWC, including the spirit and spiritual gifts.

    So here are some things I have learned, as addressed from the pulpit, in no particular order:

    1. You have complete control over “tongues.” It is not God making your mouth move.

    2. People are gifted differently (meaning, we should not be feeling guilty, poorly, etc. if we do not receive prophetic words, or something). If we do not possess a certain gift, it is not something that need be forced. It is not something that proves salvation or “specialness” in any way. We are different parts of the same body, serving different functions, all useful.

    3. Tongues and other spiritual gifts have nothing to do with salvation. I will admit I have never heard a pastor say that from the pulpit outright, but I’ve never even caught the slightest inclination that these two things would go together. We are never taught that you “know you have God or that God still loves you” because you speak in tongues. We know this because He sent His son to die for sinful man. What more proof do we need that God loves us?

    4. Read your bible and KNOW that it is THE authority. This may sound simple, but LWC is the only church I have attended who seemed to feel it was very important to read your bible. Since attending LWC, I have read through my bible a few times. I don’t make it every year, but I will at least try to read through one focused area if I can’t do the whole thing. The pastors do not shy away from their flock knowing the Word. Nor do they shy away from questions that may arise as one is reading through the bible. They do, however, make the distinction between this type of reading and study. These are two different things and BOTH are important.

    5. It is important to submit to church leadership and the burden a pastor carries is great. This, again, is not something directly preached from the pulpit, but more an observation. It never occurred to me that a person should submit to their pastor. “Church discipline” wasn’t in my vocabulary.

    Echo, you may be surprised about this because you have made some subtle remarks to Daniel in the past about what authority, if any, he might have over his flock (because this is very often the case in non-denom. churches). This always made me laugh a little. Why do you suppose I went all nutso on you the first time I ever spoke (wrote?) to you? Because that was my pastor you were talking to (and, in my opinion, being unfair and mean to)! I respect the leadership of the church as one should. They are the authority that has been placed over me and my family. Part of this respect comes from recognizing this fact, part comes from respect for their knowledge, the other part from knowing the burden that they carry. Our pastor prays for his flock, by name, weekly. The pastoral staff all take their position seriously and do not abuse the fact that their flock submits to them.

    6. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation. We don’t have to speak in tongues, read our bibles every day, pray all the time, serve in 85 different ministries at church, be really, really good people with meek spirits, humble attitudes, and teachable hearts in order to earn salvation and God’s favor. Some of those things I listed are good, but they WILL NOT earn you salvation. Salvation is only available through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    7. If something contradicts the Word of God, it is NOT from God. God will never say or do anything that is not directly in line with what is in His Word. The bible is the ultimate standard and authority.

    I could keep going. I don’t know. It is only one small testimony, of many, but maybe it is enough for you to understand a little more of what our church teaches TODAY. I say that because I cannot speak for anything that was done prior to 5 1/2 years ago because I didn’t experience it.

    Incidentally, the only time I ever cry during worship or service is when I am feeling convicted about my sin or when I am hurting about something and I am reminded of God’s goodness. It has nothing to becoming emotional for the sake of a “heightened spiritual experience.” Sometimes it is emotional to remember your wickedness and what you are apart from Christ. Then, immediately following, you remember what you are WITH Christ – redeemed, in spite of it. This does bring me to tears sometimes. Why shouldn’t it? It is an amazing thing. When the Word is being preached or we are singing songs (based in Scripture, btw, including some hymns) shouldn’t we be reminded of this? Isn’t this the law/gospel thing you always talk about?

  141. Echo_ohcE said,

    Secret,

    “Isn’t this the law/gospel thing you always talk about?”

    Yep. It is.

    E

  142. Albino Hayford said,

    Regarding the original post, “Getting it right with our kids”, now that I am a dad, I am much more merciful to parents. God gave us a beautiful little STRONG-WILLED child, who never sits and plays quietly. Everybody and their mother wants to give us advice constantly and question our discipline philosophy when Rachel screams, “Dada!” as I ascend the pulpit on Sunday and makes a run for me.

    We are already reading Bible stories to her when she goes to bed, teaching her to pray before meals, teaching her to pray for us when we get sick (really precious, simple prayers — “Jesus, make Dada’s owie better” — and letting her know how important it is to be in church, worshiping God.

    But the older I get, the more I depend on God to “keep us from falling” (Jude 24). May God have mercy on us and parents everywhere.

  143. Echo_ohcE said,

    “[Ted] Tripp believes that as Biblical parents, what we must truly control is not the actions but the heart of our children.”
    – Someone’s review of Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, a book that is supposedly excellent on parenting. Check it out here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Shepherding-Childs-Heart-Tedd-Tripp/dp/0966378601/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b/105-2960001-7122028

  144. RubeRad said,

    A few years back, our church had a Sunday School class on parenting based on Tripp’s video lectures. I thought it was excellent. Aside from standard critical reinforcement about discipline, he has a lot of good stuff to say about using discipling to reinforce gospel/covenant concepts, and what to expect out of your child (and how you should be responding) at different developmental stages.

  145. Echo_ohcE said,

    And where might one get their hands on these video lectures?

  146. RubeRad said,

    Google: treipp heart DVD should get you there…

  147. RubeRad said,

    Or the book is probably a cheaper option for a single person, but the video series makes a great Sunday School class. Note above I meant to say “disciplINing”, not “discipling”, although that could be meaningful too…

  148. Albino Hayford said,

    Where can I get this series free on youtube?

  149. RubeRad said,

    Now, now, don’t muzzle the ox! You’re a pastor, lay out some library budget for a copy that all of your congregation can benefit from!

  150. Albino Hayford said,

    Aha…you must have stumbled onto my favorite lesson from Old Testament prophets: “Feed the prophet, then the widow!” 🙂

  151. Echo_ohcE said,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: