Australia’s Hillsong Church Has Astonishingly Powerful Global Influence


Religion News Service | By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
Posted: 11/05/2013 11:50 am EST

australia hillsong church

Joel Houston, of the rock band ‘Hillsong United’ and son of the Hillsong Church founder and senior pastor Brian Houston is pictured on Maroubra Beach on January 28, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. | Getty

SYDNEY (RNS) The ubiquitous praise song “Shout to the Lord” can be found in many churches across the U.S. on any given Sunday. What fewer people realize is that it comes from a church in the outskirts of Sydney, with a Hillsong brand that is spreading across the globe.

Hillsong Church has combined Christian rock, charismatic energy and Australian accents to create a winning combination in major cities across the globe. On Sunday (Nov. 3) at their main campus just outside of Sydney, children and adults swarmed a petting zoo for children and coffee stations outside the glass entrance as volunteers gave out balloons celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of the most globally influential churches.

Thriving amid abuse scandal

In any given week, Hillsong estimates that more than 50,000 people will attend one of its campuses. Its secret sauce appears to be a combination of music and charismatic theology.

On the surface, Hillsong appears similar to an average evangelical megachurch service in the U.S., attracting about 30,000 people across its Australian campuses. But the Pentecostal church has grown into a global sensation.

The church already created locations in influential cities across the globe, including London, Cape Town, Paris, Kiev, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen and New York. And Ben Houston, the son of founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, is starting another location in Los Angeles. Few churches in the U.S. could boast such global influence.

The New York location, co-founded by Brian’s son Joel Houston, is one of the city’s fastest-growing churches, attracting celebrities like singer Justin Bieber and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. “I’m a Jew, raised by a family full of nonbelievers, but I have to admit, I was tempted,” wrote Max Chafkin, a New York Times reporter who recently visited Hillsong in Manhattan at the invitation of Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water.

The church, whose founders hail from New Zealanders, has faced bumps along the way. The couple started the church in a school with about 70 people.

In 2000, Brian Houston’s father Frank Houston, also a minister, confessed to sexually abusing an underage male member of his New Zealand congregation 30 years before. In response, Brian Houston, who was the president of the denomination Assemblies of God in Australia at the time, fired his father, took control of the church and merged it with Hillsong.

Brian Houston still talks about his father, mentioning the scandal briefly in his Sunday sermon, thanking the congregation for their support during that time.

“I think I’m quite a tolerant person, but one thing I’ve really never had any tolerance for is sexual abuse, and especially child abuse,” he said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “So, I don’t think you could have kicked me in the guts with a bigger blow, in some ways.”

His father died in 2004.

Added challenges and controversy

While widely admired, Hillsong is no stranger to critique, both inside and outside religious circles, from everything to its theology to its administration.

Some criticize the church’s promoting of women pastors. Creationist proponent Ken Ham has decried Brian Houston for not adhering to a belief in 6-day creationism. Others scrutinize the church’s teaching on homosexuality and gay marriage.

Some pastors like megachurch leader John MacArthur have criticized the church’s Pentecostal teaching that the Holy Spirit enables spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues. Brian Houston even mentioned the MacArthur’s recent Strange Fire conference in his sermon on Sunday, acknowledging the critics.

The church has a tricky relationship with the Australian media, each treating the other with great suspicion as the Houstons are closely guarded by media relations staff. While attempting to ask follow-up questions after Brian Houston’s sermon, Religion News Service was told to go through the official spokeswoman.

“If anybody is an expert in media opposition, it’s me,” Brian Houston said in his sermon, joking that he has a Ph.D. in it.

Former church member Tanya Levin wrote a book called “People in Glass Houses,” intended to be an expose and calling Pentecostalism “toxic Christianity.”

Theologically, some say Hillsong treads near the “health and wealth gospel” found in other Pentecostal churches that preach God financially blesses Christians. Hillsong is part of the Australian Christian Churches, formerly known as Assemblies of God in Australia. Brian Houston, for example, wrote a book titled “You Need More Money.” But observers say he has walked back on prosperity gospel-sounding theology, focusing more on stewardship than success. Along with a prayer of conversion at the end of the service on Sunday, he led the congregation in a prayer about their finances.

“It is dominated by a more contemporary style than many older ‘traditional’ Pentecostal groups,” said Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary professor who studies megachurches. “I know there has been some concern about Hillsong’s preaching of prosperity but that has been tempered.”

Hillsong’s driving dollars

One of the biggest criticism the church faces is about money. Finances of religious organizations are not available to the public in Australia, and proposals for taxing a congregation like Hillsong remain controversial.

Hillsong’s Sydney location reported $64 million in revenue in 2010 (the last year available), but its report does not reveal what was produced from the sale of its music.

The church spent almost $10 million on “welfare, missions and overseas aid,” $6.2 million on a Bible college and $6.7 million on conferences.

A church spokeswoman did not respond to a request to view financial details of the larger Hillsong organization.

The church has also plunged into the conference business. Its most recent U.S. conferences featuring the band Hillsong United sold out the iconic Radio City Music Hall, Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Cassandra Langton, the director of Hillsong’s creative ministry, said this summer that every week more than 45 million people sing songs written by Hillsong in churches in the U.S. alone, perhaps estimating from the number of people paying licensing fees. A non-commercial church reproduction license for usage specific for worship includes $10 per song for 12 months.

Charismatically influential

A racially diverse crowd streamed into services on Sunday in jeans and sunglasses or backwards ball caps on their heads, raising their hands while singing along with the iconic band.

“We believe a basic charismatic/Pentecostal theology, but we don’t build strong on theology,” Brian Houston said. “We make it about Jesus, about the grace of God, and we try to have a net so it’s broad, not narrow.”

The church remains politically and socially influential in Australia, attracting a parade of politicians. It also seems to both influence and be influenced by the United States. The church’s bookrack features many U.S. megachurch pastors, including Joel Osteen, Max Lucado, T.D. Jakes and Ed Young.

An atheist wrote last year on an Australia media website that Hillsong might be the country’s most powerful brand, providing young people a sense of belonging. Targeting growth in less religious large cities across the globe, Brian Houston says it is unlikely Hillsong would ever try to plant a church in a place like the U.S. Bible Belt.

“I really have a passion for big centers of influence,” he said. “I think the message is timeless, but the methods have to change if we want to keep reaching society and not become an insular little island.”

A musical might

Despite some of the controversy surrounding theology or finances, most agree that Hillsong has emerged as a force through its music label. The church was originally known as Hills Christian Life Centre but the music became so famous that the church appropriated the Hillsong name.

To date, the Hillsong United label has sold just over 14 million albums. Its recent album “Zion” debuted at #1 on iTunes’ overall albums chart in the U.S. and in seven other countries and was listed at #5 on the Billboard 200.

A spokeswoman said it has the largest Twitter following amongst any faith-based artists with more than 680,000 followers and more than 4 million Facebook fans.

Its popular songs include “Mighty to Save,” “God is Able,” “How Great is Our God” and “God is in the House,” focusing on the universal Christian teaching of the need to praise God.

“I always wanted to have the kind of church which influenced the way people do church,” Brian Houston said. “People may be divided on doctrine and theology and other things, but worship tends to transcend all of that.”

At 59 and 56, Brian and Bobbie Houston are fashionable grandparents. In New York’s Radio City Music Hall, he wore skinny green pants and a denim shirt. His wife was finishing her mascara backstage, wearing wedge sneakers and all black, as though preparing for any rock concert.

While his church is known for its music, Brian Houston is not a musician.

“I was the church drummer until — this is a true story — in New Zealand, as a kid, the organist one time got very frustrated, jumped up off the organ, walked over, grabbed both of my drumsticks, and sat on them on the organ stool,” he said. “That was the end of my drumming career.”

Local and global social impact

Much attention is given to its music, theology, money or other issues, but Hillsong is also very active in local and international aid projects. It has ministries in Cape Town, South Africa, and Mumbai, India, and the church gave $500,000 toward the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami relief efforts. It partners with other evangelical organizations, such as like Compassion International and the Salvation Army, in its local ministry to children, the homeless and others.

“I think sometimes people miss the social care, which is the undergirding foundation of our church, but really that’s the fuel,” Bobbie Houston said.

The leader of Hillsong’s A21 campaign that fights sex trafficking, Christine Caine, is a featured speaker at many U.S. and global conferences.

“They’ve got the Salvation Army’s musical sensibility. They’ve stripped it of the uniform and strict disciplines and what emerges is a charismatic praise concert,” said John Cleary, a religion journalist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Cleary points out that Brian Houston’s father was initially an officer in the Salvation Army, where his son recalled in his sermon, he became a Christian.

“It’s only in recent years Hillsong has recovered the Salvation Army’s emphasis on social work,” Cleary said.

Self-promotion in Australia is culturally looked down upon, so the Houstons tread the marketing line carefully.

Unlike some of the churches in the United States, where the church depends largely on a well-known name, Hillsong carries a bigger brand than the Houstons. Even so, says president of LifeWay Research Ed Stetzer, the Houstons’ impact is wider than in the U.S.

“I’d guess that globally, they’d be in the top 10 influential evangelicals in the English-speaking world,” he said.

Churches across the globe can capitalize on Hillsong’s reputation without being dependent on the Houstons’ presence, Stetzer said. It is remarkable that the church could flourish in Australia, he said. In 2011, nearly one out of every three Australians said their religious affiliation was either ‘no religion’ or not stated, compared to about 20 percent who would say the same in the United States.

“In a country where 55,000 people indicated ‘Jedi’ as their religion (from the 2006 census), and most denominations are in decline, Hillsong’s continual growth is stunning,” Stetzer said. “If I had to boil it down, Hillsong adds professionalism and positivity to their Pentecostalism, combined with a passion to change the world.”

303 thoughts on “Australia’s Hillsong Church Has Astonishingly Powerful Global Influence

  1. As for their impact musically, hardly any of their songs are worth a mention since Geoff Bullock left. Geoff’s songs are still being played in Australian churches which you can play on an organ, piano or acoustic guitar..

    The current reliance on impressive guitar licks rules out most churches as well as the insipid lyrics.

    It’s almost a case of becoming too professional.

  2. Australia’s Hillsong Church Has Astonishingly Powerful Global Influence

    I question that premise.

    I doubt that Hillsong, like C3, has much influence at all in Sydney outside of their home suburbs. Certainly less than the Anglicans and Catholics.

    Pollies speaking at their rallies would only influence the Baulkham Hills electorate and every election I’ve known Evangelical churches have promoted the conservative parties anyway.

    And if you’re defining influence as cd sales then ACDC and U2 are even more influential.

  3. You don’t have to sell the most albums to be influential. Obviously over the years there have been more influential musicians, but that is not what is being said. Without doubt Hillsong is influential, especially in its genre.

    I didn’t pick up that there was a comparison being made with U2 or any other musician, but the fact that you factored them in as ‘more’ influential is rather telling, since they are arguably in the top three most popular bands on the planet currently.

    But Hillsong must have a huge following. Number one album on the US charts. Filling Radio City, Hollywood Bowl and London’s O2 is no mean feat.

    There is no question that they are influential.

    And no surprise that Bones has to grumble about them rather than acknowledge that they are making an impact even if he doesn’t like them.

  4. What else would you expect from Kevin Rudd’s best mate? I wonder if Kevin still does doorstops at church. You realise that, when Howard won that election, Latham was invited to address Hillsong, just as Costello had – equal time, equal opportunity to put their case – but Latham knocked back the chance, it was publicised in the media, due to Hillsong’s, then, growing influence, and Latham, missing the mood of the electorate, lost momentum, and the election. No wonder they cheered.

  5. From Geoff Bullock’s Facebook page, 4 November 2013…

    ‘I was an invited guest last night at Hillsong’s 30th birthday celebrations.
    From the minute I arrived I was made to feel so very welcome, loved, thanked and appreciated. The little foundations that I laid with those early pioneers remain strong and still very much part of their history. I simply want to acknowledge a beautiful and healing night. We all grow through the difficult times, we emerge stronger, wiser and full of hope. The past remains, much celebrated and some needing grace, however, I am a grateful product of that journey all those years ago. Thank you.’

  6. What else would you expect from Kevin Rudd’s best mate? I wonder if Kevin still does doorstops at church. You realise that, when Howard won that election, Latham was invited to address Hillsong, just as Costello had – equal time, equal opportunity to put their case – but Latham knocked back the chance, it was publicised in the media, due to Hillsong’s, then, growing influence, and Latham, missing the mood of the electorate, lost momentum, and the election. No wonder they cheered.

    Due you think the elections were won or lost on a pollies appearance at a Hillsong conference?

    Fact is 99.999% of those attendees would be conservative voters. It would be just like a LNP rally.

  7. I mean we had the same reaction up here when the whole church stood up and cheered when the State election result was in and the ALP were completely routed and replaced by little Hitler.

    People were standing and cheering.

    I thought it was pretty disgusting.

    I suppose C3 celebrated the demise of Tim Flannery?

  8. You mean you liked Anna Bligh’s follow up government to Peter Beattie’s? I should think the whole of QLD was glad to be shot of them. Anyone would have done after that! They weren’t so much cheering for the incoming, rather at the relief at seeing the back of the outgoing. Obviously, since it was a huge landslide, the rest of the State agreed. As did the NSW population at the demise of Labour there. What a shambles.

    You thought it was disgusting that people cheered Campbell in. Such is the pain of a staunch socialist. The swinging vote obviously saw things differently. They were clearly disgusted at the depths Labour were prepared to sink to stay on power. It’ll take years to put Australia back together again after the ravages of some of the most wasteful governments in history.

    As for Latham. I suppose you would have preferred his politics to the alternative. You don’t have to answer that. I already know what you will say. Latham was a bully-boy with an ego. His infamous handshake with Howard was his undoing, but there was more than a hint of overconfidence, hence his decision to give Hillsong a miss.

    No, it wasn’t the major cause of his demise, but it was a definite mistake at the time, and cost him dearly in an election where the Christian vote was very much an important gauge of the result. He had an equal opportunity to get up and give an honest face to the Christians across the country who watched the Hillsong event with great interest. He blew it, that was how I saw it at the time, and it was shown to be correct.

    But that has never been how the pro-labour press has reported it or seen it.

    They considered Hillsong to have been one-sided, when in fact they were fair-minded in inviting the major parties to address not only the Hillsong church, but, by association, the rest of the contemporary Christian church.

    That is why Rudd was so eager to vehemently pursue the Christian vote when his turn came. He effectively neutralised the Christian vote to a degree, but Gillard wasn’t able to continue his efforts, plus they saw right through Rudd after a while, especially when he returned for the last election.

    Now we have Bill Shorten, who seems to be following the same track as his two predecessors. Unless he changes and takes off the braces attached to the factions he’ll be useless against Abbott, who is gaining traction by the day.

    Time for Australia to regroup and get back on track after years of waste and ineptitude.

  9. Greg, don’t come up to Qld wearing your colours. Newman’s got the hots for bikies.

    Funny, there were no cheers when Bligh got in. And Bligh was very impressive in the Qld floods.

    Or Rudd after Howard couldn’t pull a xenophobic trick out of his arse like the Tampa.

    Maybe the Catholics and Anglicans were cheering. Sure as hell wasn’t C3 or Hill$ong.

    But that has never been how the pro-labour press has reported it or seen it.

    You obviously haven’t read about Murdoch’s love affair with Abbott. It was funny watching the Australian’s Greg Sheehan doing a much better job of defending the Abbott government then minister Greg Hunt on Q&A.

    As I said a Labor politician addressing the Hillsong conference would be a veritable waste of time. The only ALP voters there would be the closet gay supporters, the rest LNP voters. (Were the Greens invited to speak at Hillsong?)

    Hillsong’s influence and impact on Sydney itself is negligible.

    Like the mega churches in the past like Garden City in Brisbane.

    They were important in their own minds.

    Actually when you think about it, Hillsong’s tax free status means they contribute nothing to Australia at all.

    Such is their influence.

  10. Bpnes, you sound like a Labour Party hack. All the same old same old waffle which lost the last three elections for Labour.

    You’d rather have the bikies mobilise and continue their murderous mayhem in the suburbs than do something to deal with them before they are completely out of hand. They are certainly flexing their muscles. Since she was shooting 13 year old girls in the back acceptable?

    Funny how you seem to support all the wrong ideals so vehemently.

    Di you pick up Abbott’s jibe that Shorten was just a ‘carbon copy of Julia Gillard’. He’s making a few things stick, the lad.

    Meanwhile the country is being patched up and dipped in salve so the healing can begin.

  11. I love John Smith, and respect his mission, but he is putting himself in a difficult position by defending, not the gospel or Christ, but the uniform of the rebel bike gangs.

    This is clearly an emotive issue and difficult to defend or prosecute, but, if it was or the gospel he was being persecuted, then he would have a case, but in fact, as you look around the room when the camera pans out later in the youtube clip, you will see members of actual bike clubs which are being rightly targeted for alleged crimes including violence, threats, drug trafficking and the like, which is known to be taking place, hence the fortress clubs they have provided for themselves, where, during raids, weapons including firearms have been found where police have carried out raids.

    Now it is one thing to be a peace loving, gentle bike riding person who dresses in the collars of a peaceful club, but quite another to imitate, with the uniform and club rules, gangs which are far more notorious. It is one tong to have a mission to the violent, but quite another to be one of he violent.

    If John can’t see this he is missing one of the obvious points of his mission. If he were defending his right to minister the gospel amongst rebel gangs that is one thing, but t defend the rebel gangs because he is being targeted, like them, by law enforcement agencies because he looks like, dresses like and associates with them is quite another thing. He should realise the predicament he finds himself in, not because of anything he has done, but because of the notoriety and actual threat to the community of those he is seeking to deliver from the unlawful activities many are engaged in.

    What, in effect, he is doing is to ask the authorities to back of from the really violent and real drug dealers and receivers of stolen property because there are people who are not engaged in criminal activities who dress, ac and speak like them albeit without breaking the law.

    He uses a nasty strawman argument by hinting that all clergy are stained because a few are pedophiles. This is both an erroneous argument and a slur of the ministry. He is, in effect, being an accuser in his defence of those bike gangs which genuinely need to be taken off our streets before any more innocent bystanders are caught in their crossfire, and so that they know without doubt that just because they can display threatening behaviour and act in a lawless fashion doesn’t mean that they are above the law.

    Riding a Harley Davidson is not a license to lawlessness or rejection of authority.

  12. The people who shot the 14-year old in the back were likely members of the Brothers 4 life gang – which is not a Motorcycle gang.

    Its being investigated by the Middle-Eastern Organised Crime squad. So maybe we should have a crack-down on Middle-Easterners too? ( this was a sarcastic and rhetorical question, please don’t take it as a licence to make racist rants about Muslims)

    Criminal gangs should be investigated, where there is evidence they have committed crime. Being part of a motorcycle club or gang should not be illegal. There are a lot of actual crimes for the police to solve, rather than staging these theatrics for right-wingers.

  13. Bpnes, you sound like a Labour Party hack.

    Look it’s Tony Abbott’s b… whoops better not say it. Got into trouble last time.

    You’d rather have the bikies mobilise and continue their murderous mayhem in the suburbs than do something to deal with them before they are completely out of hand.

    Yes, the suburbs are dangerous. Bet Greg was out at his local tattoo parlour checking out who he can shoot up next.

    You have more chance of getting robbed in a church service though than by bikie gangs.

    Di you pick up Abbott’s jibe that Shorten was just a ‘carbon copy of Julia Gillard’. He’s making a few things stick, the lad.

    Wow! Really. Fascinating stuff.

    Meanwhile the country is being patched up and dipped in salve so the healing can begin.

    What we’re seeing is a whole heap of hypocrisy and sweeping under the carpet.

    It’s amazing the number of government politicians including the PM who have had to pay back illegal expenses wrongly claimed.

    Maybe Hillsong does have influence after all.

    Btw where’d your other posts go?

  14. Criminal gangs should be investigated, where there is evidence they have committed crime.

    Thing is bikie gangs aren’t like the mafia with a Mr Big heading the syndicate distributing orders and hits and so on.

    All members are autonomous and not under anyone’s authority.

  15. Didn’t know where else to put this so may as well post it here.

    Worth 1,000 words: The awful state of American evangelical Christianity after Billy Graham

    This is a picture taken this week at the celebration Franklin Graham held for the 95th birthday of his father, Billy Graham. It is also a parable, a metaphor, an astonishingly revealing snapshot of the sorry state of evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

    See link for photo

    (Buggered if I can post photos on this site)

    Seated in the middle there is Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelist who was, for more than 50 years, the face of white evangelical Christianity in America and the second-most influential Baptist pastor of the 20th century.

    At 95, Graham is frail and in ill health. His image and his legacy have been usurped as political tools used by his son Franklin Graham, who seems desperate to be a political player and kingmaker. Not content with living off the interest of his father’s legacy, Franklin has been burning through the capital.

    Just look at how Franklin has exploited his father here. The famous preacher is silent now, a voiceless prop called upon to lend a sheen of respectability to the likes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News lackeys.

    To his credit, Billy Graham looks uncomfortable being dragged out to offer his apparent blessing to a gaggle of dishonest strangers and charlatans that includes two racist billionaires. The scowl on the old preacher’s face may reveal his recognition that this is what has become of his legacy — that everything he did and worked for has led only to this, to the empowerment of lying hucksters and the politics of resentful privilege. Perhaps he’s even realizing that something like this was bound to happen — that the intensely otherworldly focus of his lifelong ministry meant that it couldn’t plant deep roots in earthly soil.

    But just look at that horrifying photograph. Soak it in.

    This is evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

    White. Rich. Right-wing. Dishonest. Predatory. Outwardly pious, inwardly corrupt.

    It’s all about political tribalism. Jesus simply isn’t in the picture.

  16. Didn’t know where else to put this so may as well post it here.

    Worth 1,000 words: The awful state of American evangelical Christianity after Billy Graham

    This is a picture taken this week at the celebration Franklin Graham held for the 95th birthday of his father, Billy Graham. It is also a parable, a metaphor, an astonishingly revealing snapshot of the sorry state of evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

    See link for photo

    (Buggered if I can post photos on this site)

    Seated in the middle there is Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelist who was, for more than 50 years, the face of white evangelical Christianity in America and the second-most influential Baptist pastor of the 20th century.

    At 95, Graham is frail and in ill health. His image and his legacy have been usurped as political tools used by his son Franklin Graham, who seems desperate to be a political player and kingmaker. Not content with living off the interest of his father’s legacy, Franklin has been burning through the capital.

    Just look at how Franklin has exploited his father here. The famous preacher is silent now, a voiceless prop called upon to lend a sheen of respectability to the likes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News lackeys.

    To his credit, Billy Graham looks uncomfortable being dragged out to offer his apparent blessing to a gaggle of dishonest strangers and charlatans that includes two racist billionaires. The scowl on the old preacher’s face may reveal his recognition that this is what has become of his legacy — that everything he did and worked for has led only to this, to the empowerment of lying hucksters and the politics of resentful privilege. Perhaps he’s even realizing that something like this was bound to happen — that the intensely otherworldly focus of his lifelong ministry meant that it couldn’t plant deep roots in earthly soil.

    But just look at that horrifying photograph. Soak it in.

    This is evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

    White. Rich. Right-wing. Dishonest. Predatory. Outwardly pious, inwardly corrupt.

    It’s all about political tribalism. Jesus simply isn’t in the picture.

  17. wazza,
    Criminal gangs should be investigated, where there is evidence they have committed crime. Being part of a motorcycle club or gang should not be illegal.

    Well I agree with this, but my point was that John Smith shouldn’t be so surprised that the community has had a gutful of the gangs, especially those who are illegally running around with guns, who are threatening the peace of the community, who are resisting the authorities who are mainly engaged in keeping the peace and protecting law abiding citizens. His defence of ‘the uniform’ is out of keeping with the meaning of ‘the uniform’ when it is generally understood to represent rebellion an a separate set of values.

    Bones, I am not interested in an argument with you if you are going to resort to the same standards which were offensive to Q.

    You have shown yourself to be a disgrace on these threads and still o apologised for the little hint of foulness you slipped in a couple of comments ago.

  18. Your attack on Billy Graham, via Fred Clark’s article in Patheos, was a horrible beat-up of an ordinary photograph of a group of people who had gathered for photo opportunity with Dr Graham to celebrate his 95th Birthday.

    Clark announces himself, on his website, as a ‘snarky, liberal, tree-hugging, pro-choice, pro-GLBT, peacenik, commie, evolutionist’, so you can see why Bones would share his views.

    There is no way in a fit that Clark would ever have anything positive to say about anyone in the picture. His own bias disqualifies him from rational commentary when it is solely opinion devoid of substance.

    The fact is that if you look at Billy Graham’s website you’ll many pictures of the 95 year old which exhibit the same serious facial expression, which is not a ‘scowl’ at the people around him, but rather his demeanour, possibly because he is 95 years old and has battled illness.

    Further, Graham has always had an association with political figures, in particular Presidents, including Republicans. Graham was advisor and pastor to Dwight Eisenhower. Why would they not still have interaction with politics?

    And, for the information of those who wish to judge a man and his associates by his facial expressions, it might be pertinent to disclose that Graham has had Parkinson’s disease since 1992. Graham has also had hydrocephalus, pneumonia, broken hips, and prostate cancer. These things generally take place during the ageing process for many people.

    Fred Clark should hang his head in shame at his presumption and callous opinion of people who do not share his views.

  19. All members are autonomous and not under anyone’s authority.

    Not quite, the president of each chapter (along with office bearers) has a substantial amount of authority with regards club business. He does not however necessarily order members to commit crimes. Criminal activities are separate (mostly) from club business.

    Steve, you would not appreciate catholic or Anglican priests wearing their ‘uniform’ either then would you?

    John is not defending the right to wear club colours just for the fun of it…these are personal liberties that the Qld government are taking away from people, and as such, as. Minister of the gospel, John would be very remiss in. It defending them…wether you like it or not, wether you like the way they behave or not, they have the right to be with whomever they choose to be with and wear whatever they choose to wear.

    As for criminal activities, it’s already illegal to kill, rob, sell drugs, it is not a crime to be in a club.

  20. You miss the point of what I was saying. I think people should have the right to wear whatever uniform they want. You can wear a nun’s uniform for all I care.

    My point was that John, or you, shouldn’t be so surprised that ordinary people on the street have had a gutful of rebel clubs who wear their uniform expressly to intimidate. if you want to imitate those who intimidate go for it, but don’t be so put out if you are negatively scrutinised for doing so.

    So is it your contention then, that a man should not be judged by the company that he keeps?

    Are you going to judge Jesus for the company He kept?

    Gosh, he even hung out with you when you were still a rat-bag. Me too!

    But are you also judging the people in the photo on the basis of media reports and perceived political aims?

    Are you joining the pack in discrediting Sarah Palin for being a Christian Republican Governor of Alaska, as she was, in the way the leftist media portrayed her?

    Tell me, off the top of your head, without researching them, who the other people are in he picture, and what they have done to offend you?

    I know there’s Donald Trump, a very wealthy man in hotels ad casinos, Rupert Murdoch, a media baron, Franklin Graham, an evangelist, and Palin, all of whom have political and social enemies, but what do you actually know about anyone else?

    What does it say about them, though, that they would turn up to honour such a highly respected man of God on his 95th Birthday?

    Why do you have to read something sinister or negative into everything simply because you have a political or social bias?

    Was that the way Jesus operated?

    Are there no leftist, gay-loving, pro-choice, liberal, democrat, commie, evolutionist people who have issues? Would Jesus ignore them because they are already the righteous? Do they not need a physician?

  21. Yes I’m sure Billy is inwardly elated at having Rupert, Donald and nutter Palin at his celebration.

    Think I’d look like that too.

  22. Are you joining the pack in discrediting Sarah Palin for being a Christian Republican Governor of Alaska, as she was, in the way the leftist media portrayed her?

    She discredits herself eg

    Syria: “Let Allah sort it out”

    Obamacare: “Enough of this foreign fiasco distraction. Get back to work. It is time to bomb Obamacare….”

    And on Obamacare again
    “We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” (with reference to free Canadian health system which she wants to refuse to Americans).

    The US Government is preparing to attack it’s own people: ““If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished. We’re going to default eventually and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.””

    Obama will endorse death panels to decide whether disabled live or die: “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

    On the Korean conflict (wtf): “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”

    Palin defends radio host for using the N*gger word 11 times in 5 minutes.
    “Dr. Laura: don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence “isn’t American,not fair”)”

  23. LOL!

    So you’ve joined a left-wing pro-democrat media quotations club, Bones.

    Be careful of the uniform if you wear it in QLD.

    It has badges such as ‘blinkers-on’, ‘biased’ ‘self-opinionated’, ‘commie’, ‘anti-right’, ‘progressive’, ‘cultured idiot’ and the like. The latest one to hit the leather is ‘Together’, which is a union attempt at unity amongst the brovvers. Good luck with that one!

    Maybe we should add a list of Bones’ less savoury or wise comments! The exchange with Q would be a classic!

  24. Funny thing is, if people took to Julia Gillard the way leftists have taken to Sarah Palin they’d be labelled as misogynists.

    It’s fascinating to have watched the way the darlings of the US left have patronised her. Then, of curse, it’s incumbent for Aussie leftists to jump on he bandwagon whether they know anything about her performance as mayor or governor or not. She is of the right and she’s a she! That’s all thy need, eh. At least she took on companies like the oil conglomerates to get a better deal for native Alaskans.

    The Alaska Legislature adopted a plan proposed by Palin in 2007 (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share) that raised the tax that oil companies have to pay on their profits from a base rate of 22.5 percent to 25 percent. Oil companies, including ExxonMobil, opposed the tax hike, claiming it would affect their project investments. The revenue generated from the tax increase, which significantly added to the state’s budget surplus, allowed Palin’s administration to issue a one time “resource rebate” of $1,200 to eligible state residents in 2008 to help with increasing energy prices. The rebate came in addition to the annual dividend check ($2,069 in 2008) that residents receive as their part of the state’s oil wealth.

    Even if she was mediocre governor or mayor, the least people could do is accord some level of respect. The moronic media coverage has been deranged.

  25. I dunno, Bones. Her detractors take some topping. I mean, she was imitated by the outgoing Labour/Green alliance by taxing the oil barons, and you still rip into her politics. The only deference is that she did it and got away with it.

  26. An Evangelical Christian and climate scientist advocating global warming

    Dr Katherine Hayhoe

    “So she (Hayhoe) tries to make a connection based on what she has in common with her listeners. “ I can’t just say, ‘I’m a scientist,’” she said. “I am a human, a mother, an evangelical Christian who knows that Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The impacts of climate change are going to fall disproportionately on the poorest. Who doesn’t believe we should take care of the poor and needy? When I start from that place, I’ve seen dramatic shifts. People say ‘what can I do about it?’ ””

    Interestingly she’s received much hate mail for advocating global warming. (surprise, surprise)

  27. Palin raised taxes on the Oil companies, and then paid every Alaskan $1200 to help them cope with rising gas prices. On top of a $2000 payment for everyone from an oil wealth savings account. Why tax when you are not going to provide a service, but just distribute the money back to the people – its just churning money to buy votes.

    If this is what happens when a Pentecostal starts running the show, I’d hate to see the books at Hillsong.

    I will admit that Labor’s carbon tax had some similarities. Put a tax on energy so that there is a market signal to use less – and then compensate everyone so they are not out of pocket!!!

  28. Are you trying to set up a case that people who are skeptical about human induced climate change are prone to sending hate mail? That is provocative. You are projecting minorities as majorities again. The vast majority of Christians do not send hate mail to anyone.

    If she has a conviction that humans are responsible for climate change then of course she should speak out. That is her right. In some ways I might agree with her. There is no doubt that human activity has contributed to the climate we experience, and that climate has changed over the years. We do need to do all we can in a pragmatic way to reduce emissions globally.

    My objection, first of all, is to the way that the so-called ‘science’, meaning existing scientific understanding or evidence, has been called conclusive, when the very nature of science as a discipline is to continue the research with the understanding that science, by its very meaning, can never be considered conclusive when we do not and could not have all the evidence in the bag.

    Secondly, the exaggeration of claims by some climate change commentators has been detrimental to the ‘science’ because it has shown itself to need drastic revision from its premise and attempt at frightening people into action rather than producing a level headed and easily understood case.

  29. I found it interesting that Steve lols at Sarah Palin’s defence of racism.

    Steve lol’s when someone is encouraged for calling blacks n*ggers.

    Can only happen in Steve’s world.

  30. Greg,
    You’re the expert on everything aren’t you?

    That’s just baby talk, Greg. Of course I’m not.

    I only comment on things I have an idea about or an opinion.

    Your comment is basically an acceptance that you have understood my point and have no way to refute it.

    The Bones goes off on his usual loose cannon ramble of rant and false assumption.

  31. By the way, Bones, the LOL was at your typically left wing, commie, pro-choice, pro-gay, evolutionary, anti-right, Democrat/liberal, climate-hyper-sensitive, Green, socialist, anti-scroipture bias towards people you know little or nothing about.

    It was a LOL at your comments about people you would despise long before they said anything.

    It was a LOL at the predictability of your approach towards the rest of the world which doesn’t comply with your viewpoint.

    It was a LOL at the way ion which you bend an argument to fit your narrow-minded philosophy of what constitutes normality.


  32. Further, you take my reasoned argument on why climate change harbingers of horror and doom have poisoned the trough from which real scientists are able to determine an understanding of what is going on in our world, and project action for the future, and come up with some strawman to do with tobacco companies whom I would ban altogether if I had the power, and twist my words completely, as well as totally missing the point I made, mainly because you know, in the end, I am correct in my assessment.

    You certainly couldn’t come up with more than an insult to everyone’s intelligence as a response. End of, really!

    You are so full of mischief, lack of focus and nonsense it’s little wonder you frustrate the sense out of so many conversations you could have.

    I actually don’t think you’re as dumb as you make yourself look.

  33. Actually it was a lol at a right wing pentecostal encouraging racists to use the word ‘n*gger’.

    When you’re pentecostal you can do anything.

  34. What Steve, you don’t see government warnings about cigarette smoking as hysterical, alarmist and fearmongering.

    Hell not everyone who smokes dies of lung cancer.


  35. The LOL was at your cherry-picking tendencies, which, incidentally, are mostly from left wing publications you frequent. Seek out the worse things you can find about people and publish them as if they represent the whole picture. A bit like your mates over at the related blogs like Groupsucks and c3churchwitch.

    People who live in worse-case scenario land tend to be fearful of everything and expect others to follow suit.

    I take it you’re also a smoker offended by the hyperactive campaign generated by Nicola Roxon. Which party was she involved with, again? Oh yes, the nanny statist party, er, sorry, Labour Party.

    The same nanny statists who brought you climate change fear and a tax on CO2, and let’s not forget the attempt at stifling freedom of speach by silencing the press. Didn’t they also hire Tim Flannery at $180,000 pa part time to help spread the fear, er message that the Great Barrier Reef is stuffed, Australia will become some kind of desert, and there will be water shortages so don’t build dams, build desalination plants for billions that you won’t use, and here’s a company I work with who will build them for you…

  36. Isn’t your BEST case scenario that the vast majority of humanity will be thrown into a Lake of Fire and that the moon will turn to blood and the horsemen, the beast and evil left wingers/Muslims/gays will rule for a thousand years before Jesus wipes them out.


    Oh I’m not a smoker, Steve. It’s dangerous to your health. You know that. That’s why they put alarmist warnings and sensational advertising.

    Of course people who do smoke are like you who have grown sick of warnings and alarms and prefer to take the chance that they won’t be affected.

    Like climate change.

  37. And CO2 is a danger to life too, isn’t? That’s why the scary people call it a pollutant and put a tax on it.

    Oh wait a minute, though…

    THOUSANDS of heart attack victims in Victoria could benefit from a world-first study using carbon dioxide (CO2) to ­improve survival rates and ­reduce brain damage.

    Austin Hospital intensive care specialists will give patients recovering from a cardiac arrest higher levels of the gas in a bid to boost their long-term recovery.

    The hospital’s ICU research manager, Glenn Eastwood, said the trial was sparked by a research review of 16,000 patients across a decade.

    It revealed that higher than normal levels of blood carbon dioxide in the early post-resuscitation period could boost survival rates.

    “But survival is one thing. We want to know how that is going to affect their brain function and their likelihood of going home,” Dr Eastwood said.

    He said cardiac arrest survivors could struggle physically and emotionally. They can be left with impaired brain function and have difficulty moving.

    “They often have difficult maintaining relationships again or joining their normal social groups,” he said.

    “Some people spend a long time in hospital afterwards so it’s a significant impact on their lives, but also the lives of their relatives.”

    It can take up to a year to recover, but some survivors may never return to their normal selves.

    Dr Eastwood said CO2 had a bad reputation, but it played a vital role in breathing.

    “Slighter higher CO2 levels actually have an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-convulsive properties and these are important for protecting the brain after a heart attack,” Dr Eastwood said.

    He said if CO2 levels were too high it was dangerous, but the trial would involve only slightly elevated levels.

    Each year Victorian hospitals see up to 5000 cardiac arrest patients.

    Dr Eastwood said ICU patients were on ventilator machines to ensure they got adequate levels of oxygen and CO2.

    The study will assess the safety and feasibility of giving patients normal or higher than normal CO2 levels for the first 24 hours after their admission to ICU.

    He said higher carbon dioxide could increase blood flow to the brain, which may help it get enough oxygen or maintain its own metabolism, preserving its function.

    Trials will be at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Monash Medical Centre and an Auckland Hospital after Dr Eastwood received a $175,000 Intensive Care Foundation Grant and an $8000 Australian Resuscitation Council Victorian Branch grant.

    I think the trees love it too, and all the either little green things which convert CO2 into oxygen for the mammals, which is why the tree-huggers seem to be shooting themselves in the foot when calling CO2 a pollutant and not a necessary ingredient to life on earth.

    But, wait a minute, Bones, aren’t you into science or something?

    But, no, I’m not into the alarmist stuff with cigaret smokers either. If they don’t know by ow that they are killing themselves with each drag they won’t take notice of a wrapper. Just make sure I’m not having to become a passive smoker around you, that’s all.

  38. But, wait a minute, Bones, aren’t you into science or something?

    Yes. Your post reveals not even a primary school understanding of the science of global warming. My Year 3s have a better understanding. It’s quite embarassing really in this age of the internet. Also shows you’re too lazy to do any research.

    Better stick to Jesus throwing people into the Lake of Fire.

    That’s nowhere near as alarmist as global warming.

  39. Well I was speaking to you a the level you are arguing.

    Do you realise that you have changed the subject so many times on this thread that you probably don’t remember what the post is about?

    You have so many hang-ups about anyone who disagrees with you it’s a wonder you ever get through a single conversation at school.

    Now you’ve shunted the thread into a discussion about the Lake of Fire!

    So we’ve had climate change, smoking, Obamacare, Sarah Palin bashing, derogatory names of African-Americans, Murdoch slamming, big oil, aboriginal crime rates, gay rights, bikie gang legislation, the list goes on, of Bones’ pet hates all in one passage of discussion, as he reels from one topic to the next like a drunken sailor.

    And all of this on a post on a positive article about Hillsong!

    Says it all about Bones really.

  40. Further, you take my reasoned argument on why climate change harbingers of horror and doom have poisoned the trough….

    Actually I’m going to extend your analogy.

    Most people are fed up with the spiritual harbingers of horror and doom which are Christian preachers and evangelical theology. It’s not so easy to scare people nowadays with mythical stories about lakes of fire.

    The exaggeration of claims by some Christian preachers has been detrimental to the ‘gospel’ because it has shown itself to need drastic revision from its premise and attempt at frightening people into faith rather than producing a level headed and easily understood case.

    So instead the Christian well has been poisoned by self seeking ministers intent on building their own kingdom and success so much so that belief has to take place IN SPITE OF said supposed influential Christians with the manta GREED is GOOD.

    Using your climate change analogy – because of this, the premise of Christianity is flawed.

  41. You made that up!

    I preach the good news. Jesus Christ has redeemed us through his cross and resurrection. He has made the way clear for us to repent and be saved, by grace, through faith.

    That is the gospel.

    I mostly go to places others don’t with no expense to the people I am sent to.

    Any discussion on judgment on this site is merely that; a discussion about the theology of judgment on a blog which is antagonistic towards Pentecost. I do not preach to frighten people into the kingdom. Far from it.

    Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I am only commanded to preach good news.

    I think you must have the reformist theologians in mind. They preach doom and gloom.

  42. The problem you have is that you do not believe the gospel. If you did you’d know that it is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe.

    And if you take that passage, from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter one, you will see that he qualifies that truth with some very strong language.

    Perhaps a reading of Paul’s epistles would give you a better grounding in truth and loose you from your current anti christian track.

    I’m not sure what you would have preachers do but follow the instructions of Christ and his Apostles, such as Paul, in the message we bring to the fallen world.

    But, being a Universalist, you actually negate the need, in your life, for preaching anything to anyone. Let them sin, you teach, for they will all be saved anyway. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will be redeemed. The gospel of the fool.

  43. Steve you need to get back to your bible – 2 Timothy 4-3 where it says

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”

    Sounds like you have missed the point and 1 Timothy 6-4

    “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings”

    You need to study about the nature of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, because it seems that you do not understand and are presently in the ranks of

    You ought to get your facts straight before you presume to be a teacher of others as in James 3-1

    “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

    And Phil 2-12

    “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

    Do not argue with what it says in the Bible or you are arguing with God.

    God did not say the soul that sins shall burn in hell forever, God said the soul that sins shall die.

    There are too many false teachers we need to get back to the Bible.

  44. So now that you’ve got that off your chest, James, can you tell me where my doctrine errs? You have schpeeled off a few scriptures about this and that on false teachers, but not entered the discussion to reveal exactly what it is that you think is wrong about my doctrine.

    Are you objecting as a Universalist?

    If so, you are surely arguing with Paul. As is Bones, of course.

    How do you explain Paul in Romans 1?

    Romans 1:18
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…

    What do you take him to mean by ‘suppress the truth in righteousness’? Are you suppressing truth by denying God’s wrath to come?

    Which part of my declaration that I obey Christ by preaching the good news offended you?

  45. That ‘Path of Truth’ list is interesting, isn’t it. You have Charles Haddon Spurgeon alongside Billy Graham and Calvin on your very long list of false teachers. I wonder how you discernment folk actually have time to have a life. Everyone but the discerner and the folk that agree with said discerner seems to go into the hat. What a waste of space.

    Maybe you should examine your own credentials for presuming to teach others, James. If they’re linked to your source you probably need to get out more.

  46. Good grief James! Now I’ve heard everything. See Steve, if you wait long enough, everyone becomes a false teacher to someone…even you!

    If anyone is NOT a false teacher, it is Steve, he is a faithful pastor whose heart is for God and the people God sends him to, and James, you need to back off and get YOUR facts straight.

    Having a difference of opinion on various aspects of theology does not make one a false teacher.

    Preaching for the life of money does.

    Preaching a different gospel does.

    Preaching anything other than Christ and him crucified does.

    Steve does not fall into any of those categories.

  47. What the part about scaring people into heaven?

    You deny that has happened?

    Why do you think we have hell? Danté’s Inferno anyone?

    You need to get to heaven or you might go to ……..? No we don’t mention it anymore do we?

    Or the part that ministers haven’t pasteured themselves and gorged themselves on their flocks to create their own successful empires?

    That part?

    Do you need evidence?

    I was using the same argument you use against climate change.

    Based on your argument, Christianity is flawed.

  48. Well, Bones, which part of the statement that I preach the good news didn’t you grasp?

    Besides which, Dante was a Catholic whose Inferno was a journey through hell, purgatory and paradise. In other words, his doctrine was so far up the fiery creek as to inflame the sensibility of any rational bible theologian.

    As you know, I don’t use ‘hell’, preferring the correct terms.

  49. You see, Bones, the instruction from Christ was to preach the gospel, the good news, to nations, making disciples and baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    The good news, Bones.

    Do you know what the good news is?

    It has something to do with Jesus,the cross and the resurrection. It is connected to salvation and redemption.

    Saved from what? Redeemed from where?

    Maybe you can, in your own theology, remove large tracts of the old and new testaments so that you can feed your inability to face theological and spiritual facts, but the rest of us, those of us who are actually out in the field bearing witness of Christ and the gospel, don’t have either the time or the inclination to rationalise out of scripture the tough issues, the consequences of sin, the truth god has! through the Word and Spirit, given us to work with.

    We can only, and only ever will, go by what our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles have given us to serve the lost with to give them the opportunity before they die to be reconciled to God through the gospel, through the death and resurrection of Christ! and by the preaching of the gospel he has handed down to us.

    You can liberalise and water down the message all you want. In the end we are all answerable before God for what we do in the earth today.

  50. By the way, it is you who is interested and consumed by the theologies of hell and judgment.

    They are the subjects you draw most discussions into eventually, like some Godwin’s law of hell, or purgatory, which you do believe in, incidentally, but not Gehenna or Hades, even though they are spoken of in scripture, including by Jesus himself, and purgatory is never even hinted at.

    Whenever I put up a post about the good news, or something positive, you either put up some sarcastic string of comments which are the antithesis, of a positive discussion, or ignore it altogether. Good news isn’t on your agenda.

    Thus you draw conversations into your negative pet peeves.

    So we discuss them, and now, because I disagree with your concept of judgment, wrath and the consequence of sin, and discuss these issues with you when you bring them up, you make the stupid claim that that is all I preach.

    When I tell you I preach the good news, you completely ignore it and continue into your obsession with judgment, hell and punishment.

    Preaching fear doesn’t save people, Bones. The gospel is good news. People are saved by grace through faith, not fear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ, which is the word of faith, which we preach.

  51. That’s all very noble Steve but where would evangelicalism be without the alarmist doctrine of hell eg

    Your premise is that climate change scientists are using fear and scare tactics to frighten people into action.

    Evangelicals thriive through spreading fear. Look at the tea party in the US and how they use fear of government to conjure up support.

    According to you, using alarmism and exaggeration (which is everywhere in Pentecostalism) to frighten (or manipulate) people into action is evidence of a false premise.

    Like your alarmist comments about Muslims and gay marriage.

  52. All of this because I criticised your master Tim Flannery because he got some of his predictions wrong, Bones.

    All of this because you fear for your children because China and India continue to ramp up the emissions at the expense of the rest of the world.

    All of this because your prophets of doom are finally, after years of being religiously defended by the left-wing media, being questioned on their methods and challenged about the accuracy of their claims.

    Some of them having even admitted they exaggerate for effect. Some of them, like Al Gore, not even admitting they exaggerate for effect, having the bare faced gall to claim every weather event is evidence of global warming, even if it is snow, rain, hail or wind.

    Like your beloved Greens in the last couple of weeks who blamed the fires in Australia and the typhoon in the Philippines on Tony Abbott, even as people were dying in the midst of those tragedies.

    You’re unbelievable, really, you are.

    So you located someone teaching on hell. Well, whoopy-doo. You found someone who is preaching that if a person doesn’t give their lives to the Lord and dies in their sin they will face an eternity without God. Well, bully for you, Bones. What a fine fellow you are.

    So now this is somehow akin to pointing out that your hero Tim Flannery is using fear and scare tactics to frighten people into action. Are you saying he’s not? Well, in fact, it is a frank admission by you that he and his ilk do. And they admit to it, so there is no case to defend.

    But, now, if God, in His Word to us, warns us that rejection of Christ leads to eternal separation from Him you are all over the thread with indignation and righteous anger.

    You’ll defend people like Flannery and Gore, who represent the temporal, the last throes of a doomed earth, but rage against God who has told us that we need to be saved from the consequences of sin or there is no place for us in the new heavens and new earth.

    The new heavens and new earth, which will replace that which will ‘melt with fervent heat’, according to the Apostle Peter, who was set apart by God the Holy Spirit to reveal His warning to us so that we were in no doubt as to the future without Him. The future we can only secure by accepting His free offer of salvation by grace, through faith.

    You want someone to back up your pathetic case against God, so, being unable to nail me with your petty accusations, you seek a googled victim, and separate out one of several teaching sessions from a renowned evangelist.

    Yes, an evangelist, who would be expected to preach on sin and judgment, and the consequences of rejecting Christ. But is that all he ever teaches or preaches?

    No balanced view from you, eh, Bones? No. It’s straight to the teaching on hell, which Jensen Franklin qualified by telling his audience he fasted and prayed, knees trembling, at the prospect of delivering this message, which tells me he would not usually bring it, but, since it is part of the full canon of scripture to speak of wrath, judgement and eternity, it was incumbent upon him, as a sound preacher of the gospel, to make mention of it during the course of his preaching at some juncture.

    Yes, Bones, I admit it too. I also, during my ministry, have taught on the consequences of sin, of judgment, of the wrath to come, and of eternal separation. But that is not all I have taught, and by far the vast majority of my teaching is not on judgment, wrath or separation, but on how to live this life free of sin, free of guilt and free of condemnation.

    That is not ‘frightening people into salvation’, Bones.

    That is giving people the whole counsel of God. It is preaching the full gospel.

    If those who have previously rejected Christ, then, fear God and fear the consequences of sin, then good. Job done.

    We should reverentially fear God. We should fear Him enough to hate sin. We should hate it and resist it. We should hate the very thought of it.

    We should revere God so much that we would never dare to sin in His Presence, and, being omnipresent, we are always in His Presence. We are naked and exposed before Him. There is nothing hidden from the eyes of the Lord. he knows the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.

    But we only need fear God and be frightened into the kingdom if we have resisted Him, if we have rejected His grace, if we have turned our back on His offer of salvation.

    Do you think, maybe, Bones, that there are some people who are so hardened to God that the only way they will have their seared conscience pricked is through the preaching of the severity of God as well as the mercy?

    Severity and mercy. Wrath and grace. Both qualities are spoken of in the New Testament. What preacher would be irresponsible enough to leave either out?

    But, if we have received Him willingly and as a result of hearing the good news, the gospel of peace, the Word of faith which we preach, then we have nothing to fear.

    Out of interest, if I was to be asked to preach fear to someone like you, Bones, I would remind you of 2 Peter 3:14-16. Have you ever read this passage?

    Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

    If I was instructed to preach fear to someone like you, I’d remind you of 2 Peter 3:1-3.

    Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

    Scoffers like you will always miss the point of the gospel.

    I hope some day someone like Jensen Franklin scares the hell out of you so you can start making Biblical sense and become an effective vessel for God and for good rather than a genius at turning sinners away from their salvation into your broadway that leads to destruction.

    So, defend Flannery’s warnings and come against God’s. See where it gets you. As for me and my house. We will serve the Lord.

  53. If only people studied their bibles for themselves and allowed the Holy Spirit to bring revelation rather than God TV, sermons like Jentezen Franklin’s would be dismissed for the error-strewn speeches they are. The huge word ‘IMMORTAL’ in the background sets the tone for a talk built on sand. 1. God alone is immortal, 2. Man’s immortality is very conditional on his response to the person Jesus Christ.

  54. Except I don’t think flat earth theory came from the Greeks, but otherwise, true.

    Not so much annihilationist as scripturalist, Steve. I’ll tell you what a doctrine of everlasting torment has done over the last 1700 years or so – defamed the name of God, debased the character of God, diminished the love of God, decreased the awfulness of death and diseased the gospel by endorsing the exact sentiment the devil said to Eve: ‘God did not say you will die.’

    If God does not fulfil his word and mete out merciful justice through the destruction of unrepentant sinners, and condemn death to the eternal garbage dump, then yes, sinners will live forever, just as the devil said. The problem was, and still is, is that he is a liar and always has been.

  55. So if you’re a scripturalist and not an annihilationist, what happens to people who die in their sins? In scripture, I mean?

    Are they dissolved? Do they simply stop existing?

  56. “You’re unbelievable, really, you are.”

    OK so to summarise your rant.

    1. Climate change alarmism = bad.

    Frightening people into action such as reducing carbon output = very bad

    2. Preaching about hell = good

    Frightening people about hell into belief = very good

    I hope some day someone like Jensen Franklin scares the hell out of you so you can start making Biblical sense…

    That’s more like it! Try to scare the bejesus out of me.

    Like that’ll work.

    Btw there’s no way that Peter wrote that.epistle.

    And you still can’t see the irony of using your climate change argument against Christianity but react with self indignation when your argument is applied.

    It’s quite funny to see.

  57. We’ll keep on deluding yourself, Bones. If I thought you’d actually read anything I write I’d point out again the folly of your argument, but it seems you hear voices, none of which is mine.

    So now, when we discuss anything with you Biblically, we have to leave out the epistle by Peter! Would that be both, or just the one?

    And you think what I write is funny!

  58. ‘what happens to people who die in their sins? In scripture, I mean?’ I’ll ignore your reference to being dissolved, Steve. You’re better read than that!

    When the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12.7), it just means the breath of life which God gives to men and animals to make them live. The Hebrew word for spirit is the same word often translated as breath. Also, James 2:26 – ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’ Jesus’s last words in Luke 23:46: ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit’. We know that Jesus did not reappear in heaven that moment. He stated that the only sign the Jews would see would be the sign of Jonah, that he would be in the ‘heart of the earth’ Matt 12:40 ie the grave. In John 20:17 Jesus tells Mary, ‘I have not yet returned to my Father.’ So, there is no separation of a person when they die – the heart stops beating, the brain ceases to function. It’s all over red rover…..until resurrection day (for the believer at least)!

    Whether you die a believer in Christ or not, the same thing happens: the breath of life disappears, the essence of being alive – all thoughts, breathing, circulation – stops. You go from being a living soul, to a body, a corpse. So all mankind is destined to ‘die once and after that to face judgement’ (Heb 9:27), however, folks like Jentezen Franklin preach that we are judged immediately after death and given our marching orders. This conveniently airbrushes out the many scriptures regarding final judgement. Rev 20:11-15 is a good one, although you might prefer Jesus’s own words in Matt 25:31-46.

    I can imagine the scenario whereby someone was sent to a fiery hell on death but then raised to face God’s second adjudication on their life and they were told that it had all been a terrible mistake and they were actually in the wrong location – sorry. That would be the only point of a judgement just after death and then another? But that’s not biblical – we all know that just wouldn’t happen. Make a mistake? Come on.

    So, we all die, but those who are in Christ at the time are regarded as sleeping ie to be woken at a time in the future. ‘For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.’ (1 Thess 4:14) is but one of many similar verses. ‘Lazarus is sleeping’, Jesus said to his disciples. OT saints ‘slept with their fathers’ on death. There is a sense of an awakening to come, which happens when Jesus returns. 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thess 4 are excellent descriptions of what will happen. The dead in Christ will rise first and precede the translation of the living. Paul specifically spells this out to comfort his readers. If they were all disembodied non-material entities in heaven after dying he would have comforted them with such words, but he didn’t, and for good reason. Paul knew that the culmination of history would be Jesus Christ’s triumphant return to earth and our subsequent resurrection.

    That’s what happens, Steve. Lastly, let’s not go down the path of claiming the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a snapshot of ‘life’ post-death. It all starts to unravel very quickly when you pick it apart. Wash the Greece out of your thinking and see the bible in whole new way!

  59. I agree that Jentezen Franklin’s preaching was off scripture. I don’t like that kind of preaching much because some of it is not particularly accurate.

    You didn’t really answer my question, though. I was wondering what you believe happens to a person who dies in their sin. What is their destiny after the resurrection of judgment.

    And, as far as those who die in Christ is concerned, what is it that sleeps?

    It could not be the body, which corrupts. In that it sleeps, there must be a point at which it can be awoken at the resurrection.

    Since we know that those who sleep or die in Christ are resurrected to life eternal, what happens to those whose names are not found in the Book of Life?

  60. Zeibart, that would have to be one of the best explanations of what happens after death I have read in some time.

    My one question is this; what of Jesus telling the criminal on the cross “I tell you this day you will be with me in paradise”?

    Is there a misplaced cam, as some suggest rendering it “I tell you this day, you will be with me on paradise”?

    I would disagree with that, however I can see what you are saying and you make a strong case, however this scripture from Calvary would seem to tell a different story.

  61. That is the JW explanation, Greg, because they don’t believe anyone but a select 144,000 will make it into paradise, or God’s presence. Everyone else gets a shot at the earth. Only that select group can be born agin in their theology, which is, of course, wrong on many counts. They also say that those who die on their sins will be annihilated, that is, cease to exist, and that the soul ins not immortal, as do the SDA.

    But how many of us have err said, as we speak, “I tell you today…”? Er, of core i’s today whn i am speaking in he present tense, because I am speaking today! What nonsense to attempt to mask Jesus remind the thief on the cross, on his last day on earth, as he is dying a painful death, ‘yeah, look, mate, it’s today, today!”

    What Jesus is telling the thief is that, because he acknowledges Christ, he will be with him in paradise, which was, then, in the grave, also called, by Jesus, recognising the Jewish understanding, the bosom of Abraham.

    The JWs had to scramble the truth in those words of Jesus at the cross because it conflicted with their idea that the soul cannot have any sensual recognition from the grave. They warp scripture to do this on several counts, taking, as they always do, a verse here and a verse there and making a doctrine out of unconnected passages of scripture.

    I noise that zeibart took some of their theology to back his explanation earlier, by claiming that the soul ends at some point, when scripture tells us that it doesn’t.

    Quoting from Ecclesiastes or some passages of Job without the backing of the rest of scripture is always dodgy because, as it explains continuously, they are vanity, basically the thoughts an observations of a man, not of God. They may be God-breathed, but they are not God’s Word per cé, and they declare this fact. JWs and SDAs have to quote them because they are also giving men’s thoughts as the basis of their doctrine and miss out a large proportion of scripture in the process. Theirs is a selective theology based on a premise.

    Unfortunately, zeibart, so far, has not given an explanation of the role of the soul. He seems to be saying that there is nothing after death, but that, mysteriously, God makes something happen and we are suddenly alive again at the resurrection, and then the sinners are found wanting and are suddenly, once again, nothing. They vanish. Their spirit, somehow, though tarnished and dead through sin, goes back to God, and their soul ceases to exist.

  62. What Jesus is telling the thief is that, because he acknowledges Christ, he will be with him in paradise, which was, then, in the grave, also called, by Jesus, recognising the Jewish understanding, the bosom of Abraham.

    Huh. Says who?

    PARADISE (Hebrew, ; Greek, παράδεισος)

    —Biblical Data:
    The word “paradise” is probably of Persian origin. It occurs but three times in the Old Testament, namely, in Cant. iv. 13, Eccl. ii. 5, and Neh. ii. 8. In the first of these passages it means “garden”; in the second and third, “park.” In the apocalypses and in the Talmud the word is used of the Garden of Eden and its heavenly prototype (comp. references in Weber’s “Jüdische Theologie,” 2d ed., 1897, pp. 344 et seq.). From this usage it came to denote, as in the New Testament, the abode of the blessed (comp. Luke xxiii. 43; II Cor. xii. 4; Rev. ii. 7)

    Ezekiel’s conception of Eden is not unlike that of the heavenly paradise in Enoch xxiii.-xxviii. The happy destination of the righteous is pictured in this work (which dates from 200 to 170 B.C.) as a great mountain in the midst of the earth from under which streams of water flow. At the center of its sacred enclosure a palm-tree grows. Similar views find expression in other apocalypses (comp. Apoc. Baruch, iv.; II Esd. viii. 52; Rev. ii. 7, xxii. 2 et seq.). These passages form the transition from the earlier ideas of paradise as man’s primitive home to the Talmudic and New Testament conceptions of paradise as the final abode of the blessed.

    —In Rabbinical Literature:
    The word is used metaphorically for the veil surrounding the mystic philosophy (Ḥag. 14b), but not as a synonym for the Garden of Eden or paradise to identify a blissful heavenly abode for the righteous after death. The popular conception of paradise is expressed by the term “Gan ‘Eden,” in contradistinction to “Gehinnom” = “hell.” Jewish authorities are almost unanimous in maintaining that there is a terrestrial as well as a celestial Gan ‘Eden; that the Garden of Eden in Genesis is a model in miniature of the higher Gan ‘Eden called paradise (see Eden, Garden of). Paradise is occasionally referred to as “‘Olam ha-Ba” (= “the world to come”); but generally this term is used for the post-millennial time, after the Messianic and resurrection periods. Sometimes the terms “Gan ‘Eden” and “‘Olam ha-Ba” are erroneously interchanged. Gan ‘Eden is recognized by Naḥmanides as “‘Olam ha-Neshamot” (= “the world of the souls”), which the departed souls of the righteous enter immediately after death (see Sem. i. 5b; Tem. 16a).

    It’s obvious that Luke’s Jesus had a Jewish understanding of Paradise.

  63. I based what I said on the fact that Jesus was Jewish by birth, and by earth culture. Therefore, if he mentions the bosom of Abraham he is referring to paradise! which was then considered to be in the grave.

    I don’t see how more modern rabbinical teaching could have a thing to do with what Jesus taught about heaven, hades, Gehenna, judgment, the grave, paradise, Sheol, life, death, redemption, grace or any other truth denied by Jewish teachers after the resurrection of Christ.

    But why are you having a discussion on doctrine at all when you have made it clear that some of the major passages and books of scripture are not, in your view, valid?

    You have nothing on which to base any case you might have doctrinally.

  64. Luke 16:22-24
    So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
    “ Then he cried and said, ‘ Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. ’

  65. So say the JWs, Greg. Are you sure you don’t have any connection with them?

    If a parable, then please give me the understanding of it, because a parable, by nature, must also have a literal meaning.

    Even if it were a parable, Christ used real situations to describe the teaching he was putting across, so just blurting out ‘parable’ doesn’t change a thing about the subject at hand.

    Bosom of Abraham
    Unique phrase found in a parable of Jesus describing the place where Lazarus went after death (Luke 16:19-31). It is a figurative phrase that appears to have been drawn from a popular belief that the righteous would rest by Abraham’s side in the world to come, an opinion described in Jewish literature at the time of Christ. The word kolpos [kovlpo”] literally refers to the side or lap of a person. Figuratively, as in this case, it refers to a place of honor reserved for a special guest, similar to its usage in John 13:23. In the case of Lazarus, the reserved place is special because it is beside Abraham, the father of all the righteous. The phrase may be synonymous to the paradise promised to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43). Together these passages support the conviction that a believer enjoys immediate bliss at the moment of physical death.

    (Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

    The illustration Jesus is making is clearly given as he speaks. He is saying that even if someone rose from the dead and came from the grave to preach to the Scribes they would not believe Jesus.

    It is an illustration, not a parable.

  66. But Bones is quiet on this, and hasn’t used the Jewish encyclopaedia to describe the Bosom of Abraham.

    Bosom of Abraham
    In the New Testament and in Jewish writings a term signifying the abodeof bliss in the other world. According to IV Macc. xiii. 17, the righteous who die for their faith are received by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in paradise (compare Matt. viii. 11: “Many shall come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven”). In Ḳid. 72b, Adda bar Ahaba, a rabbi of the third century, is said to be “sitting in the bosom of Abraham,” which means that he has entered paradise. With this should be compared the statement of R. Levi (Gen. R. xlviii.): “In the world to come Abraham sits at the gate of Gehenna, permitting none to enter who bears the seal of the covenant” (see Circumcision).

    In the Hellenistic Testament of Abraham it is Adam, the representative of humanity, who sits at the gate of hell and paradise; the Jewish view of later times placed Abraham, the progenitor of Israel, in Adam’s place. This was also the view of the New Testament writers as presented in Luke, xvi. 19-31, the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus, the beggar, died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s Bosom; the rich man died and was put into Gehenna, where he saw Lazarus in the Bosom of Abraham, full of joy, whereas he suffered great torment. Thereat he cried: “Father Abraham, have mercy on me!” and finally he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to admonish his five brothers to lead lives characterized by repentance, in order not to meet the same fate as his own. Whereupon Abraham said: “They have the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets; let them be mindful of these, and they will enter paradise as well as Lazarus.” On Lazarus (Eliezer) and Abraham see Geiger’s “Jüdische Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Leben,” vii. 200. It is plain that Abraham is here viewed as the warden of paradise, like Michael in Jewish and St. Peter in Christian folk-lore (“Texts and Studies,” v. 55, 69, Cambridge). Of Abraham as attorney pleading for Israel, R. Jonathan also speaks (Shab. 89b).

  67. Thanks for the kind words Greg. I believe scripture is consistent and if it points to a general conclusion about something, we are not at liberty to take an ambiguous verse and try to use it as a proof text for the opposite. So, when Jesus answered the robber on the cross his aim was not to help future readers understand the afterlife or intermediate state. He was giving the criminal succour regarding his new fate since he had just crossed from death to life by stating his faith in Christ. Part of that statement of faith was that he recognised Jesus would be coming into a future kingdom. He asked Jesus to remember him at that time (to include him presumably).

    Jesus replies to the effect that he need not worry about that future inclusion but reassures him that he can count on being as one who will qualify for that kingdom TODAY! In other words, he and Jesus will both die today with their names written in the Book of Life. ‘And anyone not found written in the (Lamb’s) book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev 20:15). This negates that awkward argument about the comma and Jesus saying ‘Truly I tell you today, you will be….’ No, he was emphasising what all Jews uncorrupted by Greek teaching believed which is that the whole soul (bible language for a living body) goes to sheol/hades/gravedom on death to await resurrection and either be destroyed in the lake of fire or be given eternal life according to whether one’s name was in the Lamb’s book of life. Because Jesus told the thief he was in the book now, he could die and expect paradise next. Paradise should be viewed more as ‘the state of being dead but awaiting for eternal life’ ie having died in Christ/faith, rather than a metaphor for heaven or other blissful location.

  68. Steve, beside the verses I listed to state that Jesus went nowhere other than the grave after death, consider Acts 2:

    22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

    ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
    For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
    26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
    Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
    27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
    Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
    28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
    You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

    29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. ”

    Here Peter makes it very obvious what he believes in terms of death and the resurrection. He clearly states that David is dead, buried and still entombed. Not in heaven, not by Abraham’s side, not in paradise, not with Jesus. In the grave, sheol, hades. Peter then quotes David’s Psalm 16 which prophesied that Jesus would not be left in the grave (sheol in the OT, hades in the Greek NT), and speaks of a very bodily resurrection, in that God raised Jesus. To Peter, that is the clincher in his sermon to the assembled Israelites. Since Jesus is our firstfruit of resurrection life, this is what we are to expect after we die, just as David still lies awaiting a better promise. Verse 26 – my FLESH will rest in hope. The hope of being raised from the place of the dead ie grave. If David and every other dead saint were in heaven, why wouldn’t THAT be spoken of as the ‘blessed hope’?

    Because it’s not God’s reality.

  69. Some other comments. To harp on about JWs and SDAs is just irrelevant in trying to disprove a scriptural point. Believe it or not Steve, some of what you faithfully hold to is also claimed by the Catholics, Christadelphians, Baptists, JWs, SDAs, Mormons, Muslims and others. Does that make your doctrinal viewpoint invalid? Of course not, so there’s no need to tear down an argument by association with cults and Christian fringe elements.

    Also, I would disagree that I have used a scattering of verses and tied them together. I’m sure you’ve delivered many sermons using only a few scriptures to make your point. I didn’t want to tire you with the full weight of scripture in my favour on this subject, but they’re out there.

    To answer your question as to the ‘role of the soul’ would be case in point. In the OT in particular, there are many hundreds of references to the Hebrew word nephesh which is translated primarily ‘soul’. The first reference is, of course, Gen 2:7 when God breathed on the inanimate Adam and he became a living being, or nephesh in the original, translated soul many time elsewhere. So the key here is, not what is the role of the soul because we ARE a soul. The question becomes redundant.

    Therefore, when David prophesies that Jesus’s soul will not remain in sheol (see Ps 16 in my comment above), it refers to him as a whole being. He will not remain a dead nephesh but be given life through resurrection, not some ethereal existence away from the body.

  70. OK lastly, Abraham’s bosom (side) and the parable of the rich man. To begin with this section of Jesus’s talk comes on the back of four previous parables and there’s no indication he’s changed tack. Secondly, just because Jesus references a picture does not indicate he supports it. The concepts are just props for a message on receiving the gospel that were part of common Jewish myths at the time. Jesus is not endorsing this imagery any more than his earlier parable about the dishonest administrator (Luke 16:1-12). He met people where they were at and knew this story would strike a chord. The Hellenization of Jewish thinking was well entrenched by Jesus time and evident in the stories of an underworld that mirrored Greek Hades, river Styx, gates, chambers of existence etc. You reference this above in quoting Maccabees which is when the intertestament writings really started to reflect this Greek slant.

    The problems with a literal take on this passage are many. The damned and the blissful can communicate but cannot cross the gulf, so those in ‘heaven’ look down and even converse with those being consumed with fire – that’s just not God’s picture of death as sleep and life after resurrection. So you think God thinks we’ll be happy to talk with an unsaved family member from our happy grandstand in heaven – no. Further it would mean that disembodied ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ are, in fact fully bodied with a nervous system and everything. Even if you support some sort of existence immediately after death, it isn’t supposed to look like that. It’s confused thinking to portray this as a window into some sort of after life.

  71. Finally finally Steve, to answer your question earlier about what happens to those who die in their sin and by extension are not found in the book of life.

    On death they are buried and that’s it (plenty of scriptures, mostly OT).
    At the final judgement they are raised to a temporary life to hear that they are not in the book of life and are cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20, and Matt 10:28 – ‘Fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell’) to face the second death (which holds no fear for believers).
    They are destroyed (many scriptures but John 3:16 covers it well).
    Eternal life is given to all believers. See, I set before you life and death – choose life.

  72. First of all you seem to be making no distinction between the spirit, soul and body.

    Now I know there is no discernible difference we can put our fingers on with our finite intelligence. But that is not so for God, and scripture reveals a division.

    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1 Thessalonians 5:17

    For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
    Hebrews 4:12-13

    You say the life of a man goes out of him when he dies. Well, yes, as far as the body is concerned, but Jesus makes it clear that we are more than a body.

    Even the passage from Acts you produced tells us that the body can see corruption but the soul is distinct. ‘You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’

    Well this s clearly talking about the body and the soul. Jesus gave up the Ghost, or Spirit at the cross. Now the prophet by inspiration says the soul will not be left in Hades, and the body will not see corruption. This was speaking of Jesus, or the Messiah, and not David, who did see corruption.

    But David’s soul did not see corruption. It slept. The body is atoms, and can be reconstructed, but the soul is not.

    The there is this extraordinary passage in Revelation, which you, at least, will allow.

    When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
    Revelation 6:9-11

    I put it to you that the soul is mentioned too often in New Testament texts to be ignored as merely a life-force, or the life of the body. Here we have a clear indiction that the soul of the martyr resides with God in some form after the body is already corrupted into the earth or sea.

    Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
    Revelation 20:4

    Paul aslso speaks of the advantage of death to the saint.

    For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
    Philippians 1:19-24

    In that he says he should help them by remaining in the flesh, he is declaring that we can be out of the body, out of the flesh in some way. He preaches a distinction.

  73. The illustration Jesus is making is clearly given as he speaks. He is saying that even if someone rose from the dead and came from the grave to preach to the Scribes they would not believe Jesus.

    …and there you have the parables meaning! I think it also alludes to the fact that Jesus knew he would rise from the dead.

    I continue to think it is a parable, however I can see what your saying about Jesus using real places, and imagery to populate his parables.

    The difficulty is that both you and zeibart offer strong and plausible hypothesis of how we are treated following our physical death: I think that you are both right…I don’t know how you can possibly be both right as you have opposing theories, however I think it’s one of those dynamic tensions that the bible is full of.

  74. zeibart,
    The problems with a literal take on this passage are many. The damned and the blissful can communicate but cannot cross the gulf, so those in ‘heaven’ look down and even converse with those being consumed with fire – that’s just not God’s picture of death as sleep and life after resurrection.

    You miss he significance of what Jesus is saying because you do not see what took place at the resurrection of Christ.

    The passage in Luke references the pre-resurrection state of those who were in Abraham’s Bosom. There is now no great gulf as indicated here, because Abraham’s Bosom was not located in heaven but in the grave, as pointed out earlier. That is entirely the point of the illustration Jesus gives, that even if a person came out of the grave or rose form the dead they would not believe. Clearly he was also referencing the fact that he would rise from the grave and they still would not believe.

    But, as I have said all along, captivity was taken captive. That is, at the resurrection of Christ, those who were in the Bosom of Abraham, or Paradise, were carried with him into the new location of paradise.

    Now Paul tells us he went to paradise in the third heaven, so we know that at this time paradise was no longer in the grave.

    I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
    2 Corinthians 12:2-4

    In the body or out of the body. Again Paul distinguishes between the soul, or spirit and the body. But the point I am making here is that he was caught up to paradise which is now in the third heaven, whereas Jesus places paradise in the grave. “Today, you will be with me in paradise”, which could only be in the grave.

    Paradise and the Bosom of Abraham are really places for souls of the saints as they await the resurrection. So paradise is moved when they are moved.

    So, captivity is taken captive.

    Now you say that ‘captivity being taken captive’ refers to the open display of satan and his armies at the spoiling, but this could not be so. Satan and his armies were not in captivity.

    They were at large in the earth.

    Jesus made an open show of them and spoiled them by nailing the Law to the cross, thereby nullifying the power satan had over people in tempting them and pronouncing guilt over them through the Law, which was always in direct conflict with the sin nature they had through Adam’s fall.

    It was the power of the Law and accusation in the hands of the accuser that Jesus removed from the adversary as he stripped him of any power he had over people’s minds and will, provided people repent and turn to Christ to be released from satan’s lordship over them.

    Now, if you remain a child of disobedience you remain under satan’s control, but it could not be said that he was the captivity which was led captive.

    Nor could the fallen angels in Tartarus be called the captive led captive since they remain locked up until the judgment when they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

    So who was captive? Well the saints were captive in the grave, but not in the side of the grave which was occupied by those who reject God. They were in the level called paradise or the Bosom of Abraham. However, they were not yet born again, nor could they be because Christ was not resurrected in their lifetime, they had never heard the gospel of Christ, obviously, and could not be saved.

    But they looked forward to Christ in faith, made their journey towards the New Jerusalem, and so Christ preached to the spirits in prison after the resurrection and they were released. e set the captives free, taking them into his own captivity, which is far better.

    They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
    1 Peter 4:5-6

    Well who preached the gospel to those who are dead? Only Christ could.

    “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”
    John 5:25

    And why not, because we who were spiritually dead through disobedience and sin had the gospel preached and we who believed were saved. Why would Christ not give the same opportunity to those who did not hear the same gospel we have? Even the disobedient of Noah’s day had the gospel preached to them in the grave prison.

    For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
    1 Peter 3:18-20

    So by the Spirit jesus went and preached to the dead spirits of the disobedient. How much more the sleeping spirits of the obedient?

  75. Greg, I accept that there may be other ways of looking at this, but I am trying my best to stay within he context of the whole counsel of scripture as far as I understand it, which i realise is limited, but I think there are some things which we can be led by the Holy Spirit on and which give us a better overall picture of what is taking place so that we can warn others and make it reasonably clear to them why they should receive Christ as soon as possible and what the consequences will be if they reject him.

    As I have said, i am in no way interested is rightening people into he Kingdom. i much prefer preaching the good news and leaving the sin, righteousness and judgment part to the Holy Spirit as he confirms the Word preached.

    However, we should be in no doubt that there are some people who refuse to accept the good news, so it is pertinent to point out the corresponding truth that their lives are very much ion jeopardy if they maintain that position. A little fear did no one any harm.

    Like you, I love my children, and would really prefer that the first time I tell them something vital to their well-being and security with a quiet, firm warm humoured voice and demeanour they would understand it perfectly and grasp it and run with it. But I know that there are some things they either don’t understand, or refuse to believe, or are simply stubborn about, or are just downright disobedient about, and I have to bring out the much more convincing father talk and action.

    So praise God for His long-suffering nature and merciful kindness. Thank God for His willingness to correct us at times with a firm hand. And I think sometimes his anger is there to cajole us into seeking the safety of his protection. But woe to those who reject all of God’s overtures to us, and face His wrath on that day.

    So I would rarely preach sermons on the concept of what hell is Biblically, unless I was seeking context. But if we are going to have a discussion about it, we might as well determine what the Bible tells us in regard to the continuation of the soul and spirit after the body yield up the ghost.

    Saying the body dies and that’s it won’t cut it with scripture.

  76. ‘Rightening’? ‘Frightening’!

    I am very much interested in ‘rightening people into the Kingdom! That’s what it is all about.

  77. Rich man and Lazarus


    As a literal, historical event[edit]

    Some Christians view the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man as an actual event which was related by Jesus to his followers;[9] this was generally the view of the medieval Church. According to this view, this story is not a parable but literal biography. Supporters of this view point to the amount of detail in the story. For example, in no other parable does Jesus give a character’s personal name, but refers to the characters as “a certain man”, “a sower”, etc. Critics of this view point out that “The “soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18); “For dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Paul (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) describes death as sleep until the Day of the Lord, when the dead will receive glorified bodies upon the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). No scripture, other than Philippians 1:23-25 (in which the apostle expresses the confidence that on departure from this life he would be with Christ), 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (in which he affirms the possibility of being taken to paradise out of the body), 2 Corinthians 5:8, etc., accounts for a disembodied soul and its comfort or torture. Because this seems to beg the question of what kind of body is tortured in Hades as depicted in Luke, there are those who maintain that whilst the conversations took place as described, the language used in them, referring to body parts, etc., was figurative.[9]

    Brownlow North[edit]

    The 19th century evangelist, Brownlow North inclined to the view that the story described a literal, historical event, but did not exclude the possibility that it might be purely a parable.[10]

    As a parable created by Jesus[edit]

    Other Christians consider that this is a parable created by Jesus and told to his followers.[11] Tom Wright[12] and Joachim Jeremias[13] both treat it as a “parable”. Proponents of this view argue that the story of Lazarus and the rich man has much in common with other stories which are agreed-upon parables, both in language and content (e.g. the reversal of fortunes, the use of antithesis, and concern for the poor).

    Luther, a parable of the conscience[edit]

    Martin Luther taught that the story was a parable about rich and poor in this life and the details of the afterlife not to be taken literally:
    “Therefore we conclude that the bosom of Abraham signifies nothing else than the Word of God,…. the hell here mentioned cannot be the true hell that will begin on the day of judgment. For the corpse of the rich man is without doubt not in hell, but buried in the earth; it must however be a place where the soul can be and has no peace, and it cannot be corporeal. Therefore it seems to me, this hell is the conscience, which is without faith and without the Word of God, in which the soul is buried and held until the day of judgment, when they are cast down body and soul into the true and real hell.” (Church Postil 1522-23)[14]

    Lightfoot, a parable against the Pharisees[edit]

    John Lightfoot (1602 – 1675) treated the parable as a parody of Pharisee belief concerning the Bosom of Abraham, and from the connection of Abraham saying the rich man’s family would not believe even if the parable Lazarus was raised, to the priests’ failure to believe in the resurrection of Christ:
    “Any one may see, how Christ points at the infidelity of the Jews, even after that himself shall have risen again. From whence it is easy to judge what was the design and intention of this parable” (From the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 3)[15]
    E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible cited Lightfoot’s comment above,[16] expanding it to include coincidence to lack of belief in the resurrection of the historical Lazarus (John 12:10, see below). Additionally, Bullinger considered that the lack of identification “parable” by Luke is because contains a parody of the view of the afterlife in the story:
    “It is not called a parable because it cites a notable example of the Pharisee’s tradition which had been brought from Babylon. See many other examples in Lightfoot vol.xii. pp.159-68” (Companion Bible, p.1488)

    Drioux, a parable against the Sadducees[edit]

    An alternative explanation of the parable is a satirical parable against the Sadducees. One writer to identify the Sadducees as the target was Johann Nepomuk Sepp.[17] The arguments in favour of identification of the Rich Man as the Sadducees are (1) the wearing of purple and fine linen, priestly dress,[18] (2) the reference to “five brothers in my father’s house” as an allusion to Caiaphas’ father-in-law Annas, and his five sons who also served as high priests according to Josephus,[19] (3) Abraham’s statement in the parable that they would not believe even if he raised Lazarus, and then the fulfillment that when Jesus did raise Lazarus of Bethany the Sadducees not only did not believe, but attempted to have Lazarus killed again: “So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well” (John 12:10). This last interpretation had wide circulation in France during the 1860-’90s as a result of having been included in the notes of the pictorial Bible of Abbé Drioux.[20]

    Perry, a parable of a new covenant[edit]

    Simon Perry has argued that the Lazarus of the parable (an abbreviated transcript of ‘Eleazer’) refers to Eleazer of Damascus, Abraham’s servant. In Genesis 15 – a foundational covenant text familiar to any 1st century Jew – God says to Abraham “this man will not be your heir” (Gen 15:4). Perry argues that this is why Lazarus is outside the gates of Abraham’s perceived descendent. By inviting Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom, Jesus is redefining the nature of the covenant. It also explains why the rich man assumes Lazarus is Abraham’s servant.[21]

    Literary provenance and legacy[edit]

    Jewish sources[edit]

    We have in fact one of the cases where the background to the teaching is more probably found in non-biblical sources.
    —I. Howard Marshall, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Gospel of Luke, p. 634

    Some scholars—e.g., G. B. Caird,[25] Joachim Jeremias,[26] Marshall,[27] Hugo Gressmann,[28]—suggest the basic storyline of The Rich Man and Lazarus was derived from Jewish stories that had developed from an Egyptian folk tale about Si-Osiris.[29][30] Richard Bauckham is less sure,[31] adding:

    In any case, [Jesus] has used [motifs also found in the Egyptian and Jewish stories] to construct a new story, which as a whole is not the same as any other extant story. …[Of course] comparison with the way they function in other stories can help to highlight their function in the parable. In this sense, the parallels and contrasts with the Egyptian and Jewish story of the rich and the poor man can be instructive…[32]

    Steven Cox highlights other elements from Jewish myths that the parable could be mimicking.[33][34]

  78. The Shocking Parable of The Rich Man And Lazarus – Luke 16

    by Adrian Warnock

    1. The Characters

    a. The Rich Man

    This has been called, “The Parable of The Show-off . . . and The Beggar”[i]

    Purple was expensive made from shellfish [ii]

    He loved himself and wanted everyone to know how important and rich he was.

    Life was one long party!

    Rich were assumed to be blessed (eg Job)

    Today–we wear fashionable clothes, carry iPhone 3G-S

    The Rich man knew almost all the privileges a man could have- but there’s always a bigger fish…

    b. The beggar

    The Poor Man was as destitute as a human being could be[iii]

    Repulsive but loved by God.

    Only parable where someone is named: Lazarus from Hebrew “God has helped.”[iv] The essence of the Christian is one who makes themselves dependent on God and relies on HIS help.

    God knew the poor man’s name, the rich man was inconsequential.

    Does God know your name in the sense of it being in his book?

    “God helps but apparently no one else does.”[v]

    “Judaism of that period would likely conclude that the miserable condition of Lazarus was the result of God’s punishment for sin, and wealth, such as enjoyed by the rich man, indicated God’s blessings.”[vi]

    It turns out that the Rich man is abjectly poor spiritually and the poor man is rich spiritually.

    It is as though God could have said the words of Revelation “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

    How can we avoid being like that rich man? What was the problem with him? We will see more in the next post.

  79. We might just have to utter the most taboo line of all in Pentecostalism:

    “I don’t know”

    We dont know for sure how to interpret Jesus’ sayings. We don’t know for sure if Jesus said them. We dont know for sure where or what the afterlife will be.

  80. It is interesting to note that throughout history man has tried to see himself as a god and immortal which runs contrary to his creation. Trying to achieve a state of immortality apart from God’s gift is something satan has been encouraging from the beginning. The whole deal of man as component parts, some of which don’t perish, falls straight into this category.

    Man was made from a very different substance than God – the dust of the earth, or carbon-based life. God imparted his breath (ruach translated pneuma in Greek) to animate him, but being in his image is not the same a being part eternal. God put ‘eternity in our hearts’ Ecc 3:11, which is not an ontological statement but simply a yearning for the eternal, the fulfillment of which can only come from a relationship with God. He is the sole provider of immortality since he is the only immortal being and unseen by man (1 Tim 6:15-16).

    The only reason Adam and Eve could have lived for ever was on a condition: that they refrained from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but they were not denied the tree of life. The tree of life figures in Rev 22 as well and is for the healing of the nations. I believe that tree was Jesus and Adam and Eve partook of him (John 6:54 is similar where Jesus asks the crowd to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He then makes a clear statement about what will happen if they do – they will be raised up at the last day!) Before they had sinned Adam and Eve would have continued to enjoy everlasting life as long as they stuck to the condition.

    Therefore, we were meant to decay and, and the only condition for salvation from that state is faith in Christ, now and in Adam’s day. After banishment from Eden and the tree of life, man began his dark journey rediscover eternal life outside of Jesus through false religion, building towers to heaven, witchcraft, mixing with fallen angels, then along came Greek philosophy which was swept into the early church and became entrenched in Catholicism. This thinking influenced bible translations and people could therefore see all manner of underworld compartments and abodes, prisons and levels for this imagined ‘eternal soul/spirit’ entity which were never conceived by the original writers. A soul is now what it was at creation – a living person or animal. Anything that had animated life was a soul or nephesh. When that life ‘returned to God who gave it’ they died and knew no more, returning to the dust. The bible speaks of the silence and inactivity of the grave or sheol/hades.

    All this is to show that we do not have any immortal component that survives death. To say we do (and all the false mystery Babylon religions that have ever existed, together with Greek mythology and philosophy underwritten by satan, will say we do) is counter to the majority view of scripture. But there do seem to be exceptions, and you point them out Steve.

  81. 1 Thess 5:23 follows an explanation by Paul of Jesus’s return on ‘the day of the Lord’, and is part of various encouragements, admonitions and blessings. v23 is simply a good wish for bodily health, right thinking, spiritual prosperity not some sort of Gray’s Anatomy from God. The same with Hebrews 4. If we took it literally, Paul’s ‘thoughts and intents of the heart’ would be odd. The brain does that bit and the heart pumps blood. His point is that God’s word is very incisive and penetrating – that’s all.

    As for the souls under the altar, this is vivid imagery taken literally by active afterlife proponents to suit an end not intended by John. Much like Abel’s blood still ‘crying from the ground’, the souls are a picture of a cry for justice and retribution from God toward their murderers. The function of the vision of the martyrs under the heavenly altar is not to inform us on the intermediate state of the dead, but to reassure believers, especially the martyrs who in John’s time and later centuries gave their lives for the cause of Christ, that God ultimately would vindicate them.

  82. Phil 1 and 2 Cor 5:7 about being absent from the body and present with the Lord are classic examples of ignoring Paul’s clearly stated view of death, the coming of the Lord and resurrection to suit a disembodied afterlife view. Get rid of the Greek thinking for a moment and look at these passages through Paul’s lens of death, wait, resurrection. At the beginning of the chapter he expands on the difference between our temporary earthly tent and our Made in Heaven eternal one. This is the spiritual body he explains at length about in 1 Cor 15.

    If we died and led some disembodied existence, 1 Cor 5 would not describe such a state for we would not be ‘clothed’. If we were clothed as Paul conceives it just after death, it would completely negate the need for a resurrection, so that won’t work either scripturally. Paul believes very obviously from this and other letters that the next time he will be with the Lord is when Christ returns – that is his hope and he knows it is better by far than his earthly life. Phil 1 in like fashion is simply Paul saying he would rather depart and be with Christ in a relational context not immediately relocated to heaven. When he died, Paul knew that the next concious event would be his resurrection and so ‘to be with the Lord forever’.

    If he knew differently don’t you think he would have been more specific and said something like those semi-new age funerals which intone, ‘Don’t grief for me for I am simply in another room. I have just passed into a better place, just entered a doorway.’ Twaddle and Paul knew it. 1 Thess 4 sums this all up. In v18 he says they were to comfort each other with these words. What words? The return of Christ, the raising of the dead – the cornerstone of Paul’s preaching, not some disembodied wafting around.

  83. Lastly (it’s getting late) the captivity captive piece. Again, I’ll call you out on stretching scripture to meet a preconceived conclusion as has been the case thus far in your comments Steve. There is absolutely no evidence Paul concurs with the view that the OT faithful were sprung from a disembodied afterlife. You are patching on some disputable verses from Peter and making a wrong turn in my view. I explained earlier what I see in the Peter scriptures, that the gospel was preached to those now dead in Noah’s time through the Holy Spirit so all would be without excuse. Peter is speaking of the distant past not Jesus cold-calling the dead somehow. He was 3 days in the grave and then arose by the power of the Holy Spirit. This was articulated by David prophetically and restated by Jesus himself.

    Leading captivity captive is the same metaphor as ‘I hold in my hand the keys to death and hades’. Jesus didn’t actually have a set of Union keys to fit a real lock. He is describing his victory over death. Just as death had held man captive (no Jesus, no resurrection and so no eternal life), captivity had been taken captive by Jesus’s death and resurrection. This wasn’t a jailbreak in the literal sense, but he broke the chains of death for sure, and allowed us to enter in to a new freedom, awaiting the total fulfillment at his return.

  84. Wazza,
    ‘We don’t know for sure how to interpret Jesus’ sayings. We don’t know for sure if Jesus said them. We don’t know for sure where or what the afterlife will be.’

    Wrong on all three counts. Especially the second, which is presumptuous.

    If we all took this defeatist attitude we’d never learn anything.

    1 Corinthians 2:11-12
    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

    So, zeibart, here we have Paul talking about ‘the spirit of man which is in him’, which is clear delineation between the body and the spirit. God doesn’t communicate with our body, but with our regenerated spirit, and, then, our soul, which is the mind, will, senses and human intelligence, works things out from there in the natural context.

    Your assumption that Paul was merely giving a greeting when he spoke of the spirit, soul and body is not seeing that he has made a distinction, even if it were a greeting. Of course the Word, being God, is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The Bible speaks of the heart on many occasions as the inner being of a person.

    When God says he is going to give us a new heart, he is not talking about the blood pump. When the Bible speaks of the broken hearted, it is obviously not referring to the organ. But you know if someone has broken your heart. You don’t feel the pain and anguish of it in your mind as much as in the inner being which corresponded with your heart.

    Or maybe you haven’t ever loved to this degree that you know the difference. Out of your heart come all the issues of life. Thee is a physical connection to the emotional aspect of what happens when certain passions are revealed from within.

    Proverbs 3:5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

    So here he distinguishes between the heart and the understanding.

    Proverbs 4:20-23
    My son, give attention to my words Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

    And Jesus said something about out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Lots more on this.

    God the Word is able to differentiate and divide between the soul and spirit. In this we are shown that there is a separation.

  85. So when in doubt, throw the epistles out. Now we can’t quote Peter because Bones and zeibart are struggling to cope with the fact that he confirms what I am saying! Or, rather, I expound what he is saying.

    Of course, Bones also eliminates Revelation, so that is also a strike against zeibart’s case.

    Maybe they’d prefer we do away with the Bible altogether so that they actually have a case to present.

    These days I try to work through doctrine without reference to books Bones can’t handle, but it sure forces a roundabout exegesis at times, and there’s not much left to work with.

  86. Steve, that’s fine. If you think it is sound biblical exegesis to take one scripture and use it to support your view of the nature of man against the vast hundreds that run counter, crack on. But don’t purport to be a teacher of the word.

    You are now simply playing the man and not what I wrote. I gave you an entirely valid perspective on Peter’s letters, but you want to dismiss them because it challenges your already tied up view on them. Happy days.

    Tell you what, why don’t you settle back and just enjoy the cricket. During the duller moments, keep reading a book by Edward Fudge called the Fire that Consumes. I clearly can’t explain all this well enough for you, but Mr Fudge should do a better job.

  87. Well, look, zeibart, if you are going to respond to my effort in explaining things through scripture by saying that letter, or book or gospel isn’t bald, as Bones does, then I have nowhere else to to turn. You have effectively pulled the carpet form under my feet.

    I’m sorry about the strength of my response, which was out of frustration, when you said Peter was a doubtful contributor to the theology I was presenting. I have had this argument with Bones and greg previously, and it has all but ended any reasonable discussion on scripture with Bones, at least.

    Of course, I used more than one reference form peter to describe what I am proposing, and I take it for granted that, for the sake of expedience, although I use one or two verses, you will understand that I include the context of the previous and succeeding passages, and I am not merely using isolated, selective portions of scripture to build a case for the tripartite nature of man as revealed in the New Testament.

    I also qualified what I said by noting that, although scripture speaks of the spirit, soul and body, we should not view them as totally separate entities, but interconnected functions of the whole person, which, apart form the revealed fact that hey can be divided by the Word and Spirit, are vital to the life and wellbeing of the whole person.

    If you are going to assert, tough, that the body is the be all and end all of the human being then I will have to beg to differ, and have shown form scripture that this is clearly not the case.

    I have ably demonstrated from scripture that the heart is indeed an intrinsic part of our spiritual make-up, and is defined as being separate in essence form the body. Jesus spoke of the heart s being the centre of faith, as did Paul. Proverbs gives the heart as the place from which all the issues of life are derived. Paul tells us to garrison our hearts by meditating on wholesome things.

    What you have done is to divide the evidence from scripture I have given you into separate portions and attempted a separate explanation for each which distracts us from the context of them as interconnected contextual evidence.

    I have given the links and connection of the context as a demonstration of the tripartite nature of man, and how God interacts with us through the spirit.

    Now the Word tells us that the spirit of each person was dead through sin, and yet still with us to be revived through faith in Christ. So here we have the spirit being dead to God through sin, and yet the body and soul operational but under the control of the god of this age.

    When we heard the Word preached, faith revived us. But in what way were we revived? We believed in our hearts. Where? In our hearts. Faith is of the heart, not of the mental faculty, which must be brought into subjection to the will of God.

    The basis of salvation is through the heart of faith.

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
    Romans 10:8-10

    So we confess with our mouth what we believe in our heart. We use the understanding through our words, it confirm the revelation which has been placed in our hearts through faith in he preached Word of Christ.

    Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Where, then does faith come? Into the heart of the one who believes.

    The body has nothing whatsoever to do with this operation. In fact, scripture says that the last thing to be redeemed is the body. It will not be redeemed until Christ comes for the Church at the resurrection.

    We are given the Spirit of Christ as the downpayment of the redeemed article. Our spirit is regretted into life, our soul is saved and our body awaits redemption at the resurrection.

    Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
    Romans 8:13

    For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.
    2 Corinthians 5:4-7

    While we are at home in the body, we are absent form the Lord. Which clearly teaches that the body holds us to the earth s long as we live in it. That is why he has promised us a new spiritual body which is incorruptible and which we will be clothed with when we are raised to be with him, because flesh and good cannot inherit he Kingdom of God.

    1 Corinthians 15
    42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
    43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
    44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
    45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
    46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
    47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
    48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
    49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
    50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
    51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–
    52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
    56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
    57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  88. ‘Our spirit is regretted into life, our soul is saved and our body awaits redemption at the resurrection.’ Should read, ‘Our spirit is regenerated into life, our soul is saved and our body awaits redemption at the resurrection.’


  89. This is why it is so difficult to try and breakdown hardened preconceptions that do the scriptural interpretation, rather than letting scripture speak for itself, in context, supported by the full span of the bible.

    OK what I read from those references to ‘heart’ is not the physical organ (I don’t think that’s what you’re saying either), but to a concept that is at the centre of something – to get to the heart of the matter is to get to its core issue. So to ‘believe in your heart’ is a phrase that says to believe in your very most inner being, your deepest thoughts and understanding.

    You’re not suggesting that some separate entity inside us is doing the believing here are you? This is my mind doing the believing, correct? Rom 12:1-3 ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your MIND’.

    Second question: could you point me to the scripture(s) that state we have a dead/dormant spirit within us that is regenerated when we are born again. I can’t find one, but in searching did come across Rom 8:11 ‘But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.’ That wouldn’t help because the point Paul makes is specifically about our mortal bodies and not some ethereal entity inside us. The Holy Spirit in us is both a guarantor of this promise and a change agent that we might be transformed from glory to glory into the likeness of Christ, through exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit. However, we need our minds to be engaged with the Holy Spirit’s promptings to let this transformation become evident to the world around us.

    The tripartite view falls down quickly when you see the number of times the words pneuma – spirit and psuche – soul are used interchangeably in NT writing. They are one and the same, except for specific references to the Holy Spirit who is always pneuma (which is 90% of times when that Greek word is used). The only other exceptions are in a couple of verses like Heb 4 and 1 Thess 5:23, and yet you cling to them as proof texts despite the weight of evidence to bipartite composition. If we say that man is 2 components, all I tend towards subsequently is the OT view of man which is that he has no separate divisible parts and IS a soul. This is beyond dispute for the most basic scholar.

    Therefore, having come from a tri, then bi, now mono view of who we are, using scripture to lead me, I am quite content how it fits so neatly.

    Do you have a verse or two as to our dead spirit within us? I’d be very happy to lay all I have written down if you do.

  90. Of course, Bones also eliminates Revelation….

    No. I dismiss it as being a futuristic text.

    Writers from 2000 years ago have as much a clue as us as to what happens after death.

    We dont know for sure how to interpret Jesus’ sayings. We don’t know for sure if Jesus said them. We dont know for sure where or what the afterlife will be.

    And you know that’s OK.

    And I’m happy with that.

  91. zeibart, you are rejecting the idea of a tripartite human being, spirit, soul and body, as described in scripture.

    The spirit of a man within is dead because of sin. It is regenerated through faith. Faith is of the heart, not of the head.

    It is the mind, which is part of the soul, which has to be renewed to the will of God.

    The spirit is instantly revived when we receive Christ. It is already renewed at the new birth. We are born of the Spirit. Our spirit comes alive.

    The body is the last thing to be redeemed. All of nature awaits the redemption of our bodies.

    Ephesians 2
    1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
    2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
    3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

    So we were dead through sin. But, wait a minute, I was actually alive, physically, emotionally and mentally. My body was functioning. My soul – mind, will, senses – was working. How was I dead?

    My spirit was dead through sin.

    So it is the spirit which is born again. The flesh – body and soul – already lives.

    John 3
    6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    Bones & wazza, giving up the discussion,
    We dont know for sure how to interpret Jesus’ sayings. We don’t know for sure if Jesus said them. We dont know for sure where or what the afterlife will be.

    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

  92. Ouch!!

    That clobber verse hurt.


    Paul knew as much about life after death as I do.

    Well he certainly knows more about it now.

    The synoptic writers are fairly ambivalent about life after death. Jesus rarely mentions it. He talks about the Kingdom which isn’t in the after life and of judgement. It’s clear the writers didn’t know much about it either.

    It obviously wasn’t important to them.

    What has happened is that Christians have used their imaginations to create an image of what the afterlife might be like. Notably, over centuries the emphasis has changed from an expectation that Christ would return to rescue those who are saved to the expectation of a personal heaven after death. This is due to the fact that the expected return of Christ did not happen, so the millennium shrank into the background for all except certain fundamentalist sects. Jesus at no time said that the aim was to get out of this world to a better one, our true home. In fact, he spoke of an age to come, which will be in this the Kingdom. For Jesus, this world is our home and we ought to make it better. Ultimately, we do not have a clear view of what Jesus taught about the afterlife. He made a promise of eternal life to those who accepted his way, but he never gave any detailed account of what it would be like.

  93. I tend to agree Bones. None of the NT writers, nor Jesus himself speak about a ‘going to heaven’. Jesus will return to earth and make all things new, but I do believe Christians need to get a fresh (but biblical) revelation of the big picture. God designed an earth perfect for humanity to enjoy, it’s just we’ve managed to screw it up royally. He said we and the creation around us were very good, and he will renew all things on the return of Christ. Rom 8:19-22 speaks of creation groaning in anticipation of the revealing of the sons of God (us after resurrection day).

    Too many Christians (especially Pentecostals) have a very low opinion of their mortal frame and the world. Just like the Greeks, ‘spiritual’ ie non-material, things seem to have primacy which is not the Godly order. The fact that our spiritual bodies will have substance (see all the post-resurrection accounts of Jesus) attests to this. God loves both man’s body and the created environment so much he will restore them and come to dwell amongst us – sort of Garden of Eden plus plus! The plus plus is our eternal body made fit for communing perfectly with God because it is animated not by blood but by the Holy Spirit, hence a spiritual body (1 Cor 15 and Luke 24:39).

  94. You know what Bones and wazza, we should believe that everything we need to know from God is contained in his Word. We just need to dig it out like precious treasure.

    I don’t claim to know much, but I am sure we can discover God’s will, otherwise, why would we be told to have our minds renewed to prove his will.

    Romans 12:2
    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

    I can’t prove something I can’t know.

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    So I can only know the things of God by the spirit through the Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 2:12
    Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

    So, yes, we can know, but we have to dig into the Word to find the knowledge god has presented to us.

    But if we do not believe the Word, then you are right, we cannot know the will of God.

    That is why we are told several times that the just shall live by faith.

  95. Steve, you said, ‘The spirit of a man within is dead because of sin. It is regenerated through faith. Faith is of the heart, not of the head.’

    There isn’t a single verse in the entire bible that backs that statement, least of all Eph 2. If you start off thinking in tri/bipartite terms, some may appear to infer that, but it’s a stretch mostly. When you say faith is of the heart not the head, firstly faith is a gift measured to us. What is the heart (when we’re not talking about the blood pump) but a phrase for our innermost THOUGHTS. Eg Luke 2:19, ‘But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart’. That is a pure act of the mind.

    Correct, we are born of the Spirit, but that is because on confession of faith in Christ as saviour and Lord, and receipt of forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit is sent to indwell that person. As far as God is concerned that person has passed from death to life, exactly as you quote in Eph 2, but nowhere is an alive ‘spirit’ intimated except the Holy Spirit. We need to take our eyes off ourselves in trying to see some dead non-material entity (spirit) coming alive, and get our perspective from God. He sees us now as worthy of life, eternal life, which is only given when we are resurrected when we die ‘in Christ’.

    Be careful that you don’t add to scripture. When we are deemed dead because of sin, it refers to our inability to live righteously in God’s sight in this life, AND our ultimate fate of the lake of fire and destruction (Matt 10:28, John 3:16) if unsaved. The wages of sin is death, not the first which we all suffer, but the everlasting one.

    As an aside, this is one of the things I find pro-eternal torment folks struggle to articulate – if the wages of sin really is death, and we all physically die, both in Christ and not, then what is the death that is referred to? Death can’t mean eternal concious torment, for that is some form of life at least. Death is the cessation of life (see the Parrot Sketch for more descriptors of death), not a painful alternative life.

    We still die a physical death, but now God tells us we not fear the second death. This what the bible is all about. This is the ‘heart’ of the gospel. How to avoid the second death, the permanent one, which is man’s destiny if he does not come into a right relationship with God through faith. There is constant overlap in NT statements about life and death in respect of a ‘now, and yet-to-come’ understanding. None of them point to a separate regenerated spirit, once dead now alive. It is all focussed on the quickening of our mortal bodies, when corruptible takes on incorruptibility, mortal is clothed in immortality. There is nothing immaterial about the NT, and a tripartite nature is not expounded

  96. And, of course, needing and wanting to know more of God’s will is the primary incentive for digging to the Word.

    That’s why I appreciate zeibart’s inquisitive nature and hunger to know, even if I don’t agree with everything he says.

    But saying we can’t know is a dangerous philosophy.

  97. The Greek for death doesn’t mean absence of life, but loss of well being. Perhaps you should research this.

    Scripture clearly indicates a tripartite being. I have shown this.

    It is the spirit which is revived at the new birth. I have shown this.

  98. ‘The Greek for death doesn’t mean absence of life, but loss of well being. Perhaps you should research this.’

    I just did and every reference for ‘thantos’ means death in the sense that there was no life. Rom 6:9 ‘Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death G2288 hath no more dominion over him’. Nothing about loss of well-being there, and or any other verse containing G2288.

    I am a bit concerned about 1 Cor 2:11 though, I have to admit. It seems to indicate a spirit in man, but since I can’t use it to drag the vast majority of verses that don’t talk in those terms to fit that concept, I can only conclude that there is a way of seeing this fairly isolated description in line with others, especially given the interchangeable nature of spirit and soul. Both would fit a description of our whole being, with a focus on the mind in this verse. After all we have the mind of Christ, so why wouldn’t the mind/soul/spirit be the source of a man’s innermost thoughts? But then does that do a disservice to the Holy Spirit? Tricky one that.

  99. ‘Scripture clearly indicates a tripartite being. I have shown this.

    It is the spirit which is revived at the new birth. I have shown this.’

    But not convincingly enough Steve.

  100. So Steve, are you honestly saying that the wages of sin are a loss of well-being? That doesn’t sound too serious. What happens when a loss of well-being and hades are themselves thrown into the lake of fire?

    I have a bit of a beef with the massive downplaying of the awful magnitude of death in the eyes of (mostly) folks that hold to an immaterial after life and immediate heaven or hell. Death just doesn’t seem to hold their attention. Jesus sweated drops of blood at the thought. ‘Take this cup from me Father’ he prayed. Death is the last enemy although those in Christ need not fear it. This is in opposition to the cavalier attitude, even welcoming approach to death cultivated in Greek philosophy. Socrates peacefully drinking the cup of hemlock and dying because the pervasive thought was that this would release the higher order immaterial part of man and separate him from the filthy physical body. This is devilish thinking and poisoned the church well sadly.

  101. Well there is more on this than I have offered so far, but what I have given is surely enough.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

  102. But saying we can’t know is a dangerous philosophy.


    You seem to say that uncertainty is dangerous.

    Or “I don’t know” is unacceptable.

    I think that’s being honest.

    I do know that most of the doctrines I’ve heard on life after death make as much sense as reincarnation.

  103. I’m not interested in an argument with you about whether God’s will can be known, Bones, when it is so patently clear that what we need to know is available to us through the Word and Spirit. Your agreement with wazza is tantamount to an admission of defeat, or a decision to be lazy. Why not do some digging instead of fobbing off the Word as inaccessible?

    Zeibart, it is is you who have failed to negate the fact that the Bible clearly speaks of the human make up as consisting of the spirit, soul, body, flesh, heart, mind, and that their is a clear teaching that the Word of God can divide between the soul and the spirit, and the ought and intents of the heart, as well as the bone and the marrow.

    I can’t help it if you are missing some fundamental understanding of the human make up and how god interacts with us, reforms us and saves us.

    I have given you ample scripture. It is up to you to read the context around them and put together the way in which we function with the Spirit.

    Paul’s prayer in Ephesians should give you another clue.

    Ephesians 3:16-17
    …that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love…

  104. The Eph 3 quote above is a classic example of meeting both viewpoints, it you hold to them already. However, if someone who had no concept of a tripartite nature was to read those verses and come to a reasonable conclusion, they would quickly dismiss ‘inner man’ as a separate entity (why would he think we are like Russian dolls with an inner man surrounded by an outer man? Its a turn of phrase, not an ontological statement), or the ‘heart’ is anything but a vital organ or euphemism for central thoughts/understanding.

    But the person holding to multiple components all affected by and contributing to the saved man in different ways will automatically see a tripartite nature. And you used it to support your view.

    Since I have explained at length my POV, which I see as far more consistent (and that is the key word here) with the entire sweep of scripture, I will leave this for now, but it’s been fun and made me check and clarify my thinking. No doctrinal stand is without a few ‘issues’ or difficult verses, and you have highlighted them well.

    I just happen to believe that there are far fewer in mine than yours. I’m like the head of a jury making a decision on the evidence and reporting to the judge that they find the evidence compelling but it’s a 10-2 split. I’ll go with the 10 in favour, which is where conditional immortality (and all its associated ‘therefore this must be the case’ ramifications like sleeping, destruction) sits very comfortably.

    I could well change my view on the nature of man, and will be praying about that. For now though, let’s see if England have the guts for a fightback.

  105. If anyone had no concept of the tripartite nature of man and read those verses they would have to go on a search for the meaning.

    For instance, what does the scripture mean by the ‘inner man’? And what about ‘the Spirit in the inner man’? Who is the inner man. Is there an outer man to complement the inner man? How does Christ ‘dwell in our hearts by faith’?

    I do not hold to the understanding that God’s will cannot be known when we have been told that, through the Spirit, we can know all the things God has freely given us.

    There is no reference to the Trinity in scripture, either, yet evangelicals accept it because the evidence is there when you study the Word. It takes deep and concerted study, diligent seeking and a continual application of the Word for these things to become realisations in our lives.

    That is the beauty and power of the Word and Spirit. He draws us on to know Him more when we admit our need to see.

    A person who had no concept of the Trinity would not see it from a single verse. They would need to be walked through the scriptures to see and understand what is a complex doctrine.

    A Jehovah’s Witness, on the other hand, would take selected verses and show a novice that there is no ‘Trinity’, and have convinced many of their error, simply because the person being shown the error is manipulated from the truth which was always there, and is there for them all to see if they will dig into it. We all have access to the same Word, Spirit and grace.

    But to convince the novice of their error they have to eliminate everything which points us to the truth of the Godhead, of the triune God, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They have to only use those verses which back up their error, and reject or revise those verses which refute their error, which is what they have had to do to continue their heresy, by producing their own translation of the Bible which replaces sound doctrine with false.

    Before the New World Translation it was a simple matter to show a Jehovah’s Witness novice John 1:1 and begin a journey through scripture which showed them the truth of the Godhead, and the deity of Christ and His Spirit. So they contrived to eliminate and revise every relevant verse and context which refuted their error.

    So if I show you form scripture the fact of the tripartite nature of man, and how these components interact in the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions we access yet you say they do not fit your one dimensional view of the finite body, I am perplexed for you because it is so clearly available to you, and a following study will only add to it, not subtract from it.

    You say you will go with the minority view. Based on what? A rejection of what is clearly and concisely before you. I have only produced for you a fraction of what is in scripture regarding the nature of man and the interaction with God.

    Obviously, it is very hard to write snippets of this and that on a blog thread alongside contrary comments and provide a totally compelling case to someone who doubts everything I say.

    I hold to what is the majority view, not based on an isolated study of scripture devoid of guidance from people who have made theology their life, nor based on a total mindless acceptance of evangelical orthodoxy, but based on the confirming evidence of scripture itself, and on the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is all there in front of me.

    I have given you very sound reason to understand that there is more to us than a finite body. Yet you reject the very evidence of scripture. Now you want to walk away from the discussion because there is an alternative to what you have understood but you seem unwilling to pursue what is a very compelling theology.

    Compelling to thousands, no, millions who have gone before and who live today, and to whom the Spirit has shown the truth of who we are and how we interact with Christ.

  106. ‘I have given you very sound reason to understand that there is more to us than a finite body. Yet you reject the very evidence of scripture. Now you want to walk away from the discussion because there is an alternative to what you have understood but you seem unwilling to pursue what is a very compelling theology.’

    Yes and so have I, yet you too reject the very evidence of scripture etc etc – but you’re claiming the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, so what’s the likelihood of you shifting position? Pretty much zero, so to stay engaged in this discussion is a waste of time because I can continue to research away from Signposts02 more effectively.

    Your position has been cultivated through centuries of church teaching, but I would argue that the tree that this fruit has come from has unbiblical, even gnostic roots. So, how can the fruit be good despite centuries of seeming endorsement (mostly Catholic)? I challenge this interpretation with valid scripture that is conveniently ignored.

    So, let me reassess what I have stated on tripartitism and come back to you. As I have said earlier, I am prepared to alter tack. Will you, if presented with convincing proofs?

  107. Just reread my comment above and I appeared harsher, or more dismissive of staying engaged than I meant. I’m sure continuing to discuss this with you would be useful, but life’s busy and I can only maintain so many late night typing sessions 😉

  108. One last thing before heading off. I’d like you to think about N T Wright’s paper in which he proposes a ‘differentiated unity’. Perhaps that’s more the ground we can co-habit.

    ‘Mind, Spirit, Soul and Body: All for One and One for All

    Reflections on Paul’s Anthropology in his Complex Contexts’

    By the Rt Revd Prof N. T. Wright

    University of St Andrews

    An exegete among philosophers! I don’t know whether that is more like a Daniel among the lions or like a bull in a china shop. We shall see.

    When I was teaching in Oxford twenty years ago, I had a student who wanted to study Buddhism; so I sent her to Professor Gombrich for tutorials. After a week or two he asked her to compare the Buddhist view of the soul with the Christian view. She replied that she didn’t know what the Christian view was. He wrote me a sharp little letter, saying, in effect, ‘You’ve been teaching this young woman theology for a whole year and she doesn’t know what the soul is.’ My reply was straightforward: we had spent that first year studying the Old and New Testaments, and the question of the ‘soul’ simply hadn’t arisen.

    Now of course that was a slightly polemical stance, but I still think it was justified. The problem is that there are a great many things which have become central topics of discussion in later Christian thought, sometimes from as early as the late second century, about which the New Testament says very little; but it is assumed that, since the topic appears important, the Bible must have a view of it, and that this view can contribute straightforwardly to the discussions that later thinkers, up to the present day, have wanted to have. The most striking example of this is the referent of the word ‘justification’: as Alister McGrath points out in his history of the doctrine, what the great tradition from Augustine onwards was referring to with that word is significantly different from what Paul was referring to when he used the word. That’s fine; we can use words how we like and, with that character in Alice in Wonderland, can pay them extra on Thursdays; but we must then be careful about importing back into our reading of scripture the new meanings which we have assigned to technical terms which, in the first century, simply didn’t carry those meanings. We should also pay attention to the question of whether the word may, in its original scriptural context, carry other meanings which we may simply be screening out.

    This came home forcibly to me eight years ago when I published a little book called For All the Saints, a precursor to Surprised by Hope. The book was basically explaining why I didn’t believe in ‘purgatory’, and didn’t agree with the practices that have grown up around ‘All Souls Day’. I pointed out that in scripture ultimate salvation is not in heaven but in the resurrection into the combined reality of the new heaven and new earth. I also pointed out that, again in scripture, the word ‘soul’ is not normally used to refer to someone in the intermediate state. A review of the book appeared in the London Times; the reviewer saw the point, but the headline-writer didn’t. The headline read: ‘New Bishop Abolishes Heaven and the Soul’. That, of course, was precisely what I hadn’t done, but I can see why the misunderstanding arose – though it was frustrating to get a flood of letters complaining against the liberalization of the church. I hope this more sophisticated audience today will not make the same mistake. But I’m afraid I do regard the traditional Christian preaching about everyone having a ‘soul’ which needs ‘saving’ as now almost hopelessly misleading. When the New Testament uses this language – which it very, very rarely does, by the way – it didn’t mean anything like what westerners since the Middle Ages have supposed. There is indeed a reality to which that language is trying to point. But continuing with the language when it is bound, now, to convey a very different meaning from that genuine reality is perverse.

    I want in this paper to propose a view of the human person which you might call eschatological integration. Just as the Pauline view of God’s ultimate future for the cosmos is the joining together in the Messiah of all things in heaven and earth, so I believe that Paul’s view of God’s ultimate future for the human person is the full integration of all that we are made to be. Just as in my recent book After You Believe I have tried to reinhabit the Aristotelian virtue-tradition by substituting this Pauline eschatological vision for Aristotle’s eudaimonia, so I believe that by looking to the goal, the telos, we gain insight as to how to develop and sustain an appropriate Christian anthropology for the present. God, says Paul, will be ‘all in all’; and for Paul it is the body, not just the soul, the mind or the spirit, which is the temple of the living God. The body is meant for the Lord, he says, and the Lord for the body.

    One more preliminary remark. The western tradition, catholic and protestant, evangelical and liberal, charismatic and social-gospel, has managed for many centuries to screen out the central message of the New Testament, which isn’t that we are to escape the world and go to heaven, but rather that God’s sovereign, saving rule would come to birth ‘on earth as in heaven’. The story of all four gospels is not the story of how God came in Jesus to rescue souls for a disembodied, other-worldly heaven. It is the story of how God, in Jesus, became king on earth as in heaven. Ultimately, any would-be Christian view which doesn’t serve that central vision is, in my view, either folly or idolatry, or possibly both. I realise that’s quite a serious thing to say about a very large swathe of would-be orthodox theology, but I am afraid it may be true. I believe therefore that a Christian anthropology must necessarily ask, not, what are human beings in themselves, but, what are human beings called to do and be as part of the creator’s design? Not to ask the question that way round, and to think simply about ourselves and what we are, risks embodying, at a methodological level, Luther’s definition of sin: homo incurvatus in se.

    Before my constructive proposal, however, I have several questions to put to the broadly dualist paradigm that seems to be dominant among many Christian philosophers today. There are many sub-variants within this position and of course I can’t deal with them individually. But I hope this will be helpful as a framing of the question.

    1. Questions to the Dominant Dualist Paradigm

    Let me first say that of course I understand the impetus which has driven many, perhaps many of you, towards what has called itself dualism. Faced with a strident, sometimes even bullying, modernism in which humans are just naked apes or even just random bundles of atoms and molecules, it is important to protest. Many wise atheists would agree. There is much about human life, even without God in the picture, which rebels against that radical reductionism. As many have shown, even the reductionists listen to music and believe in human rights and other things which might call their stated position into question. There is more to life than the chance collision of particles. But is ‘dualism’ the right way, indeed the Christian way, to describe this ‘more’?

    I have four questions or challenges; the third one subdivides.

    My first question is to wish that we would locate our modern debates more explicitly within the strongly prevailing Epicurean climate of the post-enlightenment world. Lucretius would, I think, be delighted at his late victory, with the gods banished to a distant heaven and the world doing its own thing, developing by its own inner processes. That view, of course, has allowed all kinds of political as well as scientific developments. But whereas most westerners today suppose that we have discovered self-perpetuating secular democracy as the ultimate form of government and a self-caused evolution as the ultimate form of the development of life, thus setting ourselves apart from lesser superstitious mortals who still believe otherwise, what has in fact happened is simply the triumph of one ancient worldview at the expense of others. And the trouble is that we have allowed our debates to take place within that framework, so that we have accepted the terms, for instance, of ‘nature and supernature’ and have done our best to hold out for the two rather than the one, for ‘supernaturalism’ rather than just ‘naturalism’.

    This has conditioned, for instance, debates about causation: does a putative God ‘intervene’ in the world or doesn’t he, and does a putative soul cause events in the body or doesn’t it? It is, basically, the same question: and just as I believe that we are wrong to look for a god-of-the-gaps, hiding somewhere in the unexplored reaches of quantum physics like a rare mammal lurking deep in the unexplored Amazon jungle, so I believe we are wrong to look for a soul-of-the-gaps, hiding in the bits that neuroscience hasn’t yet managed to explain. What Descartes and others tried to do to the person, then, has the same shape to what Enlightenment Epicureanism did to the world; and I regard both as highly dubious projects. The points which have to be made against naturalism, physicalism and reductionism will need to be made without accepting that framework of debate. (Even at the level of ancient philosophy, it would make a huge difference to assume, as perhaps we should, a Stoic worldview as Paul’s principal conversation partner: see below.)

    My second question has to do with the word ‘dualism’ itself. This is one of those terms that I wish we could put out to grass for a long time. In The New Testament and the People of God I listed no fewer than ten significantly different uses to which the word ‘dualism’ was being put within biblical studies, and I pointed out the muddle which this linguistic and conceptual slipperiness has occasioned. (I should say that Philo of Alexandria is a special case in all this, representing a Platonic face of ancient Judaism which seems to me a major turn away from not only the Old Testament but most of his Jewish contemporaries.)

    So let’s run through these types of dualism or duality, beginning with four types that would be comfortably at home within ancient Jewish thought:

    a. a heavenly duality: not only God exists, but also angels and perhaps other heavenly beings;

    b. a theological or cosmological duality between God and the world, the creator and the creature;

    c. a moral duality between good and evil;

    d. an eschatological duality between the present age and the age to come.

    All of these dualities a first-century Jew would take for granted. But none of them constitutes a dualism in the any of the following three senses:

    e. a theological or moral dualism in which a good god or gods are ranged, equal and opposite, against a bad god or gods;

    f. a cosmological dualism, a la Plato, in which the world of space, time and matter is radically inferior to the noumenal world; this would include, perhaps, dualisms of form and matter, essence and appearance, spiritual and material, and (in a Platonic sense) heavenly/earthly (something like this would be characteristic of Philo);

    g. an anthropological dualism which postulates a radical twofoldness of soul and body or spirit and body (this, too, would be familiar in Philo).

    Then there are three more which might be possible within ancient Judaism:

    h. epistemological duality as between reason and revelation – though this may be problematic, since it’s really the epistemological face of the cosmological dualism which I suggest ancient Jews would mostly reject;

    i. sectarian duality in which the sons of light are ranged against the sons of darkness, as in Qumran;

    j. psychological duality in which the good inclination and the evil inclination seem to be locked in perpetual struggle, as in Rabbinic thought.

    As I say, faced with this range of possible referent it seems to me hopeless simply to say ‘dualism’ and leave it at that. That is why, to try to bring some order into the chaos, I have used ‘duality’ for bifocal conceptions which fit comfortably within ancient Judaism, and ‘dualism’ for those which don’t. The radical rejection by most ancient Jews, in particular, of what we find in Plato and in much oriental religion, and the radical embrace of space, time and matter as the good gifts of a good creator God, the place where this God is known and the means by which he is to be worshipped – all this remains foundational, and is firmly restated and underlined in the New Testament. Creational, providential and covenantal monotheism simply leave no room for those four dualisms in the middle. In particular, I argued that such dualisms tend to ontologize evil itself, whereas in first-century Judaism evil is not an essential part of the creation, but is the result of a radical distortion within a basically good created order.

    Now of course you might say that within contemporary philosophical discourse you all know that you are using the word ‘dualism’ in a very restricted and specialised technical sense which, in context, carries none of these confusions. I take that point, but I submit that it isn’t really good enough. As in Keith Ward’s sparkling new book, More than Matter, Christian philosophers seeking to re-establish a non-reductive anthropology are turning back to a kind of Kantian idealism, and I know I am not alone in finding this very suspicious territory if we’re trying to be loyal to the New Testament in its original Jewish context and setting.

    You might then say that the NT itself demonstrates a turn away from Judaism and towards the wider world of Hellenistic philosophy. Well, many have argued that. My view remains that the engagement with the Hellenistic world comes under Paul’s rubric in 2 Corinthians 10.5 of ‘taking every thought captive to obey the Messiah’. He knows very well the worlds of the Stoics, the Epicureans and the Academic, perhaps particularly the first, but though he’s engaging with them he is doing so in confrontation, not derivation. It simply won’t do to demonstrate that the NT shows awareness of aspects of human life which appear to be non-material and to conclude from that that some kind of ‘dualism’ is therefore envisaged, or the ‘soul’ thereby proved. In particular, as I shall shortly show, it seems to be almost ridiculously arbitrary to lump together such things as soul, mind, consciousness, sensation as though they are all part of the same second, non-physical reality. Why ‘dualism’? Why not five, ten, twenty different ‘parts’? And – a key question – is ‘parts’ really the right image in the first place?

    This leads to my third question. Many Christian philosophers appeal to the New Testament in support of what they call ‘dualism’. But there are several quite serious objections to this, focussed particularly on the word psyche, normally translated as ‘soul’. I note, by the way, that in Paul’s engagement with the Corinthians in particular, there is good reason to suppose that his audience at least would have heard his references to psyche and pneuma in terms of different kinds of material substance: within Stoic pantheism, everything was in principle material and everything was as it were god-bearing. I’m not saying (though some have) that Paul was adopting a form of Stoicism. I’m warning against reading him within an implicitly Epicurean framework.

    First, though there have been age-old debates about whether Paul’s anthropology was bipartite or tripartite (with the famous 1 Thessalonians 5.23 – spirit, soul and body – being cited in favour of the tripartite view), both of these seem to me to miss entirely what’s actually going on with Paul’s anthropological terms. Paul uses over a dozen terms to refer to what humans are and what they do, and since he nowhere either provides a neat summary of what he thinks about them or gives us clues as to whether he would subsume some or most of these under two or three heads, it is arbitrary and unwarranted to do so on his behalf or claim his authority for such a schema. In particular, I note that three terms commonly used interchangeably to refer to the non-material element within dualist anthropology – mind, soul and spirit (nous, psyche and pneuma), are emphatically not interchangeable. Paul urges the Romans to be transformed by the renewal of the mind, not the soul or the spirit. Jesus warns against gaining the whole world and forfeiting the psyche, not the mind or the spirit. And so on. And when Paul speaks of the conflict between the spirit and the flesh, the pneuma and the sarx, he certainly isn’t referring to a conflict between the non-material element of the person and the material element. As has repeatedly been pointed out, most of the ‘works of the flesh’ in Galatians 5.19-21 could be practised by a disembodied spirit (jealousy, etc.). So, too, when Paul thinks of the pneuma at work he does not restrict its operation to non-material activities.

    Second, when Paul and the gospels use the word psyche, it is clear that they are not using it in the sense we’d find in Plato or Philo, or in the sense which is assumed by many today who advocate what they call dualism. Paul’s, and the gospels’, usage is far closer to the Hebrew nephesh, which is the living, breathing creature: God breathed into human nostrils his own breath, the breath of life, nishmath hayyim, and the human became a living creature, nephesh hayyah (Genesis 2.7). When the Septuagint translates this as psyche zosa, we should not expect psyche here to carry Platonic overtones, though presumably some Jews, not least in Philo’s Alexandria, subsequently read it thus. Psyche here simply means ‘creature’, or perhaps even (in modern English) ‘person’. There are several other references indicating the same thing (e.g. 1 Thess 2.8; Phil 1.27; 2.30; Rom 2.9; 11.3; 13.1; 16.4; 2 Cor. 1.23.). All refer to the ordinary human life.

    Several features of NT usage back this up. For a start, there is no sense, anywhere in the NT, of people who are now humans having had a life prior to their conception and birth. There is no pre-existent soul. Jesus himself is the only exception in the sense of having existed prior to his human conception and birth (1 Corinthians 8.6; 2 Corinthians 8.9; Philippians 2.6-7; Colossians 1.15-17) – but Paul does not say that this pre-human existence was that of Jesus’ ‘soul’. When 1 Timothy 6.7 says ‘we brought nothing into the world, and will not be able to carry anything out’, I regard this as a rhetorical flourish, not as indicating a hint towards a pre-existent soul. (Indeed, it might be taken as a denial precisely of our ‘possession’ not just of any material wealth but also of any ‘immortal part’; see below). Further, there is never a hint of the psyche being immortal in and of itself. 1 Timothy 6 again, this time v. 16: God alone possesses immortality. When Paul speaks of humans having immortality in the future, it is the whole mortal being to which he refers, not the psyche specifically (1 Corinthians 15.54): ‘this mortal thing,’ he says, ‘must put on immortality’, without being more specific. When he says, a few verses earlier (v. 50) that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom’, the phrase sarx kai haima functions as a composite technical terms precisely for corruptible, mortal existence.

    In particular, there is no reference anywhere in the NT to the psyche as the carrier or special vessel of what we would now call spirituality or openness to God. When Paul talks about being carried up to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12, he doesn’t know whether he was embodied or not, but he never suggests that, if he wasn’t embodied, it was his psyche which made the journey. The fact that he is uncertain about whether this experience was or wasn’t ‘in the body’ indicates that, for him, it wouldn’t have been problematic if the body had been involved. For him, the body could just as well have been carried up to heaven. Had that been the case, it wouldn’t have caused Paul to revise any dualistic conceptions he might have had that would have assumed that the body should stay on earth where it belonged. Equally, of course, the fact that he can consider the possibility that the experience might not have been ‘in the body’ does indeed indicate that he can contemplate non-bodily experiences, but as will become clear I don’t think one can straightforwardly argue from this to what is now meant, in philosophical circles, by ‘dualism’, or, in particular, to the conclusion that it is this other non-bodily element which is the crucial, defining part of the human being.

    There are other distinctions, too. When Paul discusses praying in tongues, he makes a distinction, but not between soul and body. The spirit prays, he says, but the mind, the nous, is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14.13-19).

    Most important for these discussions, Paul is of course clear about ultimate resurrection, and hence about an intermediate existence. He certainly doesn’t suppose that, as some have suggested, the dead proceed straight to the ultimate future, being as it were fast-forwarded straight from bodily death to bodily resurrection. Since the new world is to be a creatio ex vetere, not a fresh creatio ex nihilo, it doesn’t make sense to think of it as already in existence, and certainly Paul seems not to think of it like that. But he never names the psyche as the carrier of that intermediate existence. Actually, though the question ‘where are they now’ is of course a common one at funerals, the New Testament remains largely uninterested in it, and Paul himself only mentions it in passing, once to refer to his own future ‘being with the Messiah, which is far better’ (Philippians 1.23) and once to refer to those who have ‘fallen asleep through Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 4.14). The rest of the NT is likewise reticent: there are the famous ‘many dwelling-places’ of John 14, and there is the equally famous ‘with me in Paradise’ of Luke 23.43. But in none of these passages is there any mention of the psyche. The only place we find it in this connection is in Revelation 6.9, where the ‘souls under the altar’ ask God how much longer they have to wait until God completes his just judgment on the world. Had the earliest Christians wanted to teach that the ‘soul’ is the part of us which survives death and carries our real selves until the day of resurrection, they could have said so. But, with that solitary exception in Revelation, they never do.

    The one book in the biblical tradition which does say so, up front as it were, is the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon. (In my Anglican tradition, the ‘apocrypha’ are read, as Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles puts it, for ‘example of life and instruction of manners,’ but not ‘to establish any doctrine’; and the way in which a book like Wisdom diverges from the rest of the biblical tradition at a point like this gives substance to that position.) There, in chapter 3, ‘the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, where no torment shall touch them.’ A passage of great comfort and hope, not least because, despite what many have thought, it goes on to explain that these persecuted and now dead righteous ones will rise again: ‘at the time of their visitation they will shine forth and run like sparks through the stubble; they will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.’ (Wisdom 3.1, 7-8). But there are signs, later in the book, that this use of ‘soul’ to denote the person between death and resurrection has come at a (Platonic) price. Wisdom 8.19-20 speaks first of acquiring a good soul, and then, appearing to correct a wrong impression, of the good soul entering into an undefiled body. Wisdom 9.15 then speaks of the perishable body ‘weighing down the soul’ (phtharton gar soma barynei psyche). Here – and perhaps in chapter 3 as well – we have taken a small but significant step towards a genuine anthropological body-soul dualism, even though still held within a Jewish framework. And the interesting thing is that, though clearly this was easy to do, the New Testament never does it. Wisdom stands out conspicuously.

    Other variations occur, too. In the ‘song of the Three’, appended in the LXX to Daniel chapter 3, the key verse (v. 86) invokes the ‘spirits and souls of the righteous’, pneumata kai psychai dikaion, perhaps indicating that both terms were in use as general heuristic pointers to those in the intermediate state. Within the NT, the remarkable passage in Acts 23.6-9 stands out, with Paul affirming the resurrection and Luke commenting that the Sadducees deny the resurrection, ‘neither angel nor spirit’, but that the Pharisees affirm ‘them both’. As I have argued in RSG, the best way of understanding this passage is to assume that belief in the resurrection entails belief in some kind of intermediate state, and that the Pharisees used the words ‘angel’ and ‘spirit’, again as somewhat vague heuristic terms rather than implying well worked out categories, to denote those who were in such a state. Verse 9, where the Pharisees question whether ‘an angel or a spirit has spoken to him’, indicate that, though they are not prepared to believe Paul’s stronger claim that Jesus had been raised from the dead, they were ready to allow that Paul might have received a communication from someone in this intermediate state.

    Other New Testament passages all point in the same direction, to psyche as meaning ‘human beings’, ‘living beings’ and so forth. In the chilling conclusion to the list of Rome’s trading materials in Revelation 18.13, after the cinnamon and the spice, the incense and the myrrh, the cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, we find, bringing up the rear and making the whole thing taste sour: kai somaton, kai psychas anthropon: and bodies, and human beings. I suppose one could suggest that psyche here was a reference to the slaves being owned, as we would say, ‘in soul as well as body’, but that isn’t how most commentators take it. Psychai anthropon is simply a way of saying ‘living human beings.’

    The same is true in the gospels. What shall it profit, asks Jesus, for you to gain the whole world and forfeit your psyche? What will you give to get that psyche back? Clearly this implies that the psyche is something that can be gained or lost; but what does the sentence mean? Who is this ‘you’, this person who might lose or gain a psyche? What’s left when that psyche is lost? I’m not sure that these questions necessarily make much sense, but they might seem to indicate that there is a more fundamental ‘I’ involved for which the psyche is a secondary element. More particularly, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount challenges his hearers not to worry about their psyche, what they shall eat or drink, or about their soma, what they shall wear. This distinction is clear, and has nothing whatever to do with Platonic or quasi-Platonic dualism. The body is the outward thing that needs clothing; the psyche is the ongoing life which needs food and drink (Matthew 6.25 // Luke 12.22f.)

    What about the famous Matthew 10.28, where Jesus warns his followers not to fear the one who can kill the body but can’t kill the soul, but to fear the one who can destroy soul and body in Gehenna? The point Jesus is making is, I think, a redefinition of the Messianic battle: the real enemy is not Rome, but the satan, the dark accusing power that stands behind both Rome and the other powers of the world. It could be argued that Matthew’s version of the saying betokens some kind of anthropological dualism in which the soul survives the body’s death to face a further fatal challenge in another place; though it’s strange, if this is meant, that Jesus speaks of the one who can destroy soul and body in Gehenna. And I note that in the Lukan version of the saying, Luke 12.4-5, the word psyche is missing from the whole passage. Luke simply has, ‘Don’t fear those who can kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. I will show you who to fear: fear the one who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna.’ Perhaps Luke knew that the word psyche at that point would send his Hellenistic audience in the wrong direction.

    Certainly this would have been Paul’s view. To return to him, and to 1 Corinthians in particular: here the word psyche, and particularly the cognate adjective psychikos, is not used to denote the special, open-to-God, secret second part of the human as opposed to the bodily, the material, the outward part. On the contrary: every time psychikos is used, it denotes something that is ‘merely human’ as opposed to pneumatikos, ‘animated by spirit’, normally referring to the Holy Spirit. In 2.14 it is emphatic: the psychikos person doesn’t receive the things of God’s spirit; they are foolishness to such a person, and cannot be known, because they are spiritually (pneumatikos) discerned. For the pneumatikos person, however, there is the striking promise: we have the mind of the Messiah, noun Christou echomen. The psychikos person is in fact more or less the same as the sarkinos person of 3.1.

    This then is carried over into the discussion of the resurrection body in chapter 15. Here we face the problem of the disastrous translation of the RSV, perpetuated in the NRSV, where we find the contrasting present and future bodies translated as ‘physical body’ and ‘spiritual body’ (15.44, 46). Generations of liberal readers have said, triumphantly, that Paul clearly thinks the resurrection body is spiritual rather than physical, so there’s no need for an empty tomb. But that’s emphatically not the point. For Paul, as for all Jews, Christians and indeed pagans until the rise of the Gnostics in the second century, the word ‘resurrection’ was about bodies. When pagans rejected ‘resurrection’, that’s what they were rejecting. Paul’s language here, using Greek adjectives ending in –ikos, is not about the substance of which the body is composed, but about the driving force that animates it. It’s the difference between, on the one hand, a ship made of steel or timber, and a ship powered by sail or steam. For Paul, the psyche is the breath of life, the vital spark, the thing that animates the body in the present life. The pneuma is the thing that animates the resurrection body. This is where the link is made: the pneuma is already given to the believer as the arrabon, the down payment, of what is to come, since the Spirit who raised the Messiah from the dead will give life to the mortal bodies of those who belong to the Messiah (Romans 8.9-11). In Paul’s discussion, the psyche is simply the life-force of ordinary mortals in the present world, emphatically not a substance which, as a second and non-material element of the person, will then carry that person’s existence forward through the intermediate state and on to resurrection itself. On the contrary: the psychikos body is mortal and corruptible. The new, immortal self will be the resurrection body animated by God’s pneuma, the true Temple of the living God (or rather, one particular outpost, or as it were franchise, of that Temple). To speak, as many Christians have done, of the body dying, and the soul going marching on, is not only a travesty of what Paul says. It has encouraged many to suppose that the victory over death is the escape of the soul from the dead body. That is a dangerous lie. It is resurrection that is the defeat of death. To think of the body dying and of something, the soul or whatever, continuing onwards isn’t a victory over death. It is simply a description, however inadequate, of death itself. Let us not collude with the enemy.

    Nor does the picture change when we move from 1 Corinthians to 2 Corinthians. In the famous passage 4.16—5.10 we find the contrast between the outer person and the inner person, the exo anthropos and the eso anthropos, but this does not denote a Hellenistic dualism of body and soul. The whole discussion is framed in terms of the new covenant in which, though the Messiah’s people will share his suffering and death, God will bring about that new creation, a new physical creation, as always promised. Within this, the point of the new ‘tent’ which is ‘eternal, in the heavens’ is not that it is a heavenly body we shall acquire when we die and go to heaven. As I have often pointed out, here and in (for instance) 1 Peter 1.4-9, heaven is the place where God’s future purposes are stored up in order then to be brought to birth on earth. If my wife leaves me a note saying ‘your dinner is in the oven’, she doesn’t mean that I have to get into the oven to eat my dinner, but that it’s safe there, nicely cooking, so that it will be ready for me to take out of the oven and eat at the table as usual, at the proper time. When Paul speaks of a body ready and waiting ‘in heaven’, he doesn’t mean that we go to heaven to put that body on, but that it will be brought out of its heavenly store-cupboard at the right moment. Paul does indeed envisage the possibility of a bodiless intermediate state in which one will be ‘naked’ (5.3), but he does not use the word ‘soul’ in connection with that state, which in any case he regards as undesirable and unwelcome. Rather, he wants to be ‘more fully clothed’, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. The ‘down payment’ of the spirit guarantees, not a disembodied immortality, but a re-embodiment in which the body will be more solid, more substantial than the present one. Within the context of the ‘new creation’ theme, Paul thus envisages a fractured, fragmented human existence as a possible but unwelcome eventuality, but insists that the eschatological reality will be a fully integrated and renewed humanity, the ultimate reality towards which even present healthy bodily existence is a mere signpost.

    Throughout the whole New Testament, actually, the questions that have so preoccupied philosophers seeking to hold out for some non-reductive, non-materialistic account of human nature are simply not discussed. Where the earliest Christian authors come close to such discussion, they never use the word psyche in the way which has become common from at least the third century. This ought to give us considerable pause before we make claims about the biblical foundations of what we want to call ‘dualism’. It is unwise to claim biblical authority for a view which is nowhere discussed, let alone promoted, in the Bible. If there is some version of non-reductive anthropology which is taught in the Bible, we had better try to discern what it is, rather than assume it will conform to what much later tradition (such as the Cartesian philosophical tradition) has said or thought. What the New Testament teaches, rather, is the powerful work of God’s spirit bringing about the new creation in which the body will be reaffirmed and glorified.

    One fourth and final question or challenge to the popular dualistic paradigm. To begin with, however much we may deny it, an anthropological dualism tends to devalue or downgrade the body. We see this in ethics. Yes, much discussion of things like embryo research, not least in Roman Catholic circles, has concentrated on the question of whether the embryo possesses a soul. But I regard this as the wrong tactic. The important thing is that it is already a body, a human body, and as such possesses dignity and worth. To imply that dignity and worth will only come about if we can postulate a soul is a dangerous hostage to fortune, and falls back into that soul-of-the-gaps problem I mentioned earlier. For Paul, faced with a different ethical challenge – Corinthian men who saw no reason why they shouldn’t continue to visit prostitutes – the point is not that this will damage the soul (though he would probably have thought that as well), nor even that it will grieve the spirit (though he would certainly have said that too, as in Ephesians 4.30), but that it damages the body, which is meant for the Lord, and the Lord for the body (1 Corinthians 6.13). The resurrection will give new life to the body, so that what you do with it in the present matters. It is Gnosticism, not Christianity, that focuses attention on the soul; and it is precisely the post-enlightenment Gnosticism of much western culture which has produced the moral morass we see all around us, where the cultivation of the soul allows, and often encourages or even insists upon, a relentless bodily hedonism.

    By the same token, a Christian should I believe resist attempts to reinstate a Kantian or similar dualism in which ‘mind’ becomes the significant reality rather than ‘body’. In the New Testament ‘mind’ – nous or dianoia – is not the name of a superior or more ‘real’ element. The mind and the understanding can be ‘darkened’, distorted, unable to grasp reality and so encouraging all kinds of dehumanizing behaviour. Of course, this still assumes that the mind does exercise a controlling function over the body, and to that extent even a darkened or distorted ‘mind’ is still, ontologically, in charge. But the implicit devaluation of the body and over-evaluation of the mind has been a major problem in the western world for many generations and I would hate to think of this being simply pushed further. Indeed, it might encourage that rationalism which still persists in much western thought, including some Christian thought, splitting off absolute from relative, objective from subjective, reason from emotion, and indeed reason from sense. All of this fits only too closely with other dichotomies such as sacred and secular and even grace and nature. And all these split-level worlds, the cosmologies they postulate and the epistemologies they encourage, are in my view leading us away from a truly biblical perspective.

    By contrast, I wish to propose a differentiated unity in terms of cosmos and of the human person, both rooted in a fully-blown biblical understanding of God and of humans in his image. Such an ontology is the root for what I have elsewhere called an epistemology of love, which transcends these epistemological dichotomies and reaches out for a truth which comes to fullest biblical expression, I think, in the gospel of John. This brings us to the second, and shorter, main part of my paper.

    2. New Testament Anthropology in Eschatological and Cultural Context

    I now wish to propose a kind of thought-experiment, in line with the experiment I offered in After You Believe. There I suggested that we should take Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia and replaced it with the biblical vision of resurrection into the newly integrated new-heaven-and-new-earth reality. If we did that, I argued, we would find that Aristotle’s notion of virtue, the character-strengths you need in order to work towards that telos, would be transformed into the more specific, and in some ways significantly different, Christian virtues, not only of faith, hope and love but also of such surprising innovations as patience, humility and chastity. Now, in line with this, I want to suggest that the way to discern and articulate a genuinely biblical anthropology is not to start where we are and try to tease out a soul-of-the-gaps, but to start at the promised end and work backwards.

    We begin with the obvious telos. Paul, the author of Revelation, and other early Christian writers point to the final goal of an immortal physicality, an emphatically bodily body (if I can put it like that) beyond the reach of sin, pain, corruption or death. The body of the Christian is already a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and as God had promised in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and elsewhere that the Temple would be rebuilt after its destruction, so Paul envisages the rebuilding of the body-Temple after its bodily death (Romans 8.5-11; the language of ‘indwelling’ is Temple-language). This body, as we have seen, will no longer be merely psychikos, soulish; it will be pneumatikos, spirit-ish, animated by and indwelt by God’s spirit. The fact of fluidity in Paul between the human spirit and the divine spirit ought to alert us, I think, not to a confusing linguistic accident but to the possibility that Paul may envisage the human spirit in terms of the human as open to God – but, within his essentially biblical mindset, as the whole human open to God, not the human with one ‘part’ only available to divine influence or transformation.

    What we see in Paul, I propose, is the anthropological equivalent of what he says about the cosmos itself. In Ephesians 1.10, he envisages all things in heaven and earth united in the Messiah. This is realized in advance in Ephesians 2.11-21 in the coming together of Jew and Gentile within the single new Temple, the new body; and then in Ephesians 4 in the many gifts which contribute not to the fragmentation of the church but to its unity and maturity. This is then worked out in Ephesians 5 in the differentiated unity of male and female in monogamous marriage. What I propose is that just as in all these ways there is a present reality which anticipates and points towards the eschatological unity of all things, so within the human being itself we find something similar. The ‘new creation’ of 2 Corinthians 5.17 and Galatians 6.15 means what it says, and in Ephesians 4 and elsewhere we can see it being worked out. And, let me stress, this is not primarily a matter of analysis but of vocation. We discern this differentiated unity not by inspection, particularly not by introspection, but by paying attention to God’s call to humans to worship him and to reflect his glory and power and love into the world. This is what is meant by humans being made in God’s image: not that we simply are like God in this or that respect, but that as angled mirrors we are called to sum up the praises of creation, on the one hand, and to rule as wise stewards over the world, on the other. This is the vocation known as the ‘royal priesthood’, kings and priests. (I have spelled all this out in much more detail in After You Believe.)

    For this task, we need to be ‘filled with the fullness of God’, and that is what is promised in Ephesians 3.19. The whole paragraph, Ephesians 3.14-19, sums up in the form of a prayer what Paul says elsewhere, for instance at the end of 2 Corinthians 3 and the start of 2 Corinthians 4. There Paul takes language which in the Old Testament is used of the filling of the whole cosmos with the powerful and glorious presence of YHWH – the whole cosmos, in other words, as the true, ultimate Temple – and applies it to those who are ‘in the Messiah’. Isaiah (11.9) spoke of the world being full of the knowledge of YHWH as the waters cover the sea; Habakkuk (2.14) of the world being full of the knowledge of the glory of YHWH as the waters cover the sea. Paul repeats the substance, omitting the simile, but anchoring the reality in Jesus himself: the God who said ‘let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts, ‘to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus the Messiah’. Jesus is the new creation in person, flooded with God’s glory as the waters cover the sea; and, as ourselves new creations, part of and pointing to the ultimate new creation, our hearts have been flooded with the same knowledge and glory, like light flooding a previously dark room. Here, as frequently, Paul designates the heart, kardia, as the locus of the spirit’s work, not – precisely not – in order to differentiate it from the rest of the person, but because, I suggest, the kardia is the place from which life and energy go out to the whole of the rest of the person, body and mind included. There is a question still on the table about just how much the kardia in Paul is a metaphor and how much it is, in passages like this, intended as the concrete reality. John Wesley was not the only one to experience, and to speak of, a strange but actual warming of the heart.

    This enables us to read passages such as Ephesians 4.17-24 as the anthropological correlate of what is said elsewhere about Jews and Gentiles in the church or male and female in marriage. Left to itself, humanity fractures, fragments and disintegrates. The Gentiles walk in the foolishness of their mind, darkened in their understanding, separated by ignorance from the life of God through the hardness of their hearts, giving themselves over to all kinds of dehumanizing bodily practices. There is, I suppose, some sort of integration there. Mind, understanding, heart and action are all, in a sense, synchronized, even though they are all looking in, and going in, the wrong direction. But it is an integration of death.

    In contrast, Paul urges the proper, life-giving re-integration of the human being, in terms of the ‘new human’, the kainos anthropos, who is to replace the ‘old human’, the palaios anthropos. In verses 20 to 24 we find the elements of the human person put back together again properly, and this time reflecting God into the world. This ‘new humanity’ is the messianic humanity into which believers are incorporated, modelled by Jesus himself (‘as the truth is in Jesus’, verse 21). They are to ‘put off the old humanity which is corrupt according to the lusts of deceit’ – note the point that this false model of humanity is deceived, tricked into colluding with its own destruction – and are ‘to be renewed in the spirit of your mind’, the pneuma tou noos hymon, and to put on the new human, which is created ‘according to God’, kata theon, in justice and holiness of truth. Truth, we note, is here contrasted with the deceit of the old human. Justice, we note: the new human is not as it were only accidentally concerned with justice, but ontologically and necessarily oriented towards the image-bearing task of putting the world to rights. Spirit and mind, we note: they are not separate elements to be combined only with difficulty, but each as the whole human being seen from one angle. The kata theon of verse 24 is cognate with the more explicit Colossians 3.10, where the new humanity is ‘renewed in knowledge’, eis epignosin, ‘according to the image of the one who created it’, kat’eikona tou ktisantos auton. Paul refuses to propose an anthropology on its own, self-analyzing, looking at itself in a mirror. He will only propose the genuine article, the humanity which, worshipping the creator, reflects his image into the world. This is the sharp edge of Paul’s theology of the present kingdom of the Messiah.

    The same point is visible in many passages, but perhaps most strikingly in Romans 12.1-2. ‘I beseech you therefore, brothers and sisters, through the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; this is your logike latreia, your spiritual or logical worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, te anakainosei tou noos, so that you may discern God’s will, what is good and acceptable and perfect (teleios)’. And then, as in Colossians 3.11 and in the verses immediately preceding Ephesians 4.17, Paul launches into a description of the differentiated unity of the church, here seen as the one body in the Messiah. I suggest that his anthropology takes precisely the same form: many aspects, one single reality. We note that in Romans 12.1-2 we have, not the flight of the soul to its eternal non-bodily destiny, but rather the delighted and celebratory offering of the body in God’s service. This is to happen as the mind is renewed so that it can, in the words of one of my favourite Anglican collects, ‘both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.’ I note, too, that neither in Ephesians nor Colossians nor Romans is there, at this point, any mention of the psyche. The psyche is not a bad thing; but its goodness does not consist in its being either the locus of present spirituality or the bridge into future heavenly life.

    How then – supposing Paul asked himself the question – does he envisage the causative role played by the renewed mind in calling the body to its new role of sacrificial service? I’m not sure that Paul would have bothered about this problem, but if he had he might have said something like this. (This is one of the points where Bultmann got Paul at least partly right.) The word ‘body’ doesn’t denote a particular part of the human being; it denotes the whole human being as a material object within the present space-time continuum of the world, an object which is present to itself, to the world and to other people. Likewise, the ‘mind’ isn’t a particular part of the human being to be set off against others. I don’t know how much Paul knew about brain science, but he might have agreed with us that the brain itself is linked so intimately to the heart and the body that the word ‘mind’ ought not to be thought of as referring to a different entity but to the whole entity seen now from the point of view of thinking, reflecting and (clearly, here) deciding. (Paul can sometimes use the word ‘will’, thelema, but here and elsewhere it seems to be subsumed under nous: a possible counter-example to my earlier remark about Paul not categorizing his anthropological terms.)

    What then can we say about Paul within his own contexts? He uses language familiar from the debates of the time, but as I have hinted his primary conversation partner is likely to have been some sort of Stoicism. Stoicism was, of course, a pantheistic worldview, which offered a radically different outlook from any sort of Platonism – and indeed from Epicureanism, whether ancient or modern. In Stoicism, so far as we can judge from rather disparate sources, the pneuma was thought of as the ‘fiery air’, the physical substance which inhabited all things – which animated humans through the psyche, plants through their physis, and inanimate things through their hexis. Paul’s usage, demonstrably in passage after passage, may be addressing this pagan context but is doing so with the conceptualities of his Bible, not least the promise of the Spirit in Joel 2 and the promise of the new covenant in Ezekiel 11.19 and 36.26. In the latter passages, the gift of the Spirit will result in the replacement of the ‘heart of stone’ with the ‘heart of flesh’, an allusion Paul picks up in 2 Corinthians 3.3. Paul is, obviously, no pantheist, but he is no Epicurean either: he is a Jew, renewed in the Messiah and still affirming the goodness of the created order, holding together its essential goodness (against Plato and Epicurus) and its createdness, its other-than-godness (against the pantheists). And, again as a good Jew, he believes that one discerns and discovers in practice what it means to be human not by introspection but by obedience. We could at this point glance at the Areopagus address, though there isn’t space for this here. Nor, sadly, is there space to consider Romans 7, which I don’t actually think is as specifically relevant to the questions of this paper as some people suppose.

    I therefore read Paul’s various summary statements, not least the famous tripartite one in 1 Thessalonians 5.13, not as a trichotomous analysis, but as a multi-faceted description of the whole. His language there is, in any case, wholistic: may the God of peace sanctify you wholly, holoteleis, and may your spirit, soul and body be preserved (teretheie) whole and entire (holokleron) unto the royal appearing of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. If Paul had wanted to say that he saw these three aspects of humanity as separable, or, particularly, as to be ranked in importance over one another, he’s gone about it in a very strange way. It seems to me, then, taken all together, that when Paul thinks of human beings he sees every angle of vision as contributing to the whole, and the whole from every angle of vision. All lead to the one, the one is seen in the all. And, most importantly, each and every aspect of the human being is addressed by God, is claimed by God, is loved by God, and can respond to God. It is not the case that God, as it were, sneaks in to the human being through one aspect in order to influence or direct the rest. Every step in that direction is a step towards the downgrading of the body of which I have already spoken. And that downgrading has demonstrably gone hand in hand, in various Christian movements, with either a careless disregard for the created order or a careless disregard for bodily morality. Or both.

    But, after all, faced with this richly diverse and yet richly integrated vision of being human, why would one want to argue for something so thin and flat as dualism? Of course we must resist something even thinner and flatter, namely the monochrome reductionism of materialists and the like. But we don’t have to choose between stale bread and stagnant water. A rich meal is set before us, and every course and every wine contributes to the complete whole.

    3. A Biblical Contribution to the Mind/Body Problem

    So, to conclude, some remarks on a possible biblical contribution to the mind-body problem as it has appeared in philosophy over the last few hundred years. Here, as often, I have the distinct impression that philosophical problems are the two-dimensional versions of what in theology are three-dimensional questions, and that once we grasp the three-dimensional version we see how to hold on to the apparent antinomies of the two-dimensional version. The problem has been, if I can be provocative, that the philosophers are often sharper thinkers than the theologians, so that they can tell you exactly how perplexing their two-dimensional puzzle is while the theologians and exegetes, who have the tools first to give the problem depth and then to solve it or at least address it creatively, either aren’t aware that the philosophers are having this debate or can’t see how to solve it for them.

    My basic proposal, as is already apparent, is that we need to think in terms of a differentiated unity. Paul and the other early Christian writers didn’t reify their anthropological terms. Though Paul uses his language with remarkable consistency, he nowhere suggests that any of the key terms refers to a particular ‘part’ of the human being to be played off against any other. Each denotes the entire human being, while connoting some angle of vision on who that human is and what he or she is called to be. Thus, for instance, sarx, flesh, refers to the entire human being but connotes corruptibility, failure, rebellion, and then sin and death. Psyche denotes the entire human being, and connotes that human as possessed or ordinary mortal life, with breath and blood sustained by food and drink. And so on. No doubt none of the terms is arbitrary; all would repay further study.

    What then about the problem of causation, and the related problem of determinism and free will? Here again we have the two-dimensional version of a three-dimensional theological puzzle – that of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. I think it’s important that Christian theologians give a fully Trinitarian account of God’s action in the world, in which, though God may be thought of as a pure spirit, it is vital for our knowing who God is that he is the father who sends the son and who sends the spirit of the son (Galatians 4.4-7). He is capax humanitatis, because humans were made in his image. His action in the world is not to be thought of as invasive, intrusive or (still less) ‘interventionist’. All of those words imply, or even presuppose, a latent Epicurean framework: the divinity is normally outside the process of the world, and occasionally reaches in, does something, and then goes away again. But in biblical thought heaven and earth – God’s sphere and our sphere – are not thought of as detached or separate. They overlap and interlock. God is always at work in the world, and God is always at work in, and addressing, human beings, not only through one faculty such as the soul or spirit but through every fibre of our beings, not least our bodies. That is why I am not afraid that one day the neuroscientists might come up with a complete account of exactly which neurons fire under which circumstances, including that might indicate the person as responding to God and his love in worship, prayer and adoration. Why should the creator not relate to his creation in a thousand different ways? Why should brain, heart and body not all be wonderfully interrelated in so many ways that we need the rich language of mind, soul and spirit to begin to do justice to it all? And – a quite extra point but not unimportant – if in fact we humans are much more mysterious than modernist science has supposed, there might be further interrelations of all kinds. I am fascinated by Rupert Sheldrake’s work on all this (e.g. Dogs That Know When their Owners are Coming Home and similar works, exploring the reality of intersubjective communication where physical links are demonstrably absent).

    In particular, and coming home to what for me is very poignant just now, we do not need what has been called ‘dualism’ to help us over the awkward gap between bodily death and bodily resurrection. Yes, of course, we have to postulate that God looks after those who have died in the Messiah. They are ‘with the Messiah, which is far better’. But to say this we don’t need to invoke, and the New Testament doesn’t invoke, the concept of the ’soul’, thereby offering, like the Wisdom of Solomon, a hostage to platonic, and ultimately anti-creational, fortune. What we need is what we have in scripture, even though it’s been bracketed out of discussions of the mind/body problem: the concept of a creator God, sustaining all life, including the life of those who have died. Part of death, after all, is the dissolution of the human being, the ultimate valley of humiliation, the renouncing of all possibility. Not only must death not be proud, as John Donne declared, but those who die cannot be proud, cannot hold on to any part of themselves and say ‘but this is still me’. All is given up. That is part of what death is. To insist that we ‘possess’ an ‘immortal part’ (call it ‘soul’ or whatever) which cannot be touched by death might look suspiciously like the ontological equivalent of works-righteousness in its old-fashioned sense: something we possess which enables us to establish a claim on God, in this case a claim to ‘survive’. But the God who in Jesus the Messiah has gone through death and defeated it has declared that ‘those who sleep through Jesus’ are ‘with the Messiah’, and he with them. This ‘with’ness remains an act, an activity, of sheer grace, not of divine recognition of some part of the human being which can, as it were, hold its own despite death. At and beyond death the believer is totally dependent on God’s sustaining grace, and the NT’s remarkable reticence in speculating beyond this is perhaps to be imitated. The New Testament speaks of this state as a time of ‘rest’, prior to the time of ‘reigning’ in God’s new world. ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,’ says John the Divine. Amen, says the Spirit (Revelation 14.13).

    One closing remark, if I may, about epistemology. I have argued for an ontology of differentiated unity as both eschatological reality and as given in the Messiah, restoring and recapitulating the goodness of the original creation. Within that reality, humans are called to a particular vocation of obedient image-bearing, summing up the praises of creation on the one hand and ruling wisely over God’s creation on the other. Part of that praise, and part of that rule, is I believe to be construed as truth-telling: telling the truth about God in praise, speaking God’s justice, his wise ordering, into the world in stewardship. In John’s gospel, truth isn’t simply a correspondence between words and reality. Nor is it a matter of coherence within a whole system. Truth is a dynamic thing; it happens. And it happens when human beings, attentive and perceptive with every fibre of their multifaceted god-given being, speak words through which the inarticulate praise of creation comes into speech, and words through which God’s wise and just desires for the world are not just described but effected. And, in this speech, reason and emotion, objective and subjective, absolute and relative are all transcended in the reality which John sometimes calls truth and sometimes calls love. When Paul writes about ‘speaking the truth in love’, perhaps this is part of what he means. We perceive in order to praise: epistemology, ultimately, serves worship. We perceive in order to speak: epistemology serves truth, which serves justice. And all of this is what is meant by love. And love is what is meant by being human.

  109. zeibart,
    Your position has been cultivated through centuries of church teaching, but I would argue that the tree that this fruit has come from has unbiblical, even gnostic roots.

    And then you claim I have a Catholic influence! Try convincing Greg or Bones of this after I have written several posts which denounce the key doctrines of the Roman Catholic apostasy.

    I mean, it’s preposterous to make this claim that what I say from actual scripture has centuries of gnostic influence, which you have several times now, when I am using the one source which substantially and essentially overpowers all other influences, that is, the Bible itself, which predates any all Catholic or Protestant influence.

    You seem to be taking the exact same tack as Helen G. White and Charles Taze Russell, who made the identical charge against every other group by their own. They had their roots in the Catholic apostasy, they claim, and therefore we are the only ones who can be counted as authentic because only we are unsoiled by their heresies.

    But God has always had a remnant of people who actually understood his Word and did what they could, against the odds, to bring the Word of Truth to the rest of us. People like Tynedale and Wycliffe, Huss and Luther, who risked life and limb to deliver vital portions of the true gospel, until the full picture comes into view.

    I am of the belief that we are still in a theological reformation of sorts, and that we have a fair way to go before we can say we are mature enough to claim to be the Church that Jesus intended so long ago, and that we are emerging from a sustained age of apostasy which has, indeed, polluted the gospel. In this I agree with you.

    And there may be many battles we have to face against further apostasy before Christ comes for the Church. But the most important thing we can do is resist the temptation to eliminate portions of Scripture which are vital to our understanding of Christ and of the role of the Church in our age.

    So I am more than happy to engage with you in the pursuit of truth, but you will have to lose some of your own prejudices along the way, and understand that the Bible itself is the chief source of all our understanding under the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit, that all men, no matter what their standing, unless uniquely and clearly ordained by God, such as the Apostles of Christ, should be regarded as fallible in their understanding of scripture, but that the general consensus on doctrine should be considered a sound basis for teaching, as long as it is demonstrably correct and measures up to scripture, and is not superseded by fresh understanding which more closely confirms the canon.

    By this I do not mean a new revelation in the sense of it being outside the agreed canon, but a fresh realisation of what the existing canon states.

    We are so obviously light years away from the New Testament model for the Church and our commission. This is highlighted by the fragmented nature of the Church, and the easy schism which we have permitted, and the reluctance to view each others faults and failings as areas to assist with rather than evidence of rejection.

    I’m not proposing a false ecumenism, but working through difficulties until we find substantive agreement. The can only begin with an identification of our own faults and failing before we come against the faults ad failings of others.

    I am not saying we do not expose heresy, error, apostasy or false teaching, but we need to examine ourselves as well as others.

  110. ‘And then you claim I have a Catholic influence!’ Yes, unwittingly perhaps. The false Platonic interpretations of spirit, soul, heart, mind, body, flesh that solidified in the latter years of the early church, and became entrenched in writings of those that informed Constantine et al, shaped what became the RC church. So, this root fed the young sapling, which grew into the vast Catholic tree.

  111. Fo goodness sake, zeibart. I was quoting actual scripture which differentiates between body, soul and spirit, talks about the heart, the flesh and the inner man, etc..

    I couldn’t care less about Catholic dogma. I am fully aware of it and reject it.

    You need to be less patronising and more appreciative of what my actual position is.

  112. Are you claiming now that Paul, Peter, James, John and Jesus were influenced by the Roman Catholic apostasy?

    I was quoting them. I think they rather predate anything papal.

    The RC church actually denies most of scripture. What the dickens you’re talking about is anyone’s guess.

  113. Protestantism and all it’s offshoots is the bastard child of Catholicism.

    Better off looking at the Orthodox Church.

    What happens with a soul after one’s death according to Eastern Orthodox doctrine?

    OK I’m finally getting around to answering this question. Unfortunately I’m limited on time so this is a summary of the Orthodox position. First of all, Orthodoxy’s entire anthropology differs from Western Christianity (no original guilt/concupiscence). As such, their soteriology doesn’t begin in the same place as Western Christianity and thus concludes differently. Many Western Protestants emphasize “getting saved” so that you don’t go to hell when you die. The emphasis often has more to do with avoiding hell than going to heaven. But even heaven is not the goal nor focal point of Orthodoxy.

    The point is to become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), being united with Christ and thus escaping corruption and death. As 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 says,

    For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be eliminated is death. For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

    And so our emphasis is on Christ’s defeat of sin, death, and Satan – and that this victory means that one day “God will be all in all.” In other words, there will be no way to escape from God’s presence. “Heaven” is not some place up in the sky that hides us from the underworld. “Hell” is not a place and it is not the absence of God. This also means that dying and going to heaven isn’t the end of the story nor is it the focus. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is about “life after life after death” (to borrow a phrase coined by N.T. Wright), i.e. life after the final judgment, after the bodily resurrection (the notion of a disembodied eternal existence in a purely spiritual heaven or becoming angels are Gnostic concepts). This is important because Orthodox do not think of hell as a “place,” it’s more of a metaphor or concept. Everyone will be in God’s loving presence when they die, but for some that will be paradise and for others it will be torment. Much of the Western concepts of heaven and hell are derived more from pagan cultures than from the scriptures, which only used these existing cultural terms to hint at transcendent mysteries.

    As to what happens after physical death (other than being in God’s presence), no one really knows (this is freely admitted by most Orthodox scholars). The best we have is speculation and the “hints” we get in the Bible. As such, there are a variety of “theories” in Orthodoxy (but this speculation is often not helpful). But where everyone agrees is that we go to be in God’s unfiltered presence.

    A note about praying for the dead. Presently, when we die, we all go to be in God’s presence until we await the final judgment and bodily resurrection. We believe that it may be possible for individuals to change their disposition towards God’s love after death. This is not dogma, but we hold out hope for this. Since death is a defeated foe (it’s just not annihilated yet), we also ask deceased saints to pray for us since they are now in God’s presence and also mystically present with us in worship. After the final judgment, it will likely be too late to change one’s disposition, but we hold out hope that all might come to know God’s love as a wonderful thing for all eternity (see more on this here).

  114. I do appreciate your position and apologies if I seem patronising Steve. You certainly seem exasperated, so this is my last input for a while.

    It’s clearly not an easy task to explain how these early Greek-influenced roots hijacked the 2nd-4th century church that was forming very solid doctrinal positions, many of which were erroneous or which twisted scripture to fit the thinking of the day ie a separate body and eternal spirit/soul (or spirit AND soul). These fed into key early bible translations whereby certain words such as hades, gehenna, pneuma, psuche etc were translated to fit the paradigm of bi or tripartite man and ‘life after death before the resurrection’. I’m just saying that most, if not all, of these errors or, maybe better, biases were adopted into the papal system of church.

    What then happens today is that these scriptures we have been citing have a subliminal bias through this teaching that is entrenched and are not viewed through the lens Paul used. The earliest and most reliable church fathers were not in the tripartite, ‘separate person after death’ camp by any stretch. Consequently, when you state that because Paul says in a letter that he hope all goes well with you body, soul and spirit it gets leapt upon as a proof verse for tripartism. Paul is likely to have not meant that at all given his unified person paradigm that was deeply Jewish at its heart.

    I am trying to explain a concept that has shades of gray, blurred edges, not entirely formed this side of judgement, through a glass darkly. It makes little sense to the person (not you) to whom the bible is just a series of boxes to be labelled and lined up to look like they fit together. This is what the majority of ‘biblical’ teaching consists of these days. God’s reality is far more subtle, and the Holy Spirit does help illuminate the problem, so let’s keep seeking his word.

  115. Or maybe you have a bias based on what you percieve I understand of scripture.

    Maybe you base your argument with me on what you understand of others’ theology.

    What I see is a group of liberals arguing with Christ, with Paul, with Peter, and with other Apostles and New Testament writers.

    You even seek to eliminate Jude, James and Peter from the canon, as well as much of John’s writing.

    There is the real problem.

  116. Not so ridiculous, Greg. They might read it, but they do not teach it or live it. The Traditions of the post Apostle patriarchs are far more important. That s one the problems zeibart faces.

  117. Not so ridiculous, Greg. They might read it, but they do not teach it or live it.

    I think Pope Francis is a marvellous example of Christ.

    Need more Pentecostals like him.

    Gives me hope that Christianity’s about more than selfishness and words.

  118. Not so ridiculous, Greg. They might read it, but they do not teach it or live it. The Traditions of the post Apostle patriarchs are far more important. That s one the problems zeibart faces.

    That also is a ridiculous statement.

  119. Well, now that we’ve established that I’m definitely not influenced by RC dogma, as confirmed by Greg and Bones for zeibart’s benefit, I guess we can continue the discussion on whether God created us to be tripartite beings.

    Since Greg and Bones are closet Catholics and defend their theology to the hilt, they would have to be of the opinion that we have a soul which is in a body, and a spirit which is regenerated through faith in Christ, which is also Catholic teaching.

    It is one of the understandings of the canon Catholics adhere to, although they have confused it somewhat with their doctrines of purgatory and prayer to saints, which, I think, N T Wright is alluding to when he criticises the practices of the RCs when it comes to pageants like All Saints Day.

    By the way, zeibart denies that the body is dissolved at death, yet N T Wright makes it clear that he claims dissolution of the body, and, in his thinking, this includes the human soul, which is also contrary to scripture.

    Of course, Bones confuses himself by becoming an Eastern Orthodox adherent for the sake of debate, and has completely refuted his own argument by adopting both their and Catholic dogma.

    I think Bones like Eastern Orthodox because it has the word ‘orthodox’ in it, but orthodoxy is subjective so adopting an orthodoxy is not proof of orthodoxy external from that which is adopted.

    In other words, utilising the term ‘orthodox’ isn’t evidence of authenticity.

  120. Of course, Bones confuses himself by becoming an Eastern Orthodox adherent for the sake of debate, and has completely refuted his own argument by adopting both their and Catholic dogma.

    Eastern Orthodoxy has a lot going for it. It’s the only one which makes sense, has a holistic view of salvation (ie healing), doesn’t have the tension of a God demanding the death of Himself to abate His anger and reads the scriptures with the intent that they were written eg Gehenna and heaven are both states of being in the presence of the God of love.

    We need to hear more from it because Protestantism is very much Catholicism lite.

    I also don’t believe that people are lying dormant for thousands of years waiting for some massive judgement.

    And I know as much as anybody.

  121. Your last comment was deleted Steve because I’m sick to death of you calling people names…discuss issues and theology and don’t place labels in people they don’t place on themselves.

  122. I beg your pardon, Greg, what name did I call anyone?

    Gosh, I cop heaps of flack on here and have been called all the names under the sun, including by you, on a regular basis.

    I never use expletives, never say anything I don’t think I can back up, and yet you remove a comment on the basis of calling someone a name, and have the gall to say you’re sick of me calling people names! You’ve been one of the worse name callers in the business.

    I’ll say one thing. People can say what they like on here about any group or any system, especially Hillsong or C3, or Pentecostals in general, but if you call out the Roman Catholics on anything you’d better lookout, because in come the Security Forces like a shot to shut down debate and denounce the perpetrator.

    I have been engaged in a very long, friendly, fair and constructive discussion with zeibart in a well conducted, mostly respectful manner.

    As soon as you and Bones chime in with your pronounced defence of Catholicism it turns ugly.

    You need to grow some resilience to controversy, and start to see things through balanced glasses.

  123. Of course, Bones, the pope is marvellous to pray for a person with deformities through illness.

    But, as Jesus said, we should not congratulate people or put them on a pedestal for doing what we should all do anyway.

    Sadly, you used it as means to spite Pentecostals, not just commend the pope.

    But what of all the Pentecostals, and not they only, but Baptists, Anglicans, Salvos and the rest who selflessly, and without a photo-shoot or ceremonial procession, pray for, care for, lay hands on, and work with such people in places most never travel to?

    It’s what we do in secret which God blesses.

  124. Greg,
    don’t place labels in people they don’t place on themselves.

    So, now, are you going to go through the entire site and remove every comment made which places labels on people they don’t place on themselves?

    Is this a new condition of commenting?

    Maybe you should look at some of the comments on this thread which fit this category, such as…

    Steve uses the defense used by tobacco companies. It’s all about frightening people.

    Steve, you would not appreciate catholic or Anglican priests wearing their ‘uniform’ either then would you?

    Bones, again,
    Steve lol’s when someone is encouraged for calling blacks n*ggers. Can only happen in Steve’s world.

    Bones, to Steve,
    Of course people who do smoke are like you who have grown sick of warnings and alarms and prefer to take the chance that they won’t be affected.

    Bones, after I had pointed out clearly, many times, that I don’t often teach on judgment and hell, nor to frighten people into Heaven, but preach the good news,
    OK so to summarise your rant.

    1. Climate change alarmism = bad.

    Frightening people into action such as reducing carbon output = very bad

    2. Preaching about hell = good

    Frightening people about hell into belief = very good

    Bones is probably the most notorious labeller on the site.

    That’s fairly standard fair for these threads. I dish it out too. Part of discussion is making claims about what others think, do and believe.

    If you are going to remove the ability to second guess others, or make assessments to their face, you have effectively ended debate, or seriously stifled it.

    But, look, why are you riding shotgun for people here when they are all adult and quite capable of taking care of themselves?

  125. I have resilience Steve, however I’m tired of being called a closet catholic in a pejorative manner…I am happy to say I am catholic; that is within Anglicanism…what we call anglo-catholic. I refer to myself as an Anglo-catholic evangelical.

    I will be deleting all comments that call anyone else names.

  126. You delete an entire comment for that?

    You defend Catholicism as if it is the most untouchable religion on earth, and claim not to be sympathetic to their dogma.

    You, who eliminate portions of scripture in your liberality, yet stand up for purgatory, prayer to saints, transubstantiation, worship of Mary, veneration of Mary, Mary as mediatrix, anything I say which controverts these false doctrines cannot be insinuated to be a closet Catholic?

    I’m very sorry to have insulted you with this.

    Perhaps I should complain more when C3, Hillsong or Pentecostals cop some stick. Or when I am accused of being a hater of gays, catholics or muslims.


  127. claim not to be sympathetic to their dogma.

    Uhm…no, I have never said I’m not sympathetic, I am, I can see where there are things I don’t think are right – but they’ve been developing things for close to 1800 years, so I’m prepared to accept that they might know more about things than I do after only 48 years as a Christian.

    You call them a cult and anti-christ, anti bible and apostate!

    I’ve come to your defense when people have suggested you’re not reading the bible right – I’ve posted positive articles about Hillsong.

    I am sick to death of the name calling and lack of actual academic rigor in the debates that go on on this blog at times, especially my own contribution to that. No, I won’t be going through the blog ad deleting posts – I have drawn a line in the sand and that my friend is that.

    Issues and theology, not name calling and petty point scoring will be the name fo the game I wold like to see on this blog.

    And that goes for Bones as well…and myself; i’m happy to be called to account when I fail to meet the standards I’ve asked for from others. I realise and accept that coming from me this may seem hypocritical, but as I said – line in the sand, and this is it form here on in…I hope!

  128. Oh I see. It wasn’t being called a Catholic which offended you. It was being called a closet.

    I guess ‘closet’ is a little offensive.

    I accused you, unwittingly, of being a secret or concealed catholic, when in fact, you are an actual catholic.

    Well who would have guessed that on this site of all places the word ‘closet’ would be considered offensive.

    It puts into shade all the derogatory names I have been called, most of which still stand on other threads. Some very recent. Some from you.

    I mean, it must be right up there with terms like ‘dickh**d’!

    And all of this because I mentioned, in the course of a fairly even tempered discussion with zeibart, that the Roman Catholics are less concerned with using scripture than with post Biblical tradition, which led to the exchanges between zeibart and myself to be detoured and interrupted with pro-catholic angst.

    This despite the fact that for over 600 years Roman Catholics were compelled to endure their services in latin, were for the main part illiterate and unable to read the Bible in their own languages, and, even if they could read, were unable to conduct Bible studies without the presence of a priest anyway.

    This despite the fact that Roman Catholic hierarchy did everything in its power to stop the Bible rom being translated into the languages of the people over whom they held sway for fear that they would discover the truths contained therein which would cause gthe people to know what we know today because of the sacrifice of men like Huss, Wycliffe, Tynedale and others, including Luther, who gave the German speaking people the Word of God in their language for the first time.

    I have never understood the reticence of the Roman Catholic hierarchies to allow the common people to receive the sacred texts translated into their own languages, unless they sought to hide the act that people were not actually being taught the scripture, but were being given the traditions which bound them to superstition and worship of idols.

    I can pinpoint a meeting in my short lifetime when I attended a Bible study with some Catholic Charismatic friends, who, when we opened our Bibles, stopped us so that they could make a phone call to their local priest to send an intern to sit in on the meeting because they could not read the Bible in a group without a priest or representative present. I mean, that is post Vatican 2.

    So, yes, I think it is hard to stop catholics these days from buying Bibles and having them on their iPads and smart phones, but I don;t think the dogma has changed much, nor the suspicion about whether they should be allowed to read the Bible for themselves.

    The best thing Henry the 8th ever did was detach England from the papacy, even if it was for selfish motives rather than the love of the people. He unwittingly did the world a favour. He helped in his hapless way to get the Word of God out into the then opening world.

    But I’ve just realised that calling you a ‘closet’ was wrong, and I will do all I can to resist calling you a ‘closet’ in the future.

  129. I can pinpoint a meeting in my short lifetime when I attended a Bible study with some Catholic Charismatic friends, who, when we opened our Bibles, stopped us so that they could make a phone call to their local priest to send an intern to sit in on the meeting because they could not read the Bible in a group without a priest or representative present. I mean, that is post Vatican 2.

    That, Steve, wold be an extremely isolated incident – I know many Catholics – several of whom are in leadership in God’s Squad – and none of whom feel the ned to check with their priest before opening the Bible to study it with others.

    You know precisely why I’m offended by the use of the term ‘closet catholic’ and your play on semantics shows nothing of your intelligence. The pejorative use of the term is what offends me. It would be like me saying someone was a closet Pentecostal when trying to belittle to negate their contribution to discussion or debate.

  130. I’m happy to be called a closet – however if you ever suggest that I am a side board, or a tall boy, I will ban you completely form this blog. The use of furniture as a means of deriding a person is very much like what I would expect from a piece of cutlery; you are, after all, as sharp as a knife!

  131. Gosh, if you would only call me a closet Pentecostal I would not be offended at all, but merely point out the folly of such a claim. I wouldn’t remove an entire comment for such a piffling misdemeanour.

    I think I’ve even left a ‘dickh**d’ or two of yours on threads I’ve moderated. Big deal! Do you think I’m moved by name calling, or epithets which clearly do not fit?

    I think we’re big enough now to point out that we don’t like something, as I did earlier to Bones when he was tempted to continue the Abbott’s ‘b*tch’ slap down, and which he acquiesced to, I might add.

    Anyway, if you’re going to faucet and give me the tap on the shoulder, I’ll have to handle it.

    I will watch with interest how you moderate this in a fair and balanced way.

  132. Steve I over reacted and have restored your comment to its rightful place among the Signposts02 Canon of accepted comments.

    You’re comment above:

    I will watch with interest how you moderate this in a fair and balanced way.

    scared me into reconsidering my position!

  133. The AOG and Brian Houston are considerably more gracious toward the Pope and the Catholic Church than Steve is.

    In a Press release :

    We pray too that this papacy, like those before it, is marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel.

    Obviously, as protestants, our views are considerably different to the pope’s on a number of issues however, we share a common desire to exalt Christ and serve our community to the best of our ability.

    He also says “It is important for all of us to honor and pray for anyone in a position of leadership and authority. Pope Benedict is a spiritual and experienced leader and is now head over a significant portion of the Christian community”

    I wonder if Steve agrees with these sentiments?

  134. But, as Jesus said, we should not congratulate people or put them on a pedestal for doing what we should all do anyway.

    That’s incredibly lol coming from a pentecostal.

  135. Sadly, you used it as means to spite Pentecostals, not just commend the pope.

    Well it was in response to you spiting Catholics.

    But that’s ok.

  136. Well we can always commend a man for reaching out to another in need, but we don’t have to put up with the dogma which misleads millions into Mary worship. I can commend a Muslim for helping a struggling person, but I don’t have to then support Islam.

    And why put a man on a pedestal for doing what thousands do everyday unsung?

    If the pope decides to end the errors I will support him, and of course we should pray for all leaders, but he has made it clear he will continue the Marian controversy. I think he’ll make moves towards the fifth Marian dogma before he ends his tenure. Watch this space.

    By the way, wazza, I should think being the Moderator of the Uniting Church is beyond the scope of most ministers in their flock, seeing how the controversies of the recent past have all but demolished their influence in the nation.

    Finally, in response to the above, this is a blog, after all, where people express opinions, not an ecumenical council.

  137. In fact, the Uniting Church and Church of Christ are sad examples of how liberal theology can render a once powerful and influential movement impotent.

    I hear the Uniting Church is selling off buildings.

    If Wesley, Finney and Knox weren’t sleeping in Christ, they’d be turning in their graves.

  138. Anyway, as I was saying to zeibart, N T Wright, as I read him in the passage above, appears to be teaching the dissolution of the body, in which he includes the whole person, including soul and spirit.

    I believe this is also Bones’ position, which he can confirm or deny, but I thought zeibart had rejected this concept of the demise of the person who dies in his sin.

  139. And why put a man on a pedestal for doing what thousands do everyday unsung?

    I dunno.

    He seems to be more Christ like than Brian and the Megapastors who brag about their ‘success’. Cos that’s what we’re aspiring to isn’t it.

  140. The only surprise is that it took so long for the leader of the RC church to get out amongst the people this way. Good on the pope. I’m sure it brings hope to thousands of disabled catholics to see him touch a deformed man. But why are we viewing this as so unusual?

    I’d love to see a photo-shoot of the amazing care workers who are mostly paid a pittance who work with the disabled and sufferers from dementia everyday for half their day, cleaning up their vomit, drool and shit, washing their limp, fragile and often diseased bodies, lifting them in and out of cots, wheelchairs and hoists, feeding them when they can’t feed themselves, toileting them, bathing them, trying to communicate with them when their minds have gone.

    They’re the real heroes of our community. But do we put them on the front page of our religious journals and include them in media reports in the religious segment? Only when one or some of them do something wrong, or there’s a mishap.

    Anyone can kiss a passing stranger in a photo op.

    If you’re looking for an example of patience, care and mercy, take some time out and see what care workers do every day.

    It’s great that you have a pope who points the way to care or the poor and disenfranchised. Just remember the real heroes who are there every day for people.

  141. So you dont support Brian Houston’s view that its important for all of us to honour the Pope as the spiritual leader of a significant Christian community?

  142. I support his view, of course, and I support his call for prayer for the leader of a large catholic community, but I do not agree wholeheartedly with the opinion that the pope in any way supports a Biblical view of Christianity.

    I think he has shown a far more Franciscan outlook on the way he wants to present the papacy, which, in some ways, is commendable, but he hasn’t sold the Vatican yet or emptied the Papal coffers into the world. I would have thought a trip to the Philippines and a massive catholic offering for the nation would have done some practical good rather than bringing to world on a pilgrimage to St Peters’ Square.

    Imagine the spiritual, practical and secular good this man could do if he eschewed catholicism’s error-strewn theological past and truly embraced the Christ of the Scriptures. These things we can pray for.

  143. I wanted to ask how you could state that the Pope does not in any way support a Biblical view of Christianity , and still be honouring him.

  144. What’s a biblical view of Christianity?

    Is there a non-biblical view of Christianity?

    But you’re right.

    TD Jakes’s and his ilks views are markedly different from the Popes.

  145. They’re the real heroes of our community. But do we put them on the front page of our religious journals and include them in media reports in the religious segment?

    Yes, do they get asked to speak at the Presence conference or Hillsong conferences at thousands of dollars a pop?

    No. That’s for real heroes.

  146. Well, wazza, I support Brian’s view in that I support his right to have a view. I don’t have to agree with anyone’s view to suport their right to hold it.

    I don’t know exactly what the wording of his view is, only your summary of it, so I’m not going to get into a discussion with a post-modernist who can’t see the big picture over what will amount to semantics and word-play.

    As I said, I can admire a man for doing what is right despite having a different spiritual perspective, but I don’t have to acknowledge his religion.

    It is in the interests of most religions to do good works, but salvation depends not on good works we do, but in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    If the pope is going to set the trend amongst his people in reaching out to the poor, disabled ad disenfranchised, then I support this, and, yes, I will honour it, because the gospel has a practical side to it as well as a spiritual.

    But if he is going to maintain the works equals salvation doctrine of his church, then I would think he is no different to any other pope before him.

    Bones, meanwhile, needs to grow up.

  147. I posted the link to the entire press release :

    “We pray too that this Papacy, like those before it, is marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel”

    Thats not really compatible with your earlier statement :

    “Imagine the spiritual, practical and secular good this man could do if he eschewed catholicism’s error-strewn theological past and truly embraced the Christ of the Scripture”

    You are surely implying that the Pope has not truly embraced the Gospel. I dont see how someone can have a commitment to seeing the Gospel go forward and people changed by it, without embracing it.

  148. Steve, once again shows how his blinkers obscure his vision.

    Catholics believe in salvation by works – WRONG.

    It’s bad to look upon the Pope as a hero (cos it’s pretty meh compared to leg lengthening tricks) but it is good to look upon rich megapastors and laud their ‘success’.

    I’d like to see Bobbie Houston embrace a disfigured man like that but I don’t think ugliness has any part in Hillsong.

  149. Dear me, Bones, you are on a peculiar journey of spittle launching. I’m not sure if I can be bothered entering the pit with you. No. I think I’ll leave you down there.

    Wazza, I have made myself clear. If you want me to say I agree with this person or that person on their opinion as to whether RC doctrine preaches the gospel as handed down to us by Christ and his Apostles, then I reserve the right to make comments as and when I see fit.

    But, as to my own view. I can’t see that the mass is representative of the gospel. Nor can I see that prayer through Mary, saints or statues and icons representing them is representative of the gospel, or anything but idolatry, which I am instructed to eschew.

    The gospel involves faith in The Lord Jesus Christ who has, once and for all, been crucified and resurrected for all sinners, so that they can be saved.

    We are not saved by works. We are saved by grace through faith, which was the basis upon which the Protestant reformation came about, when it was revealed that salvation is not by penance, by payment, or by works, and for which many people have suffered at the hands of the RC church under the papacy.

    I see no change in the doctrine away from these things. Rather I see an escalation of the veneration of Mary, especially under the present papacy.

    Bones doesn’t have a clue what is happening amongst godly men and women around the globe who are ministering to the sick, dying, hurting and displaced, through many different Christian agencies, including Pentecostals. They are not put in a pedestal. They are just getting on with it. I could give countless stories of effective evangelism and outreach, but will never do it again after past experience.

    Why would I waste time on a man who is only intent on spewing his disdain on a couple of movements because of his vain and ignorant perception of what he imagines they might or might not be doing, saying or planning, based on his inability to sift through the false reports and baseless accusations of wannabe ‘discerner’ sites who couldn’t discern a frog plague if they were up to their eyes in spawn.

    So much for improving the quality of debate when Greg agrees with Bones’ prejudice without even a pause to think about it.

    Talk about touch not mine anointed. Seems like the papists are under that illusion.

  150. Bones,
    I’d like to see Bobbie Houston embrace a disfigured man like that but I don’t think ugliness has any part in Hillsong.

    Have you ever noticed how usurpers who think they can do church better than the leadership always go for the pastor’s wife?

  151. The RCC second plank of salvation…

    Recovering Baptismal Grace (1446)
    Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of the Church, especially for those who have fallen into grave sins after Baptism. This sacrament gives Christians the possibility to recover baptismal grace. Penance is “the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace” (Tertullian).

    Two Different Forms (1447)
    Over the centuries, the Church has had two forms of this sacrament. In the early Church, there was an “order of penitents” for those who committed grave sins (as idolatry, murder or adultery). This involved a rigorous discipline, often for years. People were admitted rarely to this order and sometimes, only once.

    In the seventh century, Irish missionaries to Europe (inspired by the Eastern monastic practice) began “private penance,” the form we have today. The sins were told secretly to a priest and the penance was not prolonged. This allowed for frequent receiving of the sacrament and the forgiving of both grave sins and venial sins at the same time.

    Two Unchanging Elements (1448)
    Although the forms have changed, two equally essential elements remain. First, the person undergoing conversion makes acts of contrition, confession, and satisfaction. Secondly, the Church (through the priest) forgives the sins in the name of Jesus Christ so that the sinner is healed and returned to Church communion.

  152. Have you ever noticed how usurpers who think they can do church better than the leadership always go for the pastor’s wife?

    Oh dear, look how defensive we are. We will have a little sulk because bad Bones keeps turning my arguments around.

    You’re right this is a blog about opinions.

    My opinion is the Pope is a hero, the epitome of Christ who leads by example.

    You see a heretic of sorts. I couldn’t give a fig if he made Mary the fourth member of the Trinity and had SATAN tattooed on his butt.

    He inspires me far more than the ‘look how successful I am’ crowd. They make me want to vomit.

  153. Even common terms can cause misunderstandings. For instance, the word “salvation”. Some Protestants think “salvation” is a once-for-all, punctiliar event (I was saved on Wednesday) – a thing you are (saved) or aren’t (unsaved). Other Protestants think “salvation” is a process (sometimes started by a punctiliar event like belief, or baptism of water, or baptism of the Holy Spirit) – a thing you currently are (if you have confessed your sins, and aren’t living in sin), and hope to continue to be (the hope of salvation), but might choose to reject (by sinning against your faith, or becoming apostate) since you haven’t yet persevered until the end. Catholics are closer to the second kind of Protestants, and will say things like, “I was saved, am being saved and will be saved” – being “saved” is a thing you currently are (by the regeneration of the Spirit in the waters of baptism) and hope to continue to be (the hope of salvation), but might choose to reject (by sinning against your faith) since you haven’t yet persevered until the end. Note that this doesn’t mean that we are unsure of our “salvation” (we know when we are in a state of grace) – we simply don’t presume we will persevere to the end (Hebrews 3:14), or that God will force us to be with him even if we choose to reject him (Hebrews 3:18). We don’t lose our faith in such a rejection, but, unless we repent, and confess, such a rejection might be our final answer (Hebrews 3:12; I John 1:9).

    The Catholic Church has always taught that we are saved by grace alone. Earlier I mentioned the straw-man logical fallacy of a “works-based salvation” (“semi-Pelagianism”). Protestants who make this accusation confuse soteriological terminology – particularly the distinctions between “grace” and “faith”, and the relationship between “justification” and “sanctification”. They also ignore the historical meaning of all pre-Protestant theology, and current Catholic definitions, to “prove” the “errors” they presuppose. It’s salient to note that there are some (very few) Protestant groups who are “legalistic” and believe that following certain “laws” will obligate God to save them; however, most who are accused of believing a “works-based salvation” are theologically misunderstood. Naturally, I am speaking of the theologically adept, not those who are simply poorly educated – Catholic and Protestant – and think things like, “My good deeds will outweigh the bad stuff I’ve done” rather than trusting in Christ alone for salvation.

    Catholics do believe that our works (good or bad) have consequences (Matthew 7:15-27). We also believe that our good works are meritorious (not filthy rags¹), that is to say, that God rewards them – not just in heaven, but here and now as we are being saved (Hebrews 11:6). We also believe that merit (grace made operative through faith and works) helps us be saved (made just – justified, not merely reckoned just, and made holy – sanctified, not merely reckoned holy) because, by God’s grace, our cooperation with grace activates its saving power (the power is inherent in the grace, not our cooperation), infusing holiness (sanctification) and growing deep roots which enable us to persevere and bear good fruit.

    To put it more simply, Catholics believe that all acts of faith, hope and love toward God, and our neighbors, are preceded and enabled by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-10; CCC 1996). Thus, it isn’t correct that we trust in our works for our salvation – Catholicism is not legalistic. Rather, our works (prepared by grace for us to walk in) help us by sanctifying us, building up the body of Christ and worshiping God in a manner that pleases him.

    The Sacraments hold a special place in Catholic soteriology. “Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification” (Catechismus concil. Trident., n. 4, ex St. Augustine, “De Catechizandis rudibus”). Although the manner of their instrumental causality is a mystery, it is clear that the instrumental causality is through grace alone, “And man is made a member of Christ through grace alone.” (St. Thomas, Summa, A[1]; Q[62], A[1]).

    So you see, Catholics believe in one faith, which works (not to be mistaken by sound exegesis with “works of the [Jewish] law”), but the charges that this (somehow) negates grace, or that we believe in grace plus works, are false. Some say that faith plus works is the same thing as grace plus works, but they are in error – because it would be inconsistent to say that the faith itself can be a gift of grace, but works cannot be. Furthermore, truncating faith and works does not prevent the error of boasting – one could boast in their faith just as much as they could boast in their works (as if our belief contractually obligated God to save us apart from the law of grace, or made us superior to those without faith). It is the grace that prevents us from boasting, so even though we work to cooperate with that grace in what we believe and what we do, it is “all of grace” not of our faith alone, nor of our works alone; not done in ourselves, but in Christ.

    We are saved by the law of grace, through the gift of grace: an actual faith which works. The doctrine of salvation by grace alone is clear in scripture, the fathers, the councils and papal teaching; one of the clearest articulations came from the Council of Trent (Decree on Justification: Chapter V; Canons I, II and III on Justification).

    A formulation that would be accurate, but not official, since it is my own, is that man is saved by Jesus Christ alone, by the grace of God alone, through the gift of actual grace in faith and works. Our righteousness is imputed (made possible by Christ) and infused (activated to the full strength the grace contains) by our faith and works. Again, both the faith and the good works are gifts of grace, as it is written,

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10 RSV-CE).

    Not everything the Catholic church teaches about soteriology – the study of salvation – is dogmatic, so you will find variations within some aspects of Catholic soteriological doctrine. However, in addition to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (esp. Article 2, Grace and Justification – CCC 1987 – 2029), the Council of Trent clarified Catholic soteriology regarding the new ideas of the reformers, and the Decree and Canons on Justification from the Sixth Session are succinct and delightfully dense – if you would like the clarity of context and are theologically minded, you ought to read them in their entirety. In addition to the authoritative, decredal documents from Trent, there are a few significant times when the Catholic Church has met with Protestant leaders to discuss key differences like justification. Perhaps the earliest was the Diet of Ratisbon (also called the “Diet/ Colloquy of Regensburg”) in 1541 (the fifth article discusses justification), but there are also more recent meetings which resulted in documents like the document “Salvation and the Church” written with Anglicans in 1986, the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document in 1994, the follow-up document entitled “The Gift of Salvation” in 1998,
    The Joint Declaration on Justification with Lutherans in 1999 and the Official Response to that Declaration. Some pertinent quotes from those documents are as follows:
    It is secure and wholesome teaching that the sinner is justified by a living and effectual faith, for through such faith we will be acceptable to God and accepted for the sake of Christ.
    A living faith, therefore, appropriates the mercy in Christ and believes that the righteousness which is in Christ will be freely reckoned for nothing and also receives the promise of the Holy Spirit. (Regensburg, Article 5)

    Justification and sanctification are two aspects of the same divine act (1 Cor 6:11). This does not mean that justification is a reward for faith or works: rather, when God promises the removal of our condemnation and gives us a new standing before him, this justification is indissolubly linked with his sanctifying recreation of us in grace. This transformation is being worked out in the course of our pilgrimage, despite the imperfections and ambiguities of our lives. God’s grace effects what he declares: his creative word imparts what it imputes. By pronouncing us righteous, God also makes us righteous. He imparts a righteousness which is his and becomes ours[2]. (ARCIC II, Salvation and the Church, 15)

    Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works (JDDJ, 15).

    The following are some further technical areas of high theology that cause confusion between Catholics and some of our separated Protestant brothers and sisters:
    1. The concept of sola fide – salvation by faith alone – was condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapters VI, X and XI; Canons IX and XIX on Justification).
    2. The concept of forensic justification, that righteousness is imputation alone was condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter VII; Canons XI, XXV and cf. Canon XXXI on Justification).
    3. The concept of Free Grace Theology (pejoratively called “Easy Believism” by some who call their view “Lordship Salvation”) – that belief alone, apart from obedience, ensures salvation – was condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter IX and XII; Canons XII, XIII, XIV, XIV and XXI on Justification). However, this does not rule out the Arminian concept of “free will” which is compatible with the Molinist² and Congruist² concepts of how grace and free will meet (predestination based on foreknowledge).
    4. The modern concept of Eternal Security – once saved, always saved – was condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter XI, XIII, XIV and XV; Canons on Justification XVI, XXIII, XXVII and XXVIII).
    5. The supralapsarian concept of unconditional reprobation (double-predestination: the concept that some are predestined to heaven – the elect, and others are predestined to hell – the reprobate) was anticipated and condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter VIII, Canon VI, X and XVII on Justification). However, this does not rule out the Calvinist concept of “unconditional election” which is compatible with the Thomistic² (via physical change of the will of the elect) and Augustinian² (via moral pressure on the will of the elect) concepts of how grace and free will meet.
    6. The Calvinist concepts of “irresistible grace” and “total depravity” were condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter I, Canons IV, VII and XXII on Justification).
    7. The Calvinist concept of “Limited Atonement” – that Christ only died for the elect – was condemned at Trent (Decree on Justification Chapter II; Canon XVII on Justification).

  154. Oh gosh, one little mention of catholic heresy and we unleash Bones like a toothless gummy pit bull in a crowded poodle parlour.

    What a raging slathered he can be when we fail to be as impressed with his beloved pope as he obviously is. But this pit bull is all bile and spit and no stomach.

    The reason I mentioned that you were like the usurpers in churches who attack the pastor’s wife is because I’ve seen it a few times from would-be leaders who know better than everyone else in the church but don’t have the guts to go to the pastor face to face.

    I mean, why didn’t you just challenge Brian on whether he’d laid hands on any deformed people? Is it because you know deep down that it’s highly likely he has, so you look for the closest soft target you can find and hit out at his wife.

    What kind of cowardly cretin does that sort of stuff?

    And wharf’s all this catholo-pentecostal putting people on a pedestal stuff? Did anyone ask for a comparison? “My papal appendage is bigger than your papal appendage!”

    Good grief!

    And the big boast…

    Oh dear, look how defensive we are. We will have a little sulk because bad Bones keeps turning my arguments around.

    I don’t think you should mistake indignation for sulking, Bones. If you can’t direct your bitterness at a man and need to go for his wife you should expect a comeback from the other men around the place.

    And please, the day you ‘turn an argument around’ on me, I’ll let you know with a clear indication that you have changed my thinking on a subject, so don’t patronise me with your vision of a world where you actually win an argument.

    I’m not in it for an argument. I am giving an opinion on things as I see them, and the pope hasn’t changed my mind one iota about whether catholic dogma is about to be revised.

    And, since I have already twice commended the pope for reaching out to people with deformities, albeit with the qualifying remarks that we should not be self-congratulatory for doing what should be normal for Christians, or forget those who are with the disabled 24/7, I would say that you don’t even have an argument except in your very fertile imagination.

    The thing about pit bulls is that they are reared for a specific purpose and it is almost impossible to break them out of their need for blood and superiority in the pit.

  155. tholic Catechism,
    Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of the Church

    Where did Christ say this?

    It is wrong to say that any kind of penance can restore us to Christ.

    If it were true that penance could redeem us in any way Christ would not have needed to go to he cross.

    I found the explanation of why people have to perform what the catholics call works as part of their salvation quite preposterous.

    We are not in any way saved by works.

    We are saved for works.

    Faith is demonstrated by works, but works do not save us.

  156. From what I read in the Vatical catechism RCs teach that the Prodigal Son parable outlines the ‘process’ of salvation. It doesn’t.

    It outlines the process of one man’s realisation of sin and repentance.

    It is not a journey of salvation to sanctification.

    It is a journey towards repentance.

    There is a huge difference.

    Today we are saved by faith in Christ, who took the journey through death into life for us.

    Repentance is the acceptance of our sinful nature, recognition of a need to change, and acceptance of he free offer of salvation by grace through faith offered by the Father through the sacrifice of the Son.

    We are not saved by a journey, or by works-based repentance.

    We are saved by hearing the preached gospel and responding in faith to the Lordship of Christ.

  157. Then you disagree with the AOG and Brian Houston’s position on the Catholic Church as put forward in the press release.

  158. Are you making some kind of point, wazza?

    Would it surprise you to know there are things I disagree with the AOG and Brian over? I’m sure he’d have things he disagrees with me over. There are things I disagree with my pastor over, and things disagree with Phil Pringle over. I’m sure they’d disagree with me over some things.

    I agree with far more than I disagree with them, and I’m sure they’d agree with more than they disagree with me over.

    That is why I give my opinions and ideas and perspective and have never claimed to be a spokesman for any movement or denomination. Even though people like Bones have a habit of throwing disruptive false accusations and bitter jibes at them whenever he addresses me for some unfathomable reason.

    We all have very different experiences, influences, backgrounds, upbringings, cultural influences, community, familial and social influences, education, teachers, people who mentor us, and whole list of things which have an impact on how we view church life, relationships, finances, vocation, even some aspects of theology and scripture.

    The way I read Brian Houston, however, is that he is asking people to pray that the pope is able to draw people in his dragnet into a Biblical understanding of their relationship with Christ. I don’t disagree with this. If he is claiming that Roman Catholicism has changed significantly in its theology from 100 years ago, I would probably disagree.

    If he has taken heart that there has been a softening of their antipathy towards other denominations I would say I was somewhat reticent to consider them ecumenical in any other sense but to have everyone come under their one Church umbrella rather than acquiesce to join others under an overarching Church.

    I guess in his position he has to be open to embrace the possibility that the RC church will change for the better, but I don’t think he is wanting to hook up under them any time soon. o You read this into his statement? I don’t.

    And do you think he is actually representative of the whole of the AOG in this? Has he or have they said as much?

  159. It outlines the process of one man’s realisation of sin and repentance.

    No it doesn’t…it outlines what the kingdom of God is like and, yes, the process of redemption.

    The story comes among a series of stories, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son….none of which are really about the object or person that was lost, but rather the response of the one who lost them and their eagerness to find and bring them back.

    As for Jesus instituting the sacraments, my word indeed he did.

    Eucharist: do this in memory of me
    Marriage: for this reason a man shall leave his parents
    Ordination: the calling of the 12
    And depending on your tradition there are more or less sacraments. But Jesus did indeed institute each and every one.

  160. The sacrament of penance was instituted by Jesus saying to the 12 “who’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven, who’s sins you do not forgive they are retained”

    Saying to the sinful woman…”go and sin no more”

    Telling the lepers to perform ceremonial washing, all these things are forms of penance and were instituted by Christ himself

  161. Greg,
    Telling the lepers to perform ceremonial washing, all these things are forms of penance and were instituted by Christ himself

    That is false doctrine.

    In fact, Jesus told them to do that to fulfil the law of Moses and present them to the priests of the day, under the Old Testament, which he later removed and replaced with the New Testament which requires no penance, and never says we have to go through any penance. Ever again.

    When the curtain was torn the law of Moses was fulfilled and replaced.

    The sacrament of penance was instituted by Jesus saying to the 12 “who’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven, who’s sins you do not forgive they are retained”

    There is no penance even hinted at in that instruction, and it was given to all believes, not just to a priesthood to administer.

    Penance is works instituted salvation. It is not of grace, nor is to by faith.

    It is a law.

    Forgiveness is the act of wiping the slate clean. Therefore there is no penance required.

    If a person’s sin is retained what penance or works could they perform to remove it? None, since it is retained. No works, no penance could change the fact that they are retained.

    The power of forgiveness is in it’s complete removal of blame.

    Saying to the sinful woman…”go and sin no more”

    Again, this was under the Old Testament requirement that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death, which was superseded by the New Testament under which the woman could repent and ask forgiveness and the blood of Jesus would wash her sins clean.

    So not even a hint of penance here.

    The blood of Jesus was shed for the forgiveness of all sin.

    There is no Biblical New Testament doctrine of penance.


  162. Penance is works instituted salvation. It is not of grace, nor is to by faith.

    No it’s not, you fail to grasp it’s spiritual and psychological significance…the Catholic Church doesn’t teach salvation by penance…it is a spiritual practice and a useful one at that.

    Paul wrote, the one who steals must make restitution…that’s penance. Zacheus gave back twice what he owed and half of what he owned (or thereabouts)…that’s penance!!!

  163. Greg,
    You haven’t mentioned any catholic heresy my friend, only something you disagree with, which is not the same as it being heretical!

    The very Word of God itself disagrees with much of RC doctrine and dogma. I am merely agreeing with the Word.

    Can you find a single word on penance? None.

    Cn you find a single word on purgatory? None.

    Can you find a single word on infant baptism without confession of faith? None.

    Can you find a single word on Mary as mediatrix? None.

    Can you find a single word on Mary’s immaculate conception? None.

    All heretical.

  164. reg,
    Paul wrote, the one who steals must make restitution…that’s penance.

    No, that’s nonsense. Restitution is its own act of restoration. That is not penance. Penance is a penalty for sin. Restitution is the result of forgiveness and an act of contrition.

    Penance is an added charge and necessity on top of forgiveness.

    Restitution is restorative/ Penance is payment. It is an instituted debt to be paid.

    Christ paid for our sin. There is no added requirement to repentance and forgiveness.

  165. When churches teach penance they give people a way to work their way into forgiveness, or to appease God for themselves through an outward show. In the RC church it is a sacrament, which means it is a ceremony regarded as imparting spiritual grace – works based grace.

    Well this is a misnomer, since grace is not of works. If anything is of works it is not grace.

    If it is of works it is paid for. This implies a debt. If we owe God anything then the cross is of no significance, since the purpose of the cross was payment for sin. In my sin is paid for then I have no need to pay again. It is finished. Paid in full.

    Then I need to receive forgiveness which is free, and grace, which is free, and righteousness, which is free, and can only be received by faith in Christ.

    The ply thing I need to do with sin, if I sin while I am saved, is to confess it. That is the only way in scripture I am given to have sin removed from my life. That and the forgiveness of others, for if I do not forgive God will not forgive me.

    And I do not need an earthly mediator, since Christ is the Mediator between men and God. If I sin, I go to the Father in the name of the Son and I am forgiven when I cones my sin.

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
    1 John 1:9-10, 2:1-2

    Jesus is the High Priest of our confession.

    No penance. No payment. Paid in full.

  166. act of contrition

    and that my friend is what penance is…an act of contrition! Just as a sacrament is an outward sign of an inner spiritual reality, so is penance, the act of contrition, an outward sign of an inner reality.

  167. And do you think he is actually representative of the whole of the AOG in this? Has he or have they said as much?

    Well… Yes. Because Brian Houston was leader of the AOG and as such is representative of the AOG, especially on this point which was given as a press-release so therefore is an official statement from the organisation.

    You are fundamentally in disagreement with the AOG on a significant area which they have felt important enough to issue a press release on.

  168. Penance is restorative/ Penance is not payment. It is not an instituted debt to be paid.

    When a catholic confesses to a priest, absolution is provided prior to the act of penance…if penance were payment, the contrite person would need to return following the performance of penance in order to receive absolution. However that is not how it works.

  169. And I do not need an earthly mediator, since Christ is the Mediator between men and God.

    The priest is not the mediator of foregiveness, they are simply pronouncing the fact if absolution from God…we sometimes need to here from others that we are foregiven before we can accept it for ourselves.

  170. wazza,
    You are fundamentally in disagreement with the AOG on a significant area which they have felt important enough to issue a press release on.

    Which, even if you were totally correct, means… what?

    I think you’ll find that it is a number of years since Brian was even on he board of the AOG, which isn’t even called the AOG anymore. It has been the ACC for several years.

    But have never been a member of an AOG church, so what are you saying exactly?

  171. But have never been a member of an AOG church, so what are you saying exactly?

    Wazza, you got owned! Asking Steve if he agrees with Brian Houston is like asking him if he agrees with George Pell…he doesn’t come under either of their leadership and so disagree, or agree, it is a moot point!

  172. Greg,
    The priest is not the mediator of foregiveness, they are simply pronouncing the fact if absolution from God…we sometimes need to here from others that we are foregiven before we can accept it for ourselves.


    Why do we need someone to pronounce absolution?

    Why do we need to hear from others?

    It is written. That is all we need to know. We either believe the Word or we don’t.

    The altar and confessional produces a gap of huge proportions between the priest and the people.

    When the curtain was torn in the holy of holies it signified the end of that kind of priesthood and ushered in the High Priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of all believers.

    James tells us we can confess our sins to one another and this brings healing, but that is not talking about either a separate priesthood or men who pronounce absolution.

    We go to the Father on the name of Jesus. His blood washes us clean.

  173. Greg,
    Penance is restorative/ Penance is not payment. It is not an instituted debt to be paid.

    Then there is no point to it.

    If I am forgiven I can walk away without having to do a thing.

    But that is not what Catholicism teaches. it calls penance a sacrament, which is catholicese for a ceremonial necessity imposed by a third party with authority to do so which imparts grace.

    But grace, as I have said, is not earned, or paid for, or deserved. It is offered and given.

    Grace is totally the at the discretion of the Giver. Our only part is to receive. The only way to receive grace is by faith.

    Therefore there is no necessity for a sacrament of anything.

  174. Why? It did not belong to the thief. It still belongs to the owner. Then it should be restored to the rightful owner. The thief has no right to it unless the owner forfeits it willingly. If the thief is converted by grace through faith, their conscience will tell them that the goods stolen no longer belong to them and will return them with an apology, and take any secular repercussions on the chin if they have broken the civil law.

    That is not penance. That is repentance.

    Now the original meaning of penance was, in latin, ‘to be sorry’, but through time it had payments attached to it and the meaning shifted, as words often do. This is what the RC church did at the height of its power, and is one of the many things which offended men like Huss, Luther, Tynedale and Wycliffe, and others.

    The Vatican catechism is very good on justification, and close to reality on grace, but it is all the indescribably frustrating add-ons which corrupt this potentially wonderful institution.

    If only they would go by their own doctrine o justification and grace and move away from the glaringly unbiblical extras they would change the world for immense good.

    I think that is what Brian is actually saying, reading between the lines of his statement.

  175. So during your Lenten season you will be applying the doctrines of justification and grace and not the sacrament of penance, which is rendered unnecessary by justification and grace, then?

  176. One of the problems with RC doctrine is the teaching that we are justified by God but we can sanctify ourselves through works.

    But it is God who justifies, and God who sanctifies, and God who glorifies. It is all of Him, through Him and by Him.

    We are merely the recipients of grace.

    And it is all because of Christ, the cross, and the resurrection.

    How blessed we are, indeed!

  177. Boom!!!
    Wazza, you got owned! Asking Steve if he agrees with Brian Houston is like asking him if he agrees with George Pell…he doesn’t come under either of their leadership and so disagree, or agree, it is a moot point!

    Well it shows that Steve is in fundamental disagreement with the leadership of a major part of the Pentecostal movement in Australia.

    If the point is moot, why cant Steve say whether he is in disagreement or agreement on this?

    Let your yes be a yes, and your no be a no

  178. I have given you my yeah and nay on this, wazza. Misquoting scripture won’t move me a inch.

    Actually Jesus wasn’t saying we’re in a courtroom with a lawyer who demands only a yes or no answer.

    He was saying that if we say something and mean it then we should stick to it and be consistent with it.

    I had this same discussion with Zorro and Jake, who are both very legalistic in their approach, and often misquote scripture to suit there ends.

    I have told you that I disagree with a few things that Brian says.

    I put it to you that your problem is that you want to make him and Phil into popes of their clans who demand that their adherents do exactly war they say or they will be excommunicated.

    Well, first of all, we are not ‘their’ adherents, but followers of Christ. We are at liberty to disagree with certain things if we want. Each church is autonomous. In my experience the leadership is approachable. They have never claimed to be infallible, or to prone to mistakes or the untouchable anointed of God, but rather, men and women with human frailties saved by grace and called to lead with shaking knees bowed God. I know they pray a lot, as you do when you have been given a big job by God which affects large numbers of people.

    Most of their critics have little responsibility and less to lose for being vainly anonymous, so they feel free to condemn with no consequences.

    So, I am free within the movement God has placed me to have a different opinion of how things work in the Word. I tend to agree with most of what we are seeking to accomplish so it’s not much of an issue. The rest I work through with a good attitude towards those who have to give account before God for me. As long as I am not trying to split churches or rock boats we all get on famously.

    I think you’re looking for the wrong kind of gotcha.

  179. Well that gives you a flexibility that members of traditional churches don’t have.

    Ie. you can be part of a wider movement when you want to claim to be part of their successes. Eg “Hillsong church has astonishingly Powerful Global influence”

    On the other hand, if they ever say anything you disagree with or – heaven forbid – they have a scandal, you can say that you are not under their leadership.

    You pay out other churches who you say have wrong doctrine, implying that Pentecostal churches have correct doctrine. But then you are free to disagree with any of that doctrine that you wish, and still be Pentecostal.

    So when Brian Houston or the AOG says that we should honour the Pope, you feel no difficulty at all in disagreeing and saying some of the most disrespectful things its possible to say to a Christian. You dont see that as rocking the boat at all.

  180. Here’s an interesting comment from a Catholic who believes in the Assumption of Mary from a scientific point of view.

    I believe it (the Assumption) because of scripture and science, and frankly, for me science has the edge in the argument, because of microchemerism. I’ve written about this these past four years; learning that every child leaves within his mother a microscopic bit of himself — and that it remains within her forever — made the dogma of the Assumption a no-brainer for me.

    So Mary, still had God cells inside of her.

    How could her body then decay if Jesus was incorruptible?

  181. I’m at a disadvantage here, wazza, because you know which movement I’m part of, but I don’t know where you are serving. Therefore, you can make assessments about what I should or shouldn’t do, believe, agree with or submit to, and I am unable to make the same assessments with you.

    But your judgment is flawed on a number of levels. If you hadn’t noticed, I take quite a lot of flack for being a Pentecostal and attending C3. I have also taken flack, especially from you for having a perceived position within a church, which it have never confirmed or denied.

    So you judge anyway.

    I have never been a member of an AOG church so why shouldn’t I have as much right to an opinion about what they say as anyone. In fact, I was responding to your question, otherwise I would probably have given it no thought at all.

    There are many streams within Pentecost. Why would I agree with all or any of them on all or everything?

    You are, for some reason, attempting to box someone into a space you probably don’t inhabit yourself.

    Even in the movement I am part of there is a variety of influences and theological perspectives. We are actually free to search the scriptures for ourselves and test whether something taught lines up with the word. We are regularly encouraged to do this, and, in fact, warned that if we don’t do this we are being irresponsible.

    Maybe you’ve never experienced this level of liberty, but don’t let your need for a controlled environment interfere with the grace on us to be free in Christ.

    Much of what you read in biased ‘discernment’ blogs is so far removed from the truth that it is laughable. They are run by legalists who want to bind Christians to their limited understanding of faith. They make no allowance for the fact that God chooses the weak, base and imperfect as vessels of his glory. That way he is glorified and not man.

    When you find the perfect church with perfect leaders, let me know, so that I can come and join you.

  182. Wow! I laid down five clear heresies in catholic doctrine and no response from the Catholics here. Except Bones adds another for which he can find no scripture.

    Mary, he says, never went a grave, and was immediately raised in a glorified body before all other saints.

    So where is she, Bones. At the right hand or the left hand of the Son.

    And where is the scripture for this?

    I say she died and was buried, is sleeping in Christ and awaiting the resurrection of the saints. I have plenty of scripture for this.

    If you can find any to support your claims, I’ll watch with interest. If there is none, you have just reminded us of another heresy.

  183. Enoch I have scripture for. Elijah I have scripture for.

    So where is the scripture on Mary’s assumption?

    Still waiting!

  184. To save us the trouble of messing around with half-baked theories, you can’t give me scripture an assumption of Mary, because there is none.

    But here’s the real deal.

    Why do you need Mary to have this assumption?

    Why do you need Mary to have an immaculate conception?

    Why do you need Mary to have sinless perfection?

    Why do you need Mary to be called the mother of God?

    Why do you need Mary to be made mediatrix?

    There is no reason nor rhyme to this. It is jiggery-pokery. It is senseless religious superstition. It is the elevation of Mary above her station by men who have left the texts of scripture to create false doctrines and bind people to their religion.

    Mary is highly regarded amongst women because she gave birth to our Saviour. But she is, otherwise, no different to all women.

    Mary was born like every other infant, innocent until she sinned.

    Then she was a sinner like all of us, in need of a Saviour, even when she conceived, carried and gave birth to Jesus.

    She was saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ after He was resurrected, after the cross.

    She died and was buried and sleeps in Christ until the coming of Christ for the Church.

    Then she will be raised first because she is amongst those who sleep in Christ.

    Then we who are alive will be raised with them and forever be with Him.

    That is the truth. That is scripture. That is true doctrine.

  185. Nice deflection. Subject change et al.

    Where is Mary?

    Greg, I don’t think that is exactly ownership. It is a good point, but evades rather tha explains. You are not an unbiased judge in this, anyway.

    Have you a skerick of Biblical evidence to support the five Marian errors I have exposed as heresy?

    Sorry, the four I put up originally and the fifth Bones added, which he feels safer on but still hasn’t proven.

    Regardless, I know you have not a shred of Biblical evidence or you would already have produced it. Your obfuscation is the most clear evidence of all.

    Five heresies. All proven to be heresies.

    I think that is ownership.

  186. you can’t give me scripture an assumption of Mary, because there is none.

    Nor of the Trinity or the deity of Christ or the rapture.

    There’s no scriptural basis for maths either.

    So are Elijah and Enoch in heaven?

    She died and was buried and sleeps in Christ until the coming of Christ for the Church.

    What’s the scriptural basis for that?

  187. There is heaps of Scripture on the Godhead, on the deity of Christ, and on the catching up of the Church. Hence the doctrine.

    Literally none on the assumption of Mary.

    It is pure assumption!

  188. Unless there is scripture to state otherwise, the following applies to Mary.

    Hebrews 9:27-28
    And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

  189. How can anyone be the mother of God? God is eternal. The Preexistent One. Mary is the mother of the son of God, the Word who was made flesh.

    She could not have brought God into existence, since God the Word preexisted eternally. She carried the Word, who is the promised Seed. The Eternal Seed Word of God impregnated the seed of the woman.

    That is a mystery and a sign.

    She was the mother of the Saviour of the world, but not of God.

    She was the means by which God entered the world as man to fulfil righteousness, but she was not mother of God.

    That is a title added to give credence to a mother goddess cult.

  190. Philippians 2
    5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
    6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
    7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
    8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    1 Timothy 3
    16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

    John 1
    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

  191. That’s exactly right, and so if he was God, even in Mary’s womb, Mary gave birth to God as Man…no one suggests that Theotakos actually means that Mary ‘created’ God in any fashion. But she was the mother of God, otherwise you are saying Jesus wasn’t God!

  192. That explanation Steve, is classic modalism….either the trinity exists as one being, 3 in 1, or there is no trinity and Jesus is not God, but just the son of God! We worship one God, not 3!!!

  193. Mary herself refutes the claim that she could be mother of God.

    And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

    For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.

    He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
    Luke 1:46-55

    So Mary knows God before she gives birth to Christ. She is not referring to the Son, but to the Father.

    Erroneously the RC church calls Mary the ‘Exterminix of Heresy’ because they invented the argument that Marty was Mother of God to argue against the Nestorians who claimed Mary could only be mother of Christ, not mother of God, but also denied the deity of Christ in so doing.

    The idea that Mary was mother of God had already entered their logic, so this was a prime excuse for pressing the case whilst eliminating the error that denied the deity of Christ.

    However, Mary could not possibly give birth to God, only the Seed of God. She carried the Word made flesh, who is Christ, but she did not bear God as if God was thus then formed from Mary.

    For a start we know that God is Spirit, but Mary, a sinner, could not have given birth to the Spirit. We know that God existed as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit without beginning and without end, eternal in the heavens.

    Catholics claim a logical syllogism, whereby two seeming contradictory points can be formed into one conclusion, but it would be more pertinent and Biblical to come to the resolution of a seeming conundrum that Mary is not the mother of God, but of Jesus, the Word made flesh, and the carrier of the Son, not the God-bearer.

    The Eastern Orthodox churches attributed the name ‘Theotokos’, ‘God-bearer’, whereas the Catholic and Anglican traditions used ‘Mother of God’, but all have the same roots in the blasphemy name of ‘God-bearer’ which was also attributed to goddess cults, found in almost all ancient cultures, i.e., Ceres, Cybele, Semiramis, Asherah, Pachamama, Juno, Minerva, Dea Matron, Durga, and hosts of others all representing the same cultic mother who bore a saviour son, and by some called ‘Queen of Heaven’, which is why it is a dangerous term to issue before those who do not have a strong Biblical understanding.

    Although some of the Orthodox and Catholic traditions claim that the ‘Mother of God’ attribution to Mary is not ‘Mother of God Eternal’, this is not made plain to those who do no have understanding. It could be amplified to ‘Mother of God Incarnate’, which would then refer to Christ, but it would still not be accurate to scripture. However, this term is not frequently used even if it is, in some quarters, meant.

    The problem here is that, in the gradual deification of Mary, it has been deemed relevant to give a title to Mary, whereas, in reality, she has already, in scripture, been given the recognition as being ‘blessed amongst women and highly favoured’, which is designation enough. We do not need to add ‘theotokos’ or ‘christotokos’ as an appellation. She has all she needs.

  194. Greg, you’re splitting hairs and confusing yourself. You know it is neither logical nor possible for Mary to have been the mother of God. It is an epithet added by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches to elevate Mary above her station. It is pure idolatry.

    You cannot make God the Father separate from God the Son in the birth of God, which is what you are saying if Mary was the mother of God.

    That is much closer to your claim of modalism than to say that God the Word was preexistent to the Word made flesh is, therefore modalism.

    God was not born. He was already the Word. He was made flesh through the seed of the woman.

    What we are discussing is termed by catholics a logical syllogism, whig is only so if you seek to undermine the truth and come up with an illogical conclusion, but then they take the wrong turn anyway and head for the ‘theotokos’, ‘God-bearer’, instead of the more Biblical mother of Christ.

    No one is denying the deity of Christ,nor the eternal nature of God the Son, who s also God the Word. It is this eternal nature which makes the notion that Mary could be mother of God mute.

  195. By the way, Bones, the Eastern Orthodox churches teach that Mary died and sleeps in Christ. They do not celebrate the Assumption of Mary, like Catholics, but the Dormition of Mary.

    The only problem is that they believe Mary died, her soul received to Christ, and she was raised to heaven on the third day after her death in pre-emption of the resurrection of the saints.

    Where they get this stuff is anyone’s guess.

    Maybe you’re getting your theologies confused.

  196. And you really don’t want to get into pope Pius XIIs ‘Dogmatic Declaration’ and the attempted scriptural basis for his ‘infallible’ dogma, now binding on all Catholics. You really don’t. I should drop it if I were you.

  197. By the way, Bones, the Eastern Orthodox churches teach that Mary died and sleeps in Christ.

    Orthodox teach that Mary died and was resurrected on the third day.

    The Dormition of the Mother of God (Greek: Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου, Koímēsis Theotokos often anglicized as Kimisis, Slavic: Успение Пресвятия Богородици, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of Mary, the mother of Jesus (literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven.

    The Orthodox Church specifically holds one of two Roman Catholic alternative beliefs, teaching that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven when the apostles, miraculously transported from the ends of the earth, found her tomb to be empty.[4]

    While some Roman Catholics agree with the Orthodox that this happened after Mary’s death, others hold that she did not experience death and she was “assumed” into heaven in bodily form, just as her son Jesus ascended. However, Pope Pius XII alludes to the fact of her death at least five times, but left open the question of whether or not Mary actually underwent death in connection with her departure, in his Apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus (1950), which dogmatically defined ex cathedra (i.e., infallibly) the Assumption.

    On 25 June 1997 during a General Audience Pope John Paul II affirmed that Mary did indeed experience natural death prior to her assumption into Heaven, stating:

    It is true that in Revelation death is presented as a punishment for sin. However, the fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality. The Mother is not superior to the Son who underwent death, giving it a new meaning and changing it into a means of salvation. Involved in Christ’s redemptive work and associated in his saving sacrifice, Mary was able to share in his suffering and death for the sake of humanity’s Redemption. What Severus of Antioch says about Christ also applies to her: “Without a preliminary death, how could the Resurrection have taken place?” (Antijulianistica, Beirut 1931, 194f.). To share in Christ’s Resurrection, Mary had first to share in his death. The New Testament provides no information on the circumstances of Mary’s death. This silence leads one to suppose that it happened naturally, with no detail particularly worthy of mention. If this were not the case, how could the information about it have remained hidden from her contemporaries and not have been passed down to us in some way? As to the cause of Mary’s death, the opinions that wish to exclude her from death by natural causes seem groundless. It is more important to look for the Blessed Virgin’s spiritual attitude at the moment of her departure from this world. In this regard, St Francis de Sales maintains that Mary’s death was due to a transport of love. He speaks of a dying “in love, from love and through love”, going so far as to say that the Mother of God died of love for her Son Jesus (Treatise on the Love of God, bk. 7, ch. XIII-XIV). Whatever from the physical point of view was the organic, biological cause of the end of her bodily life, it can be said that for Mary the passage from this life to the next was the full development of grace in glory, so that no death can ever be so fittingly described as a “dormition” as hers.”[5]

    Both views agree that she was taken up into heaven bodily. The specific belief of the Orthodox is expressed in their liturgical texts used of the feast of the Dormition.[4]

  198. The Eastern Orthodox churches attributed the name ‘Theotokos’, ‘God-bearer’, whereas the Catholic and Anglican traditions used ‘Mother of God’, but all have the same roots in the blasphemy name of ‘God-bearer’ which was also attributed to goddess cults, found in almost all ancient cultures, i.e., Ceres, Cybele, Semiramis, Asherah, Pachamama, Juno, Minerva, Dea Matron, Durga, and hosts of others all representing the same cultic mother who bore a saviour son, and by some called ‘Queen of Heaven’, which is why it is a dangerous term to issue before those who do not have a strong Biblical understanding.

    Well that is just complete and utter crap unless you think Christ Himself is of pagan origins.

    It is a dishonest, lazy, imbecilic statement without a shred of evidence.

    Which is pretty much par for the course.

  199. But hey C3 accept Bill Johnson who claimed that Jesus did His miracles as a man, not God.

    What sort of warped thinking is that?

  200. Of course, Bones, your argument has been blasted so far out of orbit that you now have to attempt a swipe at me by changing the subject from the error of the mother of God heresy and assumption assumption, mainly because you are struggling to come up with one single confirming scripture for the five heresies pointed out on tis thread.

    No, not even struggling. You know the game is up. There is no Biblical evidence for any of it.

    The claim by Greg, which you joined in with, was that I was wrong to say the RC church was burdened with heresies and had no desire to change them, remove them or revise them.

    I have shown this to be true and you and he have failed to demonstrate a single shred of Biblical evidence for any of them.

    If you are now going to shift your attention to something completely different I shall claim my charges a fait accompli.

  201. At least Greg has said he does’t support the four other heresies, and only holds to the mother of God teaching.

    But the problem I have with his is, if he agrees the other claims I made are correct, why did he challenge me in the first place?

  202. O come on, Bones. That is preposterous.

    If you think I’m owned, could you please out up the scripture and verse you gave for the following:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

    Thank you.

  203. But the problem I have with his is, if he agrees the other claims I made are correct, why did he challenge me in the first place?

    Just because you disagree with a teaching doesn’t mean it’s heretical eg adult/infant baptism.

    That’s probably hard for you to understand.

    I personally am not into heretical labels given the millions of interpretations and beliefs that abound and given that ALL will be with God anyway.

    The teachings I object to are those which prey on people eg hell, prosperity doctrine.

  204. But just to correct Steve’s lies that the title Mother of God/ theotokos is a pagan derivative which he can’t substantiate for it is borne not of scholarship or a search for truth but out of vindictiveness and prejudice.

    Mary: Mother of God

    Fundamentalists are sometimes horrified when the Virgin Mary is referred to as the Mother of God. However, their reaction often rests upon a misapprehension of not only what this particular title of Mary signifies but also who Jesus was, and what their own theological forebears, the Protestant Reformers, had to say regarding this doctrine.

    A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic matter for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

    Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism, the valid form of which has been recognized by classical logicians since before the time of Christ.

    Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

    To avoid this conclusion, Fundamentalists often assert that Mary did not carry God in her womb, but only carried Christ’s human nature. This assertion reinvents a heresy from the fifth century known as Nestorianism, which runs aground on the fact that a mother does not merely carry the human nature of her child in her womb. Rather, she carries the person of her child. Women do not give birth to human natures; they give birth to persons. Mary thus carried and gave birth to the person of Jesus Christ, and the person she gave birth to was God.

    The Nestorian claim that Mary did not give birth to the unified person of Jesus Christ attempts to separate Christ’s human nature from his divine nature, creating two separate and distinctpersons—one divine and one human—united in a loose affiliation. It is therefore a Christological heresy, which even the Protestant Reformers recognized. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin insisted on Mary’s divine maternity. In fact, it even appears that Nestorius himself may not have believed the heresy named after him. Further, the “Nestorian” church has now signed a joint declaration on Christology with the Catholic Church and recognizes Mary’s divine maternity, just as other Christians do.

    Since denying that Mary is God’s mother implies doubt about Jesus’ divinity, it is clear why Christians (until recent times) have been unanimous in proclaiming Mary as Mother of God.

    The Church Fathers, of course, agreed, and the following passages witness to their lively recognition of the sacred truth and great gift of divine maternity that was bestowed upon Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord.


    “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).


    “[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    Gregory the Wonderworker

    “For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David” (Four Homilies 1 [A.D. 262]).

    “It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’” (ibid., 2).

    Peter of Alexandria

    “They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs” (The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria [A.D. 305]).

    “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).


    “While the old man [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 [A.D. 305]).

    “Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. . . . Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid., 14).

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    “The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness” (Catechetical Lectures 10:19 [A.D. 350]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “Though still a virgin she carried a child in her womb, and the handmaid and work of his wisdom became the Mother of God” (Songs of Praise 1:20 [A.D. 351]).


    “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?” (The Virgins 2:2[7] [A.D. 377]).

    Gregory of Nazianz

    “If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead” (Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 [A.D. 382]).


    “As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing” (Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]).

    “Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God” (Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 [A.D. 409]).

    Theodore of Mopsuestia

    “When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation” (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]).

    Cyril of Alexandria

    “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]).

    “This expression, however, ‘the Word was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh” (First Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “And since the holy Virgin corporeally brought forth God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh” (Third Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema” (ibid.).

    John Cassian

    “Now, you heretic, you say (whoever you are who deny that God was born of the Virgin), that Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be called the Mother of God, but the Mother only of Christ and not of God—for no one, you say, gives birth to one older than herself. And concerning this utterly stupid argument . . . let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God” (On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius 2:2 [A.D. 429]).

    “You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God, then, who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if he is God, as he certainly is, then she who bore God is the Mother of God” (ibid., 2:5).

    Council of Ephesus

    “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).

    Vincent of Lerins

    “Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ” (The Notebooks 12[35] [A.D. 434]).

  205. Bones, you’re acting like the kid who concedes a few goals with his football so makes up new rules about goal scrolling so he’s less likely to concede.

    Of course these dogmas are heretical. They elevate a person above their station. They point people to Mary not Christ. They devalue the cross. They are error, and need to be revised.

    The heretical nature is effected by the declaration that they are dogmas. It’s not like a teaching or a doctrine which can have more than one interpretation. These are dogmas, which, if you do not believe them you can be excommunicated, or your rebuttal considered anathema.

    Declaring a dogma is a serious issue if you are a Catholic. It is binding. That is what makes it heretical.

    The only heresy I have raised which is not yet a dogma is the doctrine that Mary is media trip, which has a groundswell of support at the very highest levels in the RC church to be made into the next dogma.

    The brief paragraph I wrote about the ‘god-bearer’ in idolatry is an opinion, but an educated one, and, if you like, a warning based on historical evidence of mother goddess cults, some of which are named in scripture, particularly Asherah, Semiramis, and the Queen of Heaven, so I am hardly telling a lie. God himself warns us against such idolatry.

    It is a known fact that the RC church adapted some of the mother goddess cult worship in places they sent missionaries to by replacing the local idols with an effigy of Mary, which, to this day, is paraded down streets on the various days when these idols were worshipped.

    There is one very near you in Innesvale, in fact, held annually, where a statue of Mary is paraded down the streets and the local population, mostly Catholic, pour money at it.

    Having an opinion is not tantamount to lying. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it is not a lie. A lie is a deliberate deceit. I am not trying to deceive anyone. If you do not accept it and want to challenge it the onus is on you to produce a rebuttal, but merely calling a person with a contrary opinion a liar is banal.

    The truth is that you are wobbling in your defence of what are clearly heretical dogmas so you have resorted to false accusations.

    Still not one single scripture or verse to show that these five dogmas are not heresy.

    Not one.

  206. Let me give you an example of what I am saying in regard to your charge that I am a liar.

    You quote from, and article which I read through when I was researching what Catholics say about Mary as mother of God, so I was familiar with it.

    It says several things I disagree with. It has several arguments which are not born out by scripture. One of them, on the logical syllogism claim, I refuted earlier on the thread.

    His argument is that when the are two seemingly contrary understandings of an issue one can take what one sees as the most likely and attribute both to it. On that basis he has therefore declared Mary as mother of God. My point is that the is far more scripture which refutes this likelihood than there is which could confirm it.

    So we have two opinions. Mine and his.

    Using Bones’ logic that having a different opinion to his makes a person a liar, and therefore makes the whole of the argument a lie, I could make the charge that the writer of this article is therefore a liar, and everything he has written around it is a lie.

    This is such a preposterous argument that I am wondering if Bones is so desperate not to be wrong about something that he is prepared to start a fight over it by making false accusations.

    If Bones is going to set a standard that having a different opinion is a lie, he is making everyone a liar.

    Well that would be the first biblical thought he’d have come up with this thread, since scripture says, ‘let all me be liars, but God is true’,

  207. So we have two opinions. Mine and his.

    I use evidence to inform mine.

    Including 2000 years of writings from the Early Church.

    Mary is the Mother of God is a christological and theological fact.

    You have….Hislop and his derivatives and their lies.

    Unlike you I’m not worried about being wrong. To you, being wrong will result in your eternal damnation.

    And Steve will start his mantra of loving Catholics yet believing abject lies about them. Lies promoted by virulent anti-Catholics (the original discernment ministries – oh how ironic given the bleating about them on here by one).

    Makes you want to vomit.

  208. Mary is the mother of Christ.

    The whole of Christianity agrees.

    She died, was buried, and awaits the catching up of the Church at the resurrection, when Christ will come for the saints.

    That is knot opinion. That is Scripture.

    My opinion had nothing to do with that part of the conversation.

    My opinion was in regard to the goddess cults.

    On the Scripture I have no doubt.

    You have no evidence from scripture.

    I have never lied to you.

    I have told you the truth as it is revealed in Scripture.

    If you had any scripture to show us you would have done so.

    You have none so you have sought to insult, detour and generate false arguments.

    Show me the scripture and I will reconsider my position.

  209. I think you need to calm down, Bones. I have never mentioned Hislop. I wouldn’t in front of you. You would wet your pants with anger.

    I don’t care if you find any number of church fathers, sisters, uncles and aunties. If they cannot give scripture they are in error.

    The Trinity has scripture. The deity of Christ has scripture. The deity of the Holy Spirit has Scripture. The cross has scripture. The resurrection has scripture. The new birth has scripture. Salvation by grace through faith has scripture. That’s why we believe them.

    You have none for these Marian dogmas.

    John said test every Spirit. I am testing this against the Word. I am asking you for proof, because I can find none. I am being Berean. I am searching scripture for evidence of these dogmas, but personally find none. I am asking you to show us.

    That is a reasonable request, but your proof is falling well short so far.

    Where is the scriptural evidence for the following:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  210. “That is knot opinion”

    I agree, it is twisted and designed to tie something up so that it cant be questioned.

    The greek is Theotokos, God Bearer = the idea is that Christ was fully God even in the womb. Its emphasises Christ’s divine nature.

  211. You have no evidence from scripture.

    Mary gave birth to Christ who was God = theotokos (God bearer)

    Mary Mother of God from Scripture

    Tim Staples explains how the title Mother of God has it’s foundation in Scripture. It all goes back to the story of the Visitation when Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord.”

    First, when Elizabeth “exclaimed with a loud cry… why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me” (Luke 1:42-43), Mary was revealed to be the New Testament Ark of the Lord. Elizabeth’s words make this clear as they hearken back to a text from II Samuel 6:9 wherein David exclaims concerning the Old Covenant “ark of the Lord:”
    And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”

    If this one parallel leaves you unconvinced, there are more that may tip the scale for you. St. John the Baptist “leaped for joy” at the salutation of Mary (Luke 1:44), just as King David “danced before the Lord” in the ark of the Lord in II Samuel 6:14. Moreover, Mary “remained with [Elizabeth] for three months (Luke 1:56),” just as “the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededom the Gittite for three months” in II Sam. 6:11.

  212. “That is knot opinion”

    How incredibly apt.

    Talk about twisting theology and scripture. Just because the Catholics might be right. (Oh and the Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, Reformed).

    There’s no doubt that what Steve has said has been declared heretical. You cannot divide Christ the man from Christ the God.

    That makes Steve a heretic.

    (btw some JWs were just here. They agree with you)

  213. Bones,
    Unlike you I’m not worried about being wrong. To you, being wrong will result in your eternal damnation.

    What on earth does that even mean?

    The issue of opinion I gave you had nothing to do with the five marian dogmas. On that I am certain. I do not have an opinion. I have scripture, which denies any of them. They are all heresy. None is essential to anything to with Christ or Christianity. None.

    The issue of opinion was trying to explain why your source was wrong to assume Mary as mother of God from his logical syllogism claim. That was all. You have twisted this explanation. I’m sorry I gave it to you as it seems to have gone over your head.

    Never mind.

    I do not fear eternal damnation because I have been born again, Bones. I am a saint of the Most High God. Jesus saved me at the cross. It’s not a matter of being wrong or right about an opinion. It’s matter of being right before God.

    This is a blog, Bones, not a shooting gallery.

    Having a discussion with someone like you is like being bashed over the head with a four by two for having a belief which challenges your own.

    If I’m wrong I’m wrong. But I’m no liar, despite what you say.

    If you can’t give the scripture I ask for, then just be honest and say so. If you’re not afraid to be wrong, I am not going to hold anything against you for saying you don’t know.

    I just want to know why you are so certain you are right when you can’t show me scripture.

    I’m afraid the heresies stand unless you can prove otherwise.

  214. When Elizabeth called Mary, “Mother of my Lord.”, these were Jews who believed in one God. Not Triune Christians.

    But yes, Elizabeth was actually a pagan member of the Mother of God cult.

    You know it makes sense.


  215. Mother of the Lord, yes. Mother of Christ, yes. Mother of God, no.

    By the way, you claimed the vast majority of Christians agree with this. they do not. That is an exaggeration.

    God existed before Mary. She could not be His mother.

    He has no mother.

    She gave birth to the Word made flesh, but he was the Word before he became flesh.

    That is the logical syllogism mentioned by your source. You want Mary to be mother of God because Jesus is God and he was born of the woman to fulfil righteousness. She could not be mother of God because he was preexistent. So you have to make a choice between the two. Is she mother of God, or Mother of Christ who was God before he was born of the virgin?

    The weight of scripture denies that she could be mother of God.

    Accusing me of various things is futile. The only reason you can level the JW accusation is because you see things form the wrong angle yourself.

    You are tripped by your own error, Bones.

    The Catholic priests got to you early and you are good foot soldier for them. I daresay if they asked you to take me out for my ‘heresy’ you would be on the front row right now with a pitchfork and flaming torch.

  216. There is no scriptural reference to theotokos. It is not in scripture. It was created to oppose Nestorius.

    The Greek has meter tou kurion – ‘mother (of) my lord’, not theotokos.

    Jesus is Lord, Bones, Jesus is Lord.

  217. You are floundering now.

    Luke 1:43
    “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?

    Who do Jews consider ‘Lord’?

  218. The Catholic priests got to you early and you are good foot soldier for them. I daresay if they asked you to take me out for my ‘heresy’ you would be on the front row right now with a pitchfork and flaming torch.

    As you would be for Oliver Cromwell who burned Catholics.

    As I said, I’m not into labelling heresies. There’s millions of interpretations and beliefs.

    I’m just using your terms and arguments.

    You’ve already been accused of being a false teacher (heretic) on this thread.

  219. By the way, you claimed the vast majority of Christians agree with this. they do not. That is an exaggeration.

    Well even the Nestorians have recanted.

    Sort of leaves you by yourself.

    A tiny remnant.

    With Margot.

    You two deserve each other.

  220. Re the Assumption in scripture

    Catholics believe the Woman of the Sun (ooh that sounds pagan) in Revelation 12 to be Mary.

    14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

  221. So you still can’t find ‘theotokos’ in scripture.

    You won’t. It’s not there.

    Why am I not surprised. You can’t find mother of God in scripture, only the obvious references to being the mother of Christ and mother of Jesus who is Lord. The utterances in the exchange between Mary and Elizabeth were prophetic.

    The rest you write is just ad hominem.

    The Woman in Revelation 12 is Israel. Catholics make it Mary because they can’t find a reference to her being mother of God anywhere.


    I had in mind the Catholic persecution of Wesley when he was preaching the gospel in England.

    I think you’ll find almost all evangelicals oppose the Mary mother of God heresy for exactly the reasons I have given.

    So, now that you’ve attacked the messenger, can you give any scripture for the following:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  222. The utterances in the exchange between Mary and Elizabeth were prophetic.

    Lol. Took you a while to make that up.

    It’s hilarious watching you squirm.

  223. I had in mind the Catholic persecution of Wesley when he was preaching the gospel in England.

    Did you?

    I had in mind Oliver Cromwell’s hatred of Catholic practices and persecution of Catholics.

  224. Come now, Bones, have you read the passage? It tells us that Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit and spoke with a loud voice, gave the utterance, then Mary responded.

    How else could she know that Mary was the mother of her Lord?

    I’m seated comfortably, thank you.

    The woman in Revelation 12 is Israel then the Church. It has never been a reference to Mary.

    But I’m glad you’ve returned to Revelation as a source of Biblical evidence. it shows some change in your stance.

  225. But you’ll have to explain how the Spirit of God could fill Elizabeth an give her an utterance when God was in Mary’s womb.


    John 1
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2 He was in the beginning with God.
    3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

  226. I think you’ll find almost all evangelicals oppose the Mary mother of God heresy for exactly the reasons I have given.


    Evangelicals and the Mother of God

    The third title of Mary to consider is Theotokos, the “God-Bearer,” a title for Mary as the Mother of God. Evangelicals can and should join Catholics in celebrating the Virgin Mary this way. In the Reformation, Calvin (unlike Luther and Zwingli) balked at the title Mother of God but not at the doctrinal truth it was intended to convey. Barth, however, was faithful to the deepest intention of Reformed Christology when he acknowledged that Mother of God is “sensible, permissible, and necessary as an auxiliary Christological proposition.”

    Although the conceptual genesis of Theotokos is very early-Ignatius of Antioch can say “Our God, Jesus Christ, was carried in Mary’s womb” (Ephesians 18:2), the debates leading up to the Council of Ephesus were not concerned in the first instance with the status of Mary but rather with the unity of divinity and humanity in her son. The Church was right to reject Nestorius’ preferred title for Mary, Christotokos, “mother of Christ,” as an inadequate description of Mary’s role in the mystery of the Incarnation. We are not at liberty to construct a merely human Christ, cut off from the reality of his entire person. Then-cardinal Ratzinger aptly sums up this important point in the development of doctrine:

    The Christological affirmation of God’s Incarnation in Christ becomes necessarily a Marian affirmation, as de facto it was from the beginning. Conversely: only when it touches Mary and becomes Mariology is Christology itself as radical as the faith of the Church requires. The appearance of a truly Marian awareness serves as the touchstone indicating whether or not the Christological substance is fully present. Nestorianism involves the fabrication of a Christology from which the nativity and the mother are removed, a Christology without Mariological consequences. Precisely this operation, which surgically removes God so far from man that nativity and maternity-all of corporeality-remain in a different sphere, indicated unambiguously to the Christian consciousness that the discussion no longer concerned incarnation (becoming flesh), that the center of Christ’s mystery was endangered, if not already destroyed. Thus in Mariology Christology was defended.

    Timothy George, an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Convention, is the dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and a member of the First Things editorial board.

  227. How else could she know that Mary was the mother of her Lord?

    ie God.

    Mary is the Mother of God is what Elizabeth is saying.

    Unless you are JW.

  228. Is that your ‘proof’ on evangelicals, Bones? A piece written by a Catholic which is wishful thinking at best. I and already sourced that one earlier, too. It’s a call for evangelicals to become Catholic by a Catholic.

    Look, why not just stop wasting everyone’s tim with all this flapping about and give us Biblical evidence that:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  229. Is that your ‘proof’ on evangelicals, Bones? A piece written by a Catholic which is wishful thinking at best. I and already sourced that one earlier, too. It’s a call for evangelicals to become Catholic by a Catholic.

    Steve continues to lie.

    Timothy George (born 1950) is the dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and has been the dean since the school’s inception in 1988. George teaches church history and doctrine and serves as executive editor for Christianity Today. He is on the editorial advisory boards of The Harvard Theological Review, Christian History and Books & Culture.

    George has served on the Board of Directors of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has written more than 20 books and regularly contributes to scholarly journals. His book Theology of the Reformers has been translated into several languages and is used as a textbook in many schools and seminaries.

    His most recent books are Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? and The Mark of Jesus: Loving in a Way the World Can See (with John Woodbridge) He edited J.I. Packer and the Evangelical Future (Baker 2009) and co-edited the book Our Sufficiency is Of God: Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor (March 2010).

    He is active in Evangelical-Roman Catholic Church dialogue.
    He is also an ordained minister and has been pastor of churches in Tennessee, Alabama and Massachusetts.

  230. Dear, dear, Bones. You simply don’t get it, do you.

    Even your own sources are not saying what you are.

    Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

    Yes, well that is a priest struggling to find a way to say something he can’t Biblically because,as he admits in his won explanation, it is not possible for Mary to be either older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity.

    That is how all Catholics explain this subtle error.

    I don’t think you’ve even realised this yourself and fine headlong into saying Mary is mother of God. She isn’t. She could not be, even by your own source’s admission in the very article you put up for proof.

    Through Mary God the Word became flesh. She was not the mother of Divinity.

  231. Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

    That is exactly correct.

    Mary gave birth to God.

    God was crucified on the tree.

    God defeated death.

  232. Dear, dear, Bones. You simply don’t get it, do you.

    Yes I do.

    You are a liar who tries to discredit others with ad hom attacks like Timothy Green who you wouldn’t know from Adam because he doesn’t fit with your argument.

    I’ve known that for a very long time.

  233. I stand corrected on Timothy George, Bones. I thought the whole site was by one person and referred, in part, to another article I’d read.

    If he says he’s not a Catholic, I’ll take his word for it.

    I’d say, and this is my opinion, mind, that, if he continues in this vein, he will convert within a very short time, and that the dialogue he has had with Catholics has been very well conducted by them because, reading through the article, it is clear that he is more Catholic in his outlook than most Catholics.

    Representative of evangelicals he is not.

    He wouldn’t be a liberal would he?

    If you keep on calling me a liar for making a mistake or having a contrary opinion I will have to let you go, Bones.

    This is a discussion, yet you seem intent on attacking me personally for raising the issue of the Marian dogmas, which was a response to Greg’s challenge on my claims of heresy. The pitchfork remark was a response to your continual accusations against me personally.

    If you can’t discuss this without the personal attacks maybe we should just let it go and come to the conclusion that you do not have any scriptural evidence for:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  234. From anti cultic site (how apt)

    Now there are many instances in the New Testament where ‘Lord’ is used of Christ in what can only be understood as this strong Old Testament sense, ‘the Lord’ who is ‘Yahweh’ or God himself. This use of the word ‘Lord’ is quite striking in the word of the angel to the shepherds of Bethlehem: ‘For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11). Though these words are familiar to us from frequent reading of the Christmas story, we should realize how surprising it would be to any first-century Jew to hear that someone born as a baby was the ‘Christ’ (or ‘Messiah’), and, moreover, that this one who was the Messiah was also ‘the Lord’ – that is, the Lord God himself ! The amazing force of the angel’s statement, which the shepherds could hardly believe, was to say, essentially, ‘Today in Bethlehem a baby has been born who is your Saviour and your Messiah, and who is also God himself.’ It is not surprising that ‘all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them’ (Luke 2:18).

    When Mary comes to visit Elizabeth several months before Jesus is to be born, Elizabeth says, ‘Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ (Luke 1:43). Because Jesus was not even born, Elizabeth could not be using the word ‘Lord’ to mean something like human ‘master.’ She must rather be using it in the strong Old Testament sense, giving an amazing sense to the sentence: ‘Why is this granted me, that the mother of the Lord God himself should come to me?’ Though this is a very strong statement, it is difficult to understand the word ‘Lord’ in this context in any weaker sense.

  235. Hmmm, yes, well, we’ll spare your blushes and not point out the anti-catholic exposes on this same site. Goople on!

    So you still have no scripture on:

    Mary as mother of God.

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  236. The expression ‘my Lord’ comes up on two other occasions in the gospels. one at Luke 20:42-43, where Jesus, quoting the Psalmist, David, Himself is speaking, and giving Himself the title of ‘Lord’ under Almighty God who The LORD (Yahweh)…

    “Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

    The second is when Thomas finally recognises Christ when he views his wounds after he is resurrected and decades, “My Lord and my God”, giving a clear distinction between the two titles, and declaring Jesus as Lord.

    The RC attribution of ‘Mary Mother of God’ did not first appear until 250 AD, in a prayer. It was made a dogma in 351 at the Council of Ephesus.

    This is fairly late in doctrinal terms, and is a quantum leap in the role Mary is given compared to previously where, on one occasion, even Jesus denied her and his siblings.

    The dogma is what I object to.

    If it were a mere doctrine or understanding which Catholics felt was appropriate it could be said to be innocuous. But a dogma goes further than this and takes on equality with Scripture for the Catholic, and, therefore impossible to challenge, since popes were made infallible in 1870, bringing them onto a level with Christ.

    But we are told that the Son is begotten of the Father and not made. He exists and has always existed with the Father and is one substance with the Father and with the Spirit. He is begotten from eternity. He has no beginning and no end. He, the Son, being the Word of God, was not created, nor, then, procreated, but is the maker of all things, since all things were made by Him and nothing that is made was not made by Him. He is preeminent in all things.

    Thus He is the Eternal Son, the Lamb slain from the beginning and the Word.

    He was the Word before He was the Word made flesh. He was the Seed before He was the Seed made flesh. He was the Word who is the Seed implanted by the Holy Spirit in the uterus of the virgin Mary. The Word who is the Seed of God fertilised the seed of the woman and became flesh.

    She bore and gave birth to the Son of God, but she did not bear God as God, for He was already God before He was sown to the seed of the woman.

    I see no necessity or the doctrine. The only reason for the dogma is the absence of scripture. That is always the case with Catholic dogma. If it were scripture with two or three witnesses we would not need dogma.

    Dogma, then, is the poor cousin of Scripture for the Catholic.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this because I do not see you changing. You can make Mary mother of God in your world if you like. I can understand your need to have it for yourself. But it is pointless without the other dogma, being the lead in for the other dogma of Mary. It gives God a beginning, which, scripturally, is anathema, but you can have it for yourself if it helps you.

    Now what about scripture for:

    Immaculate conception of Mary.

    Sinless perfection of Mary.

    Assumption of Mary.

    Mary as Mediatrix.

  237. Incidentally, I do not hold with the folly of Nestorius who created a duality out of Christ. He is man and God. He is the Son begotten of the Father, the Word of God, and the Seed of God. He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. He is the Word made flesh. He is eternal and God.

  238. Some more Eastern Orthodox teaching on Mary for you, Bones. See if you can see a pattern here.

    The details of the celebration of the feast of the Dormition, especially those revealed in its hymns, are based on an apocryphal narrative concerning the circumstances of the death of the Theotokos, which goes back to Saint John the Theologian, the beloved disciple of the Lord in whose care the All-Holy Theotokos had been entrusted.

    The narrative tells us the story, which is beautifully depicted on the holy icon of the Dormition. It tells us that the All-Holy Theotokos was visited by the Archangel Gabriel and foretold about her approaching death; that thereupon the Theotokos returned to her home and prepared for this event, praying at the same time that the Apostles should be notified accordingly. John is said to be the first to arrive in a miraculous way, and then all the rest follow. Finally, the Lord Himself appears in His dazzling divine glory, escorted by a myriad of angels, and takes her all-holy soul, which is wrapped up like a newborn babe in swaddling clothes, into His arms in order to transport it to Heaven.


    Before she departs, the All-Holy Theotokos greets the Holy Apostles and the people, promising that “whichever soul is to call her name will not be put to shame, but will find mercy and consolation, understanding and boldness in this world and the next.”

    Her funeral follows. The holy body of the Theotokos is then taken to a tomb in Gesthemane where it is buried. Yet according to the narrative, on the third day after the funeral, the holy body of the Theotokos was translated to Heaven. The first hymn of the Great Vespers of the Feast sums it all up.

    “O marvelous wonder. The source of life is laid in the tomb, and the tomb itself becomes a ladder to Heaven. Be glad, O Gethsemane, thou sacred abode of the Mother of God. Come, o ye faithful, and with Gabriel to lead us, let us all cry out: Hail, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, granting the world through thee great mercy.”

    Orthodox Christians honor the All-Holy Theotokos as the supreme living icon of the Church, the Mother of all Christians because, as the holy fathers explain in their writings, she is the “New Eve,” the new Mother of Humanity who, through her obedience, reversed the curse, which followed Eve’s disobedience, and brought to the world the “New Adam,” our Savior Jesus Christ, Who restored mankind’s communion with God the Creator.

  239. All of this glorification of Mary is in stark contrast to her own gracious decision to hold things to herself in wonder.

    She is indeed blessed amongst women and highly regarded, but the gradual deification of the mother of our Saviour, which is what this is all about, is out of proportion with even her own expectations.

    As mother of God, it follows she must be called sinless, then she must be perpetual virgin, then she must have an assumption to heaven, unlike her Son, to Ctaholics, deathlessly ascended, to the Orthodox, raised on the third day, like her Son, these things all decided by Catholics and Orthodox dogma.

    Next, there is the very powerful move towards Co-redemptrix, already well advance, then Mediatrix, practically a done deal, and the prix d’honour, Queen of Heaven, which has already been impressed on the Catholic populace by successive popes.

    Many Popes have given tribute to it. Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth, (Pius IX), Queen and Ruler of the Universe (Leo XIII) and Queen of the World (Pius XII). The theological and logical foundation of these titles rests in the dogma of Mary as the Mother of God. As mother of God, she participates in his salvation plan. The Catholic faith teaches that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.
    Ad Caeli Reginam

  240. The RC attribution of ‘Mary Mother of God’ did not first appear until 250 AD, in a prayer…

    Well that’s wrong.


    “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).


    “[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    Like everything else you’ve posted.

  241. Bones, you might love John’s Mystagogy blog, but the point is that the piece I quoted is completely made up doctrine. It isn’t scripture, it is conjecture at best.

    As t the date of the first recorded prayer to ‘Mary mother of God’, I did not use ‘theotokos’ but ‘mother of God’. I took that information from Catholic writings. It is their own information. ‘Theotokos’ came much earlier, from Origen I think.

    This does not authenticate it.

    However, you have just, by your own keyboard, admitted that the earliest you can come up with either is the second or third centuries after Christ.

    This makes it extra-biblical. Non-scriptural. So unscriptural.

    You have admitted it does not show up in the Greek in scripture.

    It was a made-up word to cover a non-biblical doctrine.

    Well, thanks for that, Bones.

  242. So Steve’s posts are so full of errors and fabrications. Let’s examine them.

    1. The Eastern Orthodox churches attributed the name ‘Theotokos’, ‘God-bearer’, whereas the Catholic and Anglican traditions used ‘Mother of God’, but all have the same roots in the blasphemy name of ‘God-bearer’ which was also attributed to goddess cults, found in almost all ancient cultures, i.e., Ceres, Cybele, Semiramis, Asherah, Pachamama, Juno, Minerva, Dea Matron, Durga, and hosts of others all representing the same cultic mother who bore a saviour son, and by some called ‘Queen of Heaven’, which is why it is a dangerous term to issue before those who do not have a strong Biblical understanding.

    That’s just a straight out lie.

    Theotokos is a christological term exemplifying the Deity of Christ.

    2. “You have no evidence from scripture.” of theotokos (Wrong)

    Luke 1:43
    43 And [ad]how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord (ie God) would come to me?

    3. think you’ll find almost all evangelicals oppose the Mary mother of God heresy for exactly the reasons I have given. (Wrong) See post above

    4. Is that your ‘proof’ on evangelicals, Bones? A piece written by a Catholic which is wishful thinking at best. I and already sourced that one earlier, too. It’s a call for evangelicals to become Catholic by a Catholic.

    Falsely attributes an Evangelical as a Catholic stooge because it didn’t fit his argument.

    5. the RC attribution of ‘Mary Mother of God’ did not first appear until 250 AD, in a prayer…

    Which is historically false.

    This isn’t about opinion. These are straight out lies and falsehoods. The Bible is clear about this.

    Proverbs 18:2

    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

    Proverbs 18:6

    A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating

    Proverbs 10:18

    The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

    Revelation 21:8

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    I find it bizarre that you’re allowed to get away with this.

  243. The catholic response to a confrontation of their error has always be to try to make the one making the confrontation go away. Burn them, kill them, imprison them, isolate them, excommunicate them, which was tantamount to complete exclusion from society.

    Here we have the neo-catholic Bones, an odd combination of liberal and catholic, attempting to silence me by a continual stream of verbal abuse, calling me a liar and a heretic, upping the ante at every opportunity, twisting what I say out of proportion, hoping it will cause me to cower under the onslaught of pitchfork tongue lashing. Fascinating.

    He has utterly failed to produce a single verse of scripture which confirms that Mary is mother of God, was immaculately conceived, was sinless perfection, was a perpetual virgin, was granted a deathless assumption, is the media trip, seated alongside the Son of God at the throne of the Almighty.

    I could understand the error of the doctrine of the theotokos, if it were a mere teaching. It is not. It is a dogma, as I have explained on numerous occasions. This makes it the equivalent to Scripture in the canon to a Catholic or Orthodox Church member.

    The reference to the prayer to Mary being first put forward in 250 was from a wickipedia entry on ‘Mother of God’. I made it clear that theotokos came earlier than this, but there is a difference between the meaning of theotokos and that of ‘mother of God’. Theotokos correctly translated means ‘birth giver of the one who is God’. This is almost an acceptable understanding since it doesn’t imply superiority in age to God, which is surely a heresy.

    The concept of Mary as mother of God has been shown to be risky by history. I do not hold to Nestorius’ doctrine because it creates dualism, but he was surely concerned with the developing problem with making Mary mother of God, hence his push to have her called christotokos. I see no need for either.

    Pragmatically, Nestorius and the empower of the day saw an issue with converts from the mother goddess cults coming into Christianity with the concept of theotokos already being advanced.

    I am making conversation. I amputating forward ideas and engaged in a discussion. Calling people liars for having a perspective is beneath contempt really when the issues are not as clear cut as Bones seems to think they are.

    It is reflective of the intolerance of catholic dogmatism.

  244. Bones, quoting my earlier assertion,
    the RC attribution of ‘Mary Mother of God’ did not first appear until 250 AD, in a prayer…

    Which is historically false.

    Bones, I did your homework for you…

    The term “Mother of God” appears within the oldest known prayer to Mary, the Sub tuum praesidium, which dates to around 250 AD and states: “Under thy protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God”.[78] This is reflected in the following statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:[80]

    “From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.”

    This includes an entire list of dogmas put forward by the Catholic Church, followed by proposed dogmas. None have any scripture; basis, which is entirely why they are called dogmas. If there was a scriptural basis for a theology it would not have to become a dogma in the first place.

    I don’t know why you haven’t grasped this yet and realised that you can’t find scripture for it because the Catholics low there s’t any, which is why they created a dogma.

Comments are closed.