Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A little perspective on things like “tone” and “unity”

There has never been “unity” in the church. Especially not the Roman church. Claims for, or appeals for unity, especially when coming from Rome, are simply specious. Here’s something I posted some time ago, under the title “The Spirit of the Roman Church”:

Paul had to caution them in Romans 16: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions [Greek: “dissensions”] and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
The emperor Claudius had ejected “the Jews” from Rome for “fighting” over “Chrestus”. Even in Paul’s day, there was tension. 1 Clement alluded to “jealousies” at the time of Peter and Paul, that led to their deaths.

Throughout the first half of the second century, the Roman church was led by a network of presbyters in a network of house churches, and these presbyters fought among themselves as to who was greatest. I’ve quoted Hermas from “The Shepherd of Hermas as saying, “They had a certain jealousy of one another over questions of preeminence and about some kind of distinction. But they are all fools to be jealous of one another regarding preeminence.”

This fighting continued on and on.

“In 235, two rival bishops of Rome, Pontianus (230-235) and Hippolytus (c.217-235) were exiled from the city by the emperor Maximin 1 because of street fighting between their followers.” (Roger Collins, “Keepers of the Keys of the Kingdom,” pg. 25)

and …

“Because of the house-church system, such rival bishops could co-exist for as long as they had the backing of some of the city’s many Christian groups. But the divisions usually resulted in violent clashes between the partisans of the two claimants, and in all cases the imperial government intervened to end the bloodshed and to send one or both of the rivals into exile, as happened in 235, and would do so again in 306/7 and 308.” (Collins 26)

Note that in 150 they were fighting, and in 235 they were fighting, and in 306-308 they were still fighting. See a pattern? These last two incidents mentioned were during the fierce period of persecution known as “the Great Persecution,” brought on by the emperor Diocletian and continued under his successors, until Constantine.

The pattern continued; as I mentioned, “Pope” Damasus (366-381), “a man of much practical shrewdness and self-assertive energy” (Shotwell and Loomis, pg 595), became pope as his followers “launched an assault on the Julian basilica, seizing control of it after three days of streetfighting. When the backers of Ursinus (Damasus’s opponent) occupied the Liberian basilica, it too was stormed. In the aftermath of the fighting, a neutral contemporary reported that the bodies of 137 men and women were found in the church.” Collins 52, originally reported by Owen Chadwick, “Catholicism and History: The Opening of the Vatican Archives, Cambridge 1978, pgs 110-116).

In this last incident, the killing of the 137 men and women was accomplished by a mob of professional grave diggers, armed with pick axes, hired by Damasus to help himself to “the papacy” as it existed in the fourth century.

Good Pope Damasus is, by the way, a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church.  


  1. Is there a point to this, other than trying to take a stab at the past of the RCC?

    What are you suggesting, or reacting against specifically?

  2. My point would be that people who focus on "tone" (while often excluding substance) really are making a mountain out of a molehill.

  3. And this post has what to do with that point?

  4. Well dang, Mike, it shows how tone now among Christians today is really not so bad, no matter what some people say about it.

  5. You keep going back to this absolutely absurd argument that b/c what we're doing isn't as bad as something else, its ok.

    "I hate Jews, but you know, I never put them in the gas chamber, so its not that bad."

    "I scream at my wife and treat her like a dog, but you know, I've never punched her in the face, so all is well."

    You're "point" is meaningless as its based in a very obvious logical fallacy, let alone is blatantly against the claims of Scripture. I suspect the real point of this post was to take a cheap shot at the history of the RCC. Yes, its messy. No, I'm not supporting or justifying any of it in any way, and I agree with you that all of that stuff you cited about the RCC was wrong. But that has nothing to do with a perspective on tone, or the way you and I are to behave now.

    You, me, the RCC, the PCA, we all have messy pasts. There's no excuse for murder in the RCC's past, and there's no excuse for us to be unloving to people, even if we disagree with them. Sin is sin, comparing "degree" of sin to justify it is not acceptable.

  6. i) Even if there were moral equivalence, moral equivalence won't salvage Catholicism, for Catholicism claims to be the One True Church, uniquely guided by the Holy Spirit, in contrast to Protestant sects. Rome claims to have the true sacraments, real sacramental grace. So it needs to be better than the competition.

    ii) To say Rome has a "messy" past is euphemistic.

    iii) How is Bugay "unloving"? To whom should he be loving? To Stellman, or to Stellman's congregants, who were left in the lurch? Should he be loving to a wolfish shepherd, or to abandoned sheep?

  7. You yourself seem to have a big chip on your shoulder where Bugay is concerned. How loving are *you*? Maybe you need to consider why you're so resentful.

  8. steve, you seem to miss the point, as have most in these discussions... I have zero, ZERO interest in your views on the RCC. Zero. I know my stance on that church, and hate mongering about it only makes the problems worse. People with this holier-than-thou extreme-reformist hammer-people-over-the-head theology, are NOT spreading the kingdom. "Speaking the truth" in the way that is frequently done by people like John (I'm trying not to assume much of you steve, as I've not seen/noted too much of your writing, but it sounds like you're probably in his camp, correct me if I'm wrong) is destroying the church, not building it up. And when I say destroying the church, I don't mean some "good" form of destroying the RCC, I mean destroying the reformed church.

    So, to your first 2 points, no response, not interested, there's plenty of crap on these sites hating on the RCC I could read, or I could go to a theologian that knows how to speak and get an equally true, but vastly more Christ-like description of why the RCC has problems.

  9. To third point, in a word yes. We are called to love our enemies, not just people who agree with us. Even the pagans love their friends. We're called to be loving to ALL people. That doesn't mean don't disagree with them, that doesn't mean neglect the truth, but it does mean that they're to be treated with love and respect, and that the truth you are presenting to them should be presented in THEIR best interests. The hateful way far too many conservatives present the truth is an apostasy.

    Please note an extremely important distinction in my "tone", I'm calling the sin that I see apostate. In no way am I claiming John himself, or any of you yourselves are apostate. Only God can call the sinner apostate, that is for Him and Him alone to judge. Far too often on this site, I see people attacking the person, not denouncing the sin in love for the person. Both are truth, one is self-focused and destructive, one is the way we're called to love our brethren in Christ when we feel they're in error. We're to love our enemies. Where is there anywhere in scripture a call to be hateful towards a person, rather than to lovingly address the person, hating the sin and wanting God's best for the person?

    As for a chip on my shoulder, yes, it is true that I have some baggage that comes to the table with this. Not with John himself, but with that over-zealous, over-intellectual, un-loving presentation that is ever so common in the reformed tradition. Why do I have this baggage? Because I have a similar life story to John... I was born into Catholicism, left the RCC to became reformed, and ended up at a church that many of you would probably support whole heartedly (I won't name what it was, but its a denom I've never seen any of these hardcore conservatives dislike), and became much like John. I was extremely proud and extremely unloving in my zeal to "speak the truth." Like John, for many years as I did this, I only bred contempt and anger among those I was speaking to, many of whom held the same, or at least very similar views. Over many years, and still to this day, I've worked on how I present myself. When I speak, like it or not (in my case I definitely don't like it), I'm representing Christ. I was making a mockery of Him through my words (not b/c they were not true, but b/c they were not spoken in Christ-like manner). So, now I am admittedly sensitive to this type of presentation. I left the above church b/c it was dragging me down. Had I stayed in that culture, the culture I see prevalent here, I'd have probably started to doubt the truth of the claims more myself. How can such arrogant, hateful people really be telling me the truth of the gospel? But, I knew the truth claims to be true, and that there had to be a better place for me, so I ended up in the PCA, where there are at least some churches that do not act this way in general. I can't put words in their mouths, but I'm fairly certain that the leadership of the church John and I attended together, and he still attends, would not approve of the way he says things on here. And let me tell you, they are Godly, Bible believing men.

    1. Mike, I have repeatedly sent Matt and Dave things I've written, and with the one exception I mentioned, they have not said a word to me about it.

    2. What one exception?

      "Not saying a word" is somehow the same as approval? Interesting, I could get all sorts of approvals for things if that's the case...

      I suspect that they, like many others, have just given up fighting about this, or simply not even read the stuff (as noted below). I'm not sure how long I'll bother, but after a while, you tire of trying to explain this to people who have blinded themselves to it. Many of my friends intentionally ignore stuff like this b/c they see no fruit to their time and efforts in trying to make a change. Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it. An example would be our other little spat a while back about politics. I respond when people send me that stuff, if nothing else, to get them to stop sending it to me. Most of my friends simply delete it w/o looking at it. It isn't worth their time to engage someone with such a blindly closed mind. They're probably right more often than not, at least humanly speaking. When they do choose to read it, it doesn't seem to provoke thought/discussion about the material, or incite change, but I hear about how angry it made them. Nothing about the content many times, just how its presented. I've had people ask me to write emails back to people who send stuff out like that on their behalf b/c they don't want to do it, but feel like it should be done (which I've always declined, but thats another story). Interestingly, most of these people have the same basic beliefs as the material they're rejecting. Hmm. But you're right, tone has no effect or relevance as long as you're speaking the truth in pride.

      I, in fact, have been advised by some good friends who have my best interests in mind, to stay away from these blogs, that it will likely do no good and will only get me frustrated. For some reason my conviction right now is that it is worth it, and that I'm supposed to be here. For now. What will become of that, I leave to His hands.

    3. Mike, yes "not saying a word" is the same as saying "I'm not going to micromanage you with my own legalistic rules and impressions". It does not imply they accept everything I say, but it does mean they're not going to be needlessly interfering, either.

    4. This is priceless... you're going to seriously talk about "not needlessly interfering" and "legalistic rules and impressions?" Have you ever looked into a mirror, or read your own writing?

      I'm quickly becoming convinced that there is very good reason they don't bother. But I'm also extremely saddened and ashamed by the face that is being put on Calvinism among other reformed traditions by many people such as yourself John.

      So I'm torn, do I keep fighting for what is right, or do I throw in the towel and say that its not worth my time and aggravation anymore... clearly someone so blinded to this is just not going to see. But then I look back at my life, at my blind ambition, at my hateful past, and see that people didn't give up on me, kept trying, and eventually through God's grace it did set in. So what am I to do?

      What's the "right" answer John?

    5. Mike, I'm not going to tell you what to do.

  10. Anyway, I digress... I do struggle with loving people when they present the gospel like jackasses. I really do. I've made public note of this and apology for it before, and I will again here. There is, however, a big difference between recognizing your sin and working towards change, and being pridefully blind to your sin. I am sorry, that my sin does make me unable to properly love those that I disagree with in this regard. I'm working on it. Note also that I've said this publicly on facebook before John and I engaged at all. I had made my first post that started this whole interaction, and then posted basically this same thing about my struggles/an apology, before John ever replied to me. Indeed before I was even sure that it was the same John. Not sure if this link will work, but you can see it here:

    My "chip," my only real interest in being part of these blogs, is change in that regard. You guys can wax theological all day. I'll stick with the writings of Oz and Zacharias and Sproul, to name a few favorites. They're firm and bold, but don't present themselves this way. I find it particularly interesting that there are tons of people who get upset at John's presentation on these relatively small blogs, but not many who get upset at these much more prominent, very bold speakers of truth. Maybe its in their presentation...

    Maybe people like John (again, not going to assume anything of you steve), possessing a ton of knowledge, could be used in so much greater a capacity in the kingdom if they would only realize this simple (yet very difficult to master) truth.

  11. Michael Cummins6/07/2012 11:22 AM

    “steve, you seem to miss the point, as have most in these discussions... I have zero, ZERO interest in your views on the RCC. Zero.”

    That conjures up the image of a 2-way street.

    “I know my stance on that church, and hate mongering about it only makes the problems worse.”

    That’s boilerplate rhetoric by those who can’t offer a reasonable analysis. So they simply demean those they disapprove of as haters or hate-mongers.

    “People with this holier-than-thou extreme-reformist hammer-people-over-the-head theology, are NOT spreading the kingdom.”

    “Holier-than-thou” is another cliché.

    “To third point, in a word yes. We are called to love our enemies, not just people who agree with us.”

    That’s a hysterical way of casting the issue, as if we regard Stellman as the “enemy.”

    You keep ratcheting up the rhetoric, oblivious to how much you’re projecting your own pent-up rage and bitterness.

    “…but it does mean that they're to be treated with love and respect…”

    Bible writers don’t use respectful language for everyone. In fact, Bible writers sometimes use very disrespectful language.

    “How can such arrogant, hateful people really be telling me the truth of the gospel?”

    You have a lot of anger to work out of your system. You keep lashing out at others in the same breath as you accuse others of lashing out. You need to work on your own issues. Take a break from reading blogs that get you all riled up.

    I didn’t grow up in the Catholic church and I didn’t grow up in the Reformed church. So I’m not emotionally invested in either community.

  12. "they simply demean those they disapprove of as haters or hate-mongers"
    This is simply boilerplate rhetoric for people who want to justify the way they speak. This is the exact thing people say every time you criticize their tone. I have not challenged your content - if I was in disagreement with your content, your statement "might" have truth to it. For the most part, I don't disagree with the content. I disagree with the presentation. This has nothing to do with my ability to offer analysis, it has to do with an objection to the methods employed in that analysis.

    "“Holier-than-thou” is another cliché."
    And your point is? I will step back a bit here and say that this line was inappropriately spoken. I let my anger come through and said content that I believe to be true in a manner that was inappropriate and not helpful. I'm sorry.

  13. "That’s a hysterical way of casting the issue, as if we regard Stellman as the “enemy.” You keep ratcheting up the rhetoric, oblivious to how much you’re projecting your own pent-up rage and bitterness."
    I did not say that, I simply made the statement that we are to love our enemies, our friends, our acquaintances, etc. You assumed that meaning. I would note that most of the way the RCC is talked about on here is directly treating it as the enemy, with a spiteful and rude attitude about it, not interested in their change and redemption, but in the promotion of your own ideas. In other words, its a self-focused condemnation rather than an other-focused or Christ-focused call to repentance. We are called to love the people in the RCC, and to strive for their well being, not just hit them with a hammer of theology that they'll promptly ignore due to the fact that you just hit them with a hammer. As to my "own pent-up rage and bitterness," see above, and other places above, and other sites, where I've freely admitted my struggle with this. You're just projecting it to be much worse than it is, and using it as another diversion technique to avoid actually dealing with the truth content of my sometimes poorly spoken and unnecessarily angry toned words.

    I've entertained your ramblings, your diversions, your accusations of me, your references to the atrocities of the Roman Catholics of the 4th century, and the list goes on. I think I've established that I'm not in disagreement with your theology. Can we please get past these things and can someone please actually address the challenge at hand, rather than diverting attention from it to random other things?

    1. "I would note that most of the way the RCC is talked about on here is directly treating it as the enemy, with a spiteful and rude attitude about it, not interested in their change and redemption, but in the promotion of your own ideas."

      i) You fail to distinguish between Roman Catholic theology and Roman Catholics. Even if you think everyone is entitled to respect, it hardly follows that everyone's ideas are entitled to respect. I'm not called upon to love bad theology.

      ii) You also confuse blogging, which is a pretty anonymous medium of mass communication, with a face-to-face conversation.

      iii) Finally, you fail to distinguish the target. Debaters don't expect to persuade each other. That rarely happens. That's not the objective. Rather, the debate is for the benefit of the audience. To acquaint them with the weaknesses of the opposing argument, and strengths of your own.

    2. i) RCC/RC convo, ignoring as per my previous statements. I agree that the ideas are not entitled to respect nor are you to love bad theology. This does not entitle you to be a prick to the person who believes those things. There is a huge difference

      ii) B/c its more anonymous its ok to be a jackass? What world does that have any logical basis in?

      iii) I am part of the audience: I've stated that I'm not interested in the theological debates, not on this site. The WAY you are debating (to be clear, the "you" refers anyone who post things in this manner I'm fighting against) only shows the weakness of your own side. Many replies have been made to asinine "true" remarks on these blogs, about how well you're message is doing at being an ambassador for the other side. Or about how "with friends like that, who needs enemies" and the like. This is the reaction of the audience. You're making an ass out of your beliefs by presenting them like an ass. The message is completely muted and dismissed by the tone. This, coincidentally, is also why John has to keep asking "why are you making this about me"... you've drawn it that way with your presentation. This kind of presentation is why the church is viewed the way it is by the public. The audience has heard you, hammer-theology types, and they've judged the church as an ass b/c of it.

    3. Michael Cummins6/07/2012 5:10 PM

      "This does not entitle you to be a prick to the person who believes those things."

      Which is your overwrought, tendentious way of framing the alleged issue.

      "B/c its more anonymous its ok to be a jackass? What world does that have any logical basis in?"

      Yet another example of your prejudicial perspective. Your persistent belligerence prevents you from having an honest discussion.

      "I am part of the audience."

      Rational debate can only be directed at reasonable members of the audience, not unreasonable members.

      "This is the reaction of the audience."

      You don't speak for the "audience." You only speak for yourself.

      "You're making an ass out of your beliefs by presenting them like an ass."

      Once again, you're projecting your own unchecked emotionalism onto me.

      "The message is completely muted and dismissed by the tone."

      For immature readers. Dogs respond to "tone." Men should respond to reason.

      "This kind of presentation is why the church is viewed the way it is by the public."

      The church isn't viewed any particular way by the general public. Public opinion is hardly monolithic. To the contrary, public opinion ranges all along the spectrum.

      "The audience has heard you, hammer-theology types, and they've judged the church as an ass b/c of it."

      For some reason, a lot of grown men are emotionally retarded. They take everything personally. They fly into a rage over every real or imagined slight. They have the emotional reflexes of 5th graders.

      But grown men have a responsibility to outgrow that childish attitude and let most things roll off their back like a duck in the rain. For a grown man to constantly feel hurt and offended is a mark of arrested development. A need for parental approval long after a man ought to cut the apron strings.

      I'm not here to coddle or baby grown men. Act your age. Be an adult.

      If you want to guilt-trip someone, try that on your mother. I'm not your mother.

    4. Aaaaand it continues. Diversion and avoidance tactics. Can't answer a simple question, have to turn it into attacks on me.

      I do find in interesting, however, that the way I've presented my arguments has made you not willing to interact. This was a well worth it experiment, you once again just perfectly illustrated my point. The way I presented myself stopped the message from getting through, it turned the focus to me and the message was lost. Hmm, sounds an awful lot like what I've been saying all along. I thought grown men were impervious to this kind of thing, that it should roll off their back like a duck in the rain. Or maybe I just have arrested development. That sounds like a reasonable response to my questions and objections. What was I thinking?

      Thank you, once again, for illustrating perfectly to anyone else reading this who doesn't have their head buried in the sand, blind to reality, just how ridiculous your position is, and how unwilling, or unable(???) you are to respond to a simple question or criticism. Not one of the above "responses" is an intelligent response, just a gut reaction. So much for the reasoned arguments you claim you wanted.

      Though you remain unconvinced, and I remain a dog with the emotional reflexes of a 5th grader, the world should be able to read this and easily see the truth. I hope someday you can as well, I sincerely do.

    5. Your personal psychodrama is not my problem. You need to stop blaming everyone else for your anger-management issues.

      Your transparent emotional blackmail doesn't work with me. And, once again, emotional blackmail is a tactic that children resort to. It's embarrassing to listen to a grown man carry on the way you do. It's too much like the "reality shows" I stumble across when I'm channel-surfing. Roommates throwing furniture, screaming expletives, and bursting into tears. The time is long past due for you to grow up and get over it.

  14. Let me make it very simple with an analogy. Say I have a neighbor (this is fictional, btw, making it up as an example) who is a brother in Christ and is doing nothing with their life... they sit at home, getting fat, watching TV all day, collecting welfare, abusing the system, avoiding church b/c of this, etc etc.

    It is my Christian duty to address this man and his sin pattern. Scripture makes this clear. I propose 2 methods to do so:

    Knock on his door, tell him he is a fat slob and a disgrace, walk away, and congratulate myself on "proclaiming the truth"

    Do the much more difficult thing, the thing that takes care and concern, and more thought as to how to do it, and go over and lovingly come alongside this struggling brother and try to help him through the issues. This method cannot be described accurately to the Tee, as people here seem to be demanding, its kind of organic, has to be felt out in the context, and approached with humility, knowing that you could, w/o God's grace, be in the exact same place. At no point during this do you allow yourself to deny or alter the truth, but you are very thoughtful and deliberate in the way you present that truth, so as to most benefit the hearer.

    Yes, these are obviously not the only 2 options, and they are slight exaggerations to illustrate a point. Please do not divert to this, we all know...

    Which method is what Scripture calls us to? Which method is more effective? Which method is likely to have someone call you a hate monger if you do it? Which method takes the more dedicated, upstanding man (or woman) to accomplish? Which is the higher calling?

    Finally, why is this such a big deal to you guys? I'm not asking you to change your precious truth claims, quite the opposite. I'm glad that there are people out there who have far more knowledge of the history behind these things etc than I do, and are willing to be bold in the truth. I truly am grateful for that aspect of what you are doing. Stand firm in the truth. Since I'm not asking you to change that, which is clearly the most important thing to you guys, why is asking you to state the same truth in a more loving manner such a terrible thing? Why such a negative reaction?

    Trying to be a loving brother, but definitely still ruled in part by my sin nature,

  15. Somehow my first post didn't post again, this time i had it backed up... this was supposed to be the 1st of my replies:

    It's really, really hard for me to understand how you can't see how ridiculous you sound. If I hadn't been there myself, and still struggle with some of the same issues, I don't think I could understand it at all.

    Yes, I do have anger about these things. I've made that clear. I've publicly said that I struggle with it and that I'm trying to change it, even in this very thread. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, this will come through in the way I say things. And I apologized, and will continue to do so, for that.

    You just illustrate my point once again though. You criticize me for the way I say things, as a deflection from actually responding to my points. You are proving that somewhere in there you realize I'm right about the importance of how you present things by applying the same standard I'm asking of you to my words. And you're using it as a deflection in the process. And then you want me to pat you on the back as if you came up with some great insight, you know, b/c I "can't offer a reasonable analysis"? I told you I struggled with anger in this regard ahead of time... What's your point? Sounds pretty similar to "boilerplate rhetoric by those who can’t offer a reasonable analysis"

    I don't care about your RCC views b/c I already know all I care to know about the RCC and what I think is wrong about it. I'm not interested in engaging you or John or anyone on this blog about that, I have better things to spend my time on. It has nothing to do with an ability to offer analysis, it has to do with no intention of offering such analysis b/c I have other interests in mind.

    1. "You just illustrate my point once again though. You criticize me for the way I say things, as a deflection from actually responding to my points."

      There's hardly anything substantive to respond to. It's mainly you stereotyping those you disapprove of, resorting to hyperbolic accusations, and making a big deal about tone.

      "You are proving that somewhere in there you realize I'm right about the importance of how you present things by applying the same standard I'm asking of you to my words."

      No, I'm just pointing out a lack of consistency on your part. That doesn't mean I share your values.

    2. Hmm, surprising... you completely skirted the issue at hand again.

      Yep, you pointed out a lack of consistency that I had already pointed out several times before. Good job picking up on that, and using it to divert attention from the issue yet again. Turns out that people are sinful, ever hear of the concept? Its somewhere in your theology texts. We do things that are not in line with our beliefs sometimes. We're progressing and changing through His grace. Believing that things are always black and white has a funny effect on people. They seem to lose touch with this reality. As a result, they become incapable of admitting when they're wrong, or often even being able to see it. That would rock their whole world of "true" doctrine. So yes, you will be able to pick up inconsistencies in me. You should have also picked up that I'm aware that they're there and trying to do my best in spite of my sinful tendencies. Thanks for being considerate of that, its appreciated...

      Yes, of course it is me mostly making a big deal about tone. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT, which you keep skirting away from. Did you happen to read the title of the post? You seem to be unable to talk about something that you didn't read in a theology book or article or WCF or the like. There is more to life, indeed far more to Christianity, than theology. Are you capable of interacting with anything but theology?

      Why is it that you can't answer the question? That speaks volumes in and of itself. Why don't you respond to the actual issue, the part in my post with the analogy, for example?

      And yes, maybe there is "hardly anything substantive to respond to" in regards to theological debate. No kidding. I stated that I'm not interested in theological debate with you. How about you actually talk about YOU, not theory or concept or the like. Or at least talk about the analogy, that's a good bit less personal, maybe it will be an easier first step.

    3. The "issue" only exists in your mind. I'm not you. Your issues aren't my issues, especially when we're dealing with your purely subjective reaction to things.

    4. If its so clear cut that this whole thing only exists in my mind, then why don't you flex those intellectual giant muscles of yours and prove me wrong? Apparently you can't, all you can do is avoid the real questions. All you can do is make emotional reactions such as those of a 5th grader. Hmm...

      Of course, you have to do that, b/c it seems to be the only way you can justify your actions to yourself amidst the hundreds of other people out there who agree with me (go read John's posts over on Jason's resignation letter, and the many responses to them, which is what started all of this). But you'll just say they're babies, they're reacting with "you're mean" b/c they have no intellectual response, etc. We know the standard denial reactions. You'll justify it to yourself and bury your head in the sand.

      I get it, it is easier to do that than to face yourself and the sin within. I often wish I could do that, but I know that it is reaction driven by pride, not Christ. Maturity requires us to face our own reality, our own depravity, and to place it before Christ. Do it in private if you wish, you don't have to share here, but it is required of you to do so as a follower of Christ.

    5. Mike, you are just whining, and it makes you look bad. It is hard to respond with substance to that. If you want to be an "apologist" arguing that Reformed people should "be nice", come up with some Scriptures that say "be nice all the time", and be prepared to say why it was ok for Paul to want the Judaizers to emasculate themselves, but that it's not ok for us to say that. Go through Luther and Calvin and say "you should always be nice because Luther and Calvin were always kind in their speech". Tell us about Aristotelian methods of rhetoric.

      What you are doing now is more akin to going on a prohibitionist rampage that's like saying, "Football players shouldn't hit or tackle each other because they will get hurt". Do you see what you are doing?

      It looks more like you are a combination of suffering from a bad childhood and now having adopted "the gospel of politically correct".

      You may want to read this:

    6. Michael,

      There's nothing for me to prove wrong when all you talk about is your hurt feelings. Feelings aren't true or false.

      Yes, I've read some of the responses to John over at Jason's blog. No surprise. Not coincidentally, there's a direct correlation between those who agree with Jason and those who praise his "courage" and "integrity." They approve of him because they approve of his theological shift. Catholic commenters. Or commenters who are out of sorts with the PCA, or other Reformed churches, or Calvinists generally.

      So it's just a party-line vote. Classic confirmation bias.

      It's time for you to peddle your emotional manipulation on someone else.

  16. Mike, sometimes Blogger's spam filter is quirky.

  17. Another thing that perturbs me a bit. John, you very openly called Jason out for not coming forward and telling you all about his struggles early on. Setting aside whether or not that is the right thing to do, you clearly think it was, so lets assume that it is for the sake of this bit.

    Say he had done that, he came to Triablogue and posted here his struggles and doubts. What would you have done? How would the community here receive him, what would they say? Would it resemble the horrendous remarks made on his blog posting of his letter? Do you think this would have drawn him back?

    I'm perturbed mostly b/c when I shared a struggle I have (like you claim Jason should have done), not a word about concern or prayer for a brother who shared... just ridicule, just "pointing out inconsistencies," just stupid crap. Good thing I have supporting people who are helping me to deal with those issues, if this had been where I had turned to for help, I might be considering finding some swim away from the reformed tradition. If all of the PCA church I attend was like this, I'd definitely be bailing. The body of Christ appears to be dysfunctional in this regard among this crowd. Thankfully, though there are FAR too many people who present themselves this way in every conservative reformed circle, there are also plenty of people with the same beliefs and a Godly perspective on how to deliver those beliefs.

  18. Mike, I didn't calling him out for "not telling" me. I called him out for having told me, then binding me to secrecy, then, as I tried to reason with him behind the scenes, he told everybody in a blog post that I was "insulting" him.

    If he had come to Triablogue and posted, that would have given us an opportunity to discuss things honestly. We do discuss things honestly, if you go and read through the archives.

    People aren't killing each other these days. But they (on all sides) become heated. And we reserve the right not to unilaterally disarm ourselves in a heated religious discussion.

    The communications medium of the Internet didn't come with a rulebook on how to be nice to each other. In some respects, this is anonymous, but in other respects, it's also far less inhibited than earlier forms of communications. That's part of the landscape.

    And lest you wonder, this is my conversation being "seasoned with salt". We do it this way quite frequently. But, when the discussion takes on characteristics of "bar room brawl", we do what we need to do in the situation.

  19. We also reserve the right to tune you out.