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Wanted: Thinking Christians
Modern Reformation ^ | Unknown | James Montgomery Boice

Posted on 06/22/2014 4:41:43 AM PDT by HarleyD

It's not just that there's a lack of a Christian way of thinking -- a "Christian mind" -- but there is hardly a mind at all.

Some years ago I read an article in Newsweek about a husband and wife team of scientists who studied ducks. In order to observe their habits, they built a blind by a pond, then settled in to watch. During their investigations, they observed among the ducks incidences of what they called gang rape. While it was not written in so many words, the bottom line of the article was this: If gang rape takes place among the ducks, we shouldn't be surprised that it takes place among human beings, too. And, sad to say, Newsweek is not the only source of this "man is no better than an animal" philosophy. An article in another publication featured a prominent photograph of an adult baboon holding an infant baboon it had killed. The conclusion was that if animals can kill their young, so can we. With media output like this, is it any wonder our society permits abortion and the murder of a million-and-a-half babies in this country every year?

You see, if we do not have a perspective on life that is higher than what we can touch, taste, and see, we cannot appreciate that life is not an accident of evolution, but a gift of God and so ought to be preserved. Instead, when the only direction we can look is down, we conclude that we have evolved a bit up from the animals. And because we define ourselves by the creation, we cut ourselves off from God-the source of every good and perfect gift. Is it any wonder, therefore, that we find ourselves and our society justifying sinful, wicked behavior by appealing to the animals? If we do not retain the knowledge of God in our minds, but rather suppress it, we experience what Paul so clearly documents in the first chapter of Romans: the revealing of the wrath of God. The result is we act like the animals, and in the end we do what even the animals will not.

I am convinced the great problem in America today is that people are not thinking. It's a cultural phenomenon that has spilled over into the church. It is not just that there is a lack of a Christian way of thinking-a "Christian Mind"-but there is hardly a mind at all. In our day and age people, Christian and non-Christian alike, just do not think. We act and we react, but we do not consider and contemplate. There are many ways to explain this phenomenon: secularism, relativism, materialism, or just the fast pace of our lives. But we cannot overestimate the fact that our society has become so obsessed with entertainment that it has never learned to think. And this is because we have embraced a television culture rather than the print-based culture of our ancestors.

Do not get me wrong; I am not crusading against television. I would just as soon watch a movie on television as go to the theater. It is cheaper and I can do it in the comfort of my own home. There is nothing wrong with that. But we must stop believing that television is making us think. Television does not make us think; it entertains. And I am not alone in this opinion. Let me illustrate it by appealing to a couple of men who, as far as I know, are not Christians, but who understand the television medium.

The "Vannatization" of America

In 1988 Ted Koppel, host of ABC's Nightline program, gave a speech at Duke University. He chose as his subject matter the Ten Commandments. He began by pointing out that they were not the Ten Suggestions but rather the Ten Commandments. He then proceeded by going through each commandment and showing its relevance to the great moral issues of our day. He related "Thou shalt not bear false witness" to the insider trading scandals on Wall Street. "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was tied to the scandals associated with TV evangelists. And so on. But what impressed me most about his address was something he said at the very beginning, in the very first line of his speech. He said, "America has been Vannatized."

Now he knew nobody in that audience knew what he meant-he'd just coined the term-so he explained it. It's "Vannatized" as in "Vanna White," the very attractive and immensely popular woman on television's "Wheel of Fortune." She is, without a doubt, the major factor in the success of that program. She's imitated all over the world: there's a Vanna counterpart on German, French, and even Australian TV. Ted spent quite a bit of time talking about how popular Vanna White is. Then he said, "It's interesting, isn't it, that on that show you never hear Vanna say a word?" "How can that be?" he asked. "How could it be that someone about whom we know absolutely nothing is so popular?" "That," Koppel said, "is the very nature of television."

The reason she is so popular is not because she is telling us who she is, but because she is an image on the screen and we project onto the screen our feelings about her. That is the way television operates. That is the kind of medium it is. So if you are unhappy in your marriage and you say, "Boy, I wish I had a good looking mistress like that," she fulfills that role. Or if you are a young girl just beginning to go through puberty and a little bit uneasy about yourself and about what you are going to be, she could be your big sister-you're going to grow up to be like her! Vanna is anything you want her to be. Koppel said, "That's our world."

You see, we think of ourselves as being the best informed generation in history because of television. Television is everywhere-I read somewhere that there are more television sets in America than there are indoor toilets. Furthermore, they are on all the time: The average household watches television six hours a day. And because of that we think we know more than any generation in history. But as a matter of fact we do not. Instead, what television is doing, if I may put it bluntly, is entertaining us to death.

Laughing Our Heads Off

Neil Postman is a professor of education and special education communication techniques at Columbia University in New York City. A number of years ago he wrote a book titled Amusing Ourselves to Death. It was all about television, about the changes that have come over the western world and especially American society as a result of television. The book is divided into two parts. The first analyzes the changes television has brought about; the second the effects of television's commitment to be entertaining.

In the first section of his book, Postman contrasts our age, which he calls the entertainment age, with the prior age, which he calls the age of typography. In other words, he maintains that our age has brought about a fundamental paradigm shift. Our age is concerned with entertainment; the former with communication-and that via a verbal medium. When he talks about the former age as being an age of typography, he is talking about words.

What Postman is saying is this: Words work in a certain way. For example, if you are trying to communicate in an article, you put down what you want to say. Sometimes you indicate your point by the heading, then you develop it with arguments to explain why it is true and with answers to objections. You then form conclusions and make applications.

When you come across an article written like that, you read it carefully and with a certain amount of detachment. People admire something that makes sense and is well written, but you do not usually break into applause after reading carefully crafted prose. You see, there is a certain distance there, a distance inherent in the written medium. If you do not understand something you read, if it uses a vocabulary you don't understand, the distance allows you to look up the words. If the concepts are new and you need a little bit of time to assimilate them, the distance permits you to do that and continue on. The distance endemic to written communication permits the consideration and contemplation essential to thinking.

People who grew up in an age of typography could think in rational categories. Even their verbal discourse reflected that approach to knowledge. Postman details at length what he considers probably the greatest and best informed period in American history, the time shortly before the American Civil War. In the debates that took place between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, common people would gather in an open area while the debaters stood on a platform and spoke. Lincoln and Douglas would debate campaign issues for six or seven hours and people would stand and listen, following the discussion and grasping the issues. Furthermore, the debates were written up in newspapers and spread across the country. Those who read the newspaper reports were able to participate in the debates, too. Postman says we have lost all that today because what we have is not a typographical age, an age where people know how to think because they have been trained to think in words. Rather, we have an age where people are not trained to think-indeed are kept from thinking-because they are being entertained continuously. That is what television does; it is an entertainment medium.

Now, this does not mean that you cannot have educational items on television, of course, and Postman admits that. But even with educational programs you do not get what you think you get. After all, in order to educate by means of television, you must have pictures, and the necessity of pictures itself predetermines the subject matter you can present. You cannot effectively teach philosophy on television, for example. It is abstract reasoning. You can, however, educate children about deep sea fishing because you can show nice pictures of being out at sea and catching fish, and you can talk about the ocean. But basically you still have entertainment.

In the second section of his book, Postman has a chapter detailing television's effects on religion, and he concludes that when you put religion on television, religion becomes entertainment. It will only survive on television in an entertainment format. And, by and large, the programs that do well are those that are designed to entertain. Either they are a vaudeville show, with the prerequisite song and dance numbers done in Christian guise, or they are talk shows along the lines of Merv Griffin; people sitting around and telling stories. But notice: They are not talking about theology. They are not teaching the Bible. They are telling stories: "Look what God did for me!" and "Listen to the miracle that happened in my life last week!" Or they are pitching a product: "What miracle do you want, brother? While you pray, we'll do a miracle." That plays well on television because that's entertaining.

Now, when Billy Graham is on television, that is an exception. Billy Graham is an exception to everything. If people tune in to watch Billy Graham, it is not because it's good television, but because they want to hear what Billy Graham has to say. There are other exceptions, too. But, by and large, the programs that do well are those in an entertainment format. Listen to what Postman says, "CBS knows that Walter Cronkite plays better than the Milky Way and Jimmy Swaggart comes across better than God." Ever wonder why Swaggart was so popular on TV? It's because, Postman says, "God exists only in the mind, while Swaggart is there to be worshipped and adored." He concludes, "I'm not a theologian, I may not know the right word for this, but I think the word for it is blasphemy."

Perhaps you are saying to yourself, "What difference does it make? If entertainment is the way television operates, why not have religious entertainment? Wouldn't it be better to have that than what the networks offer?" And I am inclined to agree with you here, except for two points. First, if what people expect from religion is what they see on television, then there is going to be (and as a pastor I assure you there already is) enormous pressure on churches to conform to the entertainment motif. Out goes expository preaching, because people cannot concentrate very long. Forget theology: People are not interested in theology, and they can't follow an argument anyway. Let there be funny stories, and let them be short. As for the worship service, bring on lively ditties that make people feel good! Surely God will be blessed. And, above all, do not permit long prayers.

Postman asks, "What happens when you put religion on television, what do you lose?" His answer is, you lose everything that is important, specifically, a sense of the transcendent. It is God who is missing when religion is put on television. And I am afraid that when television is allowed to reshape our churches, God is missing from them too.

My second objection is a point I've already made: we must not believe that television is making us think. It is not. If we are to learn to think, we must go about it in a different way. We'll have to leave the set off more often and begin thinking.

Thinking and the Church

So what is the answer? How do we combat the entertainment agenda infiltrating our churches? How do we stop being entertained to death and learn to think? We do it by following Paul's instruction in Romans 12:2: "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." That's the way it happens. The answer is to study the Word of God. That is how we learn not only to think but to think as God does. I used to say, "If you're not feeding yourself with the Bible all the time, you will be thinking like the world." In view of our television culture, I have amended that saying to, "If you are not feeding yourself with the Bible all the time, the world is going to entertain you and you'll end up not thinking at all."

This presents a unique opportunity for churches today. The world is filled with entertainment and entertainment is fun and people like it and will go where they can have a good time. But sooner or later some will get sick of being entertained-they are made in the image of God, you see, and part of that image is the capacity to think. They will realize that life is more than entertainment, more than just a good time. They will come to a crossroad and say, "There has to be more to life than this. I'm not here just to be entertained, to be sold products, to spend my money on what people want me to buy. Aren't I more important than this?" They will come looking for an alternative. Now, it will not be the vast majority of people, but it will be the people with whom God is working. Churches, if they have not sold themselves wholesale to the entertainment agenda, will be that alternative. "Yes, you are more important!" they will say. "You're infinitely more important because you are made in the image of God. God has made you to be like Him!" Then the churches will point them to Jesus Christ and encourage them to be "transformed by the renewing of [their] minds." But if churches have absorbed the entertainment mentality, if they have themselves lost the ability to think, they will offer seekers nothing more than what they have already. Instead of pointing out the path of the righteous which is like "the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day," these churches will be like "clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted" and will leave the lost on a downhill path with the vision of God becoming increasingly dim. Then, like the Newsweek article I referred to earlier said, they will be no better than so many ducks on a pond.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: criticalthinking; culture; thinking; voting

1 posted on 06/22/2014 4:41:43 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: HarleyD

I always enjoyed listening to Boice on Family radio. I did not listen to Mr Harold Camping, but there were programs on it, that I did listen to.


2 posted on 06/22/2014 4:50:35 AM PDT by Mark17 (Rudyard Kipling: Liberals be wary, when the SHTF, The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon will clobber you)
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To: HarleyD

those Dreamers© that are flooding into America do a lot of critical thinking and theorhetical modeling. I expect good things for our future! skyscrapers and Mars missions- like the Jetsons!


3 posted on 06/22/2014 4:54:48 AM PDT by equalator
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To: HarleyD

Someone whom we know absolutely nothing about can be so popular without ever saying the word....

We have been Vannitized again by Obamameister


4 posted on 06/22/2014 4:54:51 AM PDT by BCW (Amazon: "Babylon's Covert War" - the Iraq conflict explained in detail)
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To: reaganaut

Wow, I wish I could post this on facebook.


5 posted on 06/22/2014 4:59:59 AM PDT by mrreaganaut (Thimk before you post.)
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To: HarleyD

Christians would be a good start - even better if all folks developed the habit of actually thinking - and thinking things through.


6 posted on 06/22/2014 5:02:33 AM PDT by trebb (Where in the the hell has my country gone?)
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To: HarleyD

“You see, if we do not have a perspective on life that is higher than what we can touch, taste, and see, we cannot appreciate that life is not an accident of evolution, but a gift of God and so ought to be preserved.’

Worth repeating


7 posted on 06/22/2014 5:03:06 AM PDT by Fzob (Jesus + anything = nothing, Jesus + nothing = everything)
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To: HarleyD

Excellent post! Yes, I can agree with how this applies to modern religion on TV verses getting your butt in the pew on Sundays.

But I’d submit this applies across the board to everything from our history to understanding the Constitution.

I recall in school being taught something call, ‘critical thinking skills.’ I do not believe those skills are taught any longer.


8 posted on 06/22/2014 5:03:43 AM PDT by EBH (And the head wound was healed, and Gog became man.)
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To: EBH

>>I recall in school being taught something call, ‘critical thinking skills.’ I do not believe those skills are taught any longer.

They’re still being taught. Rather, something called “critical thinking skills” are being taught, but it is more like “critical acceptance skills” where they show the student what to think and then demand that they change their mind to accept that.


9 posted on 06/22/2014 5:13:36 AM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyranni)
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To: HarleyD

Just a comment about Vanna White. I’ve never met her, but years ago as a chaplain we had 2 of our soldiers killed when we did Just Cause in Panama.

We planned a memorial service after we returned to the states, and we planned a large memorial stone and park at unit headquarters not just for these 2, but for all who had lost their lives in our relatively new unit.

Vanna White sent us a nice check. She had gone to high school with one of our two comrades who had just died. Moved by the memorials, totally unsolicited, she responded.

Her card was wordy, so that might just be her personality. It was a simple thanks for his service, his friendship, and his memory.

That’s what I know about Vanna White.


10 posted on 06/22/2014 5:16:15 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: HarleyD

Just a comment about Vanna White. I’ve never met her, but years ago as a chaplain we had 2 of our soldiers killed when we did Just Cause in Panama.

We planned a memorial service after we returned to the states, and we planned a large memorial stone and park at unit headquarters not just for these 2, but for all who had lost their lives in our relatively new unit.

Vanna White sent us a nice check. She had gone to high school with one of our two comrades who had just died. Moved by the memorials, totally unsolicited, she responded.

Her card was NOT wordy, so that might just be her personality. It was a simple thanks for his service, his friendship, and his memory.

That’s what I know about Vanna White.


11 posted on 06/22/2014 5:16:35 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: mrreaganaut

I post links when I want to (re)publish something


12 posted on 06/22/2014 5:17:15 AM PDT by knarf (brooklyn bridge)
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To: HarleyD
" While it was not written in so many words, the bottom line of the article was this: If gang rape takes place among the ducks, we shouldn't be surprised that it takes place among human beings, too. And, sad to say, Newsweek is not the only source of this "man is no better than an animal" philosophy"

Boice makes a logical error here. The point if the research is not that humans are no better than animals but that the tendency for such acts exists in many species including humans. A point to be made is that only humans have laws against such acts and severely punish such transgressors.

13 posted on 06/22/2014 5:17:20 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: mrreaganaut

I just did - post it on FB.

Read anything written before 1900 and the depth of thinking, and expressing that thinking in writing (words, grammar, style) was light-years beyond what we had in the 20th century. Just read the writings of our forefathers......astounding in their depth.....and ability to express their thoughts. My fav reading is that written by authors pre-late 1800’s.

Now in the 21st century, all ability to think and write clearly and in depth has been all but lost. And it shows up in the whole decay of our society overall. It will eventually end in the collapse of society....and we are close. The average person under 30 today cannot think - they can only feel and respond emotionally to what they see and hear. This is like the ducks on the pond. Like animals.

That is why liberals/progressives/Marxists are so powerful - they rely on the lack of the ability to think in our populace. The re-election of O is a perfect example. All part of the Marxist plan for our nation from day one.

And, as the author said - its missing in the church as much as outside the church. The salt has lost its savor. No more restraining factor on the world.


14 posted on 06/22/2014 5:41:40 AM PDT by Arlis
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To: HarleyD
Postman's book is one that absolutely stunned me when I first read it. I just ran a search and found the NY Times review of it from 1985. Basically, the reviewer concedes that Postman has some good points, but, it's not THAT bad.

Thirty years later, I would submit, it's worse. Amusement seems almost benign in an age of near universal deception as presented in all of mass media.

Thanks for posting this.

15 posted on 06/22/2014 5:45:36 AM PDT by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: HarleyD

Good article, really. Too bad he didn’t take it even further. But, for thinking people, we should be able to, ourselves. Without “thinking” the church has taken sin in through the cloak of inclusiveness. We cannot judge the sinner, etc. We have listened and reacted to the sinners’ version of Scripture, them taking it out of context, and we not knowing it well enough to challenge back, have accepted many of the worldly tenets as God’s real character and we should adapt. No wonder the church has lost its voice. It doesn’t recognize the voice of its own God.

I know a lot of people no longer attend church, for one reason or another. They watch something on TV and move on as if that is all that is required. However, the local church is only as effective as its members are willing to follow after God’s leading, so if they do not participate in a local congregation for fellowship and for opportunities for ministry, then the whole community loses out. That seems to be happening more and more. Local churches drying up, people watching someone on TV, sending their money there, instead, and their community becoming more pagan and ungodly.


16 posted on 06/22/2014 6:06:41 AM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: HarleyD
We act and we react, but we do not consider and contemplate. There are many ways to explain this phenomenon: secularism, relativism, materialism, or just the fast pace of our lives.

Radios in cars.

I am serious. People get in the car and the first thing they do is turn on the radio. The silence of a car ride is one of the few things people can do that leaves time for thinking things through.

Try it.

Just turn the radio off.

No, you are not going to turn into Plato (and who would want to?) but you will be surprised at how much thinking and pondering you will do.

17 posted on 06/22/2014 6:20:11 AM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Well, I do turn on Homer occasionally when I drive, audio tapes of Fagel’s translations. :)

And, I have read translations of everything extant that Plato ever wrote (a number of his dialogues many times, and most of Aristotle as well) and used to listen to Great Courses tapes about Plato’s major works when on the road. :)

But your point is well-taken. Quiet time in the car can be a wonderful chance to think deeply about things, although for me it is also simply a very deep and very rich sensory experience if I pay attention.


18 posted on 06/22/2014 6:45:48 AM PDT by dagogo redux (A whiff of primitive spirits in the air, harbingers of an impending descent into the feral.)
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To: HarleyD
I am convinced the great problem in America today is that people are not thinking. It's a cultural phenomenon that has spilled over into the church. It is not just that there is a lack of a Christian way of thinking-a "Christian Mind"-but there is hardly a mind at all. In our day and age people, Christian and non-Christian alike, just do not think. We act and we react, but we do not consider and contemplate. There are many ways to explain this phenomenon: secularism, relativism, materialism, or just the fast pace of our lives. But we cannot overestimate the fact that our society has become so obsessed with entertainment that it has never learned to think.

Theology is what I sometimes call an "armchair sport". It's a academic debate between gentlemen, engaged in while smoking cigars, sitting in high-backed chairs and surrounded by old books. For me, the thinking and the debate itself is the sport. Theology exercises and disciplines the intellect, with the intended goal of "taking every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). I'm glad to discuss theology with anyone willing to don the requisite smoking jacket, to pour their favorite libation, and to join me in the library to engage in the manly sport of theology. IMO theology is important. But when we doff the jacket and go out into the world, we should leave our debating back in the library. Walking around outside, I pray that our common obedience to God, and our common affection for each other, will look as one to a watching world.

“Theology is the queen of the sciences and all other disciplines are her handmaidens.” ― R. C. Sproul

“He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.” ― Jonathan Edwards


19 posted on 06/22/2014 7:45:36 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Thanks for the comment on car radios. Bur even more than that radios everywhere. Plus ipod/mp3 players, etc. People are afraid to be in the moment with their own thoughts and consciences. People do not realize how unnatural the whole thing is. It is all an escape from the responsibility and opportunity of being in the present. Most people don’t know how to handle that.


20 posted on 06/22/2014 8:33:42 AM PDT by all the best
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To: HarleyD

I loved listening to Boice weekly and was saddened by his death some 14 years ago.

In response to the thoughts of comparing human behavior with animal behavior, perhaps we should consider how God used such examples.

The purpose of the living sacrifices of a bull or sheep, or fatted calf, wasn’t some pagan ritual, but rather to manifest to those performing the sacrifice how the animal violently sought to retain their life. The value of life itself was paramount. It taught a lesson about how violently volition responded to perfect justice as demanded by perfect righteousness. It pointed to the Cross and the how great a gift was the sacrificial atonement provided by Christ.


21 posted on 06/22/2014 9:28:16 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: HarleyD

Ted Koppel was the problem, not Vanna White.

The media despised Vanna White for some reason.


22 posted on 06/22/2014 12:19:00 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear
Just turn the radio off.

Interesting thought. I love to drive without the radio. It allows me to think.

23 posted on 06/22/2014 1:05:33 PM PDT by HarleyD ("... letters are weighty, but his .. presence is weak, and his speech of no account.")
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To: HarleyD

The regular mailman here (that’s about 3 days a week it seems) listens to Rush Limbaugh on the job.


24 posted on 06/22/2014 1:07:24 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Cvengr
The purpose of the living sacrifices of a bull or sheep, or fatted calf, wasn’t some pagan ritual, but rather to manifest to those performing the sacrifice how the animal violently sought to retain their life.

Interesting point and a very good perspective. I once read where at one time there were so many sacrifices performed that the rivers of Jerusalem ran red and the stench was almost unbearable. We tend to not think about these things.

25 posted on 06/22/2014 1:12:30 PM PDT by HarleyD ("... letters are weighty, but his .. presence is weak, and his speech of no account.")
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To: HarleyD
We used to ask my dad what he tape he wanted. He would always respond "Silence." That meant to be quiet for the next 90 minutes.

Now days I often turn my phone off when driving. I am not going to answer it anyway.

26 posted on 06/22/2014 1:25:24 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: Arlis

Very good post, well thought out. I will say, however, I think my 21 year old son is different. He is a senior at Sac State University in Sacramento, CA. He is a prolific writer, and his logic and thinking go way past mine, but he tells me about the same thing you did, about most of his fellow students. He said they don’t have much critical thinking at all. He is probably the exception, rather than there rule, however.


27 posted on 06/22/2014 5:25:15 PM PDT by Mark17 (Rudyard Kipling: Liberals be wary, when the SHTF, The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon will clobber you)
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To: Mark17

Good for your son. Being brief on such a deep subject, and avoiding a long “scriptural” dissertation is difficult. I am almost 70 and spent years in leadership in non-denominational Keswick movements.

I appreciate R.C. Sproul’s ministry, but there is error too in the Reformist movement.

I, of course, am the only one with a balanced, accurate view of truth. Huge ;-) and LOL.

Actually, my growth over 48 years as a Christian growing in grace and a knowledge of the truth is a continuing revelation of Christ and where I have been off base in the past.....and repenting of my teaching dogmatically that which was not really true. By His grace I have almost always been “Christ-centered”, teaching the finished work of the cross and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ - but I spent years being actually more “church-centered” than Christ-centered - all the while unaware of what I was doing.

Life is a continual process of new light and repentance. Not necessarily about the foundational things (”Christ Jesus and Him crucified....”), but in other things.

The tendency of all flesh is to take God’s grace and truth and turn them into a works-based, performance-based system where man (the flesh) can perform to please God. That’s what all religion is, and what much of Christendom has become.

I like the way Wayne Jacobsen (a good friend) put it. The religion of the flesh, of every stripe and color, is simply this: “God is good. You are bad. Try harder.”

Grace is, “You are a sinner. God took care of that through the cross and the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. Receive His work and HIs love (same thing), learn to know His love and grace, and He will be your holiness, righteousness, love of others - everything. Spend you life learning His love and all else will follow - His work in and through you by the Holy Spirit.” Or, as Martin Luther put it, “Love God with all of your heart and then do whatever you want.” Only part he left out is we cannot love God without first knowing His love for us......proven at Calvary in and through His Son.......


28 posted on 06/22/2014 5:51:08 PM PDT by Arlis
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