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The cross: A symbol, but of what?
AP via Providence Journal ^ | 3/16/02 | RICHARD N. OSTLING

Posted on 03/16/2002 6:42:19 AM PST by LarryLied

It's the most familiar symbol you can imagine, but ponder for a moment how odd it is that Christians display an "emblem of suffering and shame," as the hymn says.

The cross reminds us that Jesus was executed as a common criminal, hardly the upbeat message a publicist might choose.

Yet two decades after Calvary, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). Under this mysterious emblem, the early Christians vanquished the empire that had crucified Jesus.

The symbol holds 21st-century power. Two days after the World Trade Center attack, a rescue worker wept as he discovered a 20-foot cross -- two fused metal beams buried in the rubble. This cross provided comfort to impromptu worshippers amid the mourning.

Yet the cross is spurned by Christian liberals Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. They find belief in Jesus' saving death repellent, saying this sanctifies violence and submission to evil.

"To say that Jesus' executioners did what was historically necessary for salvation is to say that state terrorism is a good thing, that torture and murder are the will of God," they say in their book Proverbs of Ashes (Beacon).

Brock, a Harvard Divinity researcher, has chaired the joint global ministries board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, and was a theology speaker at the Disciples's national assembly last year. Parker is a United Methodist Church minister and president of the Unitarian Universalist seminary in Berkeley, Calif.

Roman Catholic leftist John Dominic Crossan has joined in, hailing the authors' attack upon what he considers "the most unfortunately successful idea in the history of Christian thought." And the current Unitarian Universalist magazine features Brock and Parker in a cover story headlined "Violence and Doctrine: How Christianity Twists the Meaning of Jesus' Death."

"Perfect . . . sacrifice"

By contrast, another current author joins Paul in glorying in the cross. Fleming Rutledge, a traveling Episcopal preacher who lives in Port Chester, N.Y., embraces the Book of Common Prayer's Communion affirmation that Jesus Christ made "a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world."

Rutledge has collected seasonal meditations in her book The Undoing of Death (Eerdmans). Though sermons often fall flat on the printed page, this book is unusually readable devotional fare.

She believes the cross is misunderstood if we forget that Jesus the Son is equally God along with the Father (which liberal Christians and Unitarians deny). And some conservatives portray "a wrathful Father piling condemnation on an innocent, victimized Son. This mistake must be strenuously resisted," she writes.

The heart of the atoning sacrifice on the cross, Rutledge insists, is "the fact that the Father's will and the Son's will are one. This is an action that the Father and the Son are taking together." They are "accomplishing our redemption together," acting in united love for humanity.

However, her Good Friday sermons worry less about such liberal or conservative theories than about people's inclination to pretend their sins aren't all that bad so they have no need of a Savior.

"We do not like to believe that we deserve condemnation," she says.

Some seek to justify themselves by the kind of people they like to think they are -- more moral, sensitive, loving, intelligent, thoughtful, patriotic, fashionable or socially aware than others. Then there's the opposite, people who tell themselves they're more misunderstood, long-suffering and deserving than anyone else.

But Christianity says we're all sinners in the light of God's holiness. Despite sin, Rutledge believes, when Christ looks at someone "he sees a person that he loves more than life, more than glory, more than power, more than riches, more than divinity itself."

She also contends that the cross shows us Christianity is true. The reason? Mere human imagination or wishful thinking would never have concocted "a despised and rejected Messiah."



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1 posted on 03/16/2002 6:42:19 AM PST by LarryLied
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To: LarryLied
What's next? An Atheist "minister"?

BTW, Jesus IS God, in the flesh.

2 posted on 03/16/2002 6:46:01 AM PST by GuillermoX
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To: LarryLied
Crucify Them!
3 posted on 03/16/2002 6:52:01 AM PST by Khepera
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To: LarryLied
Brothers and Sisters, This is the same UCC that wrote "Now No Condemnation" which puts actively practicing homosex's in the pulpit. It also sponsored the litigation against the Boy Scouts. The Unitarian Universalists are doctinally bankrupt. They pick and choose scripture.

Brock, a Harvard Divinity researcher, has chaired the joint global ministries board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, and was a theology speaker at the Disciples's national assembly last year. Parker is a United Methodist Church minister and president of the Unitarian Universalist seminary in Berkeley, Calif.

More Jesus gotcha books. They are in for a big suprise. DrMike

4 posted on 03/16/2002 6:58:28 AM PST by STD
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To: GuillermoX;Ann Archy;pax_et_bonum;patent
By the time the left is done, church will be reduced to coffee and donuts. The big debate will be over whether coffee is OK or should they go to de-caf and tea.

I expect this from Unitarians (my church). They've been on this road for 200 years. But a Catholic priest? What is he doing in the church?

5 posted on 03/16/2002 6:59:07 AM PST by LarryLied
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To: Khepera
We do not like to believe that we deserve condemnation," she says.

Nice thought, but the fact is God is no respecter of persons. "Lord, I am not worthy..."

6 posted on 03/16/2002 6:59:57 AM PST by ImaGraftedBranch
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To: LarryLied
Those "churches" aren't part of the Church. They are simply apostate social organizations, tools of the devil.
7 posted on 03/16/2002 7:02:44 AM PST by GuillermoX
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To: LarryLied
"Yet the cross is spurned by Christian liberals Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. They find belief in Jesus'saving death repellent, saying this sanctifies violence and submission to evil. "

These two cannot be Christians. The 'submission to evil' and the death and Resurrection of the Christ is the central point of Christianity. Several times, Jesus is shown in the Gospels having ( a very human ) difficulty with the fate of which he was aware ( such as the Agony in the Garden ). It is through his sacrifice that humanity was redeemed--purchased by the ultimate price.

To claim to find this idea 'repellant' is definitely not Christian. Perhaps the two women mentioned above are from a town named 'Christian', since they definitely do not have a basic understanding of their faith.

8 posted on 03/16/2002 7:02:54 AM PST by Tench_Coxe
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To: LarryLied;4ConservativeJustices
Jesus hung on the cross to redeem us, that's why the cross is important. I don't have to hang on it myself. See, those "liberal" Christians need to READ THE BOOK. Duh! Then they might not be liberals any more... .
9 posted on 03/16/2002 7:05:41 AM PST by Ff--150
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To: LarryLied
I expect this from Unitarians (my church). They've been on this road for 200 years. But a Catholic priest? What is he doing in the church?

He's a professor emeritus at DePaul U in Chicago, not a priest.

John Dominic Crossan biographical information

I know that doesn't answer your question 'what is he doing in the church [sic]?'
10 posted on 03/16/2002 7:09:38 AM PST by Mike Fieschko
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To: LarryLied
This article very clearly shows the source of many of the political fallacies foisted on our nation for the last 100 years or so...and without a doubt, the roots of the errors are spiritual.

'Liberal' churches are the source of much of the socialism that has degraded and eroded the foundation of our republic.

Thanks for a great post.

Regards...EV

11 posted on 03/16/2002 7:10:53 AM PST by EternalVigilance
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To: LarryLied
As another poster pointed out, Crossan is not a priest. Your question could be asked of a number of CINOs, Helen Prejean as only one example.
12 posted on 03/16/2002 7:27:16 AM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Ff--150
You know, without His death and resurrection, wouldn't it be just a little waste of time to bother going to church then?

Of course that's what they're after anyway. Deny the basic tenets of the church, then why bother going to church to feel good, we can do that right here in our humanistic government sponsored feel good seminar. Take faith out of the equation and all you have to rely on is the State. Thanks, but no thanks. God works miracles, they don't.

13 posted on 03/16/2002 7:34:49 AM PST by billbears
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To: LarryLied
Yet the cross is spurned by Christian liberals Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker.

1Timothy 2:12 - But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

America's Fifth Column ... watch PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)

14 posted on 03/16/2002 7:38:31 AM PST by JCG
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To: LarryLied
Why do these people (Brock, Parker, and Crossan) remind me of the nuns at a local, liberal retreat house who refused to kneel during the consecration at mass, because they felt the need to "stand as adults before God"?
15 posted on 03/16/2002 7:41:23 AM PST by pax_et_bonum
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To: LarryLied
The whole article refers to people who dont believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ as "Christians". Replace the word "liberal Christian" with "non-Christian" and the article makes 100% more sense. These "theologians" are just leftwingers who found a home.

As for UCC - Should be renamed... "First Liberal Church of Agnosticism, unReformed".

16 posted on 03/16/2002 7:46:31 AM PST by WOSG
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To: LarryLied
By the way, here's another true tale of that retreat house:

I was there on a personal, silent retreat while they had a women's group retreat going on. One day, there was no mass scheduled on the grounds and so I attended their Communion service. The song of choice during the distribution of Holy Communion was "When You Wish Upon A Star."

No joke. The one from, I think, Pinnochio.

17 posted on 03/16/2002 7:47:51 AM PST by pax_et_bonum
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To: LarryLied
Yet the cross is spurned by Christian liberals Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. They find belief in Jesus' saving death repellent, saying this sanctifies violence and submission to evil.

At least the sentence makes sense now.

18 posted on 03/16/2002 7:56:55 AM PST by Fzob
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To: pax_et_bonum
"the nuns at a local, liberal retreat house who refused to kneel during the consecration at mass, because they felt the need to "stand as adults before God"? "

This seems to be increasing habit with habit-less nuns (pun intended). Maybe they have the same view as Eve who didn't think being made in the 'image and likeness' of God was good enough. Eve wanted to be God.

Maybe with the 'People-is-God' attitude today, these nuns do not accept a 'consecration' performed by some 'apple eating-Jesus-acting' man.

19 posted on 03/16/2002 8:07:00 AM PST by ex-snook
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To: JZoback
ping
20 posted on 03/16/2002 8:13:59 AM PST by Fzob
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To: billbears
Yep!!--more secular humanism drivel from mind-numbed robotic socialist. Those idiots are going to be clueless when you and I are floating up in the air on our way to a nice little meal :)
21 posted on 03/16/2002 8:53:50 AM PST by Ff--150
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To: RnMomof7; solagracia;OrthodoxPresbyterian; JenB; Thinkin' Gal; Jerry_M; BibChr
Apostates offended by the cross-- what a suprise.

17 ¶ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

--I Corinthians 1:18-25

What's next? The "Buddy Jesus"? A non-threatening Jesus Christ who is more Santa Claus than Sovereign Judge?

22 posted on 03/16/2002 9:06:37 AM PST by jude24
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To: RnMomof7
And you think you have troubles over at the other thread..
23 posted on 03/16/2002 9:10:29 AM PST by Wrigley
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To: JCG
1 ¶ But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
< snip >
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;
9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

-- II Timothy 3:1-2, 5-9

24 posted on 03/16/2002 9:10:30 AM PST by jude24
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To: the_doc
Have at it :-) ...
25 posted on 03/16/2002 9:11:19 AM PST by jude24
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To: jude24
"And can it be that Oh My God would die for me?"

There is not one worthy no not one!

26 posted on 03/16/2002 9:18:38 AM PST by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
the Cross is the symbol of what it cost God to save my sorry butt - - for that I'm eternally grateful!
27 posted on 03/16/2002 9:27:17 AM PST by duckbutt
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To: jude24; OrthodoxPresbyterian; RnMomof7
In the article, we are evidently looking at three non-Christians who have persuaded themselves (not to mention a few others) that they are Christians. Maybe God will jerk the slack out of them, but things don't look too good for them at this point.

Brock, Parker, and Crossan are all semi-Pelagians or worse. Brock comes from the Campbellite tradition (which denies original sin altogether); Parker comes from the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition (which claims that the depravity inherent in original sin is neutralized by universal prevenient grace); and Crossan comes from the Romanist position which assumes that, whatever original sin is, it is easily washed away by holy water.

A little Reformed theology would be helpful to the author of the article, I think.

28 posted on 03/16/2002 9:46:11 AM PST by the_doc
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To: duckbutt
Amen
29 posted on 03/16/2002 9:49:59 AM PST by Wrigley
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To: the_doc
I think what we're looking at are "country-club christians." They like the trappings of Christianity -- the moral framework (but even that, they dont accept completely), the fraternity, and the spirituality. But they've accepted a parody of the gospel. And, sickeningly, too many churches will espouse this bilge without blinking.
30 posted on 03/16/2002 9:50:57 AM PST by jude24
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To: jude24
Yeah, and I am alarmed to see how much the bad doctrine of professing Christianity gives them cover.

(I don't write off all Campbellites, Wesleyans, and RCs, but I would point out that Reformed believers would never fall into the trap of contempt which the three liberals in the article have displayed for the Cross of Christ.)

31 posted on 03/16/2002 9:58:20 AM PST by the_doc
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To: Fzob

32 posted on 03/16/2002 10:09:24 AM PST by JZoback
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To: jude24
What's next? The "Buddy Jesus"? A non-threatening Jesus Christ who is more Santa Claus than Sovereign Judge?

What do you mean "next"? (c;

Dan
How to Make Your Very Own Jesus

33 posted on 03/16/2002 12:11:33 PM PST by BibChr
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To: EternalVigilance
'Liberal' churches are the source of much of the socialism that has degraded and eroded the foundation of our republic.

Started way back too. Puritans became Congregationalists and Unitarians. When, in the mid 1830's, those two congregations lost their ability to tax (in Massachusetts), they used the state as a proxy for their theology.Unitarians ran Harvard for decades. Jefferson, Millard Fillmore, John and ohn Quincy Adams were Unitarians. The church was very powerful and became more secular every year. Puritans used the church to exercise control over individuals;Neo-Puritans used the state.

Four Unitarian US presidents in 50 years was a start but no social movement gains great sucess until women are on board. And from the early 1800's on, prominent women were in the liberal churches. Beatrix Potter,Fannie Farmer,Mary Wollstonecraft,Dorothea Dix,Sophia Hawthorne (married to Nathaniel Hawthorne),Julia Ward Howe (wrote lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic),Florence Nightingale,Clara Barton,Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz (first President of Radicliff College),Charlotte Eliot (T.S. Eliot's mother) and Carrie Catt (founder of the League of Women Voters) were all Unitarians.

What the founders did not see when they prevented a national religion is that the state would become a national religion. Liberals of today are really Neo-Puritans.

34 posted on 03/16/2002 4:40:49 PM PST by LarryLied
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To: billbears
"God works miracles, they don't."

How true! The cross is a symbol of love.

35 posted on 03/17/2002 6:35:24 AM PST by 4CJ
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To: Ff--150
"Those idiots are going to be clueless when you and I are floating up in the air on our way to a nice little meal :)"

Not to disagree - I think they're clueless NOW. When we disappear I think that reality will settle in. I'm glad I won't be there ;o)

36 posted on 03/17/2002 6:38:22 AM PST by 4CJ
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To: 4ConservativeJustices; Ff-150
We had a visiting preacher this morning and he covered this very subject. He talked about how some of these TV preachers and other evangelists in the public eye will come right up to the subject but not cross over into it for fear of offending and losing viewership or worse look bad in the eyes of men instead of God. There is one and only one way to God. Either Christ was right that He was THE way and every other religious belief is wrong or else He was wrong and there's no use in going to church anymore and there's no hope for anyone. The first I believe, the second would be too depressing to even fathom the true hopelessness we would have to exist in
37 posted on 03/17/2002 9:56:24 AM PST by billbears
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To: billbears; ff--150
"There is one and only one way to God. Christ was right that He was THE way and every other religious belief is wrong ... "

I have never read where Buddha, Mohammed or anyone else raised themself from the dead. Only Jesus Christ died for us - paying the price for our sins. Then He was resurrected - my God is alive, sorry about theirs.

38 posted on 03/17/2002 6:49:41 PM PST by 4CJ
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To: RnMomof7, jude24, the_doc, CCWoody, BibChr, Jerry_M
By contrast, another current author joins Paul in glorying in the cross. Fleming Rutledge, a traveling Episcopal preacher who lives in Port Chester, N.Y., embraces the Book of Common Prayer's Communion affirmation that Jesus Christ made "a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world." Rutledge has collected seasonal meditations in her book The Undoing of Death (Eerdmans). Though sermons often fall flat on the printed page, this book is unusually readable devotional fare. She believes the cross is misunderstood if we forget that Jesus the Son is equally God along with the Father (which liberal Christians and Unitarians deny). And some conservatives portray "a wrathful Father piling condemnation on an innocent, victimized Son. This mistake must be strenuously resisted," she writes. The heart of the atoning sacrifice on the cross, Rutledge insists, is "the fact that the Father's will and the Son's will are one. This is an action that the Father and the Son are taking together." They are "accomplishing our redemption together," acting in united love for humanity.

Ahem....

Aside from the ridiculous idea of a God-created woman serving as a Presbyter (did God create Women to serve as servant-king husbands? Did God create Men to suckle His children at their very breasts? Let's be realistic, people -- we all have our proper Duties...)

Aside from that, I actually don't have a problem with this woman's theology (except as critically noted below).

The Cross was not a Transaction between God and Man.
The Cross was a Transaction between the Father and the Son.

God the Trinity: "This Race is... Fallen."God the Father: "If you will Atone, I will give you These."

God the Son: "I shall Atone, and they shall be Mine."

God the Spirit: "So it is written; so it shall be done."


39 posted on 03/17/2002 10:11:49 PM PST by OrthodoxPresbyterian
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Well, my God and Lord, Jesus--ANYONE CAN MEET face to face, person to person...Just ASK! He not only loves us, but--He likes you, too.
40 posted on 03/18/2002 4:46:08 AM PST by Ff--150
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To: Ff--150
Behold the Lamb of God - our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He gave His life for us, washed away our sins because He loves us. All we have to do is acknowledge Him as master and friend, and all our sins are forgiven.

The problem here my friend, is that some people cannot accept the fact that it was OUR sin that put Him on that cross.

41 posted on 03/18/2002 4:53:44 AM PST by 4CJ
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To: LarryLied
"We do not like to believe that we deserve condemnation," she says.

Some seek to justify themselves by the kind of people they like to think they are -- more moral, sensitive, loving, intelligent, thoughtful, patriotic, fashionable or socially aware than others. Then there's the opposite, people who tell themselves they're more misunderstood, long-suffering and deserving than anyone else.

Perfect description of liberal thought. I and most of the people I know have no problem believing we are sinners. I also do not consider myself better or more deserving than anyone else. It is the liberal thought process that creates these distinctions. They are all bigots and since that is all they know they assume everyone else is like that too. Pitiful.

42 posted on 03/18/2002 4:58:13 AM PST by ridensm
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To: the_doc
Brock, Parker, and Crossan are all semi-Pelagians or worse. Brock comes from the Campbellite tradition (which denies original sin altogether); Parker comes from the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition (which claims that the depravity inherent in original sin is neutralized by universal prevenient grace); and Crossan comes from the Romanist position which assumes that, whatever original sin is, it is easily washed away by holy water.

So, my friend, are you saying that someone from the Wesleyan-Armenian tradition is NOT a Christian? and where did you get that quote "neutralized by universal prevenient grace?" Inquiring minds need to know.

43 posted on 03/18/2002 5:13:57 AM PST by madison10
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To: the_doc
Brock, Parker, and Crossan are all semi-Pelagians or worse. Brock comes from the Campbellite tradition (which denies original sin altogether); Parker comes from the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition (which claims that the depravity inherent in original sin is neutralized by universal prevenient grace); and Crossan comes from the Romanist position which assumes that, whatever original sin is, it is easily washed away by holy water.

So, my friend, are you saying that someone from the Wesleyan-Armenian tradition is NOT a Christian? and where did you get that quote "neutralized by universal prevenient grace?" Inquiring minds need to know.

44 posted on 03/18/2002 5:16:06 AM PST by madison10
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To: the_doc
I know plenty of Reformists and Calvinists (including churches I've attended) that do no think the Crucifix is an appropriate symbol of Christianity because it denotes the suffering of Christ instead of the joy of the Resurrection. I view it as a symbol of atonement, yet I had a slew (9 or 10) Baptists at my former place of employment that objected to having a small 3 inch crucifix beside my computer because they felt it was glorifiying His suffering.
45 posted on 03/18/2002 5:36:05 AM PST by constitutiongirl
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To: duckbutt
the Cross is the symbol of what it cost God to save my sorry butt - - for that I'm eternally grateful!

You have a way with words! That sums up the meaning of the cross very well.

46 posted on 03/18/2002 5:38:55 AM PST by wimpycat
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To: madison10; xzins; forthedeclaration; winstonchurchill; ShadowAce; the_doc
So, my friend, are you saying that someone from the Wesleyan-Armenian tradition is NOT a Christian? and where did you get that quote "neutralized by universal prevenient grace?"

The Reformed tradition has a strong tendency to misinterpret God's grace. Wesleyan-Armenians do not believe that sin is "neutralized." We believe, in contrast to the Reformed/Calvinists, that God's grace is available to everyone, not just the "elect." There is a huge difference between that and saying that sin is "neutralized by universal prevenient grace."

47 posted on 03/18/2002 5:43:33 AM PST by Ward Smythe
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To: madison10, Ward Smythe, fortheDeclaration, WinstonChurchill, Winston Churchill, ShadowAce, P-Marl
depravity inherent in original sin is neutralized by universal prevenient grace

Hardly. WesArmism teaches that "Jesus is the light who lightens EVERYONE who comes into the world." It teaches that the Lord himself brings the individual to a point where they can make a real, valid choice between real, valid alternatives. This "prevenient grace" doesn't CHANGE THE DEPRAVITY in any way. It is simply a mericiful intervention by a merciful God.

It makes MORE sense to say that Calvinism "neutralizes total depravity." In c'vism God "forces the individual" OUTSIDE of their depravity FOR GOOD. That's neutralizing TD.

48 posted on 03/18/2002 5:58:13 AM PST by xzins
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To: madison10
No.

The reference to universal prevenient grace was Wesley's own variation on Arminianism.

49 posted on 03/18/2002 6:18:42 AM PST by the_doc
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To: the_doc; madison10; xzins; forthedeclaration; winstonchurchill
The reference to universal prevenient grace was Wesley's own variation on Arminianism.

Which you completely distort when you say: which claims that the depravity inherent in original sin is neutralized by universal prevenient grace

You know very well that the concept of prevenient grace does not neutralize man's sin, but that it means that God's grace is available to everyone as opposed to your Calvinist view of grace which is only available to the "elect."

It is one thing to disagree with the Wesleyan-Arminian position. It is an entirely different thing when you dishonestly represent it, when you have a clear grasp of the difference.

50 posted on 03/18/2002 6:26:29 AM PST by Ward Smythe
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