Would You Rather…? Outhouse Version

How about a little Friday fun with a game of “Would you Rather?” For each question you have to pick one, there is no third option.
Would you rather:

1. a) Join the local PCUSA Congregation
Or
b) Join the local Reformed Baptist Church (LBCF 1689)

2. a) Be a fly on the wall at the Synod of Dort (1618)
Or
b) Be a fly on the wall at the Westminster Assembly (1643)

3. a) Go back in time to hear Spurgeon preach
Or
b) Go back in time to hear Jonathan Edwards preach

4. a) Visit the Creation Museum
Or
b) Visit the American Museum of Natural History

5. a) Attend a Benny Hinn Event
Or
b) Attend a Joyce Meyer Conference

6. a) Listen to Rush Limbaugh for 3 hours
Or
b) Listen to NPR for 3 hours

7. a) Drink a Bud Light
Or
b) Drink a Sierra Nevada Torpedo extra IPA

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About Rick

I am not my own
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72 Responses to Would You Rather…? Outhouse Version

  1. Rick says:

    For me: 1. a (to avoid being re-baptized)
    2. a (for no reason other than I’m a 3-form-er)
    3. a (more gospel)
    4. b (I’m a discerning Calvinist, not a fundamentalist)
    5. a (more entertaining)
    6. b (no contest)
    7. b (shouldn’t have to explain)

  2. Michael A. Vickers says:

    “But Light”

    I’ll have to stifle myself.

  3. "lee n. field" says:

    Oh, the wonderful set of constrained choices

    1)I would hang out with the Reformed Baptists, examine my conscience and theology, and inquire if they knew of any sound paedobaptist congregations. Surely this is a situation that comes up non infrequently.

    2)I don’t speak Dutch.

    3)Spurgeon

    4)uhhhhh. Probably MNH.

    5)Run fleeing. Satanic deception, vs. Satanic deception lite in an estrogen fog.

    6)Rush! NPR is infuriating. Rush probably would be too, eventually.

    7)A Butt Light? Half and half, red wine and Coke classic, sip while reading a good book.

  4. Rick says:

    yuck-yuck. The Beer has been fixed

  5. Rick says:

    Coming up with alternatives defeats the purpose of the game.

  6. Rob H says:

    1. Reformed Baptists. Some of them are awesome. PCUSA = bad reputation and I’m snooty.
    2. Westminster. Wow.
    3. Yes! But if you make me pick, Spurgeon. I wanna smoke a stogey with him.
    4. Creation Museum. Already seen the other mess.
    5. No. Pull my toenails off instead.
    6. NPR. Jazz, yo.
    7. There’s an option? Even my Wife would drink the IPA first. And she hates the stuff.

  7. RubeRad says:

    OK, some of these are no-brainers
    7b
    6a

    For 5, I don’t really know anything about Joyce Meyers, but I expect Benny Hinn would be an entertaining trainwreck.

    For 4, I might just go to the Creation Museum, also for the entertainment value, or kind of like the same reason people like circus freak shows (the ICR is not too far from my house, I’ve been there more often than the S.D. Natural History Museum)

    For 3 I’m pretty disinterested either way. The availability of sermons for reading is enough for me (and I don’t take advantage of those)

    For 2 I’m very interested either way, not sure if I could decide between the awesome polemics of Dordt, or the behind-the-scenes churchmanship of Westminster. I guess at Dordt it’d all be just preaching to the choir (being preached at as a choir), so I should probably choose Westminster

    For 1 I was initially leaning b for confessionalism and theological conservatism, but you raise the stakes by pointing out the issue of rebaptism. If I moved to a town where PCUSA/LBC were the closest two options, I’d probably go to LBC but not seek membership. I was credobaptized, and they would probably consider my kids too young for baptism anyways (for now). The problem might be my wife though… what is this LBC church’s policy on fencing the table?

  8. Rick says:

    Ah, but the keyword in question #1 was “join.” You’re in a good spot having been baptized credo. But it’s against my religion to be rebaptized.

    Disinterested in #3? I’d rather go to a baseball game than read the play-by-play.

    And you are wrong on #6. 🙂

  9. Rick says:

    I host a Big Band Jazz show at the NPR affiliate station I work for. You get points.

  10. RubeRad says:

    Whoops, I meant 6b. I was a dittohead for a while in grad school, but I lost interest when I realized that Rush is an entertainer, not a journalist. NPR all the way (although nowadays I listen only to Table Talk Radio — at least until I make it through entire archive of podcasts)

    And as for #3, I’d rather hear Spurgeon or Edwards (or maybe even Osteen, again for the freak-show value) than go to a baseball game. I have a good post in me about a baseball game a few months ago, my first time at Petco.

  11. RubeRad says:

    the keyword in question #1 was “join.”

    I wonder, if I were to join myself, whether they would accept my family under my federal headship?

  12. Chris Sherman says:

    Ordaining women isn’t against your religion as well?

  13. Chris Sherman says:

    1 b (The possibility of sitting under a woman pastor would be more worse than being rebaptized for me.)

    2 either

    3 a

    4 b AMNH

    5 a Hinn (if nothing else, it would be a shorter event- and much more entertaining)

    6 b NPR- (especially if it is big band jazz- going to a swing dance tonight)

    7 b (unless I am in the mood for carbonated grain water, which never happens)

  14. Rick says:

    Chris, interesting twist with the ordained women thing. The choice comes down to which error can I live easier with. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am dead-set against the Church ordaining women, but my high-view of the sacraments makes me lean toward the PCUSA in this case (I understand the absurdity of that statement, given the PCUSA’s current sacramentology). But that’s what makes the game interesting, right? I guess the hope would be that this particular PCUSA doesn’t have “Jane” in the pulpit.

    And for the record, if I didn’t have to “Join” I would prefer to “regularly attend” the Confessional Baptist Church.

    And, swing away my good man. I hope they play a little Benny Goodman.

  15. Rick says:

    Rube,
    I would guess that your family wouldn’t be communed. But I don’t know.

  16. Zrim says:

    I don’t play these speculative games because I’m a Christian.

    But seriously, Chris, though I am an elitist, elitism (as opposed to eglitarianism) isn’t a mark of the church. Sacramentalism is though, which means a “Reformed” Baptist church is closer to false than an egalitarian P/R church. There is a difference between a wayward denomination and a false church.

    And I know Rick blew the whistle on alternative answers, but I’d work a bit harder to find a Lutheran church if my choices were between a closer-to-false-than-true church and a wayward Reformed denomination. I mean, a place that has those two choices has GOT to have a Lutheran church somewhere about.

    Oh, and I once listened to NPR for roughly 7 straight hours, which is worth about 15 minutes of poli-tainment, putting-a-bullet-in-your-left-eye wise.

  17. Rick says:

    Zrim,

    Bob Barker: “Steve, is the actual retail price $4,000 or $3,700?”
    Steve: “I can’t speculate Bob, I’m a Christian.”
    Bob: “oh!”

    Just poking fun.

    EDIT: I realize you were joking. But I wonder.

  18. Bruce Settergren says:

    Since when are Reformed Baptists re-baptizers? I never knew. On that score, here locally I’d pick the PCUSA over a Reformed Baptist church any day. For lots of reasons, one being that I’m Presbyterian. Another would be the PCUSA where we did in fact attend for nearly a year has the best organ in San Diego.

    I’ll choke down the Bud Lite while listening to Rush. But I won’t enjoy either. Maybe the alcohol will help.

    Don’t know much about Joyce Meyers but my guess is she’s sort of a female Osteen. So, given that Pentecostalism is not good for my soul, generally, I’ll opt for a free pep talk.

    I’ll also opt for the Westminster Assembly any day. I’ll buzz up to Oxford on the weekends.

    The Creation museum might be a good place to discuss the OPC report on creation with the docent. So, that’s where I’ll go on that one.

    Finally, I’ll go with Spurgeon so as to buzz up to Cambridge on the week days. Also, I’d try to catch a sermon or two of Joseph Parker.

  19. RubeRad says:

    You know, a more realistic choice for 1 would have been, what if you have to move to a tiny hick town somewhere, and the ONLY two churches available are yer average baptistic, biblicistic community church, or R.C. But that’s probably too easy, everybody here would I’m sure stay protestant.

  20. jedpaschall says:

    This should be fun:

    1. (a) I’d attend a PCUSA, here on the west coast there are some respectable congregations that aren’t quite as liberal as the ones in the south or on the east coast.

    2. (b) Westminster, probably because of the great weather in England.

    3. (a) Spurgeon

    4. (a) Hinn – I want to see how much of a contrast his George Hamilton-esque tan appears up against that white blazer in person. And I’ve had a nagging back-ache for over a year.

    5. (b) Museum of Natural History. Besides the superiority of most MNH exhibits, you don’t have to sift through mountains of bad-exegesis to spot erroneous accounts of human/natural origins.

    6. (b) NPR might be faulted for its left-leaning commentary, but they actually report the news. In fact their news probably has more breadth in terms of issues & events covered than any of the major TV news networks. Rush has been saying the same things over-and-over for the last couple of decades. Worst thing to happen to conservatives since being co-opted by the military-industrial complex, because he has homogenized conservative thought and gutted it of intellectual integrity.

    7. (b)Torpedo IPA all the way. Bud Light is what you drink when you don’t have water handy.

  21. Chris Sherman says:

    I live in a hick town in the midst of a desert of non Reformed/Calvinist/confessional churches (aka The Central Valley and Sierra Foothills in Ca), we drive 65 miles on Sunday to the nearest PCA. We are hoping to move soon.

  22. Paul says:

    b
    b
    b
    b
    a
    a
    b

  23. Rick B. says:

    Edwards? Do think his preaching was better than Spurgeon’s or is it something else that would make you want to hear him in person?

    I don’t think I’ve ever read what I would consider to be a “great” sermon from Edwards.

    Could Somebody link me to one? (Law and Gospel with a solid exegesis of the text).

  24. Rob H says:

    LIKE!

    In between the goofy lactose-free ads, there’s usually some good tunes or education. I’ll suffer the agenda squad just to get to decent stuff. I lived 3 years in Cuba and NPR was the only radio station around.

  25. Paul says:

    Rube,

    I love my RB brothers. Pretty much every contemporary Christian philosopher and theologian I esteem is a RB. They are some sharp cookies and I don’t think paedobaptist literature adequately responds to them. We need to get past saying, “O, you poor benighted soul, you back and read your Calvin and Turretin, those arguments just must not have ‘sunk in’ for you yet.” I’m also going to hear good preaching, non-liberal theological spin (which I could not stomach!), more frequent eucharist, etc.

    Rick,

    Apart from Edwards’ philosophical and theological acuity, which would make for some awesome post-sermon conversations, I think Edwards was a great preacher. Many consider Piper a great preacher, and he considered Edwards a great preacher. Here’s some sermons for you to consider:

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/jonathanedwards/JonathanEdwards-Sermons.htm

    I’m also not sure I have seen many examples of “solid exegesis” by Spurgeon, or most preachers for that matter. It’s usually expository.

  26. Paul says:

    BTW, I said Rush for the entertainment value. I was thinking of driving while listening, and NPR would put me to sleep, especially if listening to them after I drank my Sierra Nevada!

  27. Paul says:

    Also, PCUSA churches tend to be very politically active, with a heavy liberal bent, while RB churches seem, per their roots, to keep church and state separate. I guess I’m too 2K to go to the PCUSA. (That’s gonna leave a mark!)

  28. Paul says:

    “There is a difference between a wayward denomination and a false church.”

    Yes, not baptizing babies is big time trouble, serving communion to (and not disciplining) unrepentant, partnered-up, active homosexuals is just a little hiccup.

  29. John Yeazel says:

    What’s up with the sword Paul, have you gone Samuri on us? Or, is that in reference to the Apostle Paul?

  30. John Yeazel says:

    Seeing that everyone is in a chuckling mood this might add to it:

    John Dodge View Contact
    To: Undisclosed-Recipient@yahoo.com

    Brains1_MalevsFemale.wmv (5411KB)

  31. John Yeazel says:

    No viruses detected
    The virus scan did not find any viruses in your attachment. Click the download button to continue.
    Brains1_MalevsFemale.wmv (5411KB)

    Download Attachment Cancel

  32. John Yeazel says:

    Didn’t work; it was on an attachment and I could not copy and paste it. I’m sure everyone is disappointed.

  33. Paul says:

    John, it’s a back scratcher

  34. John Yeazel says:

    Paul, as we say in Chicago- that’s a beautiful thing; I figured out the chuckle video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI3vaHqW2Ao

  35. Paul says:

    John, da bears

  36. RubeRad says:

    That’s hi-larious, but if you want to maintain that joke you should photoshop out the bottom of the sword behind the left waist…

  37. Paul says:

    It’s a really long back scratcher.

  38. Chris Sherman says:

    He didn’t say if it was for scratching his own back.

  39. Zrim says:

    Well, one is a second mark problem, the other a third mark. You might have in mind something like Fountain Street (downtown GR) where both of those I would think are true. That’s classic liberalism, where virtually all tenants of orthodoxy are openly rejected. I think the background is a mix of Anabaptism, New Haven theology and universalism. If I wanted high octane liberalism, I’d go there and not the PCUSA where they really exist in a broad evangelicalism. The CRC is on a trajectory to that end as well, but neither seem like full-on liberalism.

    But you almost seem to be implying that credo-baptism is more or less tolerable and that I might be making too big deal about it. Maybe not. But, either way, I have to admit I don’t understand this almost latitudinarian disposition amongst fellow Reformed when something like the Belgic 34 reads in part:

    For this reason we believe that anyone who aspires to reach eternal life ought to be baptized only once without ever repeating it– for we cannot be born twice. Yet this baptism is profitable not only when the water is on us and when we receive it but throughout our entire lives.

    For that reason we detest the error of the Anabaptists who are not content with a single baptism once received and also condemn the baptism of the children of believers. We believe our children ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as little children were circumcised in Israel on the basis of the same promises made to our children.

    And truly, Christ has shed his blood no less for washing the little children of believers than he did for adults.

    Therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of what Christ has done for them, just as the Lord commanded in the law that by offering a lamb for them the sacrament of the suffering and death of Christ would be granted them shortly after their birth. This was the sacrament of Jesus Christ.

    Furthermore, baptism does for our children what circumcision did for the Jewish people. That is why Paul calls baptism the “circumcision of Christ

    I’m not aware of such visceral language concerning the discipline of sin. Belgic 29 plots out the three marks. It says in part:

    The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church– and no one ought to be separated from it.

    As for those who can belong to the church, we can recognize them by the distinguishing marks of Christians: namely by faith, and by their fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness, once they have received the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. They love the true God and their neighbors, without turning to the right or left, and they crucify the flesh and its works.

    Though great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their lives, appealing constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of the Lord Jesus, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins, through faith in him.

    As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on men, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.

    These two churches are easy to recognize and thus to distinguish from each other.

    That sounds like more tolerance for human weaknesses than for sacramental error.

  40. Paul says:

    So the claim that you’d join one and not the other because the one is not a false mark is a defeated reason for you. Both are false, on your view (though Baptists do administer the sacraments, and it’s the *administration* and not the *subjects* of baptism that is the demarcating feature, btw), and so it’s really 6 in one, a half dozen in the other. Both are false, but at least with the RB churches you don’t have the liberal theology and the political activism. So I’d change your answer to number 1; just a suggestion 🙂

  41. John Yeazel says:

    I knew it was not a back scratcher- I was being purposefully irrational and confessional. Da Bears- you got that right- dah!! That is part of the nothing box in my brain. The part that tells me that the Scriptures do not speak of football but they do speak to football.

  42. Zrim says:

    No, my answer wasn’t that I’d join either. My answer was that “I’d work a bit harder to find a Lutheran church if my choices were between a closer-to-false-than-true church and a wayward Reformed denomination. I mean, a place that has those two choices has GOT to have a Lutheran church somewhere about.”

    And I take “pure administration” to include subjects (per Belgic 34). I’ve not any direct experience with RB churches, but I do know of one RB who joined a URC because 2k was understood much better than any area RB communion. I find that odd for other reasons, but it also sugegsts to me that if RB churches don’t have a grasp on 2k that might mean they are politically active. Maybe not.

  43. Paul says:

    Zrim, at a minimum you called them a wayward denom, but now you’ll be bound to admit that you were wrong. Moreover, if it’s “proper subjects” then PCUSA is out on 2 and 3, not just 3 (since unrepentant sinners are not proper subjects).

    Also, you’re adding to the marks of the true church. It’s proper administration, not subjects, and Belgic 34 doesn’t entail or imply that baby baptizing is proper administration. It may be proper subjects, not administration, as the section on true churches shows, it does not discuss subjects. Moreover, appeal to the Belgic (or WCF) means little to me as you guys just “throw out” what you don’t like, e.g., art 36; and even the amended version isn’t 2K friendly, as D.G. Hart says. But that’s besides the point, there’s no argument that proper subjects is adminstration, and when one reads the confessions on administration we don’t find babies there, we find them mentioned on subjects. Administration is trinitarian, along with the word, etc.

  44. John Yeazel says:

    So Paul are you going to enlighten us all as to what the Samuri looking, et tal., Apostle Paul like insignia is supposed to represent? Is it your life insignia, kind of like a life scripture verse?- da!! Condescension back at ya.

  45. "Michael Mann" says:

    I really like the question of whether a RB or Lutheran church would be preferable.

    The RB gets baptism wrong and would have a memorialistic view of the Lord’s Supper. Their congregational polity is a amiss. However, they should be pretty good on their soteriology.

    Lutherans have baptismal regeneration and consubstantiation. Then, don’t they have a visual “aids for worship?” A picture of the surfer dude in the sanctuary who is taken to be Jesus would be a deal breaker for me.

    I don’t get away much from my OPC these days – if I have misrepresented either RB or Lutherans please let me know.

  46. John Yeazel says:

    Michael,

    Lutherans speak of dogmatics not systematic theology (confessional and biblical assertions are not always logically consistent- or, are paradoxical). For instance, Lutherans believe in baptismal regeneration but also believe someone can lose their faith in what Christ did for them and therefore lose their salvation. Baptism is more of an ongoing event someone looks back upon, moment by moment, for assurance. We also believe the finite can contain the infinite (the eucharist- Christ comes down to us in the Supper) but this does not make logical sense. It is a paradox our finite minds cannot fully comprehend in a logical manner. Perhaps Paul, the Aporetic Christian, can explain more comprehensively.

  47. "Michael Mann" says:

    Yes, John, like Luther’s “hoc est meum corpum” and the ubiquity of Christ’s body, right?

    Understand, John, that I am not intending to pick on you or Lutheranism. I just think the Lutheran / RB contrast is useful for, ahem, “fleshing” out issues from a Calvinist confessional point of view.

  48. RubeRad says:

    Lutherans have baptismal regeneration and consubstantiation. Then, don’t they have a visual “aids for worship?” A picture of the surfer dude in the sanctuary who is taken to be Jesus would be a deal breaker for me.

    Indeed, they not only don’t balk at a surfer dude in the front of the sanctuary, but they genuflect every time the cross the middle of the “stage” (altar? chancel?)

  49. John Yeazel says:

    I did not take it personally Michael. I understand the issues between Calvinists and Lutherans but find it hard to get worked up about whether Christ comes down to us in the elements or the Holy Spirit brings us into the heavenlies to where Christ is seated during our partaking of the Supper in faith. Is there any way to verify this when both Lutherans and Calvinist claim they are being more faithful to the scriptures? That seems like an unsolvable issue to me.

    I cannot get worked up about the baptism issue either- although many from both sides of the camp do. I fail to see how it makes any difference in how I approach the doctrines of justification and sanctification. Perhaps others can enlighten me- I am all ears.

  50. John Yeazel says:

    This guy is kind of a goofy evangelical but I thought the concept was funny. Perhaps some of you disagreed.

  51. John Yeazel says:

    Rube,

    I am one of those Lutherans who does not genuflect and my Pastor is OK with it. Do you still consider me an idolator? We also don’t have the surfer dude Jesus as a visual aid for worship although we do have Jesus hovering over the congregation with Moses (and his staff) and Paul (with his sword) at his sides but below him in a big stained glass portait just behind the altar, baptismal font and the raised pulpit where the Word is preached.

    I am wondering if you would allow me to take the eucharist next to you? I am not trying to make light of this issue either. I know it has caused problems between the denominations in the past. Does anyone really think that these issues can be resolved or that the effort should be put into trying to resolve them?

  52. "Michael Mann" says:

    John, in terms of questions about possible relationships between Calvinists and Lutherans, I would say the answer depends on the exact question. Can we have cordial and edifying discussions on a message board? Sure. Can we consider one another Christians? Sure. Would I want to visit a conservative Lutheran church while travelling? Possibly (BTW, I did research the proximity of a LMS church on a recent vacation), but it would generally be considered after NAPARC and RB churches are excluded as realistic possibilities. Could we have denominational unity? I think we both know the answer to that question.

    Speaking more generally, a Calvinist might view Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and use of images to be in a Romish direction. That gives us the willies.

    What if Calvin, Luther, and Melanchton had been shut up in a room for a week? OK, in the first hour Luther might have given Calvin a black eye and Melanchton might have cowered in the corner, but after the initial adrenaline wore off, I wonder if they might have reached substantial agreement. But it was not the Lord’s will.

    PS. My oldest daughter attended a LMS school for two years. It might have been longer but she clashed with the second teacher. Yeah, she was a bull-headed 8 year old. I have no idea where she got that from…

  53. RubeRad says:

    Do you still consider me an idolator?

    I am glad you refrain from idolatry. So apart from the fact that we’re all idolaters (what was it Calvin said about our hearts being idol-factories?), I’ll say no.

    I am wondering if you would allow me to take the eucharist next to you?

    It’s not up to me, it’s up to my elders. But I would have no problem, and my pastor always fences the table pretty loosely (“This is not a Presbyterian table, this is a Christian table, so if you are trusting in Christ, you are welcome”)

    Depending on what kind of Lutheran you are, I’m guessing it’s more likely I would not be allowed to take the eucharist next to you. My pastor was just telling me how the LCMS he goes to when he’s on vacation doesn’t commune him, and I understand that conservative Lutherans generally practice closed communion.

  54. John Yeazel says:

    Michael said: “Speaking more generally, a Calvinist might view Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and use of images to be in a Romish direction. That gives us the willies.”

    Since I have only been a member of a Lutheran Church for 2 and half years I cannot speak from a “willies” perspective. I have not really noticed anyone using images as a worship help- I certainly don’t. I would like to see more of a teaching emphasis in the Lutheran Churches I have had experience with. That is something I find attractive about OPC, NAPARC and RB churches. If I found a Pastor I respected as much as I do at the Lutheran Church I attend I really would have no problem switching to a OPC or NAPARC Church. I would have more problems with a RB church.

    The Lutheran Church I attend is a great improvement over the non-denominational Churches I attended faithfully for 19 years. I had to take a 10 year hiatus from Church after my experience in the non-denom churches. It took me that 10 years to reprogram my mind to what Christianity really was by reading modern reformation magazine and a lot of reformation theology. I finally came under the conviction that it was not right for me to not be going to Church. It did take me a while to find a Church I could stomach again. My Lutheran Pastor helped me through a lot of my hangups. For that I am extremely grateful for and it keeps me going to the Church I do. Even with some of the theological questions I have not resolved yet.

  55. RubeRad says:

    I have not really noticed anyone using images as a worship help

    I would say that bowing to a crucifix during a worship service, is self-evidently using an image as a worship-help — indeed more than worship-help, it is an act of worship.

    But then again, there are plenty of Calvinists for whom it is just as self-evident that any image of Christ is idolatry, no matter what the context — whether you intend to worship it or not.

  56. Matt Layton says:

    Its a tough one, but I would probably join the PCUSA because I align closer with them on issues of liturgy and paedobaptism. However I would not be a member there long, because I would go hear Spurgeon preach in London and decide not to leave, instead joining his church. While living in London, I’d attend the Westminster Assembly and take a (at least) a twelve pack of IPA along with me. I would probably rather visit the MNH, but I’d take my portable radio and listen to NPR the entire time, just admiring the scenery but ignoring the tour guide. And lastly, I’d go to the Benny Hinn event, but I’d take Spurgeon along with me and together we would throw a coup, forcibly have Hinn removed from the arena, and Spurgeon would singlehandedly abolish Pentecostalism from the universe.

  57. RubeRad says:

    Awesome! I never would have guessed there’s actually a right answer to this poll!

  58. John Yeazel says:

    I just read the section on Luther and confessional Lutherans in Fesko’s book on Baptism. Fesko claims that Luther did not believe in baptismal regeneration like the Catholics did. Luther broke from the Catholics (Augustine, Lombard, Aquinas) in that he did not believe that an ontological change occurs subjectively in the recipiant. Rather, Luther rooted baptism in the covenant and promise. Those who get baptized are to look back daily (moment by moment) to assure themselves of their old man’s death and new man’s life through their faith in Christ. He made a conscious break from the Roman Catholic ideas rooted in ontology. The water was also not the instrumental cause in salvation- faith always was and is. This too was in opposition to Rome. So, no need for willies Michael. Luther was attempting to make a complete break from Rome in all his soteriology.

    It was other Lutherans who slowly started leaning towards baptismal regeneration and the issue was never settled properly. Read Fesko’s book- it is well worth the time.

  59. 1. I’d attend a Ref Baptist church – been RB before and at least I can try and convince ’em on paedobaptism (on 2nd thought, been there done that bought the Spurgeon Tshirt, so forgatabout it, I’d go with “A”)

    2. I’d pick the Westminster Assembly; Calvinism is just the entryway anyway 🙂 (woops did I say that?)

    3. I’d pick Edwards – would love to hear the experiential Calvinism and get entranced

    4. if I HAD to pick, it’d be the Creation Museum – maybe I can convince some baptisms to become paedobaptism while standing in line

    5. since I’ve already seen Benny Hinn when I first was a Christian, I’d have to pick Myers

    6. I’d pick Limbaugh – he’s way more entertaining

    7. I love beer but Bud Light – yuk! I’l take “B” and have my wife drive me home.

  60. Katy says:

    John, you are right. Lutherans did/do not believe in baptism as the Roman Catholics. God’s Word (not a formula) creates Faith.

    However, I do not agree that Luther “did not believe that an ontological change occurs subjectively in the recipient,” if I understand what you mean. I have not read Fesko’s book, but how does he align Luther’s Small Catechism ( e.g. “[baptism] works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare”) with his interpretation?

    He is right that Lutherans emphasize God’s Word works Faith in the recipient. The definition of baptism (for a Lutheran) is God’s Word attached to water.

    It is also quite true that Lutherans view baptism as a life-long state (like “I am married,” not “I was married”), and “it signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever” (again, Small Catechism, thought by Luther to be his greatest work alongside The Bondage of the Will). This departs markedly from Trent. (You can read the whole section on Baptism at http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#baptism).

    Also, just to clarify, I’m pretty sure Lutherans don’t genuflect before crucifixes. They bow/genuflect as they pass before the altar, acknowledging where Christ’s body and blood at His Supper resides (or once resided). It is probably just a coincidence that a crucifix is above the altar. Now that I think of it, my church has its crucifix quite far away from the chancel, probably to keep people from thinking we are bowing to it.

    One more link to part of a Luther sermon on baptism (both its one-time and life-long effect): http://weedon.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-goosey-sis.html

    I’ve been lurking for a few months now, and I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for (almost always) correctly representing the other half of the Reformation. If we ever found ourselves unable to attend a Lutheran church (whether because of distance, or because nearby churches aren’t confessional), we would most definitely look for an OPC to hear Law and Gospel each week (and then travel the necessary distance for communion each month). God’s grace and peace to you!

    —————–

    And so I don’t derail the topic too much

    1) a. because my husband’s family is RB, and I have only heard one Gospel sermon at their church in the 5 years we’ve been married (and we visit 5-6 times a year). It’s all law all the time (glad to hear that’s not the norm). Same at my brother-in-law’s RB church.

    2) b. because I have strong interest in English Puritan theology (and the history of the English church in general)

    3) a. because I’ve already read a lot of Edwards, but I’ve only read a few annoying quotes by Spurgeon (and I’m not sure they represent him, or only the RB take on him)

    4) b. because they have 32 million specimens and artifacts.

    5) Um, I have acquaintances involved in both “ministries” b, because I think she’s more mainstream and widely accepted, whereas Hinn is just so obvious…

    6) b. since programs change (I like Prairie Home Companion, Cartalk, Diane Rehm), and Rush has been the same for 20 years 🙂

    7) b. although my dad drinks “Milwaukee’s Best,” so BL isn’t so bad. Irrelevant right now, though, since I’m expecting #4 later this summer.

  61. RubeRad says:

    Thanks for commenting (and lurking!)

    They bow/genuflect as they pass before the altar, acknowledging where Christ’s body and blood at His Supper resides (or once resided). It is probably just a coincidence that a crucifix is above the altar.

    That’s an interesting distinction I didn’t think of, but in your lurkings have you seen this? (and the opening part of the audio here is pretty provocative…)

  62. Katy says:

    I’m not a pastor, and my vocation keeps me (or should keep me) from lengthy blog posts. A few Lutheran thoughts/reactions, though:

    1) Before I comment on the Scaer and Wolfmueller provocations: Lutherans perceive Reformed doctrine on the Lord’s Supper and images of Christ to be very much related, and rooted in/the root of Christological errors, especially those surrounding the Incarnation.

    There was some discussion about this in the comments of one of the earlier posts. Yes, Lutherans wonder, if you’re uncomfortable with Jesus’ body in bread, how do you accept that he became human? Forbidding (or destroying) physical representations of Jesus (which usually communicate theology: Jesus crucified, Jesus the Good Shepherd, etc.) conveys–even if the iconoclast does not intend it–a rejection of Christ as man. Or dwelling too much on the fact that Christ is a Man. That our God has Flesh.

    2) So, with that in mind, Scaer is saying idolatry (worshiping an image) has been blessed, because the image is Christ, “the image of the invisible God,” where the “fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1). This, of course, is what was a “stumbling block to the Jews” (1 Cor 1), and why they tried to stone him for blasphemy. Now, if Scaer says bowing to a creche or crucifix is “blessed idolatry,” whether earnestly or to make a hyperbolic point, his statement (in itself) would be outside the pale of orthodox Lutheranism, because it suggests actually worshiping the creche (and no, we do not believe veneration of an icon is transferred to the icon’s subject.) Email him and ask him to explain!

    2) So you can probably see where I’ll go with Wolfmueller’s statement. Yes, it’s provocative. But the forbidding of images is a confession of sorts, one that Lutherans find weirdly docetic.

    Lutherans, although we love organs, stained glass, images, all kinds of vestments–and sometimes even “bells and smells”–know, or should know, that Christ is pleased to dwell wherever the Word is rightly proclaimed and Sacraments are administered. And that’s it! All we need for worship is Christ serving us his gifts. The rest is adiaphora.

    (Because of the “Jesus surfer dude” references and corny Santa figurine, I have a sneaking suspicion that the real protest is over aesthetics–and I sympathize, if so 🙂 )

  63. RubeRad says:

    Lutherans perceive Reformed doctrine on the Lord’s Supper and images of Christ to be very much related, and rooted in/the root of Christological errors

    Likewise, I’m sure…

    whether earnestly or to make a hyperbolic point

    I’m convinced he was making a hyperbolic point, but even so, how could his suggestion to kneel before a creche in worship not be advocatingthat veneration of an icon is transferred to the icon’s subject? Seems to me the only alternative would be “accursed idolatry”!

    Email him and ask him to explain!

    I don’t think he’d reply. I did try to chat with him at the conference (not about that provocative quote), and he was quite grumpy about all things Calvinist.

    The rest is adiaphora.

    Well that’s a fairly big difference in perspective as well, the Reformed taking the regulative approach to worship, basically that adiaphora are forbidden because they are not commanded. Although I do think we use the word adiaphora, perhaps in a different sense. Like we use microphones even though they were not commanded, because they support the preaching of the word in an indifferent (adiaphoretic?) way.

    because of the “Jesus surfer dude” references and corny Santa figurine, I have a sneaking suspicion that the real protest is over aesthetics

    No, I think that’s mostly just our local levity. You gotta keep it light and fresh when you’re living in an Outhose. (Nobody likes an Outhouse if it’s dark and, um, not-so-fresh).

    Personally, I buck the confessions in advocating liberty for images of Christ, outside of worship (and I will be debating that topic in a few months). So for instance these things I wouldn’t classify as sinful, but just plain bad using creational categories of tackiness, lameness, and stupidity.

    But I hope you can get past the levity and stick around. Around here, we like Lutherans (just look at the latest post). Being called “Lutheran” is our favorite insult, and believe me we get it plenty.

  64. Katy says:

    likewise, I’m sure…

    I know you all know, and I’m not introducing anything new here! Just a reminder, since some of the comments discussing icons/Lord’s Supper seemed to forget the ol’ Nestorian/monophysite brandings

    I don’t think he’d reply.

    Eh, sorry if Dr. Scaer was grumpy. Some Lutherans get weary after a lifetime of defending themselves against various myths or misinformation, some perpetuated by some Calvinists (no one here, I’m sure! *not sarcastic*). Frankly, I think that’s the Lutherans’ fault for not being outspoken/clear about what our confessions/Scripture teach, especially in the last 40 years, especially to our own laity.

    That’s a fairly big difference in perspective as well.

    Yes, although I meant adiaphora in contrast to Dr. Scaer’s and Pr. Wolfmueller’s seeming overstatements (that confessional churches MUST have images, which they do not mean). They are not necessary.

    I was going to ask about your regulative principal and how it seems (to me) to be applied inconsistently. My husband’s former church never invoked the Trinity, except at baptisms, since that is the only place it is found in Scripture.
    (E.g. We were not allowed at our wedding to use the Triune God’s name, even at the end of prayers, in the service; that was very upsetting to me, since many wedding guests were unbelievers. The salutary reason was to keep people from believing erroneously that marriage is a sacrament–a few guests were RC. But I was troubled that fellow trinitarian Christians shied away from professing God’s name because of the regulative principle. In hindsight, I should have picked a trinitarian hymn from the Trinity Hymnal… 🙂 )

    …local levity…

    Yes, that was me trying to add some levity to my post, but my internet communication skillz aren’t so great, it seems. We can all get behind ‘clasting of kitsch.

    stick around…
    Of course! My last post was way too earnest, I guess. I’m not upset! Honest! I like your site mostly because you all know what we all are talking about and there’s not all this talking past each other because we have the same terms for different things.

    I will return to lurking now, unless someone says Luther was just stubborn and uncharitable at Marburg, and what’s the big deal anyway? Or all the patristic fathers are lying…

  65. John Yeazel says:

    Katy,

    When one starts talking about ontology (the study of being) there are many dangers lurking in the shadows. Especially when this is related to regeneration and what actually takes place in the being of man. The scriptures do not go into details about what happens within man during regeneration or when this exactly takes place; it basically just says that a new man somehow emerges from our old man we inherited from Adam. And that it takes the gift of faith in Christ’s work for us (justification) to make the sanctification (or growth of the new man) take place.

    Catholics in Luther’s time believed that an infusion of grace took place within the ontology of man during baptism,ie., something changed within the being of man. They believed this about all the sacramental means of grace. Luther and some of the other Protestant reformers could not find any biblical support for this notion and developed the more scriptural ideas of Christ’s righteousness being imputed to us by faith. The emphasis was on Christ and what he did for us not on any ontological change within us. This was the main idea that Luther was breaking away from the Catholics with.

    Ironically, many evangelicals have ideas about regeneration and soteriology which are closer to the concept of infusion of grace into the being of man like the Catholics and Anabaptists of Luther’s time. I would like to try to clarify these ideas a bit more but do not have the time right now. Again, I would recommend getting Fesko’s book on baptism. He goes into much greater detail than Luther’s section on baptism in his smaller and larger catechism. And I think he does not misinterpret Luther’s ideas on Baptism.

    Not to be nitpicky but I think Luther thought his Larger Catechism (not his smaller catechism) and his book The Bondage of the Will were his best theological writings.

    Thanks for your comments- it sometimes gets even lonelier at the Outhouse than normal when I do not hear from any other Lutherans at the site. You don’t have to lurk- your comments are appreciated by me anyways. I have learned a lot from the Calvinist blogs I frequent. I could say more but will stop for now.

  66. Katy says:

    Point taken, understood, and I am in full agreement, especially with paragraph #2. I misunderstood your original post (and after I responded, I realized I should have asked you to define “regeneration.” I was reading it as “rebirth,” a la John 3, a particularly baptismal passage). Speaking of John 3, and out of curiosity, are you saying when one is born of Water, he is not born of Spirit? I will put Fesko on my list.

    Not to be nitpicky but I think Luther thought his Larger Catechism (not his smaller catechism) and his book The Bondage of the Will were his best theological writings.
    My mistake! LC does a pretty fine job on baptism, too.

    Saying I’m going to return to lurking reflects nothing you or anyone at CO! I have 3 children under 4, and can’t really afford to spend too much time commenting and in online conversation, if I’m going to do all that faith-full diaper changing and sweeping.

  67. "Michael Mann" says:

    Yes, “surfer dude” was levity. But it was also levity with a point: the representation is no more Jesus than it is a surfer dude. It’s neither. It might be a composite of four different people the artist knew. In short, it’s someone’s imaginative idea of what Jesus looked like. But it isn’t what he looked like, and Jesus chose not to have any representations made of himself. So, in a deeply religious, contemplative state, an imaginative (untrue) image makes a profound impact on religious perceptions and worship. It’s not nit-picky to find something wrong with that.

    Katy, I hope that doesn’t sound harsh. If so, it’s because I sometimes find it difficult to find a medium between levity and harshness while still staying something serious and, I think, something important. Glad to see you contributing and I will look forward to seeing more of your thoughts. And, yes, John does need a little blog-companionship from a fellow Lutheran.

    Anyway, Luther certainly was stubborn. It was his strength and his weakness, yes? I give him honor for his unique service to our Lord from which we have both benefited.

  68. John Yeazel says:

    Michael Mann said: “And, yes, John does need a little blog-companionship from a fellow Lutheran.”

    I’m trying to say something witty back but it just isn’t coming. I get a kick out your comments though. I am still not convinced you really are the real Michael Mann- probably Zrim or DGH incognito. Kind of like the Gabriel Byrne imposter. What’s up with all this?

  69. John Yeazel says:

    Michael,

    I meant to comment about your imagining what it would have been like to be in a room with Luther, Calvin and Melanchthon. I think you misrepresented Melanchthon by saying he would wimp out in the corner. That might be a caricature that has been passed down through the ages. I don’t think it would be right to characterize any of the reformers as “wimpy.” What they accomplished during their days on earth was gigantic compared to anybody I know. Plus they lived with threats of death almost daily.

    I have always enjoyed the following quote from Luther about Melanchthon:

    “Roland Bainton in his biography of Luther describes Melanchthon in the following way “In appearance he was not prepossessing as he had an impediment of speech and a hitch in his shoulder when he walked, Luther once when asked what he envisaged the appearance of the Apostle Paul, answered with an affectionate guffaw, ‘I think he was a scrawny shrimp like Melanchthon, but when the strippling opened his mouth he was like the boy Jesus in the temple.”

  70. "Michael Mann" says:

    John, with Luther punching out Calvin and Melanchton cowering in a corner, we’re pretty deep into caricature territory, but a caricature does draw on real traits. It’s been awhile, but I recall statements by Calvin and I believe Luther as well that painted a picture of Melanchton as being quite bright but on the timid side.

    I think it is an accepted fact that Melanchton was given a letter of Calvin’s to deliver to Luther but he never did deliver it for fear that Luther would be angered by it. Schaff writes:

    “Calvin returned Luther’s greetings through Melanchthon, and sent him two pamphlets with a letter, dated Jan. 21, 1545, addressing him as “my much respected father,” and requesting him to solve the scruples of some converted French refugees. he expresses the wish that “he might enjoy for a few hours the happiness of his society,” though this was impossible on earth.”

    “Melanchthon, fearing a renewal of the eucharistic controversy, had not the courage to deliver this letter—the only one of Calvin to Luther—”because,” he says, “Doctor Martin is suspicious, and dislikes to answer such questions as were proposed to him.”

    The redeemed are of all types of personalities and flaws including great men like these, next to whom I am nothing. I like what Calvin has to say in the following as he “keeps it real” while showing honor:

    “I hear that Luther has at length broken forth in fierce invective, not so much against you as against the whole of us. On the present occasion, I dare scarce venture to ask you to keep silence, because it is neither just that innocent persons should thus be harassed, nor that they should be denied the opportunity of clearing themselves; neither, on the other hand, is it easy to determine whether it would be prudent for them to do so. But of this I do earnestly desire to put you in mind, in the first place, that you would consider how eminent a man Luther is, and his excellent endowments, with what strength of mind and resolute constancy, with how great skill, with what efficiency and power of doctrinal statement, he hath hither-to devoted his whole energy to overthrow the reign of Antichrist, and at the same time to diffuse far and near the doctrine of salvation. Often have I been wont to declare, that even although he were to call me a devil, I should still not the less esteem and acknowledge him as an illustrious servant of God. This, therefore, I would beseech you to consider first of all, along with your colleagues, that you have to do with a most distinguished servant of Christ, to whom we are all of us largely indebted.”

  71. John Yeazel says:

    Comments well taken Mr. Mann- also very interesting and revealing; I love this stuff

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