Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hey Dan! Let me clear some points and loose ends

Hey Dan! Let me clear up some points and loose ends


Dan and I have been going at logger heads for some time… he is really a pest… LOL! Just joking!!!!

Actually, I really enjoy Dan’s input on my posts. I have even pulled the comments out to a new post as I think his comments of great value. I consider Dan a friend and though he needs to post more on his blog I think he has some interesting thought there.

Here is the comment on the last post that I was reviewing “A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity”. Though in a way I think the main point of the last post was that I agree with Spencer Burke on much of the topics of he book, I wanted to expound on some of the things Dan has brought up.



A couple counterpoints iggy,

First of all, looking at scripture collectively we see that baptism is a means of salvation (although not necessarily the only way). This is attested to by Christ when he says "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Some people get hung up on the ordering of believe and baptized, but my point is that in this verse and numerous others baptism and salvation are linked. The most specific verse attesting to the salvific nature of baptism would be 1Peter 3:20-21 which states:

"God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." That states it pretty clearly.

Throw into the mix that the vast majority of the early church leaders performed infant baptism and that the first case of a child being intentionally withheld from baptism doesn't appear until the 4th century and i think you have a pretty good case for salvific infant baptism.

Secondly, it seems strange that you would throw out the idea of salvific baptism for lack of biblical evidence but then claim a sort of "age of accountability" based upon cognitive ability which has even less in the way of direct Biblical support. I also am a bit perplexed that someone who has spent so much time rallying against the dangers of propositional truth would then base so much of our salvation upon a narrow definition of reasoning (not to mention that asserting that the developmentally disabled are unable to be depraved is insulting and paints the disabled as the cherubim imbeciles, an image that disability rights groups have been trying to eliminate for years. Trust me, developmentally disabled people can be just as depraved as you or I). Let me put it this way. An infant does not cognitively understand love, but would you say that your child does not know that you love them? A gentleman by the name of Hoffman puts it this way, "The child is capable of a “primal trust,” and, where this is not developed but held back, it sustains severe personality damage. This “primal trust” is not first developed through heard or understood articulated words, but in a personal mode which is other than verbal and which can indeed dispense with the verbal dimension. A child “knows”

Anyways, that's all for now.

Dan

P.S. I wrote an paper on infant baptism that lays out my beliefs pretty well and give a bunch more evidence for it. If you'd like I could send you a copy.





Hey Dan!

I want to clear up something about “propositional truth”. I aint against it… in fact I went back and put a disclaimer to that post as I think the title is misleading in regard to what I wrote. It set the wrong tone.

I do not think we are to base our understanding on “man’s reasoning” and I do not think man can reason his way to God at least without the “wooing” of the Holy Spirit.

I see that propositional truth must be in “right” relation to Jesus or it is really of no use.


  1. Jesus is THE TRUTH. (One can say He is TRUTH ABSOLUTE)

  2. Jesus is the source of All Truth. (One can say Jesus is the source of All Absolute Truth).

  3. All Truth comes from the source or it is not pure Truth.

  4. We receive this Truth from Jesus as revelation which is then confirmed by Jesus revealing Who He is in the Scripture.

  5. We understand scripture and its truths which are often “propositional” by our relationship with Jesus.

  6. We test this by our experience and by our fellowship with one another to test and prove these Truths with each other.

  7. We live our lives in and through these truths with each other.

  8. These Truths must be universally true or they are not true…

I admit whole hardily that this is not a formula, but rather what I have come to understand from scripture and my relationship with Jesus over the years.

Secondly, I am not perfect, so I may not be right on some things. Somewhere I realized in my walk that God is perfect and that is His job, not mine. Mine is to be the imperfect creation that is loved by Him.

In that I am always looking at my faith and beliefs to see if they square with what I hear God teaching me. Though you and I may not agree with some things, I truly respect your beliefs and know you have not just accepted things, but do challenge teachings. I do not take it personally when you do disagree as I know you realize we both are growing. (I must at least make you think cuz you keep coming back to read my silly posts LOL!).



The funny thing is as I was writing the paragraph on infant baptism, I thought about you for a moment as I know that the Lutherans are not too far off on the Catholic view of infant baptism.

I view the scripture as talking about two specific “baptisms”


  1. John’s Baptism (a precursor and one of remission of sins)

  2. Being immersed in the Blood of Jesus or being baptized into Christ.

#1 was not a permanent solution as it was temporary as the sacrificial system… John even said it was for the “remission of sins” as Jesus was the “Lamb Who would take away the sins of the world”. That was and is the permanent e solution.

I see that other than that, there is no “baptism” that is for salvation as even Paul said that if anyone preaches a Gospel different from himself, let him be accursed. (Gal 1) So, then if the “Gospel of your salvation” (Eph1:13) was preached by Paul… and anyone who preached contrary was to be eternally cursed, why does Paul sound so lackadaisical over baptism?

1 Cor 1: 11. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ."
13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14. I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15. so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (NIV)

To me then if Paul who was so strong on defending the “Gospel” that saves us was not so strong on Baptism, I think that we then can see that baptism was not part of the “salvation equation”.

In fact I have for sometime noticed that as the Revelation of Jesus increased in scripture, the teaching of baptism progressively diminishes. There is either a contradiction or there is a progression as one scripture tell us we have only “One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) then in Hebrews we have the verse that says, “Hebrews 6:1. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2. instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.


So we must conclude that there is One Baptism… and one is symbolic of THAT BAPTISM. (1 Peter 3:21) There is one baptism and that is in Christ… as we are baptized into His Life… His resurrected Life. 1 Peter 3: 18. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19. through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20. who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21. and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22. who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (NIV with my emphasis). I see it as not the water, but the Resurrection of Jesus that saves us. And that we now are baptized in Christ… or placed into Jesus… 1 Cor 12: 13. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. (NIV) personally I remember pastor Farina doing the dunking… not the Holy Spirit… as far as “water”. But, I do know that the Holy Spirit has baptized me in Jesus. Ephesians 1 explains how we are immersed in Christ… “22. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23. which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)

Notice we are placed under Christ… just as one is placed under the water at baptism. We are baptized in Christ. This is backed up more if one does a study of being the body of Christ. I do not think Paul was talking of water baptism in Rom 6: 1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3. Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Rather I see he is saying that since we are now dead to sin, we are now being dead, have Jesus’ death in place of our own. With that as we are immersed in His death, we also will be raised from the dead, and will live a new life. Our sin was taken away, or put to death, so we too can partake in the resurrection of Christ.


Even through I do not see baptism as an essential, I do not see harm in child dedications, though I see this as more of a community of believer that are vowing together to help raise the child in a Godly way. Most the time it is a rather meaningless ritual.

I know the arguments of “the whole household was baptized”… and such, yet again, this is the “symbol” of what now saves us… the water does not do much but get us wet and shows what Christ has done on the inside of a believer.

My main point is that most reformed theologians and Calvinist do not believe child baptism, so deny Calvinism in its purity as Calvin would have taught it. Again, I thought of Luther, then you, and wondered how you would respond.

I am interested in your paper… I would really like to read what you have considered and discovered… I may be missing something.

The main point of the “developmentally disabled” is not that some can not grasp right and wrong, but many cannot understand even some basic teachings of the faith. In that if a child is mute and cannot “confess with their mouth”… or if one is deaf. How can they “hear the message”. I am thinking of my cousins which one is in her 40’s and is mentally still about 5 years old… another has down syndrome and just did a dance routine to “Little Willy, Willy” by Sweet in which she did a rather shocking hip swivel to the embarrassment of her family. I do not think she understood what she was doing… as I do not think she realized that the seductive hip swivel was not appropriate for the family reunion… though it was a bit fun to what my very religious cousins get shocked a bit by it. Both are more than capable of doing bad things, yet there is an innocence still there that is not present in adults. My main thought was not that these do not ever do anything that can be considered sinful, but that God’s grace covers them. In a sense it is like when Paul states, “And where there is no law there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:15) These who cannot understand transgressions, are not held to account of transgressions. They are innocent of transgressions, that is until they come to a point that they do realize they are transgressing against someone else, or God. After that if they continue, God turns them over to a depraved mind… but until then they do not have a depraved mind .

Blessings,
iggy

13 comments:

Dan said...

Iggy,

I think you are really stretching with you exegesis on this issue. Looking first at the two baptisms you point out I notice that you intentionally leave out the physical elements of your second baptism. You cannot escape the fact the the baptism which Chirst called his disciples to do and that they continued to perform and teach throughout the book of Acts and the epistles was a physical water baptism, not just some abstract spiritual concept.
Let me at this point clarify that baptism is not just the pouring of water but is the water WITH the Word. Niether I nor the Lutherans, Catholics, or Orthodox churches believe that just dumping water on people is going to save them. It is the Word with the water that saves. i would also like to point out that it is not the view of any of these churches (as far as I know) that baptism is the only means of salvation. It is a means of salvation and as Augustine said, "it is not the absence of baptism that damns, but the despising of baptism."
Looking at your comments point by point,

You said" … and anyone who preached contrary was to be eternally cursed, why does Paul sound so lackadaisical over baptism?"

I would hardly say that Paul is lackadaisical about baptism (in fact I wouldn't say that Paul was lackadaisical about anything). Looking at Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 5:26,Hebrews 10:22, and Titus 3:3-5 which states "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
It is clear not only from Paul's writings but also the writings and practices of the early church that baptism was a significant and obvious aspect of Christian faith. This is why you are not going to find complicated defenses for salvation through baptism, because this is one of the things that pretty much everyone was clear on (just like the eucharist, but that's a different topic).

You said, "1 Cor 1: 11-17...To me then if Paul who was so strong on defending the “Gospel” that saves us was not so strong on Baptism, I think that we then can see that baptism was not part of the “salvation equation.”

You've completely missed the point of this passage!! This has nothing to do with people putting to great a focus on baptism it is about people forming sects and putting to great an emphasis on thier spiritual leaders. If anything this passage shows the significance of baptism. Paul's is saying that the focus is not on him, but on Christ. he did not come to christen his own followers but to point them towards Christ.

You said, "In fact I have for sometime noticed that as the Revelation of Jesus increased in scripture, the teaching of baptism progressively diminishes. There is either a contradiction or there is a progression as one scripture tell us we have only “One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) then in Hebrews we have the verse that says, “Hebrews 6:1. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of... instruction about baptisms..."

You're really reaching on this one. Contradiction or progressive baptisms? I think there are a few more options than that. I think the most obvious conclusion is that he is talking about the many baptisms the early and very missionary church were performing. The didache has teachings on different types of baptisms (depending on available water sources) and of course there would be differing instructions for how one would baptize an infant versus an adult convert. For example, I would say that during Easter this past year we had two baptisms. Even depsite all of that, how does this negate salvation through baptism?

After the section I have quoted you make a giant leap to say that baptism is just symbolic. Here is my critique of your reasoning on that issue.

1) When you quote 1 Pet. 3:21 you use the NIV which adds the word "symbolizes." I made a point of quoting from the NRSV because it is a more accurate translation (thus the word symbolizing is not present). But even using the NIV, it still proves my original point because it says that the flood symbolizes baptism that saves us! It is not saying that baptism symbolizes our salvation.

2) In several places you try to make the point that since baptism physically corresponds to the language that the Biblical authors use to describe our salvation, that it must just be a symbol. This correlation may affirm the possibility that it is a symbol but it in no way say that it can ONLY be a symbol.

3) You have not once in your entire post pointed to any verse that says that baptism is nothing but a symbol. i have pointed to verses that not only link baptism and salvation but flat out say that baptism does save us and is more that just "the washing of dirt." The idea that Jesus, Paul, the other aplostles, and the early church
were refering to baptism as just a symbol is a modern interpretation that is born out of presumptive readings and deductive interpretations.

You said, "My main point is that most reformed theologians and Calvinist do not believe child baptism, so deny Calvinism in its purity as Calvin would have taught it."

I don't know where you get this from. Reformed and Presbyterian churches all do infant baptisms. The only calvanists that don't are some branches of Baptists, but I would barely consider them calvanists in the first place.

You said, "The main point of the “developmentally disabled” is not that some can not grasp right and wrong, but many cannot understand even some basic teachings of the faith. In that if a child is mute and cannot “confess with their mouth”… or if one is deaf. How can they “hear the message.”

In response to this I would say that you are making God too small. For years people thought that individuals with cerebral palsy were mentally retarded and uncapable of understanding. We now know that most of them are fully capable of understanding the same as the peers, it is just that we had to understand how to communicate with them. My point here is that we are clouded to much by seeing our context. We see people incapable of hearing, speaking, or taking in information as we can and we assume that they don't understand things. But I know that God and the Gospel he shares with us is greater than our language and epistemologies. So perhaps we are unable to reach the minds of people with disabilities through our methods and our languages, but God certainly isn't.
In regards to your cousin, I would agree that what she did was probably not done in malice and that she didn't understand the context of it (like a foreigner who comes to our country, gets flipped off, and thinking that it is a friendly gesture starts flipping off everyone he sees). But (being a brother to two siblings with downs and a disabilities rights activist) I know that people with disabilities, though ignorant to social mores and such, are capable of being malicious and selfish.
i understand your dilemma when it comes to this issue, but you need to realize that in trying to create a positive place for the disabled in the body of Christ, you are in fact excluding them. To say that they are not dead in sin and in need of redemption (as the Bible tells us we all are) you are robbing them of their humanity. To be human is to need redemption. As unsettling as it may be to some people, that includes young and the disabled. But God is not really concerned with us being "settled."


Dan

P.S. I will put a link to my baptism article on my blog tomorrow so keep an eye out for it.

iggy said...

Dan,

I know you have studied this, but have you studied outside the context of Lutheranism?

1.The literal translation of 1 Peter 3:21 is this...

“21. Which also you antitype now saves, immersion, not of {the} flesh, a putting away of {the} filth, but of a conscience good an answer toward God, through {the} resurrection of Jesus Christ,22. who is at {the} right {side} of God, having gone into Heaven, being subjected to Him angels and authorities and powers.”


Not if you read it in an English arrangement... Peter is speaking of a clean conscience...

The immersion in water is an antitype... to the cleaning of our conscience form sin... "good conscience" and a "answer toward God".... meaning we agree with God...

But the reality of the cleansing is by the resurrection... not the water baptism. "through {the} resurrection of Jesus Christ"

This is that we have a clean conscience because we turned toward God Because of the resurrection of Jesus... it is not that we are saved by the "antitype" of baptism.

We are saved by the resurrection of Jesus... and there is way too many passages to back that up... but Romans 5 is a great place to start.

2. I used the word symbol as it is the closest to the word "antitype and I have the choice between KJV, NIV,ASV and the literal translation. These are the only ones in my program...yet again, I think you miss that the baptism in context is about Noah... being saved through water... which symbolized Jesus... which is symbolized now through immersion and represents the washing of our conscience and answering to God that we trust in the Resurrection of Jesus for our salvation. To say, Jesus and baptism is to add works to the finished works of Jesus. It is saying we do not fully accept what Jesus did in His death burial and resurrection to say "water" cleans us, only Jesus blood. The purpose of Baptism is not salvific, but rather point so the salvation that comes only through Jesus.

3. I think that many really great scholars would agree with me… and many would agree with you also… Yet, again, I believe to add anything to the finished works of Jesus is to diminish them. I do not deny that baptism was practiced, I am only challenging that it is for salvation… mostly I see that the version you chose adds punctuation which is not found in Greek or Hebrew… so adding punctuation can change the reading. If as you say this is true… then why does it say, “One baptism” in Ephesians 4? Also, often the word baptism is simply “immersed” and has or can have nothing to do with water or the ritual… I see to be immersed in death as just as valid reading for passages like Rom 6.
In fact is you do a bit of research into why we have transliterated the word “baptism” it would come out of King James… who hated baths and water… he never bathed! So the translator used the word baptism, which simply means “immersed”… We can be immersed in water, or in Christ… to me it follows that we are place in the Body of Christ and become the church, is also saying we are immersed in Christ. Immersion can be used in many ways… “I am immersed in my studies”… “I am immersed in my bath tub”, I am immersed in the Love of God”… all are a sort of baptism…

3. John had a different baptism than Jesus… Note: “John 1: 31. I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

Yet John spoke of a different baptism… the one I am speaking of: : “John 1: 33. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, `The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'” I think that is a very strong verse to back up my statements on the baptism I am speaking about. Later there is a discussion between John and “a certain Jew” over ceremonial baptism… which is out of Leviticus 8… John was for a time with the Essenes who were know to wash very often to stay “clean” and not just the bathing type, but also the ritualistic type… The Essenes were rich in ceremony.

Yet, John says something here… in John 3: 27. To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28. You yourselves can testify that I said, `I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' 29. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30. He must become greater; I must become less.

Notice though originally John’s baptism of the “remission of sins” is now to become lesser as the reality Who is Christ is now here… but realize this was the ceremonial washing that John was doing… and that was the question asked. “John 3: 25. An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.” John does not deny that it is a ceremonial washing at all, but states: “"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Which is to say, “we must live by the revelation that we have”. Now look at the passage in Hebrews 9: 10. “They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order. 11. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.”

Notice that ceremonial washings are in the list? So the stronger argument would be that even “Baptism” is done away with as we have Jesus now in the tabernacle not built by man’s hands… read chapter 8 about the “shadow”. Then read chapter 9, then 10… it all builds on that these are “shadows” and nto the realities themselves. Though ceremonial washings is not in the list… Paul reflects pretty close to the same list and thought in Col 2: 16. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” This thought coupled with that Paul seemed to ”not baptize anyone” then does remember he did a few… seems that Paul did not hold the ceremonial washings as high you seem to say. In fact, as you stated, he would distant himself in that if it caused division… then But the point Paul himself uses is this…1 Cor 1: 17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” Notice that Christ did not send Paul to baptize? That is as clear as a bell… yet he says in the very next statement “but to preach the gospel”… so then it does seem Paul is separating the Gospel from baptism… and this is over divisions as people were stating that their “baptism” was better because of the person who did it… Paul goes contrary to your premise as he is very clear that “baptism” is not the Gospel… but that Jesus’ resurrection is the power to save us. Rom 5: 10. “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Notice we are saved by Jesus Life! No mention of baptism with water… again Rom 6 states we are baptized into Christ… or “immersed into Christ” in the literal translation. Then what follows is this statement: “5. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” In our immersion in Jesus’ death, we are united with Him in his resurrection. We are immersed in Christ by the blood of the cross… “6. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7. because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” As we identify with Jesus’ death on the cross we are we are immersed in his death and united with Him in His resurrected Life. This thought is furthered in “Ephesians 2: 13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Notice the phrase “in Christ” that is the immersion in the literal Christ… the true reality.

To tie this up in a neat little package, read “Hebrews 9: 14. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” then tie that with the verse in 1 Peter and see how this all pulls together.

We are baptized by the blood of Christ… that is the reality and the water is the symbol… and only that.

Thanks again Dan… I really appreciate your input. I do look forward to your article…

Blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

Dan,

Also, I admit that most of the Calvinists I have met are from the Baptist persuasion. I do know that there are many other traditions that do… I was originally baptized as an infant in the congregational church… In that most the Calvinists I know are Baptist, they would never agree that Baptism is essential for salvation… (even though there are still sect today that do believe this as Baptists).

The thing about those with mental disabilities that I was trying to convey was that God is bigger than most believe and that Grace is larger than most understand… also this is in the context of a book review which is even suggesting going farther… but I will discuss that at a later date.

I was saying that a child needs to learn good and evil… from a very simple form…. “Do not touch the hot stove!” is a very neutral statement, but a child needs to know bad things can happen if they touch the stove.

My son needs direction… I do not see him as “evil” or “totally depraved” but often he is into things he should not be into… sometimes he listens and sometimes he does not… yet there will be a day that he will be accountable for his own actions as Ezekiel 18 teaches.

Each person will be accountable for their own sin… yet I see that there is a time of grace as a child that God gives, even those who are as a child mentally into their older years.

I think that states I have a rather large God and generous one also. I see that passing a child through the fire of Molech is wrong according to God… so I do not see God casting an infant into the fires of hell… nor one who is like a child mentally… be it they were born that way or damaged. God holds us accountable to the revelation we know… as John said to the certain Jew in John 3.

(I know that the casting of children was worship to a false god… yet still I think that the idea of killing an innocent to please any God would not be a God of Grace and Love, or even justice as we are to die for the sins we have committed… and again, how can an infant commit a sin, they have no way of correcting a sin… or even to be equipped to deal with a sin.)

Blessings,
iggy

Dan said...

Iggy,

You said, "I know you have studied this, but have you studied outside the context of Lutheranism?"

This sort of question doesn't aid this discussion at all iggy. It comes off sounding a bit pompous and it really doesn't have anything to do with the matter we are discussing. Whether i had spent my life being force fed lutheran theology and nothing else wouldn't change whether or not my conclusion is true. That being said I was raised Presbyterian (real calvinist) and from high school till about 3 years ago spent time in evangelical, baptist, mennonite, and charismatic churches. I've studied positions on adult believer baptism, infnat sign-and-seal baptism, infant salvific baptism, adult believer salvific baptism, and the variety of multiple baptisms in the charismatic and pentecostal traditions. I would like to point out that i have only been a practicing Lutheran for 2 1/2 years (which it seems that you often forget in our discussions). Moving along...

1) You said, "The literal translation of 1 Peter 3:21 is this..."

There are several problems with this. First of all, a "literal translation" does nothing in the hands of people who don't know greek. As your quote shows, the format of greek sentences is very different from ours. These translations also neglect the subtly of cultural aspects of language. As far as i know you don't speak greek and neither do I (I chose Hebrew instead). So unless we want to bring in some outsider expertise (which I could do, I have to people who read greek in my house) let's aviod the pitfalls of venturing into areas that we cannot really speak on. That being said, even with your translation, your interpretation doesn't hold much water. It is an unbelievable stretch. The antitype (which is most commonly an OT event that forshadows a NT one) is the flood which forshadows the new baptism! This verse tells us that water baptism is not just the cleansing of the flesh but is "a pledge to God from a clean conscience. " Through baptism the Holy Spirit fills us and allows us to cry "Abba, father." We are filled with the Holy Spirit in baptism and are then brought to pure relationship with Christ. No one is trying to say that it is not Christ who saves us, but simply that the Spirit brings us to Christ in the waters of baptism.

2) You said, "I think you miss that the baptism in context is about Noah... being saved through water... which symbolized Jesus... which is symbolized now through immersion and represents the washing of our conscience and answering to God that we trust in the Resurrection of Jesus for our salvation."

The verse in question only has one symbolic relationship, between the Flood and baptism. To add this second layer of symbolism is wishful thinking.

You said, ". To say, Jesus and baptism is to add works to the finished works of Jesus. It is saying we do not fully accept what Jesus did in His death burial and resurrection to say "water" cleans us, only Jesus blood."

This assumes that i believe that it is my work (or anyone's for that matter) that brings us to the baptismal waters. It is the Spirit that brings us there and it is the Spirit's work that saves us through Christ.

3) You said, "mostly I see that the version you chose adds punctuation which is not found in Greek or Hebrew… so adding punctuation can change the reading. If as you say this is true… then why does it say, “One baptism” in Ephesians 4?"

Punctuation can very much change the reading especially since there is no punctuation in Greek. But again, since neither of us speak greek, we will either have to bring in an outsider or perhaps trust the translation and interpretation of the vast majority of the church for the last 2000 years.

You said, "Also, often the word baptism is simply “immersed” and has or can have nothing to do with water or the ritual… I see to be immersed in death as just as valid reading for passages like Rom 6."

Again, niether of us know greek so to make assumptions as to how a word should or should not be translated should be in the hands of people that know the context within the greek not simply how it reads in the English and what we can glean from a lexicon.

You said, "n fact is you do a bit of research into why we have transliterated the word “baptism” it would come out of King James… who hated baths and water… he never bathed! So the translator used the word baptism, which simply means “immersed”… We can be immersed in water, or in Christ… to me it follows that we are place in the Body of Christ and become the church, is also saying we are immersed in Christ. Immersion can be used in many ways… “I am immersed in my studies”… “I am immersed in my bath tub”, I am immersed in the Love of God”… all are a sort of baptism…"

If I do my research then apparently Elvis is alive and well. I do not know where you are doing your 'research" but this account seems anecdotal at best (not to mention it doesn't even make sense). The word baptism was used long before the KJV was written and in fact previous English translations used the word "washing" instead of baptism (several other words were changed in similar fashion to spite the Roman Catholic Church) Plus, how would this affect a position on baptism that existed 1600 years before the KJV was written? And why would it have any affect on contemporary scholarship since the KJV was written for common folk (using only 3000 words and wirtten for poetic flow more than simple accuracy) and most clergy would use at very least a latin translation if not a greek or hebrew text? The only people whose theology would be swayed by such a thing would be Baptists or similar fundamentalist groups who only use the KJV.

3b) You said, "John had a different baptism than Jesus"

Yep, he did.

You said, "Yet John spoke of a different baptism… the one I am speaking of: : “John 1: 33. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, `The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'”

And one might ask "what would such a baptism look like?" So Jesus showed us when he was baptized (with water) and the Spirit came down upon Him like a dove. It seems pretty clear to me that the bptism of Spirit was meant to be included with the baptism of water. And apparently so did the apostles since they kept on baptizing people with water. If water baptism was meaningless and if spiritual baptism replaced it why would Jesus and His disciples keep doing it? Why don't they just baptize with the Holy Spirit?

You said, "John was for a time with the Essenes"

There is no evidence that John was with the Essenes. Just because something was said on the history Channel, doesn't make it history (especially if John Crossan is on that show). There is no reputable scholar that associates John with the Essenes. Anyone trying to make the connection is trying to say that John's baptizing was not inspired by God but by a nearby religious sect. They also try to say that Jesus was a Essene.

You said, "They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order. 11. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.”

The ceremonial washings were not baptism. The jews had ceremonial washings long before John came around. The difference is that John and Christ gave ONE baptism just as Christ was One sacrifice for all.

You said, "So the stronger argument would be that even “Baptism” is done away with as we have Jesus now in the tabernacle not built by man’s hands"

That would be a stronger arguement...if Christ had in fact done away with baptism. But seeing as he not only was baptized but baptized others during his ministry, it shows all the more that these ceremonial washings are not the baptism of the Christian church.

As far as Paul's relation to baptism, the verses i pointed out in my previous post still hold. To point to Paul's admonishment of people abusing baptism and to say that he didn't hold baptism in a very high place is to throw the baby out with the baptismal water (or perhaps the baptismal water out with the baby). Let's look at the real issue here. Paul is not saying that people are putting baptism in too high of a place, but that they are putting him in too high a place ! "Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Paul's statement "Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel" is in no way a statement against baptism, it is a statement of what he has been called to do. He is not a leader of a particular church, so he did not baptize many people. That task was left to the minister of each church, who in this case was Apollos. He makes this point in chapter 3 when he returns to his original comments after a long aside about the Gospel. In 3:5-8 he states,
"What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each."

Sounds to me like he is clarifying his earlier point to say that he speads the gospel and the Apollos nourishes the congregation through Word and sacrament.

I don't know if this is all going to fit so i will go ahead and stop here for now.

Dan

iggy said...

Dan,
My question was in no way to put you down for your beliefs. I in no way intended to come across condescending let alone to say that you do not have any idea what you are talking about... If I have offended you I sincerely apologize. I never intended it to come across as “Whether i had spent my life being force fed lutheran theology and nothing else wouldn't change whether or not my conclusion is true.” Rather I just wanted to know if you had look outside of your tradition. That was all the motive behind the question.

I can also see we will never agree... and to me that is fine. I have searched this out and it seems that you are very defensive over this topic... In that I seem to be making you agitated so I will not continue with this topic with you. This is not dodging nor trying to get away from your great questions and observations, rather an attempt to stay at peace with you as a brother. I do not want to cause you to be angry…

Again, if I have offended you, in any way I apologize...

Thanks you for at least engaging for a time... you did bring up many good points... most of which I have studied out myself and have come to an entirely different conclusion than you. I hope you can grant me grace to at least respect that, even if we do not agree...

Blessings and peace,
iggy

Dan said...

Iggy,

You don't need to worry about me being agitated. Trust me it would take a great deal more than a conversation such as this to make me so. If you were ever to get me angry you can be certain that I would let you know in private, so don't feel the need to stop a discussion just in case. My first statement in the previous comment was just pointing out that the way you stated your question comes off the wrong way and that whatever the answer may be doesn't change the validity of anything else I might say. Notice that in everything I said about your question, i pointed out what I saw as the problem rather than making it personal (i.e. "this comes off sounding pompous" vs. "you pompous jerk!"). Just keep in mind I keep my emotions out of discussions like this since the subject matter lends itself to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. So again, don't worry about getting me aggitated.

Dan

iggy said...

Dan,

Thanks for your comment...

Again, though I do not see myself being persuaded from my view... I have studied this out very extensively. I have talked to different people from different backgrounds with much greater education in the original language as myself… and mostly I only desire to trust in Christ alone and no ritual, nor works of any kind. I see to and anything to Christ’s finish work is to diminish it.

I do think baptism as a ceremony is a very wonderful thing… I encourage anyone and all to be baptized by immersion if possible. I even had the privilege to baptize my own grandmother… who was being visited by a Lutheran Minister in her final days.

My point is Jesus is sufficient for salvation. One does not need to be baptized to me saved. I think the verses I point out to you are very clear as to how my view is supported biblically as from the beginning… the history of the “washings” and how they relate to baptisms. And mostly from John who states there will be a greater baptism of fire… greater than his baptism of remission in water. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit baptized the disciples… and still does today. John said he will become lesser so Christ can become greater. This baptism of fire is the covering sealing us by the blood of Jesus… I did point to verses that stated that very clearly.

So, I respect you and your view… I just disagree.

Blessings,
iggy

Dan said...

Iggy,

It seems that you don't want to continue this discussion so I will respond to you last comment and we can continue or finish if you would like. I'm glad that you have input from people with more education than yourself, I would suggest that anyone wrestling with such matters do the same (I just hope that these educated folk aren't the ones telling you that John was an Essene or that the King James Bible was written with the King's hygiene practices in mind :) I think that you are missing a great deal in your assessment that believing in baptism as a means of salvation takes away from Christ. It in fact shows how great Christ is that His physical work in our world was not limited to 33 years in the Middle East but continues today through the Sacraments. Our introduction and relationship with Christ does not have to be an immaterial spirituality with anemic symbols but a truly physical bond. To say that baptism in such a context places trust in rituals and not on Christ is a slippery slope that if one continues on will not only swallow up prayer, repentance, service, evangelism ("why do I need to do anything? Christ died for me and that is all I need"). If nothing else we can see through Christ and His ministry that God is a God of means. He does not remain hidden in abstract spiritual concepts and work only in a spiritual world but regularly comes into the world he created and, as we see in Christ, His most perfect example of this, He works in real tangible ways not as a symbol for what he is accomplishing but as the actual accomplishment.
I would like to clear up one more time that it is not the Lutheran, Catholic, or Orthodox view that someone needs to be baptized in order to be saved. We believe that it is a means of grace (not THE means). I have seen all of the verses that you have pointed to and all of them 1) presume symbolism without any real reason to do so other than to fit into an existing theology and 2) in no way contradict the purpose and doctrine of baptism in the Lutheran church. We believe that one is saved by Christ atoning death through baptism (to say such a thing is no different than to say that someone is saved by praying to God for repentance). The biggest question I have (that you have yet to answer) is that if Christ's death and his baptism of the Spirit put an end to water baptism then why did Christ himself baptize during his ministry as well as the apostles did after pentecost? You can keep on ringing the bell on the works righteousness issue, but you need to realize that in doing so you are one step away from saying that Christ's death saves all with no required action on their part so therfore all are saved and nothing needs to be done. I know that you do not believe this but it is the ultimate conclusion of your arguement. So i guess I can stop there for now. If you'd like to continue, cool. If not, cool as well. Have a nice evening (or moring depending on when you are reading this). Oh, and I'll get that article up once I pick a decent file hosting site.

Dan

P.S. I don't mean any offense here, I'm not a big fan of the whole I respect your opinion thing. I hear it a lot and in all truth, it is extremely rare that I come across a position that I disagree with and still respect. So to be honest i don't respect your position, but your a nice guy ;) i hope that works.

iggy said...

Dan,

Simply put I see this as a Romans 14 issue...

It would go against my conscience to add to the finished works of Christ... I cannot without feeling I am sinning. That means adding anything... for I see God's grace sufficient for me.

As far as works... I think you will have to have another time to talk on that as I see thing very different from many other "Christians" as the "works" we do "in Christ" or "immersed in Christ" are not our works but Christ's works being done in and through us.

I see we are to repent... and that is to turn from unbelief to belief and believe and be "immersed in Christ".

You are adding greatly to what I am saying... though yes I see it as closely as it can be that "all can be universally saved, yet we still need to choose... We are saved by grace through faith... and that is all... To add a works even if it is under a misunderstood teaching of obedience... (Read Rom 5: 19 and notice it is Jesus' obedience we have imputed to us and makes us right with God). Baptism would then be a "works" of our own righteousness unless it is a symbol of the washing away (the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world).


Not sinning is no the goal of the Christian life... it is letting Christ in you Live His life in and through you...

Again, I have been down the road you are talking about... I have studied it out extensively... and even in talk as much as we have I see you have misunderstood the examples and missed the points (i.e. King James example was not just about hygiene but about that words have been transliterated that could have been translated and the word “immerse” though transliterated as “baptism” often has nothing to do with “water” as in the baptism Jesus talked about in the garden to the disciples… “can you go through the same baptism as me?”. That baptism was about His suffering… to be immersed in His suffering… and had nothing to do with water.) I think you are afflicted with the same thing I was when I was younger and involved in the Pentecostal movement where “in the Spirit” always meant “tongues” which most often it does not… but with denominational glasses we often see what we see tainted by our background. That is not an insult… it happens all the time… that is what I often call the “Americanize Gospel” as we tend toward viewing scripture through our culture and not as it was intended.

I have carefully considered and reviewed my studies more than I can remember. In that I seem to come further away from the teaching you are espousing… as I see it as denying the salvation of countless brothers and sisters that do not believe in baptism being part of salvation meaning water. Again, I think you need to go over that passage in 1 Peter and ask some questions.
1. Noah was saved through water… the water was a symbol of Christ salvation… as Christ will come and judge the wicked… those who did not believe and did not get on the boat… and yet the water was salvation to Noah and his family. This water again was the antitype of Jesus…

2. The water that now symbolizes the baptism that now saves us… Why does Peter seem to be making a statement to distance the “literal water washing” by saying,” not the removal of dirt from the body” and go on to state that it is, “but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”.

Salvation comes through turning back to God and resting in the resurrection of Jesus Christ… this is the same good news the Apostles preached in Acts. (Act 5:42). Notice that the Apostles did not add baptism here in that verse?

Again, John states clearly that there is to be two different baptisms… you accept the washing of water, yet seem to deny being immersed in Christ… of being placed in His Body… of being washed by the Blood of the Lamb. (Rev 12:11)

To me it is as if you are asking me to go sacrifice a lamb or bull to be forgiven… which to me is the denial of Christ’s blood spilt for me…

My salvation is in Christ and Christ alone… Hebrews 9: 27. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28. so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Blessings,
iggy

Dan said...

Iggy,

Sorry for the delayed response, working full time and going to school full time are beginning take their toll on my free time. So where were we...

This is in no way and issue related to Romans 14. If a particular diet was commissioned by Christ himself (as baptism was) then maybe you'd have a point, but it wasn't. Your use of this verse only makes sense in the context of your symbolic baptism bias.
You would also have a point when you say that you don't want to "add to the finished works of Christ" if Christ himself hadn't baptized, linked baptism with salvation, and told his disciples to baptize. Baptism is a major part of Christ's ministry on Earth and was not a practice added later but an integral part since the beginning.

You said, "You are adding greatly to what I am saying... though yes I see it as closely as it can be that "all can be universally saved, yet we still need to choose"

if you are as close as you can be to universalism (even if you are not quite there) then really I didn't add that greatly to what you said, now did I? And my point was not to say that you did believe in universalism, but that your logic would lead to it. The fact that you are not a universalist could easily be ascribed to a conclusion that is in contradiction with your reasoning.

You said, "We are saved by grace through faith... and that is all... To add a works even if it is under a misunderstood teaching of obedience... (Read Rom 5: 19 and notice it is Jesus' obedience we have imputed to us and makes us right with God). Baptism would then be a "works" of our own righteousness unless it is a symbol of the washing away (the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world)." and "words have been transliterated that could have been translated and the word “immerse” though transliterated as “baptism” often has nothing to do with “water” as in the baptism Jesus talked about in the garden to the disciples… “can you go through the same baptism as me?”. That baptism was about His suffering… to be immersed in His suffering… and had nothing to do with water."

Both of these issue are dealt with quite eloquently on the LCMS website. It says,
"First of all, central to everything that Lutherans teach is the good news that we are, in the words of St. Paul, saved "by grace...through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). The central principle of the Lutheran Reformation is that we are saved "by grace alone, through faith alone, for the sake of Christ alone. Faith in Christ by which we are saved is conveyed to us through the Gospel, as again Paul teaches, "faith comes from hearing the message, and message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). That is to say, the Gospel is the vehicle or means through which God by His Spirit works faith (Rom. 1:16-17). Faith does not come, as we might say today, "out of thin air." God uses His divinely appointed means to impart to us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

We also believe on the basis of what the Scriptures say concerning baptism throughout the New Testament that it is a means through which God conveys His saving grace. Lutheran theologians therefore often speak of baptism as "visible Gospel." God (not human beings) has instituted baptism (Matt. 28:18-20). He has attached His powerful Gospel to the visible element of water and through this, His work, He unites us with Christ and imparts to us His saving blessings. That Baptism is God's means of imparting His grace is especially clear in Romans 6. St. Paul writes, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were bured there with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too might walk in newness of life." The Greek phrase used here, "by baptism," is composed of the preposition dia with the genitive case tou baptismatos. Beyond dispute, grammatically Paul is speaking about Baptism as the instrument through which God incorporates people into Christ and His saving work. It is for this reason that Baptism, in Lutheran theology, is regarded as such a precious treasure.

To be sure, faith alone is the instrument by which we receive the salvation won by Christ. But the Gospel and sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper) are God's instruments through which He engenders saving faith in us--indeed, a miracle. Thus, there is no contradiction between saying faith alone saves, but that this faith comes to us through means or vehicles. We rejoice, therefore, in the words of the apostle who wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...." (Eph. 2:8-9), a precious truth made known to us, as St. Paul further says, "through the Gospel" (Eph. 3:6).

If one holds that baptism is a good work of obedience done by humans, I can understand how one might think that Lutherans teach that faith alone in Christ is not enough. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand, in our view, how the Scriptures everywhere describe Baptism, that is, as a divine, not a human, work. We reject any implication that baptism is a human work, one that we do in order to earn salvation. On the contrary, we hold that the Scriptures teach that baptism is God's precious gift through which He works to impart His saving grace revealed to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who alone is our Savior. In a word, Baptism is a marvelous testimony to the unmerited grace of God."

I would also like to add that I understood what you were saying about the KJV, and would like to point out that the transiliterated "baptism" was used because of the debates that were going on in regards to translating the word. Anabaptist groups were purposely translating water baptism out of the Bible and the Catholic church was furious. So rather than take a side they transliterated it (which they were not the first to do since baptism was an English word long before). Also, the greek word means to immerse in water, it can be used figuratively to mean some other type of immersion but to presume it to mean something other than immersion in water is dishonest. PLus, as you can see above, there is no other way to translate baptism in the important texts.

You said, "but with denominational glasses we often see what we see tainted by our background. That is not an insult… it happens all the time… that is what I often call the “Americanize Gospel” as we tend toward viewing scripture through our culture and not as it was intended."

Insult or not this is a bit offensive. Seeing that I spent 18 years in a church that did not believe that baptism saves and became Lutheran only AFTER prayerfully discerning my view of baptism, I don't see how you could say that I am guilty of being "tainted by my background." Also it seems rather presumptious for you to say such a thing as if you have any real insight into my background. You made it clear earlier in this discussion that you are ignorant of even the basic doctrines (such as baptism) of the church I was raised in yet alone my particular beliefs growing up. It is also offensive to liken the linguistic skills of the most scrutinizing denominations to the joke that is pentecostal scholarship.

You said, "I have carefully considered and reviewed my studies more than I can remember. In that I seem to come further away from the teaching you are espousing… as I see it as denying the salvation of countless brothers and sisters that do not believe in baptism being part of salvation meaning water."

First of all, How long you have studied doesn't really matter if you are unltimately wrong. Second, where did i deny the salvation of anyone? I have never said anything about someone not being saved for holding a certain view! Now who is adding on to what's being said.

Looking at your statements on the 1 Peter passage.

1)Ok, so you've come from trying to have two symbolic relationships in this passage to just plain ignoring the word baptism. You've got it back down to one symbol which is good, but let me point out again that the verse says that the flood symbolizes baptism which now saves you. The fact that you have to go to such great lengths to mangle such a simple verse should clue you into the fact that you are reading this verse with an agenda.

2) Peter's separation is to clarify to people who may hold views such as yours that baptism is not just water being poured onto somebody, it is a pledge to God for grace, done in faith.
I will say this, you are right that that particular verse doesn't mention baptism. But oddly enough Peter does in Acts 2:38 where he says, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." And there is no way of saying that he is talking about the baptism of the Spirit since he mentions that separately. Baptism is also mentioned in Acts 2:41, 8:12-13, 8:36, 9:18, 10:48.. you know what, there's a lot of them so I'll just stop there. But let me just say that Acts is pretty explicit as far as what kind of baptism they are referring to (think of the baptism of the Eunuch).

You said, "Again, John states clearly that there is to be two different
baptisms…"
I would agree with you there, but let's see what Jesus has to say about that later baptism in John 3:5 "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."

You said, "you accept the washing of water, yet seem to deny being immersed in Christ… of being placed in His Body… of being washed by the Blood of the Lamb."
Show me one place where I denied being immersed in Christ and I'll buy you a pony.

Iggy, I'm sure that you have put a lot of time into studying and praying about this issue, but if you are going to discuss it with me at least have a clear understanding of what I believe. Some of these accusations you seem to pull out of thin air! I suggest going to the LCMS website and checking out what it has to say on the issue. This link has tons of answers to questions about Lutheran baptism:

https://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=3967

Hope you have a relaxing labor day,

Dan

iggy said...

Dan,

I honestly can say you have missed every point i have brought up... which is why i am not continuing this conversation with you...

Blessings
iggy

Dan said...

I realize that you are not continuing this conversation with me (which would seem to me to have to cause a type of identity crisis from someone part of the emergent "conversation." But that's neither here not there), but I thought I'd give you a link to that article I did. so here it is.

http://www.writely.com/View.aspx?docid=dchjm669_1crqktz

So if you get a chance and are a bored or whatever, give it a glance. NOt that we'll talk about it or anything...

In jest,
Dan

iggy said...

Dan,
I am not done talking to you... I am just done with the "baptism" topic... Believe me I have discussed this "ad barfium". As well as "KJV only" and many other topics... My thought is that you have looked into your view.

I see it as a practice from the begining of not just Christianity, but as included in the history of Judism... yet I see it as a symbol or shadow that Christ replaced by being the reality.

I respect that you have read much and that you know what you believe...And I can even handle that you see me as copping out by saying that...

I think you are a very fine thinker and that is why you are on my blog roll links... I don't have to agree with you on this topic or some others... as my respect is for you as a person... who is my brother in Christ.

Personally, I wish we could sit in a coffee house and discussion this topic as we could see each others expressions as we interact. Sometimes though a discussion that needs much foundation and a deepening understanding needs to be in person as it can lose the "spirit" behind the words. It can lose the personality and become just a disagreement.

Thanks for the link and I will when I am able... and have time to be bored... read it. ; )

Blessings,
iggy