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Discussion Forum : Devotional Thoughts : It's Time to Get Back to Jesus - 1

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Few were as careless of orthodox formulas as Jesus.

- C K. Barrett

 2016/3/9 23:17


While there may be some specific examples of what Mr Fowler says, I think that may be an overstated broadbrush on the church fathers. Yes, it's about the person, work, & ministry of Jesus Christ through the Gospel, repentance, the in dwelling Holy Spirit, etc. But some of these church fathers he is demeaning & reducing to orthodox lifeless parrots of rules (or at least that's how it comes across) walked with the apostles & were some of the most aflame believers you could read. The testimonies of men like Polycarp isn't like reading the doctrinal dissertation of a divinity of theology from seminary, but a man aflame with Jesus Christ who laid down his life boldly for it. I am not trying to "come against" or fault find with his quote, but I didn't find it fair, but overstating it as a broadbrush stereotype to make his point. Which I would assume was walking with the Lord & doxology as opposed to dry orthodoxy. But I almost wonder if he has actually read about many of the "church fathers", their lives, their testimonies, their martyrdom, etc.?
God Bless,

 2016/3/10 0:10


He is a voracious reader and student of Church history, Jeff. At the end of each of his articles he always posts his extensive bibliography. He is regarded as a very balanced teacher always mindful to keep the centricity of Christ, uppermost and the focal point in all his teachings.

Your postings are very interesting, by the way. I have been observing a pattern in your writings where you often reply to other's postings that they are "either to one extreme or the other", "overstated or understated", "overly broad, or too narrow", "over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing", etc, etc. Pretty much, different ways to say they are being extreme. It is an interesting style of replying and it has the effect of marginalizing another's post as not worthy of consideration while establishing your own replies as always balanced and on the mark.

What do you think? Is it just me? Am I being too top-heavy, irregular and disproportionate?

 2016/3/11 22:12


Even though I sense your sarcasm directed at me in those last lines, let me try to ignore that & answer your question as graciously & honestly as I can:

I believe That's not "a pattern in my postings" because I personally have some "hang-up" or because I'm trying to "minimize" others or "win arguments". When & if I say it, it's because I believe it to be true. I'm not the only one that sees this propensity in human nature to very often "jump to the other ditch on the other side of the highway of holiness". Other man have written of this propensity of extreme views in errors. Other man like AW Tozer (who hopefully you don't also accuse of doing so out of ill motive, but pure honesty?). But, not that it even matters who else sees it, but that the Lord desires a right "balance" in our thinking.

I have seen also even my own self do such things (unknowingly or subconsciencely) over the years I have been following the Lord & studying His Word, & know this is the propensity of our hearts/minds very often when we see something wrong (that we observe, used to think personally but got more light on, etc.) to "swing hard the other way entirely" in response. Sometimes we find out later we "swung too hard"
& even still have to come in right balance & understanding. This is somewhat commonly referred to as "reactionary theology". We can come to a place in our thinking that is (knowingly or not - usually subconsciously) formed as more of a "reaction" to wrong than a full true understanding of what is right. I hope you follow me?

One example: So when we grow up and see "once saved always saved" type people who are really antinomians in how they live, & we are born again or revived with light on this, we usually tend to swing hard against it (because how you live should reflect what you say you believe, which is good), but then go to the extreme end almost like a Finney where we are always focused on that & think anyone who is "a Calvinist" or just believes in Election, God's Soveriegnty, Predestination, etc. is "just making excuses to sin...or not taking how they live seriously..or something else. When really, those are all Biblical terms & concepts explained in scripture. But then we often can come to more understanding to bring faith & works in proper balance & not just be reactionary in our theology to "those people we know (or used to be) who were in error..."

Anyways, you may notice "patterns" in that because I have seen & observed it over the years in myself, in further light given on certain things in studying the scriptures, & in discussions with others. Doesn't make it some "sinister motive" of mine to "win" or "minimize others". Not that I am immune to pride, and have to check my heart before God in those things too, but I know if our wrong understanding (&/or the devil through counterfeits/extremes) can cause us to "throw out all the babies with the bath water", then we will stay where we are in areas of our understanding & that itself can be intellectual self-protective pride in disguise. Anyways, hope that expresses clearly what I'm trying to say?
God Bless,

 2016/3/12 9:20


That's a good reply bro Jeff. I myself have not noticed any patterns in your answers. I might remind you Julias that we should respond simply to what a man says. We should play the ball and not the man so to speak. It seems that your last reply was simply a personal attack on someone whose views differ from yours. It is personal because in one short paragraph you seek to undermine everything that Jeff says by pointing out " patterns." Categorizing a man as a means to attempt to silence his point of view is an ages old tactic and is never helpful especially in a forum situation. I might add that anytime people mention anything about the end times, there is always someone who tries to nullify that by the very same tactic you accused Jeff of. Lets just simply respond to the words that we write and not try and look beneath the surface. So often in two dimensional forums such as this, people add two plus two and come up with five. I know I this from personal experience.........bro Frank

 2016/3/12 10:17


Hi Jeff,

I eagerly confess that I was using satire on purpose to reveal an observation on my part and I appreciate your response and will take it at face value. I am not trying to marginalize your point of view and I am glad to hear from you that you are not consciously trying to do the same. It was a concern I had, and I could show you the pattern I noticed in several posts, but with your answer, I don't see any point in it.

So, with that concern now brought out into the open and dealt with according to your heartfelt reply, (which I completely accept without any reservations), let's get back to Jesus.


I applaud you quickly running to Jeff's defense and I am looking forward to you jumping in and defending me the next time I am attacked personally by some of your friends.

 2016/3/12 11:25


You will find that I speak my mind no matter who it is, it has frequently gotten me into trouble as folks who have been around a while on this forum could testify to. If I believe you are attacked personally then I would defend you brother.

Last point. I have been around the courthouse enough to know that some sneaky lawyers raise points that they know will be objected to, then quickly take it back knowing that the jury heard the point anyway. Not that you would ever do that brother :) ..........bro Frank

 2016/3/12 13:46



I don't recall taking anything back. My observations are my observations. And, I am satisfied that Jeff had no ulterior motives. If you have not noticed, I am pretty straightforward, too (not sneaky) and even if my friends are acting inappropriately towards another person, I will step in. Religion is a bully and I detest religion.

I really don't care too much about my own welfare but there are others here where no one raised an objection regarding the hateful treatment they received and that includes you. You were back in the forums during that time and since I have witnessed your fairmindedness and unbiased charity in the past, I was really hoping at some point you were going to step in and remind your friends to "play the ball". I forgive those men, but would like to see a fairer treatment in the future regarding anyone's viewpoints and hope you don't hesitate to be the person you always have been in these forums. I, like others have come to recognize and count on you to be the voice of reason and spiritual maturity in the midst of controversial subjects where some cannot control themselves.

Thanks for listening.

 2016/3/12 15:26


Those who have succeeded in defining doctrine most closely have lost Christ most completely.

- James A. Stewart

 2016/3/12 15:37


While I think I understand what James Stewart is saying (or "getting at" to be more precise)!there, his statement as a blanket statement is not true.

Paul was obviously one who had his doctrine most undrrstaood & explained it well (& said to "guard your doctrine" & "examine my (his) life AND doctrine", etc.) & He had not "lost Christ most completely" FOR SURE!

So while I think he may be trying to say not to be so focused on doctrines that you "forsake the first love" (after all, that would be more Biblical since Jesus rebuked one of the churches in Revelation for not enduring with false doctrines (a good thing), but yet losing their first love" & so being in danger of "having their candlestick (light & presence) removed" - Ephesus, I believe.

Anyways, the intent of the statement/quote may be good, but the quote on its own doesn't stand up well to scripture or truth. Doctrinal understanding without Abiding in Christ creates cold, lifeless orthodoxy, but zeal without solid doctrine creates what you see in much of Charismania in the west today (I know cause I was in that realm & was well acquainted with the top leaders - locally & nationally - of the "Full Gospel Fellowship", & I was led to speak to them directly & over time moved out of their circles Soveriegnty by the Lord, so I know wherewith I speak).

Anyways, not trying to be critical brother I promise, but I think that the quote just likely isn't saying what (whoever that guy is?) he's trying to convey?

 2016/3/12 16:15

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