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.... an orthodox Protestant forum whose members espouse the Apostolic doctrines in the Biblical theologies set forth by Augustine, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and John Knox etc. We do not "argue" with nor do we solicit the membership of people who espouse secular or cultic ideologies. We believe that our conversations are to be faith building and posts that advance heretical or apostate thinking will be immediately deleted and the poster permanently banned from the forum. This is a Christian community for people to explore the traditional theologies of Classical Protestantism. Those who would challenge the peace and harmony that we enjoy here as fellow believers are directed to another forum.

Enjoy your fellowship

In order to understand the importance of Christian fellowship, we must first understand what Christian fellowship is and what it isn’t. The Greek words translated “fellowship” in the New Testament mean essentially a partnership to the mutual benefit of those involved. Christian fellowship, then, is the mutually beneficial relationship between Christians, who can’t have the identical relationship with those outside the faith. Those who believe the gospel are united in the Spirit through Christ to the Father, and that unity is the basis of fellowship. This relationship is described by Jesus in His high-priestly prayer for His followers in John 17:23. The importance of true Christian fellowship is that it reinforces Christ centeredness in our mind and helps us to focus on Christ and His desires and goals for us. As iron sharpens iron, in true Christian fellowship Christians sharpen one another's faith and stir one another to exercise that faith in love and good works, all to God’s glory.

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  1. Past hour
  2. Matto

    Fishing again

    What fishing gear are you using William. The bass over there seem to be similar to the barramundi over here. We use live bait and small baitcasters and lures to catch these predator fish. Even the small Barramundi are good fun to catch. https://youtu.be/ZSPOgiRFrYI
  3. Matto

    Fishing again

    One of the best ways I've made the fish rise is using insects and frogs as live bait. Let them float and kick around on the surface making a ruckus, fish can't pass this up, it dares them to snap it up.
  4. Today
  5. Because when people say " substantially " present, it's got to meet the criteria of substance in my head. Otherwise it is not substantially present. Substance. "the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence" Something tangible, occupying space and has a solid presence. So if the bread and wine have not changed, and remain the what they are in substance. And the Body and Blood are intangible, and invisible not having a solid presence, I don't see how the term " substantially present " can be applied to the Lutheran definition of the Eucharist. I can see it as applying as a spiritual presence, but not the definition of substance that the term " substantially " means. In Catholic definition we can say " substantially present " because of a change in substance, the Body and Blood is tangible, has a solid presence occupying space. It meets the definition of substance to be called " substantially present ". It seems a new definition is required, because what's being described does not fit the definition of substance that substantially implies. It would be interesting to see what the leading Lutheran theologians are saying about it. However, at this point, it seems very complicated and unclear.
  6. “Those who have received salvation are to attribute it to sovereign grace alone, and to give all the praise to Him, who makes them to differ from others.” —Jonathan Edwards The doctrines of grace are so called because these five major headings of theology, often identified as the five points of biblical Calvinism, contain the purest expression of the saving grace of God. Each of these five doctrines—radical depravity, sovereign election, definite atonement, irresistible call, and preserving grace—supremely display the sovereign grace of God. These five headings stand together as one comprehensive statement of the saving purposes of God. For this reason, there is really only one point to the doctrines of grace, namely, that God saves sinners by His grace and for His glory. These two realities—God’s grace and glory—are inseparably bound together. Whatever most magnifies God’s grace most magnifies His glory. And that which most exalts God’s grace is the truth expressed in the doctrines of grace. On the other hand, compromising any one of the five points dilutes and diminishes the grace of God. For instance, to speak of a mere partial corruption of man, one in which the lost sinner is only spiritually sick in his sin, makes a misdiagnosis that grossly diminishes the grace of God. Likewise, to espouse a conditional election that is dependent upon God’s foresight of man’s faith corrupts the grace of God. To teach that Christ made a universal atonement, making salvation possible for all (though actual for none), cheapens the grace of God. To believe in a resistible call that allows for the free will of man compromises the grace of God. And to think of reversible grace, which would allow man to fall away from the faith, contaminates the pure grace of God. These views undermine the grace of God, and because of that, sad to say, they rob God of His glory. And yet, such views are widely held in the church today. In any syncretistic Arminian scheme of theology, salvation is seen as being partly of God and partly of man—whether it be that man adds his good works or that he contributes his own self-generated faith to the finished work of Christ. These schemes divide the glory between God and man. To whatever extent one deviates from any of the five doctrines of grace, one marginalizes the glory that is due to God alone for the salvation of sinners. Giving Glory to God Alone Writing shortly before his death in 2000, James Montgomery Boice noted: “Having a high view of God means something more than giving glory to God … it means giving glory to God alone. This is the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism. While the former declares that God alone saves sinners, the latter gives the impression that God enables sinners to have some part in saving themselves. Calvinism presents salvation as the work of the triune God—election by the Father, redemption in the Son, calling by the Spirit. Furthermore, each of these saving acts is directed toward the elect, thereby infallibly securing their salvation. By contrast, Arminianism views salvation as something that God makes possible but that man makes actual. This is because the saving acts of God are directed toward different persons: the Son’s redemption is for humanity in general; the Spirit’s calling is only for those who hear the gospel; narrower still, the Father’s election is only for those who believe the gospel. Yet in none of these cases (redemption, calling, or election) does God actually secure the salvation of even one sinner! The inevitable result is that rather than depending exclusively on divine grace, salvation depends partly on a human response. So although Arminianism is willing to give God the glory, when it comes to salvation, it is unwilling to give Him all the glory. It divides the glory between heaven and earth, for if what ultimately makes the difference between being saved and being lost is man’s ability to choose God, then to just that extent God is robbed of His glory. Yet God Himself has said, ‘I will not yield My glory to another’ (Isa. 48:11).” This is why the doctrines of grace are so desperately needed in our churches. They give glory to God alone. They define salvation as being all of God. When salvation is correctly perceived in this way, then—and only then—God receives all the glory for it. Only sola gratia produces soli Deo gloria. The Doctrines of Grace: By His Grace and for His Glory WWW.LIGONIER.ORG The doctrines of grace are so called because these five major headings of theology, often identified as the five points of biblical Calvinism, contain the purest expression of the saving grace of God. Read more For a categorized Scripture list the below pdf is available for download! Doctrines of Grace - Categorized Scripture List.pdf
  7. Thanks CL, this cleared it up partially, especially this part. So essentially the position is that the Body and Blood are present substantially with the bread and wine, however that substance is invisible beyond understanding. Isnt that basically saying Jesus is just spiritually present, since His spiritual substance is invisible beyond our understanding as well?
  8. I'm in deduction and learning mode at the moment and I'm genuinely trying to understand the crux of what you are saying. Subsisting, In, with and under, just seems as an outsider to be overly complicated. In, with and under, what does that mean ? Remember where I'm coming from, that the Eucharist is simply Jesus Body and Blood due to a change of substance, it is straight forward to understand. Can I deduce as a speculation, in Lutheran teaching that the bread and wine is at least partially transformed into the Body and Blood, for it to logically subsist or have actual substance? Otherwise I am at a loss at grasping this.
  9. Matthew Duvall

    Jesus is not God Almighty himself

    Your assertion only verifies the fact that you know very little of justification through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. First of all you obviously haven't read the old testament passages that speak of the coming Messiah who would save His people from their sins. Salvation would have not been possible if Jesus Christ were an ordinary man . That was the key issue in the old testament . The sacrificial offering had to be completely without spot or blemish , offered up by the High Priest who underwent a thorough ritual cleansing before having access to the Most Holy Place making way for the temporal sacrifice for the temporary atonement of the sins of the people . These animal sacrifices were only temporal ,forgiving the sins of the people based on their offering and their faith. But not permanent ! The old testament prophet Isaiah foretold of the coming Messiah who had to be completely without sin and born of a virgin ,Isa.7:14 ff . " Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ ,and has given us the ministry of reconciliation ,that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself ,not imputing their trespasses to them , and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. " 2nd Cor.5:18 . The ultimate and final sacrifice for sins was when God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ and suffered the cross once and for all for the sins of His people who , because of His blood atonement saved them and gave them the right to become the sons of God. In other words God had to be that spotless ,sinless offering who would reconcile the world to Himself. Salvation would have never been possible without the volunteering of God in Christ , to go to the cross for His people and create a people unto Himself called The Church . All saved people of God are in the universal Church built by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself. M I offer you the chance to refute what I have just written .
  10. What just happened? Last week a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a 1,356-page report claiming that bishops, priests, and deacons within the Catholic Church in almost every diocese in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse over a period of 70 years. “Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury says in the report. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.” What is a grand jury report? The grand jury is a jury of citizens that determines whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an indictment. After the issuance of an indictment, the case moves to trial where the accused can then defend themselves against the charges brought against them before a petit jury (also called a trial jury). According to Pennsylvania state law, any investigating grand jury, by an affirmative majority vote of the full investigating grand jury, may, at any time during its term submit to the supervising judge an investigating grand jury report. The judge to whom such report is submitted determines whether report is released as a public record. What is a Catholic diocese? The Catholic Church considers itself, as a whole, to be the “ one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ” which is spread across various local churches, or parishes. These local branches in a particular geographic area—sometimes called “particular churches” or dioceses—are a “full expression of Roman Catholic Christianity in a given area.” Dioceses usually follow local boundaries such as counties, and are usually centered on metropolitan area or prominent city within that territory. An ecclesiastical leader called a bishop oversees each individual diocese. An archbishop administers an archdiocese, which is just a large diocese. Dioceses are autonomous churches that cooperate through national conferences of bishops and are limited only to the authority of the Pope or ecumenical council. What is the difference between a bishop, priest, and deacon? Although the report refers to abusive priests, those involved in the abuse and the conspiracy of silence included priests, deacons, and bishops. Along with Baptism and the Eucharist, one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church is the sacrament of ‘holy orders.” These holy orders consist of three levels of ordination with the church—deacon, priest, and bishop. Deacons are ordained by a bishop not to the ministerial priesthood but to the ministry of service. Deacons may baptize, proclaim the Gospel, preach the homily, assist the bishop or priest in Mass (i.e., the “celebration of the Eucharist”), assist at and bless marriages, and preside at funerals. Priests have completed seminary and are ordained to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and give absolution, celebrate Baptism, serve as the Church’s witness at the “sacrament of Holy Matrimony”, administer “Anointing of the Sick”, and administer Confirmation if authorized to do so by their bishop. The priest must promise obedience to the bishop in “service to God’s people.” Bishops receive the “fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders” and become “successors of the Apostles.” A bishop belongs to the college of bishops and serves as the visible head or pastor of a diocese. As a college, the bishops oversee all the churches in union with and under the authority of the Pope—the head of the college of bishops and the Bishop of Rome. Only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops from their ministry. What is a statute of limitation? A statute of limitation is a law that forbids state prosecutors from charging someone with a crime that was committed more than a specified number of years ago. The general purpose of statutes of limitation is to make sure convictions occur only upon evidence (physical or eyewitness) that has not deteriorated with time. After the period of the statute has run, the criminal is essentially free. Some offenses, such as murder, have not statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for sex offenses against a minor victim is until the victim turns 50 years old. In cases of non-minors, involving rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or deviant sexual intercourse, the statute of limitations is 12 years. The grand jury report notes that many of the victims have passed that age and, “As a consequence of the cover-up, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.” Only two priests were charged with crimes that fell within the statute of limitations. What was the scope of the grand jury investigation? Regional area: The investigation covered 6 of the 8 Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, every diocese in the state except Philadelphia and Altoona -Johnstown, which were the subject of previous grand juries. These six dioceses account for 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Time frame: Over several decades, with most of the abuses occurring before the early 2000s. Many of the victims are in their 60s and 70s. Documents reviewed: Half a million pages of internal diocesan documents were reviewed during the investigation. Alleged perpetrators: Allegations of sexually predatory action were made against more than three hundred priests. Number of victims: Over one thousand child victims were identifiable from the church’s own records. However, the grand jury believes that because of lost records or fear of coming forward, there are at least a thousand more unidentified victims. What abuses were uncovered in the investigation? The report documents hundreds of allegations by approximately a thousand victims. “Even out of these hundreds of odious stories, some stood out,” notes the report. Here are a few examples of the abuses found in the investigation: One priest impregnated a 17 -year old, forged the head pastor’s signature on a marriage certificate, then divorced the girl months later. Despite having sex with a minor, despite fathering a child, despite being married and being divorced, the priest was permitted to stay in ministry thanks to the diocese’s efforts to find a “benevolent bishop” in another state willing to take him on. Another priest, grooming his middle school students for oral sex, taught them how Mary had to “bite off the cord” and “lick” Jesus clean after he was born. It took another 15 years, and numerous additional reports of abuse, before the diocese finally removed the priest from ministry. A priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg abused five sisters in a single family, despite prior reports that were never acted on. In addition to sex acts, the priest collected samples of the girls’ urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood. Eventually, his house was searched and his collection was found. In one case a priest got a minor girl pregnant and arranged an abortion. The bishop expressed his feelings in a letter—not to the victim, but to the rapist—saying, “This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.” One priest raped a seven-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils out. One priest made a nine-year-old give him oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water to purify him. One priest was willing to admit to molesting boys, but denied reports from two girls who had been abused; “they don’t have a penis,” he explained. Another priest, asked about abusing his parishioners, refused to commit “with my history,” he said, “anything is possible.” Yet another priest finally decided to quit after years of child abuse complaints, but asked for, and received, a letter of reference for his next job—at Walt Disney World How were the dioceses able to hide the abuse? The grand jury report makes clear there was a conspiracy by church officials to hide the sexual abuses of children: While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same. The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid “scandal.” That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered. Abuse complaints were kept locked up in a “secret archive.” That is not our word, but theirs; the church’s Code of Canon Law specifically requires the diocese to maintain such an archive. Only the bishop can have the key. With help from the FBI, the grand jury was able to analyze the evidence and identify a series of practices that they said were “like a playbook for concealing the truth.” The seven practices identified were: First, make sure to use euphemisms rather than real words to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents. Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.” Second, don’t conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel. Instead, assign fellow clergy members to ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work. Third, for an appearance of integrity, send priests for “evaluation” at church -run psychiatric treatment centers. Allow these experts to “diagnose” whether the priest was a pedophile, based largely on the priest’s “self -reports,” and regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child. Fourth, when a priest does have to be removed, don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” Or say nothing at all. Fifth, even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults. Sixth, if a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser. Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime. But don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, “in house.” What were the grand jury’s recommendations? The grand jury made four recommendations: (1) That the criminal statute of limitations for sexual offenses against minors be completely abolished. (2) The creation of a “civil window” law, which would let older victims sue the diocese for abuse that occurred when they were children. (3) Improvement to the law for mandated reporting of abuse. (4) That non-disclosure agreements not apply to criminal investigations. How does this scandal compare to previous abuses scandals by the Catholic Church in America? In a 2016 report by a grand jury investigating the Pennsylvania dioceses of Altoona-Johnstown, 50 abusers were named. In a 2005 report by a grand jury investigating the Philadelphia archdiocese, more than 60 abusers were named. In the 2002 investigation of the archdiocese of Boston—featured in the Academy Award-winning movie Spotlight—the estimated number of abusive priests was between 150-250. As the grand jury notes, “We believe ours is the largest grand jury report of its kind to date.” View the full article
  11. News Feeder

    Pastor, Your Pain Has a Purpose

    We didn’t know what we were doing. But our plans, as we saw them, were coming together. It was the summer of 2006. We scooped up our growing family and all our belongings into the back of a van. We’d accepted the call to return to our sending church in Birmingham, England, to help lead a church plant in the area we’d left two years before. Church planting was happening in the UK at that point, but with nothing like the intensity that it is now. Since we didn’t really have a clue what we were doing, we devoured whatever resources we could find. By the fall of 2006, we were busy preparing: forming a core team, dreaming, developing, planning, and praying. We looked forward to Easter Sunday, when we planned to open our doors to the public. Unexpected Providence Then came the phone call that changed my world; one of those moments you don’t forget. It was the call that would result in numerous trips between Birmingham and Oxford and, eight weeks later, would lead to me speaking at the funeral of my father. He had always been active and healthy, so this was completely unexpected. Dad was a committed believer, but it still ruined me. What’s this got to do with planting a church? Good question. Over the past 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of being involved—either directly or indirectly—in numerous church-planting endeavors. And with almost every church-planting pastor I know, there’s been one common denominator: the experience of gut-wrenching hardship, coming either just before or soon after they planted a church. God often allows church-planting pastors to undergo peculiar suffering. And he purposes this for our good. Whether it be relational issues, health, persecution from outside the church, or division and squabbles from within, it seems to me God often allows church-planting pastors to undergo peculiar suffering. In his infinite wisdom, he purposes this for our good. Counterintuitive Means Humanly speaking, this sounds crazy. It’s not the way we would do it. Any good gardener will tell you that as you sow seeds, you should divide them into plugs and then put them in pots to grow. Then, in the early days of growth, you treat them gently. If it’s winter, you store them in greenhouses, to ensure they grow in the most ideal conditions. You water and feed them, and make sure they’re growing at a healthy rate. It’s only later, once the plant has reached a certain level of maturity, that you expose them to the elements and see how they do. In God’s mysterious economy, pain and suffering are key ingredients to humble maturity. But God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8–9). In his mysterious economy, pain and suffering are key ingredients to humble maturity. Purposeful Pain Why? Each context and individual is different, but here are two reasons I’m convinced of. First, problems have a way of weaning us off ourselves and onto Christ (2 Cor. 12:10). As Spurgeon once said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages”. Often, it’s only as we receive that phone call, as we exit yet another difficult meeting, as we mourn with mourners, that we realize we can’t look inward for what we need most. Similarly, the answers we want aren’t ultimately found in the next church-planting textbook. Our most difficult moments are the waves that throw us against the Rock of Ages. Of course it’s painful. Of course we don’t like it. But does our Father not know what we need most? He kindly reveals our inabilities, that we might treasure him as the only One who is able. He reminds us that planting churches is not about us. Second, problems and pain have a way of shaping us so that we’re better shepherds. In my experience, many planters are energetic, courageous, and bold. They lead with fervor. And yet, when it comes to sitting beside a hospital bed with someone who is dying, or coming alongside someone struggling to make it through another day at work, many of us struggle. Perhaps the Lord places us in the “greenhouse” of suffering with very deliberate intent: that we might receive compassion from him that we can then channel to others (2 Cor. 1:4). We often learn best through experience, and I suspect that was true for me. We had our plans, but the Lord’s prevailed. As I reflect on the death of my father, so much of my perspective has changed. It’s almost as though I see things—life, ministry, church planting, preaching, shepherding—through a new lens. As I reflect on the death of my father, so much of my perspective has changed. It’s almost as though I see things—life, ministry, church planting, preaching, shepherding—through a new lens. By God’s grace, I’m better able to apply the gospel, both to my life and the lives of others. But it really hurts. It still does. Why greenhouse trials? Perhaps, in the sanitized West at least, we need reminders that we inhabit a world of death. Perhaps, as the Lord exposes us to the reality of suffering, he reminds us of our own mortality, our own need of the gospel, and the sufficiency of his grace. Perhaps, as that happens, he steadily makes us into the pastors he wants us to be. View the full article
  12. When parents choose schooling for their children, they weigh a complicated set of variables, including finances, proximity to good schools, and the personality of each child. In this discussion, TGC Council members Juan Sánchez and Afshin Ziafat, along with TGC editor Sam Allberry, talk about how they counsel Christian parents making education decisions. They agree that no one solution is right for everyone, but a common denominator should rule parents’ decision on education: “The thing I want to stress as a pastor,” Ziafat says, “is that the parents are the primary disciple-makers, regardless of which route you take.” As Allberry puts it, “Christian parents should be committed to Christian formation for their children. We have freedom as believers for what route we take in order to do that.” But Allberry also cautions, “There are going to be dangers and drawbacks with any route. It’s not like one route is always problem-free. That’s why we need to have freedom—and allow each other to have freedom.” You can listen to their discussion here or watch a video. Related: Perspectives on Our Children’s Education: Homeward Bound (Amanda Allen) Perspectives on Our Children’s Education: A Private Enterprise (Jenni Hamm) Perspectives on Our Children’s Education: Going Public (Jen Wilkin) View the full article
  13. In the past two years, we’ve walked with two dear couple friends through the grief of a failed adoption placement. Both couples were selected by a birth mother through a private adoption agency. They built a relationship with her, had baby showers, prepared a nursery, waited months, and excitedly packed their car for the hospital while the birth mother labored—only to unload the car and re-enter a childless home when she made the decision to parent rather than place the baby. Our community struggled to care for them in the aftermath of this unique sadness because of its complexity. Although failed placements are actually quite common, the experience was foreign to us, and we were at a loss for how to love and care for them well. Through honest conversations and grieving together, the following five principles emerged as a helpful framework to care for families enduring the grief of a failed placement. 1. Validate Their Loss Although no death has occurred, the sting of loss is keenly felt following the news of a failed adoption placement. These expectant parents are grieving more than disappointment or the loss of a dream or time; they are longing to hold a particular child they loved and prepared for specifically. They may also be aching over a severed tie with the birth mom they prayed for and built a relationship with. This pain is accompanied by no semblance of closure. They mourn the loss of a longed-for intimate relationship with a child who will continue to exist away from them. Like any parents, they will remain concerned for this child’s wellbeing. Even though they may rejoice at the thought of the preserved relationship between mother and child, their knowledge of the brokenness of the situation likely means that questions will linger long after the ache subsides. Will the child end up in the foster care system? Will her birth mother be able to meet her basic needs? Will he come to possess the knowledge of the Father’s love for him in Christ? Love your friends by feeling the weight of this pain and the angst of these questions. Validate their loss by not hurrying their grief for the sake of your own comfort or the desire to see them “happy.” Avoid the temptation to make dismissive statements, such as “I guess this just wasn’t your baby” or “Don’t worry, you’ll be chosen again for sure in no time.” Don’t reduce their pain with the unfounded claim that God is sparing them a later and greater heartache by withholding this particular child. Jesus knew how the story would end, and yet he wept with Mary and Martha at Lazarus’s tomb. By his power and example, we too can acknowledge the sadness and brokenness of the situation, as complicated as it may be. 2. Allow Their Grief to be Unique Just as an adoption journey is different from the process of welcoming a child through pregnancy and birth, so the grief is also unique. All grief is unique. Refrain from over-likening their experience of loss to your own encounters with death, infertility, or even miscarriage. Your insight will be limited by the scope of your personal story, and that’s okay. Identifying with their exact feelings is not nearly as valuable as the quiet ministry of presence. Just show up and listen. Acknowledge your own confusion and uncertainty as to how to respond, and leave space for your friends to freely lament. Identifying with their exact feelings is not nearly as valuable as the quiet ministry of presence. The truth of the gospel offers us the humility, freedom, and self-forgetfulness to set ourselves and our experiences aside in order to truly weep with another (2 Cor. 1:3–4). 3. Avoid Criticism and Blame When we see the ones we love in pain, a cry for justice wells up within us. Be careful to avoid negative statements that may incite bitterness and contempt in the hearts of our hurting friends against the birth mother, social workers, counselors, or adoption agencies. The Bible encourages us to stir up one another to love (Heb. 10:24–25). Rather than playing the blame game or settling for a scapegoat, we must boldly identify Satan as our true enemy and put our trust in the ability of the true Judge to redeem all that’s gone wrong. We can listen to the lament of our friends without adding fuel to a fire that can give way to hatred and a desire for revenge. Instead of planting seeds of bitterness or fanning flames of anger, we can encourage a confidence in God’s goodness by pointing to his provision of Christ to redeem even the most broken relationships in this world. 4. Lighten Their Load Grief can make the simplest tasks overwhelming. It may be difficult for your friends to get out of bed in these initial days, let alone complete daily tasks like cooking a meal. Bear their burden by serving them practically. Consider their particular responsibilities, and proactively offer specific ways of helping (instead of simply saying, “Let me know if you need anything!”). Returning to normal life will be difficult when they expected to be starting life with a new baby. If you are an employer, offer grace where possible. As you seek to lighten their load, be careful not to add to it. Don’t give them the burden of comforting you or the task of thinking of a way for you to help. Make sure to obtain their permission before acting, though, as more shock and surprise can more disruptive than helpful. Ease their burden in conversation by doing the discerning work of distinguishing a caring question from a curious question. One seeks the good of your neighbor; the other seeks knowledge for your own sake. They may not have many of the answers to the questions you want to ask, or be at liberty to share them. Affirming their callings outside of adoption is another way to ease the weight of their responsibilities. Cheer them on where you see them pressing ahead in the places they work and serve. 5. Pray We don’t always get to play the part we’d like to in the suffering of our loved ones. You may not be able or allowed to apply any of the above principles, because your grieving friends may not want to talk or may need space and time. Perhaps care may even be better received from other sources. As helpless as that may cause you to feel, because of our access to God through our interceding Savior, we are never powerless to help our hurting friends. In fact, the most effective way you can come alongside those grieving this type of loss is through prayer and intercession. Pray for protection over the child they thought they would bring home. Pray for provision for the birth mom who bravely decided to parent her child. Pray for peace and comfort from the Holy Spirit for your aching friends, for protection from bitterness and the temptation to believe lies, and for the grace to continue walking in the good works God has prepared for them even as they grieve and long for a child. Truly there is no greater action we can take than to bring the hurt of our friends before a God who is sovereign over their situation, who knows them intimately, and who alone can love them perfectly. View the full article
  14. By Brady Kenyon - An illegal immigrant from the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to passport fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Alejandro Valera, 40, a Dominican national residing in Mattapan, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to knowingly making false statements in applying for a U.S. passport, Judge ... Dominican National Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Passport Fraud is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust. View the original full article
  15. ConfessionalLutheran

    Jesus is not God Almighty himself

    Probably for much the same reason jolly old St. Nick punched Arius in the face. Not only to keep him quiet, but to make sure he stayed quiet.
  16. President Donald Trump gave some bad news to hot-headed CNN FBI analyst Phil Mudd on Monday night after watching his unhinged meltdown that went viral over the weekend. "Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful Paris Dennard over Brennan’s Security Clearance," Trump tweeted. "Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED?" View the full article
  17. Absolutely right. They say that in the article, as well.
  18. I would point out that most Lutheran theologians reject the term "consubstantiation" in favour of Sacramental Union, which more adequately describes what happens when Sacrament is confected. Consubstantiation is an argument made by John Wycliffe which doesn't quite describe what we believe. Many good Lutherans, however, including theologians, do not get the difference, and so speak of Consubstantiation, which is a term Luther never used.
  19. For fear of derailing this topic that deals with Roman Catholicism, I just wanted to insert a Confessional understanding of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper right here: Stand Firm: The Lutheran View on Consubstantiation and the Lord’s Supper STAND-FIRM.BLOGSPOT.COM This post can be downloaded as a pdf file here . In the latest issue of the Christian Research Journal (Vol. 35, No. 02), Rev. Dr. Michae... Read more
  20. It should be noted that the LCMS was founded in the USA by German immigrants and celebrated services in German until WWI. Only government pressure forced them to use the English. In a few cases, churches were actually invaded by the Army during services and forcibly emptied. Then they were padlocked by the Army until the people agreed to use English. Talk about patriotism run amok. It need not be said that we were fighting Germany, and the language became verboten, if you will.
  21. An Antifa-led counter-protest that turned violent a few weeks ago in Portland, Oregon, featured a particularly disturbing moment caught on video: a man carrying an America flag crumbling to the ground after being hit in the back of the head by a masked, club-wielding Antifa member. View the full article
  22. And to answer Luther's question as to why Anglican Hymns are more widely sung than Lutheran ones, there are two reasons. (1), in the United States, at least, we speak English and not German, so singing hymns written in the vernacular are easier than translating them, however intrinsically lovely they might be. That is why even the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod uses A LOT of Anglican Hymnody. (2), World-wide, the English language has, for better or worse, been MUCH more influential than the German language, or any of the Scandinavian languages. In that sense, it makes sense that the English culture, hymns and all, would come along with it. This is NOT me making an argument for Anglican Hymns. I tend to agree with Mr. Luther. I was raised a combination of Roman and Anglo-Catholic, so I understand the Anglican Hymn Tradition. I do prefer the Lutheran one, however.
  23. Although I shall note that in my last post I did not question the salvation, character, or motives that BENJI might have in being so disagreeable. I merely pointed out that he embarrasses himself. So I think I am technically within the limits of your admonition. At the risk of being outside those limits, however, I shall refrain from further comment.
  24. By R. Mitchell - President Donald Trump holds one of his legendary Make America Great Again rallies in Charleston, West Virginia Tuesday evening. The rally will lend support for Republican Senatorial nominee Patrick Morrisey who is challenging Democratic party incumbent Joe Manchin for that Senate seat. Current polls range between Morrisey up 2 points to Manchin holding a 10 point lead. ... Watch Live: President Donald Trump holds MAGA rally in Charleston, WV – 8/21/18 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust. View the original full article
  25. BENJI, I could quote Scripture at you so fast your eyes would blink, and likely, humiliate you in the process. HOWEVER, in the interest of obeying ORIGEN'S admonition, I shall politely desist. There is no need to embarrass someone who does rather well at that himself. ORIGEN, I realise that this post may have pushed the envelope. If it has, I apologise. I shall desist forthwith from communicating with BENJI, as it appears to serve no purpose.
  26. By R. Mitchell - President Donald Trump will receive his intelligence briefing as prepared by the intelligence community then meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The president will then have lunch with Pompeo and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Later, the president will head to Charleston, West Virginia for a ... President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Tuesday, August 21, 2018 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust. View the original full article
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