Thursday, March 31, 2011 | By: Zachary Bartels

Code of Ethics

No, this isn’t Lenten Experiment #2, although Code of Ethics was a pretty great band in the early nineties . This is about an actual code of ethics . . .  
 

My computers died recently. That's right, I used the plural; both my home and church PCs went the way of all flesh pretty much back-to-back. I had backed up everything from my home computer. The stuff from my study is apparently gone forever. (A moment of silence, please.)


While re-loading and re-organizing my data on my new computer, I found myself flipping mindlessly through some old files, mostly papers from college and seminary. Some were painful to read, others surprisingly articulate. If you've ever spent a couple hours going through old files, you know how fun it can be to discover something you'd completely forgotten. This happened for me with the below “Code of Ethics,” written near the end of my Ministerial Ethics class in 2004.


When I came candidating at Judson, I gave the search committee a slightly modified version of this document, but mostly it was intended for my own benefit. Having been in full-time ministry for the better part of a decade, there are some items that I would nuance if I were writing this document today, but for the most part, it represents the kind of uncompromising principles that Scripture demands. As I read it through, I see a couple areas I need to work on (as well as a few with which I've struggled in the past and, with God's help, recovered). All in all, I was glad to have this document brought back to my attention. I intend to update it and post if somewhere in my office.



Do you have a code of ethics for your professional, personal, and family life? When I was a youth minister, I used to rip off some famous conference speaker's line and pretend it was my own (I didn't have a code of ethics back then), telling the teens that they should “decide in the cool of the afternoon what they were going to do in the heat of the night.” Of course, I was referring to partying, sex, alcohol—that sort of thing, but it could be applied to a shady business deal, missing a little league game, or talking a customer into a financing plan he or she can't afford. I encourage you to take some time soon—using Scripture and your own goals and values—to prayerfully lay out a code of ethics, and to give copies to some people in your life who can hold you accountable. It certainly won't make you perfect, but like Job who made a covenant with his eyes or the Nazarites who kept their vows to the glory of God, it pays to decide in the cool of the afternoon what you will do in the heat of the moment—whether in the board room, the bedroom, or the classroom. And I've found that having something succinct down in black and white helps to keep me from pulling a fast one on myself.


Code of Ministerial Ethics



Ministry


  • I will strive to maintain an attitude of servant-leadership. I will always remember that I have given up any life of self-fulfillment or self-seeking in order to serve God by serving my congregation. I will think of them in love and lead them with gentleness. I will avoid extreme forms of leadership, being neither dictatorial nor easily manipulated. I will serve my congregation by helping them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.
  • I will balance preaching, teaching, discipleship, evangelism, and other duties. I will do my best to fulfill all facets of my job description. I will not put an undue amount of time and energy into any individual facet to the exclusion of the others. Still, I will recognize that my primary role is that of preacher/teacher and will give it the appropriate emphasis. I will never knowingly misuse a text to fit my agenda in preaching. I will strive to always exegete, not “intro-gete” the Holy Scripture, paying careful attention to the original language, historical and cultural context, etc.
  • I will maintain a heightened professional sense of confidentiality. I will never break the confidence of a counselee, colleague, or parishioner unless they plan to harm themselves or others. I will never use a counseling session or church conflict experience as a sermon illustration.
  • I will respect the traditions of the church I am serving. I will seriously pray and seek wise counsel when considering changes to an existing tradition in the church. When such a change does take place, I will do my best to implement it gently and lovingly, understanding that traditions are important to people and often serve as aids to worshiping God.
  • I will not use my status as a minister to my personal advantage. I will not use the pastorate as a tool to gain deals, freebies, or preferential treatment. Nor will I use my pulpit or position to advocate particular political parties or positions. To do so would be to trivialize my call to Gospel ministry.
  • I will not show favoritism in dealing with my congregation. Recognizing that I will undoubtedly develop closer relationships with some church members than with others, I will not allow my ministry to be corrupted through the exchange of favors, preferential treatment of friends, etc. in the context of church business and ministry.
  • I will cooperate with other Christian churches and denominations as much as possible. I will teach my congregation about the vastness of the Kingdom of God through joint worship, service, and fellowship with other Christian churches. I will not attempt to recruit members from other Christian churches.
  • I will take on additional responsibilities (beyond my role as pastor) only if I can fulfill them without a negative effect on my ministry. Pastors are in a unique position to be salt and light to the community. I will always consider carefully my motives in taking on such additional roles and make certain that I have the time and energy to carry them out.
  • When I leave a church, I will do it for the right reasons and will not come back without the consent of the new minister. Although churches are usually happy to see a former pastor, I will bear in mind that, in order for my successors to be effective, they need to develop relationships with their people without competition from former leaders. I will always seek God through serious prayer to ensure that I never consider leaving a church for purely monetary or status-related reasons.

Personal


  • I will not use my ministry as an excuse to neglect my own physical, mental, and emotional needs. In order to be a good steward of my body and in order to be the most effective minister possible, I must take care of my own needs as a fallible human. I recognize that there will be a temptation to become a “martyr” for my ministry by ignoring personal needs. I will overcome this temptation, God being my helper. I will regularly exercise my body, maintain a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep in order to remain physically fit. I will allow myself to forget about ministry pressures and responsibilities for set periods of time to keep myself from mental and emotional overload. I will make wise use of advanced planning on a calendar or planning device to secure the time needed for these activities.
  • I will continually seek God in order to grow in faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through personal study, prayer, and continued education. I may be tempted to neglect my own spiritual development because of the demands of helping my congregation with theirs. I will never stop studying God’s word, seeking His will through prayer, developing my theology, and enjoying personal times of worship. I will take part in seminars, conferences, and classes that will help me in my personal spiritual formation as well as those that will help me as a pastor and leader. I recognize that all Christians are called to a lifetime of continued maturing in faith.
  • I will respect the Fourth Commandment by devoting one day out of seven to rest, reflection, and prayer. Although I may always be on call for emergencies, I will make every effort to rest regularly. In addition to weekly rest, I will try to have regular retreats both with family (vacation) and alone (sabbatical, study).
  • I will honor God with the way I conduct my finances. As good stewards of the gifts God has blessed me with, my wife and I will always live within our means and cheerfully give the Lord a tithe of our income.
  • I will pursue friendships outside of the congregation I serve. In order to maintain a healthy personal life and avoid burnout, I will maintain friendships with some people outside of my church and denomination. These friendships may or may not be evangelism opportunities, but evangelism will not be their only goal.
  • I will not take advantage of the freedom afforded by a career in ministry. I recognize that although a career in ministry offers some flexibility and less direct supervision than most, ministers are more accountable to God and man. I will not take advantage of this flexibility and fall into the sin of laziness. If I do, I will confess it immediately and seek God’s help in correcting it.
  • I will remain humble in any successes, reminding myself that it is ultimately not my ministry, but God’s. I will continually pray for God to strengthen me against the pride that can plague ministers. Should I find that I am becoming prideful, I will ask God to break me of my pride, knowing that He will do so.
  • I will avoid inappropriate conversation and gossip. As a minister, I will be privy to information that should not be shared in casual conversation. I will decide before the fact what I will and will not discuss with others, based on the factors involved.
  • I will take part in a clergy accountability group. Because a cord of three strands cannot be broken, I will seek out a group of at least two other ministers for the purpose of accountability, mutual edification, and encouragement.
  • I will not be alone with a woman to whom I am not related. (Except eldery women, shut-ins, etc.) Because Satan gains footholds through such indiscretions, no matter how trivial they seem, I am committed to avoiding all such situations in order to remain above reproach and maintain my reputation. I will never counsel a woman alone unless others are present in the vicinity and able to see us at all times.

Family


  • I will always recognize that my first commitment is to my family. Because a man must first have his own house in order to be eligible for ministry, I will always make my family my first priority. I will do whatever I can to keep my ministry from becoming a source of conflict within my family. I will block out, in advance, regular times devoted exclusively to my wife (and any future children) and protect these times from sources of competition.
  • I will not use my vocation as an excuse to impose unrealistic expectations on my family. I will communicate to my church that my family is a normal family and must be allowed to operate as such.
  • I will respect my wife’s gifts and talents. I will not look to my family as an easy way to fill a position or need within the church unless they are gifted in that area of ministry and feel a call to it. Should we have children, I will not communicate to them any expectation that they will go into professional ministry unless they are called by God.
  • I will secure permission from family members before using them in sermon illustrations. Because the pastor’s family should not be expected to always open every detail of their lives up to the church, I will be very judicious about my use of family situations as sermon illustrations.
  • I will maintain a healthy boundary between “work” and “home.” Although a minister can never (and should never) completely separate his personal life from his “work life,” I will respect my family's needs and develop boundaries with the church as to when I am available and when I am unavailable, save true emergencies.
  • I will maintain an open and honest relationship with my wife. I will not hide personal and pastoral failings from my wife. If I violate an area of my personal or family ethical code, I will tell her immediately.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | By: Zachary Bartels

Lenten Experiment #1: Fireproof

 
If you read my last post, you know about my five-month Lent commitment. I've been trying to enjoy some things that my snarkiness would not have permitted before Ash Wednesday. I bought a three-disc set of super-old-school Michael W. Smith CDs, which I've been enjoying with no little nostalgia. I've been avoiding the online Rob Bell dust-up. All was going well. But then I decided to up the ante.

That's right...Fireproof: The Christian Movie.

Who ordered the charred awesome?
 

Now, I've watched Fireproof before, but it was with smirk firmly affixed. Not this time. You may be thinking, “But Pastor Zach, why wouldn't you build up to a movie produced by a church, starring church members? Why not start with an incredible movie like Amazing Grace or Luther? Then move on to straight-to-video fare featuring big-name stars of the '80s and '90s? Then, once you're all warmed up, tackle the likes of Fireproof?”

Simple: Kirk Cameron is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Yeah, I wish I could rapture away every copy of the Left Behind movies, and I get a little uneasy when I see Mr. Cameron holding a banana, preparing to defend the Christian faith. But the guy is awesome anyway. Google “Camp Firefly” for an example of how awesome he is.

So, how was watching Fireproof with my new attitude? Rough. Rough-ish, anyway. Until I realized that, cast almost entirely with church members, this film should be held more to the standard of a church play than a Hollywood production. With that standard in place, the film is downright impressive. And then you've got Kirm Cameron, who is actually pretty Pesci as a firefighter in this movie.

Highlights:

  • Kirk Cameron is at his best here. Now, it might be the fact that he's surrounded entirely by amateurs, but I think it's something more than that. He's very convincing in his frustration and anger with his wife. I really think, given the whole recent '80s-stars-making-a-comeback phenomenon, if it weren't for his outspoken faith, Cameron would be playing roles in “real” movies these days. I'm not suggesting that he'd have gone directly from Growing Pains to $20 million dollar paychecks and leading man roles (although DeCaprio did just that), but compromising his faith could certainly have helped his career from a human perspective.

    Fun fact: Cameron flew in his wife, Chelsea Noble (who is a professional actress, begging the question: why didn't she play the leading lady) and dressed her up as his on-screen wife for the sillhouetted kissing scene at the end. He's taken a lot of flack for this principle, but it just makes him even more awesome in my mind.

  • Erin Bethea, who plays Kirk Cameron's wife, is pretty darn good. I understand she's the pastor's daughter at the church that put this movie out, and also played a role in Facing the Giants. I also understand that her acting has improved greatly between the two films. Good for her.

  • The scenes in the firehouse are pretty funny. Especially the stuff with Wayne and Terrell.

  • The Love Dare concept itself is great. I really don't think I've encounterd any other marriage “tool” so distinctly Christian. Even amidst the awful acting from Kirk Cameron's on-screen father, I was rooting for the dare to work from the get go.

  • Alluminum bat vs. PC = best scene in the movie! When tempted to fall back into Internet porn after getting saved, Caleb (Cameron) brings the computer outside and beats it down, Office Space style. I was watching this with my wife and mother-in-law, who commented, “That's a little excessive,” to which I replied, “Not as excessive as cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye!”



The Movie's Message:

When this flick came out in 2008, I remember reading a lot of Reformed bloggers trashing it for being too Law-based. I just don't see it. First of all, what's wrong with the Law? If we're really not antinomians, we recognize the need for imperatives (rooted in the indicative of the Gospel, which this film does just fine). Others complained that all the marriage problems sorted themselves out too easily. Huh?!If cooking a candlelight dinner for your wife and having her look you in the eye and say, “I don't love you,“ or leaving her a dozen roses and a note only to have her leave you divorce papers is “easy,” then I need to re-visit the basic definitions of the terms involved.

I think there were basically three great messages in this film:

1. “Don't follow your heart. Your heart can be deceived. You've got to lead your heart.” Best line in the movie. And a message greatly missing from many pulpits.

2. The kind of love described in I Corinthians 13 is not nearly so neat, cute, and fluffy as we try to make it. Watching someone keep no record of wrongs, forgive unconditionally (70 x 7), and return good for evil again and again is downright painful. But, in the end, reminds us what kind of love should mark a Christian’s life.

3. Sin should not be toyed with. It should be beaten to death with a baseball bat. Rap music optional.
 
Monday, March 7, 2011 | By: Zachary Bartels

When Killing Pets Gets Fun

 
or

Why Lent Will Last Five Months


This is going to be huge, people. And by that, I mostly mean that it’s going to be really long, but I also mean that—in the context of my little life and ministry—it may prove rather significant. Or not.

Back story: My wife and I went to a John Reuben concert last Friday at the beautiful State Theatre in my home town of Bay City, Michigan. Of course, it was incredible, as Mr. Zappin is one of the best showmen working today and knows how to ramp up the energy in a crowd with no effort at all. His music is also snappy.


Man, the camera on my cell phone sucks...

Now, I used to be the first guy in the mosh pit and the last guy out, but since about 2003, I'd rather sit and enjoy the performance. I hate it when I have to stand up at a concert in order to see. I mean, you pay for a seat, right? So, I was pleased to find a couple spots in the balcony with a great view of the stage. Add to that the dirt-cheap popcorn, Raisinets, and Mt. Dew from the snack bar and I was in concert heaven. An up-and-coming regional group called the Matt Moore Band opened up; they were great, and I’m sure they’ll be hitting the national scene soon.

Understand that Pastor Zach has been to a lot of concerts. From 1994-1996, I was a deejay at a Christian music station (89.1 FM, WTRK the ROCK), and the benefits package consisted of free trips to pretty much every Christian concert in the area. The summer months were the busiest, when I went to at least one concert a week, usually more. I saw a lot of merch tables and intentional branding. I heard a lot of rather Finneyistic altar calls. I could fill volumes with the raspy pseudo-theological musings that I heard from A, B, and C-list Christian singers.

And I loved it.

Shortly after leaving that gig, I became a youth pastor. i.e., lots more concerts, lots more merch, lots more “talks”. With my graduation from college, my marriage, and the birth of my son, that sort of thing has gone by the wayside, as I suppose it should.

But attending this concert just down the road from where I used to spin CDs was a bizarre, deja-vu-ish experience. Although for different reasons (back stage pass, manning the radio station’s booth, keeping an eye on squirrely youth group members, etc.), I often watched those many former concerts from a detached distance as well, occasionaly while munching on green room goodies. Add in the fact that the place was 90% youth group kids, and I felt a bit as if I had travelled back in time to re-experience the sort of live-music-induced, uber-positive vibes that I rarely encounter these days.

And, man, was this show—in every way—postive! Reuben led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to an elated 8th grade girl near the front. He “opened the mic to any other emcees in the building,” an exercise which netted three eleven-year-old kids who called themselves Triple Beat and a painfully dorky forty-five year old dad who filled his embarrassing my kids quota for the next decade. Through all this, Reuben remained steadfastly amped and upbeat. There was no hint of bitterness that he used to play venues ten times bigger (perhaps he still does); he poured himself into that show like he would have if there were fifty thousand people present. My hat is off to the man.

So what does this have to do with Lent? (Or killing pets?) Well, in the after-glow of this event, I decided what I would give up for Lent this year (cue Fundie joke about giving up “popish traditions”). It’s actually quite fitting, given the nostalgic turn of the night, as my devotional life was completely wound up in my concert-going, raspy-spiritual-talk-hearing, T-shirt-slogan, high-pressure-invitation-witnessing life during my deejay days.

So here it is: I’m giving up spiritual negativity. Seriously.

What does this mean? Well, it resists being described succinctly. For starters, it means I won’t be listening to certain podcasts or regularly reading certain blogs—the ones dedicated to exposing the false teachings of everyone everywhere and slaying heretics with a fiery sword, the ones that often (literally) make a game out of spotting and crushing error. It means I won’t be writing those kinds of blog posts myself. It means skipping the semi-regular portion of my sermon where I show how wrong “certain preachers” (always unnamed) are in their interpretation of this or that text. It means I’ll resist the urge to go off on Christian music, movies, and T-shirts for being so trite, stupid, and embarrassing . . . even when they are.

What does it not mean? Well, I’m not losing my Gen X sarcastic sense of humor, for starters. I’m not bailing on writing my chapters for Beauty and the Mark of the Beast (which almost immediately stopped being a critique of anything and started just being a goofy literary cartoon).I’m not setting aside the use of the Law in my preaching or my evangelism. I’m not shirking my responsibility to discernment in my pastoral ministry (i.e., if someone asks me about a given teaching or teacher, I will respond biblically and truthfully; ibid if a prominent false teaching begins to affect my congregation and must be dealt with . . . I just won’t be searching and destroying heresies like Dog the Bounty Hunter).

And most imporantly, I’m not changing my mind about the legitimacy or importance of contending for the Faith once for all handed down to the saints, calling spiritual error what it is, and comparing what people say in God’s name to what God actually said in His Word. Yes, I am aware that a lot of what Paul, John, James, and even Jesus wrote/said could potentially be branded “spiritual negativity.” I am aware that the same people who throw around the terms “heresy hunter” and “doctrine cop” in a derisive way would probably be horrified if they read the Church Fathers.

But here’s the thing: for Jesus and his apostles, contending against wolves was not the main event. Preaching the Gospel was. Dealing with false teachers and creeping error was an unfortunate necessity. I’m afraid that, for many today, it’s not the fishing but the hunting that really gets them going. I can see myself very slowly trending in that direction. And that is not good.

Let me put it this way: my childhood cat, Clifford (who was with the family for 21 years) was recently given to a nice family who lives on a farm. In other words, he was driven to the vet, where he was given an injection of something deadly, and Clifford stopped living. I’m thankful that there are people willing to do that job; it needed to be done, as the poor old thing could no longer even find his way to his food bowl without help. It’s a necessary task, but probably the biggest downer in the day of any vet. But what if Dr. So-and-so started to like putting down animals? What if he never killed anything that wasn’t specifically brought in for that purpose, but he started deriving great pleasure from making the injections and watching the animals die? Wouldn’t that concern you? Shouldn't it concern him?

Or maybe a better analogy is the flyer I received at the church last week for a company that comes in and “cleans up” after a death, violent crime, or suicide. These people viewed it as a ministry, caring for families when they were at their weakest and couldn't deal with the grizzly reminders in the drapes or the rug. And God bless them for it. But what if one of those guys started to like the blood and guts? What if he reached the point where his favorite thing to do was to pick pieces of skull and brain off of a linoleum floor?

In neither case would society be worse off, I suppose, (grizzly jobs need to be done), but that individual would be headed down a decidedly jacked up, unhealthy road. And while the church might perhaps benefit from even the most blood-thirsty heretic hound, I don’t think it’s good for them (the hounds themselves) when they relish the kill like that.

Am I changing my theology because of a corny experience in a big room full of youth group kids? Nah, I’m not changing my theology at all. I just want another chance to be that guy who could listen to Geoff Moore talk about his “quiet time” or pop in a “Christian movie”—not without discernment, but more expecting that God might speak through it than suspecting that it’s a conduit of deadly error. This is, I believe, a needed repreive for me—a safeguard in my sanctification. And I’m not trying to tell you that I received some revelation through the mouth of John Reuben or the kids of Triple Beat. This was good old fashioned Providence at its best.

So why will Lent last five months? Because the forty days of Lent are really incidental to this whole thing, and I don’t think forty days is a long enough detox period. Perhaps I was already thinking of Brian McLaren's recently concluded self-imposed five year moratorium on discussing homosexuality. Five years may be over-committing. Five months, I can handle. And why bring up McLaren? Because the hardcore ODM guys who will undoubtedly see this as some sort of swipe at them will be horribly scandalized by the dropping of BM's name.

And Lent hasn’t started yet.

For the record, of course McLaren’s books are full of rank heresy (especially his last one) and are dangerous to the Church at large. But, for the next five months, the Church at large will have to do without me on counter-offensive.

If you’re still with me, then you’re a true-blue reader of this blog. I’ll still be writing during the next five months, still determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified. Nothing at all, not even heretics and them humiliated.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Zach
Friday, March 4, 2011 | By: Zachary Bartels

What About Bob?

 


So, in this former post, I described in very general terms a man who claimed to be a Christian. I told you that he wanted your sincere opinion—recognizing that only God really knows who his elect are—as to whether or not Bob fits the bill.

Seventeen people weighed in, and one cyber-troll used the meta as a forum for taking cheap shots at the one and only Frank Turk1. Of the useful comments, there was a wide range of perspectives represented.

  • Several people were concerned by the fact that he felt the need to ask. If he was unsure of his faith, that might be a point of concern, they said. Turns out Bob was just asking so that we could have this discussion.
  • Rachel over-thought the heck out of it, but warmed my heart and convicted me by viewing this hypothetical scenario as an opportunity to bring glory to God. (Sadly, I sometimes find myself doing the opposite, and viewing real opportunities to share God’s love as academic exercises.)
  • Pastor Kit deemed Bob Chalcedon-compliant (assuming that he truly believes what he says he believes).
  • Αναστασία wondered why baptism had not come up in his summary. Others wondered why church membership was not part of the equation. Still, these were generally hopeful that Bob is a true Christian.
  • Ruth wrote, “Bob believes and has confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. We are saved through faith by God's grace. Isn't it that simple?” and cited Ephesians 2:8-9.
  • Brad systematically laid out Bob’s affirmation of basic Christian doctrine, his acceptance of the Gospel, his desire to know God, his apparent penitance, and the fact that he is “testing his election.” He concluded, “I can comfortably say that Bob shows signs that he has been regenerated via the spirit.”

This is more or less what I expected. And my basic plan for the follow-up post was to agree that Bob seems to be a Christian . . . and then to give additional details for several possible Bobs, all of which could fit with the information given us by Bob himself—at least from Bob’s perspective:

  • Bob is a hard-core fundamentalist who thinks everyone who uses real wine for the Eucharist (and everyone who uses the word Eucharist) is going to hell.
  • Bob “loves Jesus, but not the Church.” He never gathers together with other believers, thinks of his relationship with God in purely vertical, individualistic terms, has not been baptized, and never receives the Lord’s Supper.
  • Bob is a faithful Roman Catholic who attends mass twice a week.
  • Bob is a homosexual, who lives with his partner (who also describes his own faith in similar terms).
  • Bob is actual Rick Warren. He’s been working undercover at your workplace.
  • Bob is a universalist. (How timely.)

Despite Otternam’s suspicion that he was being “played by some technicality,” my real aim was to spark thought (and maybe conversation) about how we define a brother or sister in Christ. And, while it’s an easy copout to just say, “Only God knows his/her heart,” Scripture tells us how to deal with believers and unbelievers, true brothers and false, in a way that assumes we can make some distinction. It is an important discussion to have. And I’ve noticed that people usually have one set of criteria when dealing in generalities, and an entirely different (and more fluid) set when dealing with specific people. I am no exception. My list of essentials can tend to grow or shrink depending on the situation.

I know I’m not alone here, because I’ve seen many other Christians doing the same thing. You might even be mentally adjusting your list now, based on the above Bobs.

SO...

1. Are we over-simplifying the marks of a true disciple when we quote Romans 10:9 or Ephesians 2:8-10 removed from their epistolary homes, thus making for a very big and diverse tent?

or

2. Do we tend to selectively add non-essentials to the requirements for a disciple in order to keep certain people out, because they make us uncomfortable or challenge our own cultural-religious presuppositions?

or

3. Something else entirely?

That’s what I was going to write, but then a friend of mine re-tweeted that post and I got another wave of answers, which were far less certain about Bob’s salvation (even without the above fill-in-the-blank specifics). They wanted to hear the word “repentance,” rather than talk of “feeling bad” or “being sorry.” They wondered about fruit in this man’s life. I might sum up their collective reservations by quoting a guy name Daniel (whose animated avatar I could not stop staring at): “ Tares believe that the truths are true, and that they are saved - not because they have repented of their rebellion and are trusting God to save them, but because they have been fortified in (and by) an incomplete (and therefore false) gospel.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that these “Turkish” responses throw a wrench into the works of my planned follow-up, but I’m not sure of the full ramifications of said wrench.

Let’s sort this all out together, shall we?


------------------------
Footnotes
1 This is sort of a roadshow that makes its way around the reformed blogosphere; it feels a little bit like Cool Hand Luke, but, being more like Drago than Dragline, I don't think Turk’s ever going to get tired of knocking him back down.