Sky Links, 4-27-19

In Praise of Elderhood -Mike Frost

Jenkinson says, “Young people are, often involuntarily, looking for them, and they can’t find them. How about this: old people are looking for them too.”
Some time ago I wrote a piece about men in their 60s.  I told the stories of several well-known men who had lived vital and productive lives as younger men, but who had been unable to find purpose in older age. I concluded this way:
“[In my 60s and beyond] I hope I’m humble enough to open myself to God’s ongoing work in me – to embrace serenity, peace, gentleness, to see the work of my late years to be a blessing to others in their contribution to God’s kingdom. So, aging men do well to see that growth can still occur, but the growing we undertake in our later years is the humble, expansive work of mentoring, coaching, championing, and celebrating others.”
I was expressing my hope that in older age I’d grow into elderhood, even though I hadn’t come across that term until reading Jenkinson.
Some older men pushed back aggressively on my post. They thought I was saying you’re all washed up in your 60s. Several people were aghast that I was suggesting older men should see themselves as mentors/elders rather than front men and alpha male leaders.
One particularly energized commenter said I was relegating the aged to be “like the Bedouin elders that sit in their tent and dispense wisdom when asked.”
He clearly wasn’t keen on that idea.
But elderhood is not simply about sitting around waiting to be asked for advice. It is concerned with being poised and willing to be true stewards of the planet and its species, to provide emerging generations with wisdom and models for how to traverse the challenges that confront us.

Mueller Investigation Was Driven by Pious Hypocrisy -Victor Davis Hanson

 What bothers many Americans about the collusion hoax is the accompanying sanctimony of the so-called investigators. The Mueller team could have helped itself had it just noted that much of the evidence it looked at was a product of Obama-era officials’ unethical or illegal behavior.
Comey wrote a memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.” Its eponymous themes are Comey’s own ethics and principles. But Comey may well have misled the FISA court and possibly lied under oath to a House committee. He was not candid with federal investigators and leaked confidential and classified government memos.
Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe also wrote a memoir, “The Threat.” Its argument is that FBI kingpins such as McCabe protect America from dangers such as Donald Trump. But McCabe himself is under criminal referral for lying to federal investigators. His sworn congressional testimony cannot be reconciled with Comey’s. McCabe also likely misled the FISA court. And he apparently contemplated staging a near-coup to remove an elected president through the deliberate misuse of the 25th Amendment.
Former CIA Director John Brennan is a paid analyst for MSNBC who often railed about Trump’s “treason” and predicted his indictment. Yet Brennan himself has lied under oath to Congress on two occasions. He likely misled Congress about his role in trafficking in the Steele dossiers. And Brennan’s CIA may well have helped the FBI use informants abroad to entrap Trump campaign aides in efforts to find dirt on Trump.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is a CNN analyst who often predicted that a supposedly treasonous Trump would be indicted. Clapper, too, has lied to Congress under oath. He once denied and then admitted to leaking confidential documents.
The problem with the Muller investigation, and with former intelligence officials such as Brennan, Clapper, Comey and McCabe, is pious hypocrisy. Those who have lectured America on Trump’s unproven crimes have written books and appeared on TV to publicize their own superior virtue. Yet they themselves have engaged in all sorts of unethical and illegal behavior.

Victor Davis Hanson - The Russia Collusion Hoax, A Retrospective

Ukraine Tapped By Obama Admin To Hurt Trump, Help Clinton And Protect Bidens -Tyler Durden

In January, 2016, the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington to discuss several ongoing matters under the guise of coordinating "anti-corruption efforts," reports The Hill's John Solomon
The January 2016 gathering, confirmed by multiple participants and contemporaneous memos, brought some of Ukraine’s top corruption prosecutors and investigators face to face with members of former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ).
The agenda suggested the purpose was training and coordination. But Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long — during the meetings and afterward — to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched Vice President Joe Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump. -The Hill
The Obama officials - likely knowing that lobbyist Paul Manafort was about to join President Trump's campaign soon (he joined that March), were interested in reviving a closed investigation into payments to US figures from Ukraine's pro-Russia Party of Regions - which both Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta did unregistered work for, according to former Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko. 

Why Pastors Often Leave Their Church in the Third Year -Thom Rainer podcast

In may seem confusing, but most pastors leave their church in the third year and the average length of a pastorate is 3.6 years. Today we explain the math behind that and the reasons for it. I also answer the question “should the expectation of church growth be placed on a new pastor?”
Some highlights from today’s episode include:
  • Pastors most often leave a church while in their third year.
  • When seeking a pastor, most churches say they want to change—but often really don’t want to.
  • Sometimes, the most vocal supporters of a pastor in the beginning turn out to be the most challenging members later.
  • It usually takes around five years for a church to see a new pastor as “our pastor.”
  • When you are in the throes of a crisis, it feels as if the crisis will last forever.
  • New pastors should not be expected to grow the church but instead be expected to fulfill the Great Commission.
The seven topics we cover in this podcast are:
  1. The average pastor lasts at each church for 3.6 years
  2. From honeymoon to warts – The first five years
  3. Dreams are not fulfilled – Both for the church and the pastor
  4. Green grass syndrome  
  5. When the true friends (or not) show themselves
  6. The “golden” years: 5+
  7. A need for clear expectations

Greg Boyd: Stunning Victory (Easter message 2019)

My notes:

Why the penal substitution theory of the atonement is problematic


Penal substitutionary atonement refers to the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.

From Greg Boyd, Easter 2019

  1. It is a pagan idea (intuition) that says we must appease God’s wrath, which is false.
  2. If Jesus is the perfect revelation of God, then God does not have a problem with hanging out with sinners. The holiness of God that Jesus reveals is not our conception of it, but the opposite.
  3. Penalty (debt) paid or remitted is not the same as forgiveness.  “Wrath satisfied”, not the right language.  We don’t nor does the Bible teach us to forgive in a penal substitutionary fashion, but we are told to release the debt, as God does.
  4. It puts violence at the center of the Christian story: The father’s wrath was vented on Jesus: “The myth of redemptive violence”.  For the first 100 years, if you asked a Christian on the street, “Why did Jesus have to die?”, they would say something like, To free us from the devil’s oppression.  Then, in the 10th or 11th century, this other view became very popular: God killed Jesus so he doesn’t have to kill us.  Within 50 years, we have the crusades and the inquision.  (Cross Purposes, Anthony Bartlett).  “We always become the image of the God that we worship.” –Greg Boyd  The truth is actually the opposite.  God is not violent, but suffers violence; at the center of the Christian story.
  5. 2 Corinthians  5:19 says, “That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.”  There isn’t a problem with God that Christ is fixing, but a problem in the world that God is fixing, in Christ.  The idea that God (the Father) has to be satisfied or is turning his back on Jesus is false.  God is in Christ. The trinity cannot be disconnected or in conflict.

A better view is the classic view, ransom theory, or “Christus Victor” theory:


Christus Victor (Christ the Victor) is a view of the atonement taken from the title of Gustaf Aulén's groundbreaking book, first published in 1931, where he drew attention back to the early church's Ransom theory. In Christus Victor, the atonement is viewed as divine conflict and victory over the hostile powers that hold humanity in subjection. Aulén argues that the classic Ransom theory is not so much a rational systematic theory as it is a drama, a passion story of God triumphing over the powers and liberating humanity from the bondage of sin. As Gustav Aulén writes, "the work of Christ is first and foremost a victory over the powers which hold mankind in bondage: sin, death, and the devil."^[1]^

The Ransom Theory was predominant in the early church and for the first thousand years of church history and supported by all Greek Church Fathers from Irenaeus to John of Damascus. To mention only the most important names Origen, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom. The Christus Victor view was also dominant among the Latin Fathers of the Patristic period including Ambrose, Augustine, Leo the Great, and Gregory the Great.

Is Substitutionary Atonement a Calvinist Doctrine?

August 1, 2011 by Jack Cottrell

It is true that Reformed theology (Calvinism) consistently teaches the concept of the substitutionary atonement—that Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God in our place, as our substitute. It is also true that Reformed theology gives this doctrine some unique twists, such as limited atonement. I.e., it concludes that if Jesus truly died as someone’s substitute, that person cannot help but be saved. So if Jesus died in the place of every human being, the result would have to be universal salvation. Ergo, he must have died only for the elect.

But the idea that the substitutionary atonement, as such, is a Calvinist doctrine is seriously false.

Another example of a non-Calvinist who embraces the substitutionary atonement is J. C. Wenger, a leading Mennonite theologian. The Mennonites are descendants of the 16th century Anabaptists, who were the main branch of the continental Protestant Reformation that rejected the Augustinian theology of the Lutherans and Calvinists. They and their Mennonite heirs interpret sin and salvation in light of a human free will that has not been negated by the false doctrine of Total Depravity.

Milo Yiannopoulos on The Eric Metaxas Show, April 2019 - Part 3 of 4


Sky Links, 4-6-19

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it.

Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
-John 12:1-8

Gospel shoes
Meet the Instagram Account Calling Out Celeb Pastors for their Expensive Sneakers

Preacher Sneakers

How to become wealthy
For example, "say I work eight hours a day and after taxes, make $10 an hour, meaning I'm earning $80 a day. I want to go out for a nice dinner on Friday and that costs about $80, meaning I spent an entire day of my life working for this meal. And then you start thinking about even larger purchases, like a $1,000 TV, and you think, 'How much of my life did I trade for this? Is it worth it?'"

Millennial Money: Grant Sabatier

Wielding power

Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel on Abuses of Power in the Church 

Strawmen answered

Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities By Roger E. Olson

Notes from the book, by Jame M. Leonard:

Myth #1: Arminian Theology is the Opposite of Calvinist/Reformed Theology. 
Reality: Arminian and Calvinists have much in common. In this regard, let me add my own comments that Arminian theology affirms the basic historic creeds of Christendom. One wonders how in the world that Arminius would have gained the staunch Calvinist Beza's support and have been called as pastor and university professor at Leiden by the Dutch Reformed Churches if he didn't share basic theology with his Calvinist colleagues. The common ground between Arminians and Calvinists will become more obvious as the subsequent myths are debunked.

Myth #2: A Hybrid of Calvinism and Arminianism Is Possible
In this chapter, Olson shows how "Calminianism" is illogical.

Myth #3: Arminianism Is Not an Orthodox Evangelical Option. 
In this chapter, Olson examines how mainstream Calvinists label Arminianism as either barely Christian or fully heretical. He then looks at the basic beliefs of Evangelicalism and shows how Arminianism affirms basic doctrines such as Divine Revelation, the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, etc. I suppose this chapter could have been combined with Myth #1. 

Myth #4: The Heart of Arminianism Is Belief in Free Will. 
In reality, Arminians are not driven to their position because they want to cling to free will, as if it were absolutely precious and the one non-negotiable of the debate. The real issue for Arminians is the character of God. Arminians are driven to their position because they see that Calvinism leads to making God the author and the effecting power of sin, and denying God's goodness.

Myth #5: Arminian Theology Denies the Sovereignty of God. 
Reality: Arminians view the Sovereignty of God differently than Calvinists, but they still affirm it. Arminians are amazed that Calvinist definitions of Sovereignty seem to imply an absolute determinism which logically leads to God being the author of sin. 

Myth #6: Arminianism is a Human-Centered Theology. 
In refuting this myth, Olson discusses Arminius' pessimistic anthropology and how his view of Total Depravity continues in a trajectory down to our contemporary Arminian theologians. 

Myth #7: Arminianism Is Not a Theology of Grace. 
This chapter exposes how Calvinists depict the particulars of their system as the exclusive domain of the biblical doctrines of grace. Olson goes on to explain how Arminian theology fully denies a salvation by works, and how God's grace brings a person to faith, and hence, to salvation. 

Myth #8: Arminians Do Not Believe in Predestination. 
Reality: Arminians do affirm predestination, but they are unwilling to allow Calvinists to define the term. Arminian predestination is defined along the lines set forth by Arminius: "[Predestination] is an eternal and gracious decree of God in Christ, by which He determines to justify and adopt believers, and to endow them with life eternal, but to condemn unbelievers and impenitent persons." Olson explains that Arminian view of election is grounded "in Christ," and that the way in which Calvinists ground election in the divine decrees makes election insufficiently christocentric. Olson includes in this chapter a discussion of Open Theism and Middle Knowledge. 

Myth #9: Arminian Theology Denies Justification by Grace Alone through Faith Alone. 
Calvinists are quick to assign what they think are the necessary implications of Arminian theology to Arminianism; thus the charge Arminians with adherence to a works-based salvation. This is somewhat akin to Myth #7 (Arminianism Is Not a Theology of Grace), but focuses on the issue of justification and imputed righteousness. Olson shows how Arminian theologians consistently emphasize justification through faith apart from works. I might add that since Arminians believe salvation is by grace through faith, they cannot simultaneously think that salvation is by works: if salvation is through faith, then it cannot be by works. 

Myth #10: All Arminians Believe in the Governmental Theory of the Atonement. 
The question is whether or not Jesus actually "paid" our sin-debt on the cross, or if Jesus' death had some other divine meaning to it. In this case, Calvinists have managed to define the Arminian view of the atonement by pointing to exceptions in the Arminian trajectory, rather than by Arminius and the majority of Arminian theologians who do affirm the Penal Satisfaction View of the Atonement.

-James M. Leonard

Art credit: The Ointment of the Magdalene (Le parfum de Madeleine). James Tissot, c. 1900

Teaching By Answering Questions (Teaching Like Jesus, pt. 9)

That same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to him and questioned him: “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.”

Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
-Matthew 22:23-33

These are reflections and notes on chapter nine of Harrell Horne's book, Teaching Techniques of Jesus: chapter 9, His Answers.

Jesus not only asked questions as a way of teaching, but he answered the questions that were constantly peppered at him.  Silence was the answer sometimes and there were only two questioners that he refused to answer.  Do you know who they were?

The big idea is that Jesus answered his questioners as well as their questions.  For Jesus, behind every question is a person.  This is the humaneness of taking the time, valuing the individuals, and seeing them as persons to be redeemed.
Did Jesus answer the questioner as well as the question? This is one of the most significant things about his answers. Illustrate from his answer to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection.  -Horne, p. 60
Jesus answer dealt with the issues that marked the Sadducee party:

1. "You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God."
  • Jesus answered their argument that ridiculed the OT law, to say there can't be a resurrection, by telling them that they have no idea, no clue; they don't get it.  Why? and What?  He teaches that we must both know the scriptures and the power of God.  And they do not, he says.  
2. "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven." 
  • Jesus proves to them that there is a resurrection, but that Moses' marriage laws only apply to our lives now and not then.  He enlightens them that they have conflated two separate issues, to disparage the resurrection.
3. "Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?"
  • Jesus references Bible material that Sadducees hold to be true, to teach that the resurrection is true.
4. "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
  • He shows them that Moses was shown that those who were alive and died are living and not dead.

Jesus had to correct them, be a little harsh, because they were disingenuous in their question.  He starts his answer with:
  • "You are mistaken" (CSB, ISV)
  • "You are in error" (NIV)
  • "You are wrong" (ESV, CEB, AMP)
  • "You're off base" (MSG)
  • "You are deluded" (TPT)
  • "You are deceived" (NET)
  • "You are completely wrong" (CEV)
  • "You are very wide of the mark" (Phillips)
Jesus had to define the questioners who asked a disingenuous question.  They came to Jesus, not to be taught, but to prove that they were right and he was wrong, through a question designed to illustrate the absurdity of Jesus' position, as they understood it.

This is an example of people asking questions, who oppose you.  They are not there to learn, but to cause trouble by making you look bad.  

You don't want to not take them seriously and say, "get out of here!"  But you must first say something that expresses the idea that they completely misunderstand the topic or are mixing everything up.  This is not character assassination but dealing with the premise of the question.

Horne says that Jesus' answers, throughout the gospels, had a wide variety.
Some examples:
  • Informational, i. e., his answer gave information.
  • Profound (for a series of profound answers, see John 6). 
  • An answer in the form of a question. 
  • An answer in the form of a dilemma. 
  • An answer to the questioner as well as the question.
  • A real but not obvious answer. (See Luke 17: 37) 
  • An answer different from the one wanted. 
  • An answer in the form of a story. 
  • Silence as an answer. 
  • An indirect answer (see Matt. 18: 1-6).
  • A practical answer to an academic question (Luke 13:3, 24).


Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Artist credit, unknown, found here.

Sky Links, 9-27-17