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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
But I Disagree With Everyone...
Whenever I preach or teach in an official capacity for my congregation, I preach from the King James Version or from the New King James Version of the bible, but I don't believe these to be the best translations, and if I had my say, I wouldn't be preaching and teaching from them, but I would probably be using (primarily) the NASB and the ESV.

Not because the former are no longer vogue, or because I hate old things, or because I think it is a good trend to jump on the latest, greatest translations - but simply because I like accuracy, and as a teacher I believe the NASB is simply more accurate a translation than the KJV - in fact, I think the underlying manuscripts from which the NASB is translated is superior to those from which the KJV was translated, and I hold that opinion very strongly.

Why, then, you might ask, do I teach out of the KJV and NKJV when I teach in my church?

Because our constitution mandates it.

Or rather, because godly men whom the Lord in His sovereignty has placed over me - these men determined that we should be using only the KJV and NKJV from the pulpit and for teaching - and I believe that if God, in His sovereignty has allowed these men to be leaders in the church, and has allowed this to become one of the rules by which we minister - then I submit myself to their authority, as is right and proper. They will give an answer for their decisions and conduct, and I shall have to answer for mine.

My opinions are well known in my congregation - I make no secret that I think there was a little bit of thinly veiled KJVO-ism happening at the time these were brought into our constitution, and as many as are willing to discuss why I find the other translations superior - these same discover that my opinions are neither frivolous nor shallow in the matter. Yet even if I believe that the rules that presently govern our conduct in the pulpit are "wrong" - I am satisfied to submit myself to them - for the sake of unity, and because I trust to God's sovereignty - there is a reason this was permitted, and though I hope to correct this present restriction, I do not regard it as something to be tossed aside just because I think I know better.

If God allows, we will be preaching from the NASB and ESV soon enough. Yet I would hope that if began to preach from either of these bibles while our constitution still forbids it - that I would be called on it, and even disciplined for it.

I reason that when I became a member of a local congregation, I did so with the understanding that I was becoming a part of a body - a piece in a puzzle that God was putting together through the leadership of our leaders. I had to actually trust that God really does appoint leaders, and that as flawed as they were, part of my job as a member was to respect their leadership. So though I disagree with the translation choice, I do not buck the system because in order to follow my conscience - for I cannot follow my conscience on the one hand while stepping all over it on the other.

What is more important, that I humble myself before my congregation and trust the Lord even when I think they might be mistaken, or that I trumpet their mistakes because it is better to be right than wrong.

Well, I don't cross the street just to tell someone I think they aren't all that attractive. I mean, it may well be true - but just because a thing is true doesn't mean God wants me to go say so. I mean, we aren't talking about defending the gospel here, we are talking about which is the better translation. I think if the "great awakening" is indicative at all, that the KJV is no slouch - I mean c'mon, it's a beauty, I just don't think it is as accurate as, say, the NASB. So my disagreement, even if I am right, really isn't as significant as -say- the unity in our church, or say, as submitting myself to the leadership. etc.

That is not to say that I sit with a zipped lip and pretend that I believe other than I do - rather it is to say that I believe that if my opinion is correct, that I am satisfied in God's sovereignty to wait for Him to either correct my opinion, or to correct the opinion of everyone else in my assembly - such that eventually, I will either come into line with what our constitution's praxis, or the constitution will come into line with what I believe - and that whatever happens, it will all happen in accord with God's will -- so that I do not resign my membership because of this disagreement but submit myself in trust to the guiding of the leadership, and trust God to work all things to good, just as He says He does in scripture.

What I hope I am modeling is how a member ought to deal with personal convictions that run contrary to the teaching of their local congregation. Can you say that everyone in your assembly feels the same way you do about say, tithing, or birth control? We have the "party line" and we are all expected to toe it - and the teachers are expected to show that this party line is biblical, and if they find something else that is more biblical or corrects that - they are to humbly show their folly, correct their ways, and call everyone in their congregation to the same.

Unity underscores this idea - but we draw the line when a thing is clearly (or seems clearly) wrong.

If man in our congregation marries his own mother or step mother, we are not called to ignore that. We should address it. But what if the man is a genuine believer?? What if he is the one who lead three quarters of the church to Christ? What if there is no doubt whatsoever that the fellow is soundly saved? What if he is so theologically proficient that he can build a seemingly consistent theological argument to defend his choice, and expresses that his conscience witnesses to him that this is allowed?

Do we, because he has a consistent theology, and because that theology agrees with our own theology ninety nine percent of the time - do we accept this perversion on the basis that he is convinced of his theology, and because his conscience seems unmoved by this?

No. Of course we don't. If I had a nickel for every time I heard an immature believer say that they prayed about some sinful habit, and God didn't make them feel guilty about it so that they feel they are okay in doing it - well, I should be wealthier today than I presently am. Our conscience is only as good/valid as the instruction it receives. Surely as we form our theology, our conscience gets on board...

When we get to the top of that hill, we see that whatever utterance our theology and our conscience mutters, is insufficient reason to accept as valid when our leaders have invalidated it. In the paraphrased words of Gamaliel, if a thing be of God, we cannot stop it, but a thing be of man, it will come to nothing even if we leave it alone. There is much wisdom in that, especially as we consider whether or not the paedobaptist, who joins himself to the baptist church, ought to get "re"-baptized...

You see all your theology and conscience counts for a hill of beans when you seek to put yourself under the spiritual responsibility of those who do not hold the same theological opinions. You cannot, as a paedobaptist, expect people to take responsibility for your soul if you refuse to surrender yourself to their spiritual instruction. If they say your baby baptism is not valid, and call you to respond as a believer in obedience to the ordinance that Christ commands - and you refuse to do that, what you are saying is that you will --not-- put yourself under this leadership, and the moment you do that, you demonstrate your unfitness for membership.

If on the other hand, you understand scripture through a covenantal framework such that you believe strongly that your baptism as a babe was a valid baptism, and that to submit yourself to elders who would call you to do something that would (in your estimation) endorse error - and so because of your conscience you find yourself unwilling to be re-baptized - then my advice to you is that you probably don't belong in that assembly.

But what of the person who finds themselves with no other alternative but to attend a church where they believe differently? I say, hogwash to that. No other alternative? Pffft. Look you lazy sloth, the Queen of Sheba crossed half the earth to listen to King Saul speak, and on the day of judgment she will rise up and call your lazy butt out on the tiles - for if she who was far more important than you, was so concerned about truth that she crossed half the earth to hear it - she proved that if someone really wants something, they can make it happen - and you will have nothing to say for yourself. Do you have to travel by car for an hundred miles. By bus for 200? Boo-hoo. Sorry if I have no sympathy here, but frankly, with churches on every street corner, I find it difficult to imagine that anyone in the first world would be unable to find a fellowship close enough to their own beliefs to be a member of.

Usually we pick our congregations not according to their beliefs, but according to that horrible consumer mentality - whether or not we find the speaker engaging (read: entertaining) enough. We don't look for a place to serve, we look for a place that is going to serve us - and it is into this sort of consumerism that people end up wanting to join churches that they like the speaker, but hate the church in.

I don't think we are called to facilitate for these. If they are genuine, they will join themselves and serve, and whatever doctrinal difference they bring in with them will either be scrubbed out of them, or persist until God changes everyone else.

I say we draw the line for membership at whether or not you are willing to serve under the directly of the leaders or not.

Not that I have an opinion on the matter.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 1:01 PM  
9 Comments:
  • At 5:55 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Whoa, Daniel!

    I agreed with you right up until you brought up baptism.

    There are no Calvinistic churches in our town. The closest would be a Missouri Synod Lutheran church (LCMS). The only Baptist church in town in thoroughly Arminian, PDL-polluted, and, worse than KJVO, pushes The Message -- this is clearly not an option. So we drive to the next town, which is providentially close, to a church that is also not confessionally Calvinistic, but is at least Calvinist friendly, and credobaptist. Frankly, we couldn't drive 100 miles to attend church (it's easy for you to say what others can manage). If I had to attend the local LCMS, I couldn't join, because to do so, I would have to submit to their paedobaptist practices. Furthermore, my children would be taught Luther's Catechism, which I could not tolerate.

    Would you have me become Lutheran, and worse, make my children Lutherans, in order to be submitted to a local congregation?

     
  • At 7:40 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    David, you know I would have you start a new church :)

    The trouble with a broad brush is, well, it is broad. I honestly thought of the people in N.D. when I wrote this too - I thought, well, this isn't going to apply to everyone - think of David in N.D.? God as my witness - I included you as an exception, which makes your comment quite funny to me, as of all the people on earth, I consciously excluded you from the rant...

    Seriously. That's funny.

     
  • At 9:46 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    You can't blog-comment your way out of this one. I expect you to come down here and apologize in person.

    I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've been "included as an exception."

     
  • At 9:57 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    By the way, if any Lutherans happen by, I hope you won't take my comments personally. I do not consider you heretics (at least not damned heretics), and I do not despise the Lutheran faith. But there are serious differences between us, and, having been raised Lutheran, I'm know you feel similarly about my credobaptist Calvinism.

     
  • At 10:01 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Yeah, "I'm know . . ." That is, "I'm sure," or "I know" -- take your pick.

     
  • At 10:11 PM, July 23, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    David, as a programmer, I include exceptions every day.

    Seriously though, are you thinking of going to Desiring God's pastor's conference in Feb 2009?

    I am hoping to go myself, and your house would be sorta on the way...

     
  • At 11:38 AM, July 24, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    No, I'm not going to DG. However, if you're willing to pretend I'm "on the way," you're welcome to stop by. I'll even buy some of that putrid Guinness you like.

     
  • At 1:09 PM, July 24, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    It is still up in the air for me, I may get in a conference, I may not, I don't have a stable enough savings account to be certain of anything more than three weeks in the future - and even that is chancy. But if I pass within 300 miles of your place, I will certainly make every effort to put you out by visiting. You needn't even serve Guinness, just soak the bottom of some old sooty keg, then filter out the rotting wood bits and carbon - and I probably won't know the difference - providing you can whip up a good foam to cover it. ;)

     
  • At 4:58 PM, July 24, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    I thought that was how Guinness is made. Anyway, it's easier to buy than make, and what you don't drink, we'll use for cooking brats.

     
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