Category Archives: Thoughts

Mark Patterson’s Thoughts

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life

For Children Viewer Discretion is Advised:
For Adults Viewer Digestion is Required:
No pictures or video is on this link.  Only text.

Here’s the truth…

1) You believe the Jewish Holocaust occurred… yet you don’t want to view the Historical Pictures everyday …
…but you DO BELIEVE everyone should look at some point to feel the devastation of a death cult.

2) You believe the Enslavement of African Americans occurred in the United States of America… yet you don’t want to view the Historical Pictures everyday…
…but you DO BELIEVE everyone should look at some point to feel the wickedness of slavery and discrimination.

3) You believe ISIS is murdering people in mass… yet you don’t want to view the Current Pictures everyday…
…but you DO BELIEVE everyone should look at some point and feel the devastation of religion gone crazy.

4) Some of you hold to an ideal of Sex without apparent consequences, Authority over your own bodies, Pro-Choice… yet you don’t want to view the Google Pictures everyday…
…but you DON’T BELIEVE everyone should look at some point to feel the results of an Abortion.  Why is that?

And sadly, and I feel horrible for those who in the past have had an abortion… some don’t want to face the reality of what occurred because you live steeped in guilt.  (Jesus loves you!  Jesus can forgive!)

I’m not asking you to go look everyday… but if you truly are Pro-Choice… there is NO RATIONAL ANSWER that you can provide for never going and seeing what you so STRONGLY BELIEVE IN!
…You must look.  …You are responsible to look.  …Will you go look?

Life can be very very difficult… horrific… devastating… and we all must be willing to view what we as humans historically and presently have allowed to occur.

I suggest you consider having the baby of every single person you have sex with.
It’s possible.  It happens.  Or… you might be faced with a life altering decision… that you in the future will want to hide from and never see the pictures of.
Truth..  forgiveness… love… can set you free.

Please prepare yourself like you would for Pictures of the Holocaust, Slavery, and ISIS, and don’t look everyday… it could make you unhealthy…


Go look.



True Regular Bible Use?

I thought this data about Bible Believers from Christianity Today more revelatory than most others.

The information researched seems to me to get much closer to the reality of trying to determine whether those questioned actually do Believe, Use, and Apply the Bible regularly.  Instead of just asking a more generalized question like “Do you believe, have, or use the Bible?”

Check it out.

It actually leads me to want to minister in Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and the like… for outreach.

“Transcendence” the Movie

Poster of Transcendence

Ok… I’m definitely in a movie mode these last couple of mths.

Nick is my partner in crime.

“Transcendence”… the story line and theme of the movie are definitely intriguing, but the movie itself is not made very well.  I can be hyper critical at times… concerning plausibility within the theme, not so much is some scientific fantasy possible or not, but more in how things play out… like a problem: the main characters bought and built an entire city and no one seemed to notice, not the feds, those bilked on Wall Street of millions, the towns people, not to mention the lack of construction crews… etc… this didn’t seem to be much trouble for the director.  So anyway… I didn’t really care for the movie.

But the story line.  Johnny Depp’s character, a scientists, dies, and his mapped brain is downloaded into a computer and then onto the web.  He seems to have a ‘conscience’ after death.  He has limitless knowledge as he ‘knows’ everything on every connected computer to the internet, knowledge which he then can assimilate with algorithms, then expand, build upon, and ‘evolve’… very quickly.  Artificial Intelligence, AI, is mixed with an actual person’s mapped brain.  That’s a cool thought.  One I’ve definitely pondered, along with the soon coming possibility to access Wikipedia (and others) through an implant in the brain.

It’s a great question to a human… “Are you self aware?”  And “How do you prove it?”  And then to an Artificially Intelligent Computer slash Human Brain combo.
What is ‘consciousness’… what is a ‘soul’… etc. etc.

Well, Johnny gets a bit too powerful for his own good.  He becomes God-like with the ability to replicate, somehow intertwine with nature, control life, death, healing, rain, the atmosphere, and his newly modified humans that now have been connected to ‘him’ via the web.

It’s all a pretty cool thought experiment, with many fearful exploitations.

I recommend it on video, just so you can keep a watchful eye on google and apple… simply because they are already watching you.  I’d hate for them to become self aware.  Then we might need Arnold to help fight the machines!  Johnny D ain’t gonna be helping us.

Always for Christ.




You Don’t Go to Church

Please… Please…
Let’s agree together, not to say,
“I went to Church.” “I’m going to Church.” “Where do you go to Church?”… “Church wasn’t very good today.”

It may seem trivial, but You are the Church. We are the Church. The Body of Believers, the called out ones, the assembly, that gathers regularly as the Church.

Let’s agree together, to say,
“I am the Church.” “I’m going to worship at TMCC.” “Where do you gather as the Church to worship?”… “I wasn’t very good today.”

People put this ‘idea’ on an experience, and tend to forget that we are the experience. It deflects the idea of “I didn’t Worship” … to “Worship wasn’t good”, and what does that mean… the performance by other people wasn’t very good for my liking.

Fellowshipping in real conversation beyond “hey, how was your week, good, and yours?”.
Hearing people’s joys and troubles.
Praying earnestly for one another.
Studying God’s word.

There is no pressure for “Excellence” at “Church” to be “Amazing”.
That’s a false reality. That’s a false experience. That can be marketed. That can be contrived.

Today too many of us hide behind this notion of “Excellence”- which simply means the best performers, the best speakers, the best sound system, the best everything… for more costs, higher salaries, competition, and more churn… the underbelly’s churn. Our desire for an “Excellent Church Experience” is so far off… and directly creates the underbelly’s churn. Stop yourself for just a moment… pause… and recognize, you don’t want to “know” about all the stuff behind the scenes, the turmoil, the drama… but you are directly creating the churn by desiring the best ‘performance’.

Mostly watching, then singing to songs, acquiring appropriate goose bumps… is not much different than going to a U2 Concert. That simply is not Church. Jump off that ship. It’s the wrong ship!

Being patient with an impatient person, chatting with someone so different, crying over a niece’s lymphoma, raising your hands and crying to God, flipping the pages and marking in your Bible, laughing with a friend about falling off his dirt bike, delaying your lunch to help put away the chairs, sending a note to a parent with Parkinson’s…

That’s the Church. You don’t go there.
That’s you.

OT Genocide We have to Deal with It!

Luke, a really smart 6th grader at Church, asked me after watching the Bible Series on TV…. “Wasn’t God’s instruction to kill the Canaanites a sin?”

Wow!  Great question Luke.
We must ponder this Biblical Revelation in the Text… if we take the Text as seriously as we claim we do.

Many in denying our God,…. have charged Christians and Jews with Genocide…

If you look it up on Wikipedia… you get a bit of this:

John Hemer asserts that the two primary approaches that Christian teaching uses to deal with “the problem of violence in the Old Testament” are:

  1. Concentrate more on the many passages where God is depicted as loving – much of Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, Deuteronomy.
  2. Explain how the idea of God as a violent punishing war-monger is all part of the historical and cultural conditioning of the author and that we can ignore it in good faith, especially in the light of the New Testament.

Hemer, John (April 2003). “Violence & The Bible”. Retrieved 2010-11-21.

We have to have a deeper look…. stay tuned for a more in depth study…

My “Free Will” Baseball Team

My Free Will 2013 Roster:

Pitcher: Gordon Fee
Catcher:  Jacob Arminius
1st Base:  FF Bruce
2nd Base:  NT Wright
Short Stop:  John Wesley
3rd Base:  Hugo Grotius
Left Field:  J. Vernon McGee
Center Field:  Billy Graham
Right Field:  I Howard Marshall

Subs from the Bench:
John Stott
Thomas Oden
Ben Witherington III
Joseph Dongell
Keith Lowder

Scouting Report Bill Hybels?
Scouting Report Bill Bright?
Scouting Report Josh Adams…  Signed with other team for minimum league salary.

If I mistreat the waitress…

If I mistreat the waitress… because i’m in a hurry… to get to the building committee meeting… to argue vehemently my point for the multi-million dollar church building structure… walk away angry… miss my wife’s dinner… miss my daughter’s bed time… and leave out the door early in the morning to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for what we “need”… i’m totally missing the Kingdom of Jesus.
There is a better life… Jesus offers it to you… but you have to stop… and really want it.

Non-biblical reference to Jesus 116AD

Authentic non-biblical reference to Jesus.

Tacitus, Roman Senator/Historian, book Annals, chapter 44.
(strongly confirming when an enemy makes a reference)

“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

Non-biblical reference to Peter & Paul 95AD

Authentic non-biblical reference to Peter and Paul’s martyrdom.

Bishop Clement’s Letter 95AD to the Corinthian Church.

Chapter 5: “… Let us set before our eyes the good apostles. There was
Peter, who, because of unrighteous jealousy, endured not one or two but many trials, and thus having given his testimony went to his appointed place of glory. Because of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the way to the prize for patient durance. After he had been seven time in chains, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, and had preached in the East and in the West, he won the genuine glory for his faith… he thus departed from the world and went to the holy place, having become an outstanding example of patient endurance.”


Twelve Mile Creek Church by Mark Patterson
Jan. 2003/March 2013

Confronting Cultural Issues in America, searching for Biblical Answers to Tattoos.

Mature Interpretation
This study is meant to draw us closer to God through discipleship. God desires to draw the family into closer relationship with each other through knowledge of Himself. Not be torn apart to get ones way on cultural issues. This study is not meant to cause a wedge in the family, if you are under 18 and studying this topic, you should not try to use this as a weapon against parents. Tattoos are permanent. It is right for you to obey them until you are an adult. If you use it as a weapon, you will break the 5th Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” Exodus 20:12. Also from Galatians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Again, if you take Biblical information on cultural issues to simply demand, against your parents wishes, what you may desire, you are greatly confused concerning the Scriptures. Biblical maturity also calls for godly wisdom.
1 Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (Have I tried to cover my back-side enough? Let’s get to the issues.)

Ok, truthfully, how far is too far? You even think the girl with hundreds of facial tattoos has gone too far. So what’s a Christian to do? If you get a nose ring and 2 tattoos, what will your children be asking for in 15 years?

The Focal Passage is Leviticus 19:28. The only direct reference to your question “Can I get a Tattoo?”

Leviticus 19:27-29 27 You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. 29 Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.

Does that make it clear for you? Is the problem solved? Do we still obey the Old Testament?
Now Consider the Verses “around” this… the context.
We don’t still follow Lev. 19:27, we do still follow Lev. 19:29, so then, what about vs. 28?
Hhhhhmmmmmm…..forced to move past John 3:16 Christianity again.
We must consider all the verses of 27, 28, and 29 and think about interpretation.
The crux of the issue: 1 Cor. 7:18-20. Obedience to the law. Now go to Genesis 17:9-15.

But let’s begin with Blood Letting:
Some connect tattooing to blood letting, or cutting oneself. Religious Self abasement is an attempt to degrade oneself to make one worthy for a deity or for spirituality. 1 Kings 18:28 Baal blood letting.
Jeremiah 16:6 Cutting for the dead. Deuteronomy 14:1 Cut or shave for the dead.
1 Corinthians 3:16 God’s temple. 1 Cor. 6:19.
In Christianity and other religions, a milder form of this self-abasement is called Asceticism – practices of self-denial as spiritual discipline. We as Christians traverse the fine line of living in self-denial and self sacrifice, yet while enjoying the blessings of God. We are clearly taught to be good stewards of good things. Like in the guidelines for giving… We get to keep 90% of the cash, remember, so what do we do with that?

Prohibition against blood letting seems pretty clear and probably would be interpreted by 99.9% of all Christians as immoral. But is blood letting connected to tattooing? This is not as clear, even though within the process of tattooing bleeding typically occurs. What about cutting ones hair, cutting fingernails, sucking the blood out of a snake bitten friend’s leg on the trails of the Grand Canyon, open heart surgery, removing a wart, the giving of blood to the Red Cross, liposuction, etc.? All are actions where cutting and blood are involved. Blood letting in OT times and some current cultures was/is connected to religious rites and rituals… but is it connected to tattooing for us?

Determining distinction in OT laws.
Now back to the crux of the issue. The Different types of laws:
In the OT you have a separation of God’s people from others through Moral laws and Ceremonial laws.
Exhibited through the Levitical law found in Lev. 11:6-7 concerning what foods that were ok to eat and were not ok to eat. In this we find a prohibition that is obviously used for extremely symbolic reasons with the culmination of its understanding found in Acts 10 with Peter’s dream and the events with Cornelius. Yet even though this prohibition against certain foods was symbolic and helped to identify the Hebrew people, it was a very serious law to be obeyed. It was an OT Ceremonial law.
After Jesus was resurrected, we have come to understand that we are justified not by the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. We know that the transgression of one law is transgression of the entire law, and salvation only comes through the redeeming grace of faith in what Jesus did on the cross and in His resurrection.
This event however doesn’t do away with moral law. So we must determine, since the entire N. T. doesn’t deal with every moral issue, the difference between moral and ceremonial laws.
So back to Lev. 19:27, 28, and 29. Which are moral and which are ceremonial?

Paul teaches against circumcision. This was an identification, a religious act, prescribed for Jewish men. Paul taught against this since the fulfillment of the law was in Christ and salvation comes through trusting him, not in ceremonial or religious rites. However, Paul did begin to teach baptism. A ceremonial rite. Salvation doesn’t come through baptism, yet we are instructed to be baptized. In the western world the “marking of the body” through circumcision has become an issue of health, not religion. Circumcision for most today has nothing to do with “religious rite”.
Every Christian man that is circumcised is not discrediting Paul’s direction, because the issue truly comes down to motives. Most American males are circumcised today having nothing to do with the OT law.

Galatians 2:11-21 Paul opposes Peter.
As Paul began to go outside the comforts of Jerusalem, a new idea, to fulfill the great commission, we find he was very sensitive to the cultures he was in. So in his opposition of Peter concerning circumcision, along with Peter’s dream emphatically opening the door of salvation to not only the Jew, but also the Gentile, we find that we must try to determine the moral codes that are necessary for Gentile believers and the others codes that are not. Sometimes you do have directives for particular cultures, from Paul, sometimes not.
Acts 15 settles the circumcision issue in a letter to the people of Antioch.

Jesus dispels Ceremonial and Traditional laws. Traditional laws were laws of men created to keep one from coming close to breaking the real ceremonial or moral laws. Like, it’s wrong to commit adultery, so a Traditional law of man would be, no Christian should go to a business meeting with a woman.
Read Matt. 15:10 goes out mouth not in.
Luke 6:1-5 Picking and eating wheat on Sabbath.
Luke 6:6-10 healing on Sabbath.
Matt. 5:17 Jesus came to fulfill the law not abolish. What does this mean in light of Jesus breaking some ceremonial and traditional laws? Matt. 22:37-40, love God and people. Matt. 5:21-22 not kill, don’t even become angry.

Biblical Tattoo Allusions or not?
Exodus 13:9 sign on your hand. Ex. 13:16 eyelets
Isaiah 44:5 write on hand. Isaiah 49:16 graven on palms.
Ezekiel 9:3-4 inkhorn mark heads (door post of Exodus)
Galatians 6:17 Mark on believers. Is he referring to marks received in punishments for being a Christian, like in 2 Cor. 11:24-28. Or to similar tattoo marks that Romans would put on slaves as a sign of ownership? Rev. 7:2-3 sealed. Rev. 19:16 Name inscribed on Jesus thigh. Literal?

So, is it clear yet, can a Christian get a tattoo?
Jesus clearly moves us into a new time. New dispensation. New Law.
We do not follow OT Ceremonial Laws. Yet we do follow OT Moral Laws.
Jesus actually increases our responsibility to moral laws.
Moral responsibility increased under Jesus: It was “Don’t commit adultery… Now Don’t lust”. It was “Don’t commit murder… now don’t even hate your brother”.
We are not “set apart” now by hair on our temples or beard, circumcision, temple festivals, boundaries of land, or temple sacrifices.
We are now “set apart” by our Love for God and People, for the Spirit being within us, and by being the temple of God ourselves.

Conclusion: So back to our Three Verses, Lev. 19:27, 28, 29.
Leviticus 19:27-29 27 You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. 29 Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.

Vs. 27 Not rounding off the hair on your temple or marring the edges of your beard was a ceremonial and not moral law. Jesus does away with this.
Vs. 29 Not profaning our daughter by making her a prostitute is a moral law that Jesus upheld and he strengthened. We still keep this.

Vs. 28a Not cutting your body for the dead seems to be a moral law that Jesus upheld.
28b Not tattooing yourselves… seems to be a ceremonial law that separated people based on look.
This was an “appearance” thing like the hair and beard law.

Jesus does away with laws that “separate” his people based on Ceremonial Law, but he increased the Moral Laws.

I say Tattooing is a Ceremonial Law and is not a Moral Law.
Tattooing today for Christians is not a sin.

What says you?

It’s good to Think Morally always in Love.
Mark Patterson

Interpreting Divorce

Short Study, Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19, and many more Scriptures.
Aug 1, 2010/Feb. 2013

This one is for you to THINK on.  See the Video for my 10 minute Teaching on Divorce!

Check your hermeneutic.  Your framework of interpreting the Bible.

You must process the passages below for you to interpret them for a Biblical Answer.
How you interpret?  System of interpretation?
Weight to OT?  More power for higher bar for spirit filled church today?  Concessions God makes like divorce for our sins after original intent in Genesis?  Understanding slave and captive wives in OT?

And Exegesis?  Drawing out?  Defining?  Passages, phrases, words?  Defining “naked cause” (“sexual indecency”)?  Understanding Pharisees questions in Matthew divorce “for any cause”?  Defining “desertion”?

Trying to understand God’s perspective on marriage and divorce in the OT… the old dispensation… to the 1st Century mindset that brought the question to Jesus… .and then how Jesus altered, or raised the bar… while continuing to allow an exception… and then how Paul further clarified the exception to include more.



OT texts.  To Jesus words.   To Paul’s.  And your Grace Theology.


I.  Jesus appeared as hard liner, no divorce.    Mark 10:1-12

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of yourhardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

II. But an exception in Matthew 19

“Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

It records Jesus answering the “any cause” which  seems to be referencing Deut. 24:1-4 “naked matter (cause)”  and   “any cause”  exception for “porneia” in Matthew 19:1-12

Consider the absolute astonishment of the disciples… if you can’t divorce here “for any cause”… the disciples conclude to never marry then has to be best.


III.  Genesis 2:24. 

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.


IV.  Exodus 21:7-11 a kind of Desertion?  ESV translation.

7“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. 9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.


Important to consider if Paul might build from his base Jewish concept of not providing “food, clothing, and marital rights” in 1 Corinthians 7 concerning conjugal rights and desertion?


V.  Wow… Rights of an “unloved” slave wife?  Slaves had rights?

Deuteronomy 21:10-15

10“When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.


VI.  Deuteronomy 22:22 Adultery, capital punishment.

22 “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”


God gives Israel a certificate of divorce for unfaithfulness, Jeremiah below.

Joseph doesn’t want this for Mary so he determines to put her away quietly.


VII.  Deuteronomy 24:1-4.   “Naked matter”.

1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found a naked matter (“cause”, some “indecency”) in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.”


Or a man might not want to press capital offense charges, maybe like Joseph.  Mary was pregnant… either she was “sexually immoral” / a “naked cause” or adultery was natural conclusion until angel spoke to him.


VIII.  Example Lesson, Hosea told to take an unfaithful wife, Gomer.

No divorce, no stoning here.

Hosea 1:2     2When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”

Hosea 3:1     1And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”


IX.   625 BC to  Temple Destruction 586 BC.

Jeremiah 3:6-8 God sends Israel away with a certificate of divorce without “executing her”.

“Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce.


X.  Coming back from Babylon… while back in the land… they disobeyed still the OT mandates.  They married unbelieving non-Israelites.

Ezra 10:2-3

2And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law.

Ezra 10:16-17

16Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; 17and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

Commanded to divorce in Babylonian return.


Paul will bring the fuller revelation and declare in 1 Corinthians 7 that if the “unbelieving spouse” is willing to stay with you, you are not to divorce them, see below.


XI.  Around  400 BC.  God is again frustrated with His people… what for…

Malachi 2:13-16

13And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Malachi God disdains divorce.


XII.  Hillelite rabbis:  By First Century Jewish thought the “naked matter” from Deut. 24, see above, “matter” or “Cause” and interpreted into “Divorce her ‘for any cause’”.


XIII.  This is What Jesus directly addresses in Matthew 19:3.

Shammaite rabbis interpreted it:  as for “immorality”.


XIV.  Jesus reiterates and goes back to Deut. 24:1-4… Matthew 19 divorce for indecency, a shameful thing…a “naked matter”… written in Greek word ‘porneia’ or sexual immorality and if marries another without reason commits adultery Greek ‘moichatai’, (Matt. 5:31-32).


XV.  Paul comes back in 1 Corin.7:5 don’t deprive of conjugal rights.

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corin. 7:10, wife don’t separate… but if she does (as if for obvious things for obvious reasons) stay unmarried and seek reconciliation.
10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), andthe husband should not divorce his wife.
12To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1 Corin. 7:12ff, stay with unbeliever if the unbeliever is willing.


Opposite of Ezra 9 and 10, yet understood as a fuller more complete revelation of God’s will.


XVI.  Remarry?  1 Cor. 7:15  If unbelieving partner separates… deserts…  then “not enslaved”.  What does that mean?  Not bound?

Not bound in marriage I think.  For if he left, what else could it mean… she is not enslaved to follow but can remain unmarried and not chase him.  She (he) is free to marry again.  In first Century to think a single mother has good chance in life is unrealistic.  It probably means can remarry.

Is he addressing maybe Exodus 21:7-11, is it in his mind, basic needs not met… and calling it “desertion”?

What about today.. basic needs of food, clothing, and conjugal rights?  How liberal will you interpret this?  If someone isn’t providing this can you leave, separate?


XVI.  Modern day and complications, how far can you stretch “desertion”?    Drugs, abuse verbal – sexual – physical, insanity, criminal, prison, child safety?

Abuse, I think is fair to say is extreme neglect, it’s worse than neglect, it’s harm?  But how liberal will you be with things like verbal abuse?  Just trying to get your way?
XVII.  Ultimate goal.  Matt. 18 forgive 70 x 7 times.

If even a Christian commits adultery, in Heaven we will be reconciled.  Can you do it here?

Ultimately, God seeks healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, is this possible in your pursuit of this answer?

9. Elders- Institutions, People, & Positions

Elders Religious Institutions People Positions Nov 2012 click this then one more time
A simple explanation of Elders.

Click the small title link… then click it again one more time to see the teaching on Elders.

“Elders” Leadership Development

I. Elders: From Synagogues to Christian Denominations.
Religious Institutions
Word, Sacrament, Order.

II. Elder Timeline: Jesus to Paul to Peter.
Timothy, Titus, Peter
Who preach/teach/guard doctrine, pray, admonish, serve, rule, discipline, appoint, give.

III. Elder Timeline: Christian Elders to Bishops development.
3 Established Offices: Bishops & Elders & Deacons.

Character / Love

8. You ARE Church!

If you and me, the individual, are the Church, then each of us should find a community, commit, be involved, pray, sacrifice, and be an active part of that body… what else would we do… exist alone??? visit church worship experiences for years??? If you have a family, you have to be involved in that family, if you are the Church, you have to be involved in the Church.
We desperately need to be involved intimately with God and each other…
It’s not about the best show and best music and best speaker… we must be careful in our pursuit of “Excellence” in the Church… I’m not too sure of the Bible verses there… but I’m reminded over and over and over as i read that as a part of the body of Christ… I’m to be involved with the Church that I’m a part of… let’s Love God and People!

7. TMCC Voids to Fill in Ministry

Matthews 25:37-40 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

I have been praying about this passage. It keeps coming to mind. As a Pastor, and as we are setting the foundation of the Church, frankly I struggle frequently with “doing it myself”… and “setting ministry up for others”. I need to do both. As I have begun a new small group, plan a mission trip to India, work on TMCC materials, and have assisted other small groups, I am impressed with more needs within the church. Needs for ourselves for healthy spiritual growth… and needs to serve by doing for others.

I set aside considerable amounts of time each week for study… and sermon prep. I try to attend other small groups, and visit with members each week. I still see more ministry that needs to be done. Do I start a youth group, do I start regularly training leaders, do I build a mission team,… there is just lots on the horizon to be done. Especially from the verse above. Personally, I think from the above verse… these things HAVE to be done!

I’ve been involved in prison ministry, children’s ministry, and ministry to the elderly…. and all of it is so rewarding, and demanded by Christ! TMCC needs to be about all of it. So… I’m praying for others who simply want to step in… help fill some voids in ministry… so that we can follow Jesus’ example and also fulfill his commands.

Are you serving in the Kingdom? We have a place for you… to visit prisoners, to minister to orphans, and to love on the elderly. I’d love to join you some time too.

In Christ,

6. Bible Versions Book Summary

How to Choose a Bible Version with Pics in Simplified PDF click here then one more time

Text version of above PDF below.

Edit July 26, 2012 11am
“How to Choose a Bible Version”
By Robert L. Thomas

This is a book summary to condense the material for Twelve Mile Creek Church. Approximately 98% of the thoughts, research, work, and words are copied from Robert Thomas’ book. Please read the book for greater detail. This is for the sole purpose of helping the local church better understand Bible versions. Some additional information has been included.

Textual Basis of Bible Translations

Early “Texts” can be small fragments, incomplete letters, mostly complete letters, complete letters, multiple letters found together, and complete NT/OT manuscripts. Thousands of “texts” exist for the New Testament. Much much less for the OT.

The earliest ancient translations from the Greek NT are in three languages:
Syriac 150AD, Coptic 200AD, and Latin 150AD. These can be researched and used to compare against Greek Texts but would be for another study, and are not contained in this paper.


*The Original Greek New Testament Does Not Still Exist*
Copies of the original are generally categorized into regions forming families.
There are thousands upon thousands of copies from copies within the 4 family groups.

The 4 Text Types or Families for the Greek New Testament are:
1-Alexandria, Africa 2-Byzantine, Turkey 3-Caesarea, Middle East 4-Western, Italy

Alexandrian, oldest Greek texts follow this family, might be oldest since Egypt’s geographic/topographic/climatic conditions are best suited for preserving manuscripts, Westcott and Hort Greek NT based off these, so is Nestle-Aland Greek NT, most English Translations since 1900’s used this family since many like the older manuscripts. Used Greek upper case letters called uncials, mostly from 1st to 9th Century. Usually shorter and less paraphrased.

Byzantine, also called the Majority Text, since a majority of the preserved surviving manuscripts are from this family, most numerous, some think as proof that these are the most reliable, but they are not the oldest, thus others disagree about them as being the most reliable. Main family used for the Textus Receptus by Erasmus. Byzantine texts seem fuller, more complete, utilizing other scriptures to fill out, this seems to support the idea that these are indeed later manuscripts. Used Greek lower case called minuscules, mostly from 9th Century on. Usually longer and paraphrased.

Caesarean, mildly paraphrastic in amount somewhere between the shorter Alexandrian and longer Western texts. No texts considered purely Caesarean but with a mixture of Byzantine. Some argue it’s not a separate text type.

Western, an Old Text type which the Latin versions are derived from. Usually longer, frequently paraphrased, inserted, and omitted words to make for a smoother reading. Fewer manuscripts, but date from the earliest to very late.

Techniques Used in Bible Translations

1) Formal Equivalence (formal correspondence)
Literal translation.
For accuracy or faithfulness to the original text. Seeks as close a match between the receptor language and the original language.

2) Dynamic Equivalence (functional equivalence)
Free translation, paraphrase, thought for thought.
For readability, convey the thought of the original language. Desire is to produce an effect on the reader in the receptor language equivalent to what was produced on the reader in the original language.

English Translations Historical Backgrounds

Jerome’s Latin Vulgate
380AD Hebrew Greek Translation into Common Latin, known as the Latin Vulgate. Revision of older Latin translations, using mostly Alexandrian texts for the Gospels and Western texts for the remaining NT.

John Wycliffe
1380sAD Sponsored translation of the Latin Vulgate into English.

Erasmus of Rotterdam
1516AD Dutch Christian humanist created the Greek New Testament from mainly Byzantine texts… also created a Latin New Testament at the same time.
This Greek NT was used by Martin Luther to translate NT into German. Subsequent versions of Eramus’s Greek NT became known as the “Textus Receptus”.

William Tyndale
Translated Erasmus’ Greek translation of New Testament into English in 1526.
Also parts of the OT.

King James Version (1611)
KJ took throne in 1603. 90-92% of the KJV is still from the work of William Tyndale. There were 50 scholars, divided into 2 teams on the OT, 3 teams on the NT, and 1 team on the Apocrypha. Interpreted the Hebrew and Greek. Also made use of Jewish and Catholic scholars. Based off Textus Receptus of the Byzantine texts.
For use of Churches in England. Without marginal notes. The first Bible printed in the USA, in USA it was printed without the Apocrypha.
Values staying close to the original text. Conservative bias. Outdated English. Textual basis on Byzantine family.

English Revised Version (1881-85)
Westcott and Hort key 2 of the NT 4 translators. These 2 preferred the Alexandrian text family and just days prior finished their own Greek NT.

American Standard Version (1901)
The ERV counterpart created due to variances in English spoken across the Atlantic. ‘Strict literalism’ (formal equivalence), thus English is choppy, long sentences with commas, syntax similar to Greek (syntax is word order, structure, framework of sentences.)
Better textual basis of manuscripts. Close to original text translation. Evangelical bias. Outdated English.

Revised Standard Version (1937-1952)
Revision of ASV. 32 scholars, blessed by Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox.
Like ASV in textual basis. Formal equivalence. Liberal bias.

New American Standard Bible (1963-1971)
Revision of ASV. 68 more conservative scholars/pastors than RSV.
Word-for-word correspondence.
Great textual basis. Formal equivalence. Conservative bias. Not smooth English style.

New King James Version (1979-1982)
119 translators from protestant denominations.

The New Revised Standard Version (1974-1989)
Less formal, elimination of ‘sex-biased’ language for inclusive gender language.
Great textual basis. Dynamic equivalence. Gender neutral. Pleasing English style. Liberal bias.

The New American Standard Bible Updated (1995)
Easier to read, not as literal as the 1963-71 ASV edition.

English Standard Version (2001)
A revision of the RSV (1971) by a team of 14 men of the Translation Oversight Committee. Assisted by 50 Translation Review Scholars and another 50 on an Advisory Council. All were evangelical in theology.
Word-for-word rather than thought-for-thought translation philosophy.
Called ‘essentially literal’ allowing for more deviation than the ASV (1901) which was ‘strict literalism’. Utilized the Alexandrian family of manuscripts.
Great textual basis. Essentially literal translation. Conservative bias. Pleasing English style.

Outside the Tyndale Philosophy and Family of Translations
Meaning the Earlier English Translations were not utilized as the basis of the translation.
These Are the More Freer Translations:

The New World Translation (1950, 1961)
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc., translation from the Greek and Hebrew. Unorthodox Jehovah Witness subjectivities.

The Amplified Bible (1958, 1965)
By Francis E. Siewert, Zondervan Publishing, expansive non literal renderings.

The Good News Bible (Today’s English Version) (1966, 1976)
The American Bible Society’s showpiece for a philosophy of translation called “dynamic equivalence” developed by Eugene Nida. He attempted to provide a theoretical basis for what many English translations were already doing. One scholar for the NT and 7 for the OT.

The Living Bible (1971)
One author using the ASV as basis. A conservative who founded the Tyndale Publishing Company. Billy Graham promoted and in 1974 46% of all Bible sales in the USA.

The New Living Translation (1996)
Revised the Living Bible, with 90 translators, using Hebrew and Greek texts, a new ‘dynamic-equivalence’ translation from protestants and evangelicals, use of gender-neutral terminology.

The New International Version (A Contemporary Translation) (1973, 1978)
An evangelical effort of 110 scholars from many countries, split into 20 teams, with a translator, co-translator, two consultants, and English stylist in each team. Zondervan publishing, not a revision of an earlier work, wanted to be the standard among evangelicals.
Great textual basis, more eclectic than others. Evangelical bias. Easy to read. Dynamic equivalence.

The Message (1993)
By Eugene Peterson, to everyday English, a paraphrase, Peterson’s own interpretations rather than what the Greek text says, capturing idiomatic street language at the cost of accuracy. For the casual popular reader.

Theological Bias in Bible Translations

1) General Knowledge. If the translations is sanctioned, financed, and/or endorsed say by: The Catholic Church, Evangelicals, Liberal Schools, Reformed or Arminians, etc.
2) The Introductory Statements. Like in the inspiration of Scripture, the school of translators, one translator or 100 translators.
3) The Study Notes. Can be heavily Calvinistic, or Pre-millennial, or Ecclesiological.
4) The Words. OT prophesy about a ‘young girl’ or ‘virgin’ giving birth. Prophesy dealing with Israel and Messiah. Tongues as a foreign language unknown or a heavenly spiritual language. Therefore as causal or resulting.

Bibliology (Biblical Inspiration)
Moffatt felt freed from the influence of the theory of verbal inspiration in 1913. The NASB foreword reads “the words of Scripture as originally penned in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were inspired by God”. The NKJV reads “a verbal and plenary inspiration of Scripture, and in the inerrancy of the original autographs.” The RSV was more liberal in orientation yet produced a literal translation. The NIV was more evangelical with a belief in the “full authority and complete trustworthiness of the Scriptures” yet produced a dynamic equivalent translation.
The RSV diminishes possible OT fulfillments of prophesy as for example: Ps. 45:6a “Your divine throne endures for ever and ever.” and Hebrews 1:8a “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” Could legitimately be written exactly the same, yet the RSV diminishes fulfillment with other optional readings. The NASB and ESV translate both passages exactly the same.
Gender-neutral translation views can effect the translation. Some translations interpret the general “brothers” to “brothers and sisters” when it appears appropriate.

Translating Jesus Christ as God. In Romans 9:5 since punctuation didn’t exist in the early Greek, some have clearly separated Christ from God like the NAB, RSV and others, and some have kept Christ as God affirming his deity like the KJV, ASV, NASB, ESV, NIV, NRSV.
In Acts 20:28 the KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV read “the church of God (Theos) which he purchased with his own blood”… but the RSV reads “the church of the Lord…” avoiding a statement of the deity of the Son. The Greek word here is Theos which is God, while Kurious is the Greek word for Lord, Theos is what appears in the Greek text.
The NRSV reads “the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son”, also avoiding deity. “That he obtained” is added instead of the simple ‘which’ translation.
The RSV and NRSV translate Is. 7:14 as “young woman” in failure to relate it to Matt. 1:23 the ‘virgin’.

Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit)
Translating the word for “tongue” in 1 Cor. 14 as tongue in NASB, ESV, RSV and others is potentially non-committal. The NIV footnotes tongues as ‘other languages’ or ‘unknown languages’.

Soteriology (Salvation)
Calvinistic influences with Hebrews 6:6 translated in the KJV, RSV, ESV, NIV as “if they fall away” but for Arminian influences “while they recrucify the Son of God” making it more temporal instead of the causal “because”… to avoid a Calvinistic “once lost always lost” destination as recorded in the NASB, NIV, some in footnotes.
In Acts 13:48 KJV, NIV, NEB, NRSV, have “destined for eternal life” while others might have “as wanted” added.

Ecclesiology (The Church)
In Matt. 16:18 the NASB an approved Roman Catholic translation, Peter is the “Rock” upon which the new Israel (the Church) is to be built, moving towards the theology of the papacy. Others with protestant influences preferring the “rock”.

Quick Repeat Concluding Summaries of Popular Translations

Values staying close to the original text. Conservative bias. Outdated English. Textual basis on Byzantine family.

Better textual basis of manuscripts. Close to original text translation. Evangelical bias. Outdated English.

Like ASV in textual basis. Formal equivalence. Liberal bias.

Great textual basis. Formal equivalence. Conservative bias. Not smooth English style.

Great textual basis. Dynamic equivalence. Gender neutral. Pleasing English style. Liberal bias.

Great textual basis. Essentially literal translation. Conservative bias. Pleasing English style.

Great textual basis, more eclectic than others. Evangelical bias. Easy to read. Dynamic equivalence.

5. Seat Belt on the Highway

Covenant Eyes is a filter and an accountability program I have used for years. Everyone wears a safety belt on the highway, I can not think of why your children and even you wouldn’t wear one on the internet. You can not disable it nor get around the application. Everyone should have something similar, it’s for your family’s safety… and let’s be honest… for your’s too. We all need a safety belt on this highway.

4. The TMCC Worship Experience

WoUld yoU pLease eXplain the TMCC worship eXperience?

Time: 9:30-11:00am. Wow… an hour and 30 minutes. But we are casual and personal. Kids welcome. We will again begin starting on time… since starting at 9:35 or 38 or 40 fosters future delayed arrivals and it makes the service last longer.

Fellowship: The actual intermingling of people, it’s not just a come and see “show”, we have three ops for being with people- prior to worship, during the break before the sermon, at the end of worship. Anonymous church worship is not a healthy format, so we don’t do that, we believe in talking to people.

Prayer: Being small we have the luxury of actually hearing prayer request, and then having other participants pray for one another, this builds connections, has the church praying one for another, is personal, and involves many in worship.

Music: We sing to songs on video with lyrics, this is purposeful, we can experience multiple styles, focus on God, have high quality without exorbitant costs. The second biggest headache in “Big Church” is opinions on worship style, worship personnel, worship songs chosen… we are able to avoid that. This doesn’t mean we will never have a live leader. It will probably be a mix, and has to be the right leader that understands our dna, it’s not about me or him/her.

Seven Minute Segment: The Purpose of the seven minute segment is generally 3-fold. To explore biblical/cultural topics other than the sermon for the day. To allow other voices within the community to speak to the congregation. To allow opportunity for public speaking experience for other leaders.

Expository Sermons: Visiting w people and studying the Bible all week is a great job description for a pastor. An architect knows building, a fireman knows fire, a banker knows money, shouldn’t the sermon push us to know the bible better, if the sermon doesn’t press us into deeper biblical waters… when will we get that? Yet knowledge isn’t the end goal, loving God and people is. Let’s learn the Bible, so as to help us Love God and People. The sermon time has steadily moved from 1 hour, down to 45 minutes, now to 35 minutes. There is only so much that can be absorbed at one time. We use a timer on the 7 minute segment and the sermon to force discipline and honor people’s time. So don’t be surprised when you hear the rooster crow. Literally.

3. Church Government

In the Old Testament God lead his people initially in a direct way, then by judges, prophets, kings, and priests. The Old Testament was much more directive in how, at least during Temple Times, authority, ministry, and priests lead God’s people at the Temple in Jerusalem. When the Messiah Jesus came he reorganized the “called out” new people of God around himself, as he ushered in the kingdom. He taught and empowered the apostles and disciples as this “new assembly” of God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, the ecclesia, the assembly, the called out ones: the Church. The Apostles appointed elders/overseers and deacons in the local churches. Peter, Paul, and the other Apostles assumed direct authority over the local churches. Sometimes a council of elders would come together, like in Acts 15 from Jerusalem, to make a decision to instruct all the churches,… sometimes Paul would give directives as the authority over a local council of elders, and sometimes the churches received appointed leaders like Timothy and Titus who acted as overseers of the elders/overseers of the local churches. From these passages along with the the varyingly interpreted verse where Jesus called Peter the R(rock) whom he’d build his church… some sects within Christianity developed the Episcopal System of Government and some the Congregational System of Government (I simplify the issue greatly here for these purposes).
TMCC was planted autonomously (without a mother organization) as a non-profit with a board… with some practically acting as “elders” within the board, and a teaching pastor elder, which has developed into a more Biblical Council of Equal Elders (with one identified as the Teaching Pastor Elder). Elders should be appointed by the other elders, and after lengthy review, establish on the elder council. Elders should have Godly character, love God and people, buy into the mission, dna, and philosophy of TMCC, and shepherd and care for the community. We will plant other pastors, elders, churches, where authority under TMCC can continue or the church be spun off in an autonomous healthy fashion. We are not a Congregational System of Government. We are an Elder/Overseer System of Government lead by a Plurality of Equal Edlers.

2. Sacraments: Baptism and Lord’s Supper

Sacraments is Latin… it means to mysteriously make sacred.
Ok, so for me, it’s one of those really really difficult ones.
Baptist and similar families just believe in “Ordinances“… just an obedience thing, no real mystery.
Catholics on the other end, believe in these- God acts through the priest and “saves”.
I’m more in line with my Methodist Heritage but i like to grab a bit from the Presbyterians too.
I believe in infant and adult baptism, both. I can support it scripturally, really pretty easy.
I do think something mysterious happens. God’s spirit, combined with faith, and something occurs.
Jesus directed us to do these, utilized a symbol, and we must combine with faith.
Baptism is the “entrance” into the community. I believe, with Presbyterians, that this is a communal, covenant like entrance for babies. They can grow up within the Covenant Community and all the benefits that brings, just like a circumcised Jewish boy could. That child is absolutely “included” and “called” a member of the Christian community. For those that say children can not be full members (actually methodists say that so here i diverge with them) of the Church… wow… it’s just hard for me to grasp that… and truthfully, that’s in my opinion more of a reaction to protect salvation theology. I think we really just need to come to grips with the fact that Jesus really really loved and included kids… and Jewish kids were in the covenant… and whole households were baptized… yikes… i love you that disagree with me… please give me grace on this.
At the age of accountability they are responsbile and must decide for Christ themselves.
I don’t believe that the act of baptism causes rebirth.

On the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist (greek for thanksgiving), Communion: I believe the table is open. Like John Wesley, i think people can meet Christ in that moment. I don’t know why a non-believer would come to the table, but if they are seeking God, i say come. We explain what it’s all about, what Christ has done, and even those like children and those mentally handicapped, who don’t “understand“,… can likewise take.
Jesus loved kids… and how much did i understand as a “baby” Christian when i took communion?
Understanding it i believe is a false limitation. To not let children come to Christ due to a lack of understanding, i think is not good.
I’d rather not allow people to come that come in disrespect… and i think many more “Christians” do that than non Christians come to the table.
But who wants to be the “Table Police“. People may believe in a closed table…but few truly practice it.

The point of all is to be identified with Christ in baptism and communion, to worship him in this sacred community,…. not limit the invitation, but ask all who would earnestly seek God to come.
As the Holy Spirit comes inside, the mystery of transformation begins, with us as aids in discipling.
We should clearly proclaim the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to work.

1. Orthodoxy, Doctrines, Theology, Essentials, Non-essentials

Orthodoxy is “right belief”. These Doctrines are the historic essentials of what defines a Christian to be a Christian. And no, not all agree. But historically, most “conservative” “orthodox” “evangelical” people, however you refer to them,… hold to some basics, these basics I would call the Essential Doctrines. Those are listed in our “Core Beliefs”.

Of course there are minor doctrines that become less important… and vary in interpretations within varying family streams of the Christian faith. For example, most all believe Jesus is coming back… but describe in various systems. Most believe in baptism, but might practice differently. How Polity (church governance) is practiced, varies.

This begins to move into the are of “Theology”. Which simply literally means… words about God. Or the study of God. So varying theologies exist within Orthodox Christianity. Calvinist, Arminians, Charismatics, Cessationists, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Preterist, Ammillenialist, Sovereignty, Free Will, etc. etc.

The lines of each can cross. I am very open to varying interpretations, and seek to exist within a diverse community. However, the reality is, i also have very particular views, and the more i study and teach, the more i try to support and develop my own views. Being the primary teacher, people will simply have to accept my minor teachings a little bit more readily, and maybe agreeing with a lot… or able to give me much grace. Yet i also don’t seek to make clones, nor require people to be a one size fits all within our community.

I’m vary tolerant of opposing opions, various streams of Christian thought, and i’m not fundamental in my expression in the day to day.
However… at the same time,… i would clasify myself as strongly Orthodox, Evangelical, Conservatinve, (knowing sometimes we don’t agree on what those mean, so just ask me.)