Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shaken and stirred (hope so)

As can be expected, people connected with PlanetShakers and ACC(AOG) , organizations which Pr. Mike Guglielmucci has been associated with for years are angry after he revealed he lied about his cancer story.

People are angry for being duped. I think they are embarrassed for being duped and embarrassment do make us angry. People are asking why, how could this happen? The leaders are claiming they have been victims too, they got duped as well. The excuse does not sit well with others, considering that they believe in Apostolic leadership and the Prophetic gifts, the situation is an embarrassment. Sure enough the discussion of whether or not he is even a Christian is being discussed in You Tube.

It seems the people who get it are those who are outside PlanetShakers and the AOG.

The story of Pr. Mike is not about his problems, rather it is about ideas. Ideas have consequences. Every church group has its own culture, no exemptions, that is how it works. Be it great or small, denomination or synod, each grouping emanates a group culture, and for church groups, that culture is the fruit of the group's theology. What theology they buy into brings about that culture. No, the pastor did not victimize, rather he was also the victim, he was a victim of false ideas which he got from his church culture.

If Christianity is not about Christ but about the Christian, if Christianity is about the glory of being victorious in the here and now rather than about hope later in the life after, then it is no surprise that people are angry at a person who had to resort to hoax making to deal with his perceived problems.

If the good news is about victory over sin and not about being forgiven in our sins, then it is even a wonder that some people in such a theological culture do not resort to suicide (but perhaps some have already). A theology that says that the Christian can not be saint and sinner at the same time will drive one to the mental hospital if not to the morgue. It is amazing that Pr. Mike was not suicidal and God be praised he did not resort to this.

I pray for the restoration of his mind and spirit but above all, I pray he be delivered from the culture that made him resort to hoax making. I pray he comes to a church that has the culture of applying the forgiveness Christ has won for him - delivered to him again and again in the ministry of confession and absolution.

The Gospel is for Christians too and I will say something which I hope you are not shocked...

The Gospel is for pastors too! They are no less of a sinner and saint than any of us.


steve martin said...

What!? Pastors are sinners too? Are you kidding me? They are amonst the biggest and best of sinners!

I'll pray that he will realize he is forgiven and repent and do something good with his life.

L P Cruz said...


The things is that in the Wittenberg way of looking at the pastor - he is just one amongst us designated to administer the means of grace on our behalf.

This is a different model, in Pentecostal/Baptist model, the pastor is like Moses.


steve martin said...


Right! It's a shame (however) that some of that Pentecostal/Baptist model has spilled into Wittenberg.

Lately I have been getting a real dose of what can happen (to Lutherans) when they fall for that inerrant Bible stuff. Biblical legalism and a Southern Baptist theology are sure to follow.

L P Cruz said...


Inerrancy to me is not the issue. But rather how the Bible is used.

The point is this - is the Bible about Jesus or is it about us such that when we follow the model of example of Bible characters we are ensured of a happy, comfortable life.

Some reduce the Bible to a bunch of formulas - which is by works again.

The more I think of it, the Bible is there to ignite faith in us, but faith in the Gospel, in Christ. It seems God takes care of the rest and yes he blesses us - saves protects and defends us without us being conscious of it at times.


Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Steve,

Inerrancy is not the problem. In fact, as much as you disagree (and including Forde), inerrancy is necessary for the Bible to be God's Word as it is. The issue is regulative versus constitutive. That is, as Big Brother Lito mentions, how the Bible is interpreted or used. Concretely, the problem with Baptists and such is the failure to distinguish Law and Gospel. That is the nub of the problem, between divine and human institution, between promise and command, etc.

L P Cruz said...


Also because of the means of grace, inerrancy is important as well.

Isaiah 55:11 (English Standard Version)
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but(A) it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.


steve martin said...

Why is it that God can use earthen vessels to get his message across, and uses mere earthly elements to give us His grace, but that He has to have a perfect book to get His message across.

This is what leads to this Biblical legalism.

You produce for me the original manuscripts that are without error and then I will agree with you that we need an inerrant Bible.

And I beg to differ. Underneath all this 3rd use baloney, and other legalism, lies a a firm belief that the Bible must be inerrant (that is legalism itself and just another add-on to Christ)

In the beginging was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God...how ridiculous does that sound?

We've gone over this many times before and I feel like we are just chasing our tails.

Augustinian Successor said...

It is not ridiculous that saying that the Bible is the Word of God. How do you know the Bible is the Word of God? By faith. How do you know that the Bible is inerrant. Because the Bible itself says so. And so we believe in it. Your position smacks of unbelief. Period.

Look, the original autographs are no longer with us, but these were absolutely inerrant and infallible. The transmission of the copies (apographa) ensure and guarantee that any mistakes or erros due to scribal carelessness can be corrected by comparing the extant manuscripts. The issue is not the underlying originals per se but the TRANSLATION. The King James Bible per se is not *necessarily* inerrant nor infallible. But by faith, we come to recognise that the Authorised Version is the Word of God based on the underlying apographa which in turn claims continuity with the autographa. In other words, the claim of inerrancy is DERIVED from the autographa themselves.

I tell you what's baloney ... evolution. The bullshit that fragments of bones here and there can be sufficient hard core evidence to construct a time-mine spanning some billions of years.

That God is not capable of ordaining a whale to swallow Jonah just because it contradicts our senses.

You might as well bloody say that the miracles Our Lord performed didn't happen!

Augustinian Successor said...

Refusing to reduce the Bible to Law and Gospel only does not lead to legalism.

It's the confusion or the failure to distinguish Law and Gospel which leads to legalism.

Augustinian Successor said...

What Big Brother Lito quoted just now is in fact the position of Lutheran Orthodoxy which in turn was based on Luther no less.

The efficacy of the Word is based on inerrancy. If the Bible is not inerrant, it ain't the Word of God .....

One cannot divorce Law and Gospel from the facts of the Bible. Else, you end up just like the legalists you deride. One has to go pass the historical facts to get into the moral of the story: Law and Gospel. But that's just the problem, you see ... it is not efficacious per se, but depends on knowing the difference between the word of man and Law and Gospel, which difference depends not on the Bible itself but on man, the scholar, the theologian! This is incipient legalism.

Augustinian Successor said...

When the Bible declares that God finished His creation in six days, this is truth. God is truth. God does not lie. God did not include Genesis 1 for example in His very own Word just so we could figure it out and later on say that it is a myth. NO.

He put the record in there through the authorial instrumentality of Moses who was inspired to write, edit the oral tradition, edit and son precisely because Genesis 1 is the truth.

Truth is a revelation of God. Christ Incarnate is the revelation of God. Christ is Truth. Truth can only be revealed, not discovered.

steve martin said...

The Bible is Word of God. The Word of God is not Bible ONLY.

The Word is Jesus Christ Himself.

The Bible is just a book that happens to contain the Word of God, just as I am just a sinner who happens to contain the Word of God within me.

As God does not require that I speak it perfectly, He also does not require that the Book has it all written perfectly. God's Word will make it's way regardless.

I've seen it time and time again when this is not the understanding, that the Bible becomes the lawnmower manuel...take part A and connect to part B and flane C...yada yada yada.

The Bible is our source for all matters of faith and life. It contains God's law and His gospel. We believe all of it. But it is no more inerrant than you or I are, because people like you and I had a role in putting it together.

This understanding frees us from requirements aside from Jesus to be a Christian.

"God can't use divorced pastors (they have been defiled)...God can't use women pastors to speak His Word, God can't do this or that.There are a lot of ways we all go against the Bible...and the Lord uses it for His purposes and when His Word comes out of the anyone's mouth or accompanied with the bread and wine or water of baptism...He is there.

I have been told by Lutherans...pastors no less, that I am not really a Lutheran because I don't think that the Confessions were perfect. That's legalism. That stems directly from their doctrine of the Word, which stems from their belief in the inerrant words of scripture.

I don't put my trust in the Bible. I am not a Bible worshiper, but rather in the person of Christ.No ad on's are necessary. Christ ALONE! Remember that one?

L P Cruz said...


Do consider or may be re-consider.

Postulating an innerant Bible --the source of faith and life comes from Jesus as well.

The problem is not inerrancy but the failure to distinguish Law from Gospel.

If the Bible is not inerrant then how can I be sure that for example 1 John 2:1-2 is true? How can I be sure of what Jesus promised? in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

So it stems from the nature of what is trustworthy. A revelation that is capable or rather not above reproach is not trustworthy.

Our ministry is a ministry of Word and Sacrament. When we mean Word - we mean both Law and Gospel. Not Gospel only or it will result in anti-nomianism, not Law only or it is then a salvation by works.

My faith in the work of Jesus requires me to posit that the Scripture is inerrant. Why? Because I have no living witness today that can verify that he rose from the dead except the Scripture. It is the Scripture that testifies to this truth.

It is suppose to be the witness to the truth, but if that witness is not reliable, then it puts my faith into shaky ground.

The Word of God is perfect, converting the soul.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple

If the Bible is God's word and Jesus is also God's Word then by analogy in as much as Jesus is sinless - perfect then the Bible is perfect too.

The Reformation was also about the scripture too as a corollary to JBFA.


steve martin said...

"If the Bible is not inerrant then how can I be sure that for example 1 John 2:1-2 is true? How can I be sure of what Jesus promised? in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?"


It's all true. It doesn't have to be inerrant to be true.

The inerrant stuff leads to exactly what I have been encountering from so-called "freed" Christians. It undergirds a biblical legalism. I see it all the time. The only thing necessary for the Christian is Christ and Him alone. Other things might be helpful...then again they might not be. But Christ is all that is necessary.

There is a center. The fundamentalist right and the libertine left are not the only choices.

This inerrant stuff came in as an answer to the moderism and rationalism of the 18th and 19th centuries. I see why it happened, I understand why it happened...but it doesn't make it right.

We take the law and gospel seriously...deadly seriously, and we do not believe in an inerrant bible. This can certainly be done, and I argue that in order to go all the way (to Christ and Him ALONE)...it must be done.


- Steve

steve martin said...

The bible is an aspect of the Word, as the bread and wine are, and as the words of the preacher are.

If the Bible is inerrant, then how do you square up the differences in all the versions of the Bible. The Catholics have one, the Protestants have one, and the Orthodox have one...not to mention all the variances in the myriad of translations. Which one is right? Which one is the true Word?

L P Cruz said...


You have a good point but for the RCC and the EO it is not an issue. Why do I say that? Because their authority is Scripture and Tradition. They believe things not explicitly stated in the Bible. So they do not mind that at all because that is not their only authority.

On the other hand it becomes an issue with those who are into sola scriptura.

Also when one says it is not inerrant, then does it not mean it is errant? If so, at which points is it errant? Why can it not be errant in what it testifies to what Jesus has done? What is our warrant to say here this portion here, the Bible is wrong, over here in this corner it is right.

Also to say that the Bible is errant then does it not also require one to identify which books or canon one is talking about that is errant?

From what I can recall, the subject of infallible Bible has always been assumed, it was when the liberals attacked that assumption when all the positioning and posturing happened.

If the Bible is true then it can not tell a lie, hence, it can not mislead.

The question is this - did Jesus believe in an inerrant OT? I think he did, as I can quote several passages that he defended that the Scripture can not be broken, and heaven and earth may pass but the word will stand.

The Bible has been misused by (fundamentalists and the) pharisees but when Jesus rebuked them, he rebuked them at the point where they mishandled the Scripture. So we should do to those Fundamentalists who turn the Bible as a book of Laws such that following it earns brownie points with God.


steve martin said...


While the words may have errors, the Word does not. The message is infallible.

When the O.T. describes the earth as flat in Genesis (the lights hung in the dome,etc.), shouldn't we who now know better call that an error? There are different accounts of the flood story.

In the N.T., was the Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost as the Book of Acts says, or in the Upper Room as the Gospel of John says?

Who showed up at the empty tomb first?

I say it does not matter...it does not take anything away from God's inerrant message of the gospel because there are some thing that don't quite match up. That is because of the human interaction. So what?

The Bible is true. The Bible does not lie...even though there are mistakes. Like Jesus Himself...fully man and fully God. As a man He was subject to all the things that men are subject to. He had to eat and go to the bathroom...and be subject to temptation. God does not.

How is it that God can use sinful men and women to get His message across and not a book with some errors in it? The answer is that He can. The Word was around a whole lot longer than the book.

Thanks L.P.C.

- Steve

L P Cruz said...


But does not the Word emanate from the word? In other words there is no distinction between the two.

There are things in the Bible we do not know as at yet how to translate - one of them as a quick example is - firmament, that word in Genesis englishwise is the closest the translators can translate.

So I would how do you distinguish the word from the Word? You can not.

God's Word is contained in the word, without it, the Word becomes nebula and if the word is not reliable how do you know the Word is as the word declares.

We wind up in mysticism, and so it really hits and pulls under the rag, the concept of means of Grace.

Of course God uses sinful men to preach the Word he ordained it that way, but yet people can get the Gospel too by reading the book, men of God have testified of this too - even Luther.


Past Elder said...

Looks like I'm late to the party.

All you need is to just have Jesus.

And who is Jesus? What is it to have him? What difference does it make if you do or if you don't? How do you know all you need is to just have Jesus?

Where are the answers to these things?

The point being, everyone has something he takes as an authority, and even those looking to the same authority do not always agree, but nonetheless, there is an authority behind it.

When one identifies what one's authority actually is, which may not be what he thinks, much else becomes clear.

steve martin said...


I could be wrong, but I always thought that the Word existed long before the word. That the Word was in existence before the foundations of the world.

This isn't a perfect comparison but I think you'll get my drift here:
If an accounting of the signing of the U.S.Declaration of Independence has George Washinton signing the documment wearing a blue coat in one paragraph and in another paragraph the writer says that he wore a brown coat...does that render the story not true?
That would be an obvious mistake which would have absolutely no bearing upon the validity of the historical act, or the truth of the reality.

In the same way, the fallible words written by men have absolutely no bearing upon the infallible message of the Bible.

L P Cruz said...


Agree but that Word became incarnate. That eternal revelation of the Word is matched by the word.

Besides how did we know the Word was eternal? Where did we get this except from the written word, right? As pointed too by PE, where do we get this info?

So as an axiom, from the Gospel, it is a corollary that the written word is truth and hence can not mislead in one bit. Because if it can, then we have no guarantee that in other aspects it might also mislead us.

Hence, we do not allow any pollution.