Al Mohler and the Southern Baptists’ big gay lie

Last Thursday, in my post Southern Baptist pastor accepts his gay son, changes his church, I published a letter to me from Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church, a small Southern Baptist church in Los Angeles. Pastor Cortez’s moving testimony concerned his son, Drew, coming out to him as gay not long after the pastor had come to understand that there is nothing inherently sinful about homosexuality.

Pastor Cortez said:

[My church] just voted two Sundays ago, on May 18, 2014, to not dismiss me, and to instead become a Third Way church (agree to disagree and not cast judgement on one another … .) This is a huge step for a Southern Baptist Church!!

Albert Mohler is the most prominent leader of the Southern Baptist Convention (or simply “Southern Baptists,” as the denomination is commonly known). The SBC is the nation’s largest Protestant body, with a total membership of 15.7 million.

Mr. Mohler is not happy with Pastor Danny. Largely in response to Danny’s letter to me, Mohler today published on his blog, There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you). In his essay Mr. Mohler explicitly and repeatedly rejects the idea of a “third way” for Southern Baptists:

There is no third way on this [the gay] issue … the issue is binary. A church will recognize same-sex relationships, or it will not. A congregation will teach a biblical position on the sinfulness of same-sex acts, or it will affirm same-sex behaviors as morally acceptable. Ministers will perform same-sex ceremonies, or they will not.

Like my friend Tony Jones, I agree with Mohler about the unviability of a “third way” when it comes to relationships between the church and LGBT people. And (despite Mohler’s observation, “It is interesting that those on the left now understand the issue in the same ‘binary” terms’”) I have felt that way for years. Two years ago almost to the day, in fact, I published Christians and LGBT Equality: There Is No Middle Ground*, in which (as obnoxious as I know it is to quote oneself) I wrote:

When it comes to the issue of LGBT equality, there is no middle ground. There can’t be. The Christian/LGBT issue is a moral issue. And moral issues are by definition about right and wrong. And this particular moral issue is one of no small consequence. There couldn’t be more at stake with it. The Christians on one side of this debate are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.

So me and my ol’ pal Al (for years he and I were fellow bloggers on the Christian website Crosswalk.com) agree that when it comes to the relationship between Christianity and LGBT people, a middle or “third” way is no way at all.

But where I count on people’s consciences (not to mention their ability to simply reason) to sooner or later tip them to fall to the left side of the proverbial fence upon which they may be balancing, Mr. Mohler prods them rightward with the long arm of the law—the Southern Baptist law, that is. He writes:

Now, the Southern Baptist Convention also faces a moment of unavoidable decision. A church related to the Convention has officially adopted a gay-affirming position. The Baptist Faith & Message, the denomination’s confession of faith, states that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage is “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” Furthermore, the Convention’s constitution states explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is “not in cooperation with the Convention,” and thus excluded from its membership.

So, there it is. When it comes to marriage, Southern Baptists, bound by their allegiance to Jesus Christ, must adhere to the letter of the SBC law, as laid down in the denomination’s Baptist Faith & Message. That is Mr. Mohler’s message today. (And, notably, it’s one he delivers with unsubtle threats which he knows will not be lost on small SBC churches across the land: “There will be no place to hide, and no place safe from eventual interrogation. The question will be asked, an invitation will be extended, a matter of policy must be decided, and there will be no refuge.” His threat is, indeed, in the very title of his essay. And, btw, speaking of … well, totalitarian fear-mongering, yes, the image above is from the [new, I believe] header of Mr. Mohler’s blog. Why he chose such a full-on Nazi look I have no idea.)

Except … wait a minute. As we have just seen, the Baptist Faith & Message defines marriage as “a covenant commitment for a lifetime.”

For a lifetime.

This can mean but one thing: every Southern Baptist church is morally obliged to reject from its membership any person who has ever been divorced. And any church that does contendedly count among its members those who have ever chosen to end their marriage cannot be “in cooperation with the Convention, and must thus be excluded from its membership.”

But that’s not what SBC churches do, is it? And why might we suppose that is? Why does the SBC so vociferously cling to the first half of its apparently critical law on marriage, while so utterly ignoring that same law’s second half?

Well, duh. Because the SBC knows that if it ejected from its membership all divorced people its churches would be half-empty before they could say, “Wait! Come back! Just like we finally renounced our endemic racism in 1995, we’ve rethought divorce!” (Sure, that takes a little time to say. But not much!)

Wallets, of course (and especially, alas, those belonging to the professionally pious) are the Kryptonite of moral fortitude: the closer the two draw together, the weaker grows the fortitude.

So divorced people get to stay in church, but gay people and their professed allies must leave church.

Now, far be it from me to presume to teach Dr. Albert Mohler anything about the Bible. But one cannot help but wonder if he is aware of Jesus’ words at Luke 16:18:

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Or of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:

“A man [said Jesus] will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

And is Dr. Mohler also unaware that in all of the New Testament Jesus says literally nothing about homosexuality? Nothing? Ever? Not once? For a moment? Total silence on the matter?

Since when does what Jesus didn’t say trump what Jesus does appear to say?

(To be clear: I think the idea that divorce is a sin belongs in the same fetid trash heap as the ideas that women are chattel, black people should be slaves, and Jesus had a pet stegosaurus. It’s too much to go into here, but of course divorce is no sin—and Jesus is not, in fact, saying that it is. My only point for now is that if you’re going to insist on playing the idiot game of Literal Bible, then at least stick to the rules.)

Albert Mohler postures himself as resolutely defending God’s law. But what he is so aggressively brandishing is not God’s law. It is instead man’s bigotry. To purposefully and willfully twist the Bible into a harmful weapon is as unbiblical, and as unchristian, as it gets. That he and the SBC continue to do so is a crying shame, and certainly nothing less.


*Christians and LGBT Equality: There Is No Middle Ground is included in my book UFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • DrDon

    Thanks John, As in Jesus’s day it’s still true that it’s easier to see the speck in another’s eye than the log in one’s own. This tired debate will eventually come back to smack the conservative churches when virtually all state laws will be read to allow same sex unions. The same people who put the Constitution up there with the Bible will have to choose which to interpret, when to be good Americans means accepting gay marriage and to be good Christians means…what? Let’s home it means following Jesus.

    • James Sparks

      However God will have the last say. a majority of people does not change what truth is. We think we have a right to “our” sinful bodies to obey its lusts. We are bought with a price and born into sin. Only the blood of Jesus can save us but we will still have trials temptations and struggles. You are deceived to think we have a right to anything.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        But we are not a theocracy and the very nature of free will means we have freedom from authoritarian religion and are autonomous in our faith life. Our relationship is with God, not the Church, and the Church for far too long has overextended its authority into the lives of people and government, much to the peril of humanity.

  • mindy

    Well said, Mr. Shore. So very well said. The pain caused by the Mohlers of the world has become intolerable to those of us who know and love friends and family who just happen to love differently. I’m tired of the prolonged “debate,” because really, nothing “debatable” exists any more, except the venom spewed by these hypocrites in the name of God who wouldn’t recognize Himself in their churches. Love? Mohler wouldn’t know love if it bit him in the arse.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Mindy!!!

      • James Walker

        you only just now noticed that the blog was ever so much more awesome today because Mindy blessed us with her presence? ;)

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          Mindy welcomed me into this blog. My newer friend Julie joined our last discussion. This blog rocks it so hard!

  • Jane Arney

    “And, btw, speaking of … well, totalitarian fear-mongering, yes, the image above is from the [new, I believe] header of Mr. Mohler’s blog.”
    I just realized the font looks an awful lot like the one used by the Third Reich. Coincidence?

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      (I was wondering, actually, if people were generally aware of … what a complete Nazi font that is.)

      • ChuckQueen101

        Wow – one can only hope this is mere coincidence and not somehow connected in the subconscious or God forbid, intentional.

      • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

        Your post is brilliant … this connection … not so much.

    • James Walker

      it does seem a little out of place to use that ridiculous gothic font for his personal blog…

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      It’s a blackletter font which goes back to the 12th century and, though used extensively in Germany, is not itself German. The Nazis used a blackletter font as their official typeface until 1941 when they began to favor more modern fonts. Blackletter was used in the Gutenberg Bible, the works of Martin Luther, and continues to be used extensively in mastheads and titles. Mr. Mohler’s choice of font, while not exactly a soft and friendly is no more “totalitarian fear-mongering” than the masthead of the Times.

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        And this, right here, is why I’m a Dan Wilkinson fanboy.

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          your check is in the mail.

      • Andy

        I wonder if any of that site’s denizens know this.

      • James Walker

        hey! who elected you the voice of reason? ;)

      • buzzdixon

        re Mohler’s choice of font: Pretty obviously trying to portray himself as the inerrant voice of God, eh?

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

    Shared this on Mohler’s FB page. Over/under on the banhammer? I’m guessing 10 minutes or less.

    • Andy

      It’s been 3 hours. Did the hammer fall?

      • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

        Nope!

  • ChuckQueen101

    Well, John, here we go again. What Jesus says doesn’t seem to matter does it. Thanks for this good word and pointing out the inconsistencies. And I would say “totalitarian, fear-mongering” is right on the money. There was a time when many Southern Baptists cherished the autonomy of the local church and the priesthood of the believer. Those days are long gone. It’s amazing how authoritative and hierarchical (patriarchal) they have becme. It’s all about control and power in the hands of the gatekeepers. Mohler believes himself to be the supreme authority and judge on who’s in and out. .

  • JenellYB

    John, you just lost me with this one, and I pray you will think about why. Many, many of us, especially older, have suffered rejection, judgement, down right meanness, from Evangelical, Baptist in particular, churches and communities, for having been divorced. Most still formally in their by-laws exclude any with divorce or divorce/remarriage at any time in their past from any and all positions of leadership or teaching/preaching. While most even within these churches have become more understanding and accepting of those divorced, there still lingers mean spirited people in most churches quick to make any divorce feel unwelcome and not belonging. I am one if those people. My rejection and exclusion from a very young age over traditional Baptist prejudice against the divorce has been a source of deep grief and conflict in my life, and many others.
    By casting your position as you are, that if they are going to exclude and mis-treat LGBT, they should do the same to those divorced, takes what progress that has been made toward acceptance and inclusion of the divorced backward. Their hatred of LGBT is so intense and determined, to have such a challenge as you are throwing out here, if that is what it takes to ‘win’ in their eyes, before they accept LGBT, they will throw the divorced under the bus.
    Two wrongs do not make a right.

    • ChuckQueen101

      Jenell, it’s not possible to address everything in a piece like John wrote, especially because it’s a critique of Mohler’s total nnconsistency in applying the Scripture he claims is inerrant. John quoted Jesus on divorce because of the SBC’s position on it.

      I suspect that Jesus took the position he took as a way to safeguard as much as possible women who were being treated as expendable commodities in a patriarchal culture. Legally, men could divorce their wives for any cause. Women, of course, could not divorce their husbands. Divorced women had a very hard way to go in that culture; some resorted to prostitution simply to survive. By prohibiting divorce Jesus, I believe, is trying to level the playing field as much as possible – at least give wives a fighting chance.

      • http://imdatruth.blogspot.com/ liMitz

        Good points surrounding the issue of divorce. In addition, if there was no granting of the “certificate of divorce”, the wife is still married. If a man “put away” his wife without “releasing” her from the marital agreement, of course she’d be committing adultery. Even then divorce should only happen in cases of infidelity(Matt. 5:31-32).

        Jesus tells those who asked on the question of divorce, “Moses allowed you to divorce because of your [stubbornness]…”, this was not the original intent (Mal. 2:16).

        I know of Christian couples that have stayed together/got remarried. In most instances people would call it quits.

        As said elsewhere, the church has done a great disservice in ministering to hurt/broken/needy/everyday people. Go SBC!

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      JenellYB,

      Thanks so much for this comment. I really appreciate it.

      I’ve been involved in the public conversation about faith and sexuality for a while now. In my experience, clergy tasked with pastoral care are much more open to pastoral accommodation for both those who are divorced and those of us who are gay. It’s tough to seriously follow Christ and exclude people from, rather than welcome people to, the communion table. Perhaps because that’s not our invitation to revoke.

      I won’t speak for Mr. Shore, but I read the OP as “you’ve become willing to show compassion to people who are divorced, it’s hypocritical to withhold compassion from people who are gay.”

      My very best to you.
      David.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Jennell: OH! Right. I never thought that what I had written could be seen as my saying, in ANY way, “Jesus actually IS against divorce.” Whoops. So … lemme go change the title of the piece, and insert a little thing toward the end of it that should eliminate anyone’s thinking that I’ve said what you’ve indicated. Sorry about that! Thanks for calling it to my attention.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    It seems to me that Al Mohler has set up a crisis of faith for his entire denomination. By insisting that the sinfulness of homosexuality is “clearly prohibited by scripture” and indisputable, and by backing his position with the force of “two thousand years of church history”, he has created an all-or-none false dichotomy. In other words, if the Church was wrong about the gays, then the whole of Christianity must be bull crap. This is a very REAL problem for the denomination and the Church as, like in Pastor Danny’s church, we move toward inclusion. It’s no wonder Dr. Mohler is overtly challenging those who don’t fall in line.

    • Brian P.

      What I find question interesting about the “two thousand years of church history” argument is how it seems so counter to the Protestant ethos and its solas of emphasis and specifically the long ago definitively Baptist Four Freedoms. Pastor Cortez seems to be following the Baptist Four Freedoms of soul freedom, church freedom, religious freedom, and Bible freedom rather well. It seems Dr Mohler is yearning for the tools and techniques of a theology, ecclesiology, and episcopacy that is not in his hand.

    • James Sparks

      Remember God and truth are the majority. We are but mere ants.

      • DrDon

        We are made in the image and likeness of God, which if you read your Scripture you would know. Ants? Sorry–we are only a little lower than the angels. Of course God is greater than we are and wants our worship and service. With whatever gifts he gave us, including our sexual orientations.

        • James Sparks

          Sexual orientation in the Bible is man and woman. You want to make sin attributable to God when it is the fall of man that brought sin in the world. You are just ignorant of truth or self worship of your feelings has blinded you to truth.

      • gimpi1

        I respect your right to believe that. I don’t respect your right to try to use force of law to compel me to act as though I do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robertoscar.lopez Robert Oscar Lopez

    This is tiresome and cheap, because you are obviously pulling out divorce as a useful little card in your strategy to force homosexuality on Southern Baptists. There are so many other Christian congregations that have accepted homosexual marriage, this pastor and his gay son have no end of choices. Why force all of us who are Southern Baptists to surrender our faith to keep this one confused cleric and his (for now) homosexual son happy?

    I oppose divorce and am part of a marriage movement to cultivate stronger marriages in the United States. I am not divorced myself. I am queer (bisexual) and able to stay in a faithful marriage to a woman. It really isn’t that hard to stay married and faithful. It isn’t that hard not to get divorced, or if you are abandoned by someone, to get an annulment. It isn’t that hard to say no to gay sex, which consists of anal sex or fellatio, let’s be honest. If you need to have a penis in your mouth or anus so badly that you want all of the Southern Baptist Convention to go through contortions over it and split up and blow off scripture, I am sorry, you have a serious problem. This is getting completely out of control.

    I will be praying that the Baptists do not fall for this crap. That pastor needs to find a different congregation and his son, I hope, will find a community that can minister to him as he enters this phase of his life. At 15 most people don’t know for sure they are gay yet, which is why it’s ridiculous for this pastor to change his whole religious doctrine over his son’s self-assessment right now, which can likely change. If he really is a lifelong gay, then he doesn’t need to be immersed in the gay marriage advocacy community which will likely persuade him to adopt a child with another man thereby depriving a child of a mother, which is a violation of one of the commandments and a serious crime.

    • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

      I’m calling Poe. A bisexual wouldn’t so condescendingly refer to a gay person’s gayness as “for now.” Good effort, though. If you were trying to represent Christians terribly, you did a heckuva job!

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: Why bring up divorce?

      You have no compunction against this hypocrisy of the SBC and Al Mohler? Hypocrisy within the church is acceptable?

      Do you realize that hypocrisy in the church is exactly what drives people from Christianity and God? And it is among the primary things that divides the body of Christ?

      Hypocritical and inconsistent people can’t be trusted… because their worldview and behavior are unjust… and they seem unrepentant about that. With either no ability to see themselves and be authentically self-critical or no desire to do the hard work of being consistent.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      No one is forcing homosexuality on Southern Baptist. They don’t have to be gay, they don’t have to allow gay people in their congregations, they don’t have to marry gay people. But on the flip side, they cannot force gay people to comply to their rules either, or insist that gay allies cease and desist.

  • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

    Couldn’t read past this: “The Christians on one side of this debate are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.” Nope. No one is claiming that. It is totally disingenuous to assert so. A straw man argument to the hilt.

    • Andy

      Swing and a miss. Unless, of course, you think that sexual orientation is simply a choice and that the gays can just “up and be straight” one day if they want to. Or unless you think that humans are not entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As you have an American flag in your avatar, I presume you’re an American. I don’t think that’s too much of a stretch, in which case you should acknowledge the Declaration of Independence, which indicates that those three things are inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. And opposing homosexuality is a denial of the latter — it doesn’t say “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — as long as you’re straight.” So which is it? Are they human in spite of your not wanting to grant them the inalienable rights? Or are you of the archaic, unscientific mindset that sexual orientation is a choice, despite all evidence to the contrary?

      • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

        Andy, your reply is not responsive to my criticism at all. Let me repeat my criticism therefore: Christians do not consider gays to be subhuman. That is a joke of an argument.

        • Andy

          I’m pretty sure the idea of people considering gays subhuman is exactly what I was criticizing.

          I posit that if you are against acts of homosexuality, you consider gays subhuman. Perhaps it’s because you think it’s a choice and that they can just stop being gay at any time, which is bullshit. If you claim that you don’t think gays are subhuman, but you’re against homosexual acts, then you are claiming they are human in spite of the fact that you do not think they are entitled to the same inalienable rights as straight people.

          Was that clearer?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Andy, the problem isn’t that your position is unclear. It’s that you’re putting words in other people’s mouths and using false dichotomies.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Them what is your problem with the article?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Ok, I feel like this is now the fourth time I’ll have to say it, so I’ll just reiterate my point from my original comment in this thread: Christians do not consider gays to be subhuman. It demonizes Christians for something that Christians don’t even believe. It ascribes a false view. This is a straw man argument. Mr. Shore was actually quoting himself in the line to which I objected. As such, it is quite likely that he truly believes it, which would be ironic and disturbing in my opinion.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No it is not a false view. There are plenty of Christians who consider LGBT sub-human, or worthy of God’s wrath, or impossible to be a Christian because they are gay, or having no qualms at the idea of lining them up and shooting them, or imprisoning them or forcing them to live a lie, or passing laws to deny them rights we straights take for granted, like housing and employment.

          • Andy

            This is basically this conversation in a nutshell:

            Jeff: “X is not the case.”
            Andy: “It appears that X is the case, because Y.”
            Jeff: “X is not the case.”
            Andy: “You already said that, and I explained to you that it looks like X is the case, because Y. Why is X not the case?”
            Jeff: “X is not the case.”
            Andy: “Why not?”
            Jeff: “X is not the case.”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You can say it until the rapture (which is a really mean spirited myth)..or the Left Behind reboot goes to DVD, which should be within three months after its medicore release, whichever comes first.
            IT still doesn’t make your insistence true. Not all Christians believe it, but enough do to make it a really big problem, and sadly some of those Christians are in positions of power, and influence.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Do you really believe that a lot of Christians consider gays subhuman by virtue of their moral disagreements?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Yes, I have read quotes by people who hold that view. I have watched in horror at what Christians in Africa are doing to the gay community there. I have wept over gay kids being kicked out of their homes, for revealing they are gay. I have listened to pastors preach homophobia, I have stood at an anti WBC rally to show the world that the degredation of gays is degredating my neighbor. I have personally had people I know tell me their views. I have been frustrated by my state legislature removing funding from two state colleges who had some pro-gay literature on their reading assignments. I have personally heard customers speak disparingly about a gay co-worker, within his hearing. In each case, the people were doing these things were Christian.

            Not all consider them sub-human, but they certainly do not consider them equally and fully planed with the rest of us.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Getting kicked out of your home, while sad, is not dehumanization. WBC does not represent Christianity (at all). Opposing pro-gay literature is not dehumanization. Speaking disparagingly is not dehumanization. Do you see where I’m coming from with this? To assert dehumanization is fringe and does not represent Christianity.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Getting kicked out of your home, while under-age, with nothing but the clothes on your back and what few possessions you can grab, no money, no where to turn, being told that essentially you are an offense to God and to us your parents, we want nothing to do with you anymore. Having to face a future with few options, hoping a friend’s family will take you in, knowing that no one in your family’s church will, terrified of being beaten, robbed prostituted. The ONLY reason this has happened, is that they found out that if you were to date, you’d date someone of your own gender.

            That is reality for far too many gay kids. I don’t know what you call it, but if that is not dehumanizing, I don’t know what is.

            Sadly this is Christianity to people. It is how it is represented to them, by normal every day people. People who aren’t appalled by stories of these homeless kids, people who shrug when gay people are raped, or beaten, people who won’t allow a gay person to become a Christian or kick them out of a church when thier orientation is discovered, people who won’t shop at a place where a gay person works, who won’t hire a gay person, or rent an apartment to them, who votes for candidates who campaign on traditional Christian family values, knowing full well, that these candidates are also anti-gay.

            Christianity has given itself this nasty black eye, by how we treat “the least of these”, our neighbors, our siblings, our children. Christianity has a sin issue, and its internal.

          • Andy

            Exactly. Quality, future-reference stuff here. I want to like this comment more than once.

          • gimpi1

            Well-said. It also pushes those of us on the outside away. For a group that wants us outsiders to take their truth-claims seriously, it represents a major problem with your image.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Perhaps it would be helpful to this discussion to define what people mean by “subhuman.”

          • gimpi1

            All the things you describe are treating someone as a lesser being. How you feel about them is a bit academic. Saying to your gay kid, “Get out of my house, and never come back until you change this basic part of yourself that you don’t really control, but I still love you and don’t think of you as sub-human,” really doesn’t change the outcome. I don’t care what people think. I care what they do.

          • buzzdixon

            Considering the number of Christians who support purported Christian leaders who advocate executing or imprisoning gays, and who spend large amounts of money trying to get African nations to penalize homosexuality all the way up to and including the death penalty, the answer is yes.

          • http://lesbiansgodandothercuriosities.wordpress.com/ LGOC_Lisa

            I have personally been in Christian gatherings where the comment, “just round them all up and shoot them,” was used in reference to homosexuals with zero push back from anyone else. As a closeted gay woman, I sat in stunned silence. I live in the south and am confronted by this type of sentiment more frequently then you might imagine. Often, the goal is to simply be ignored as a gay person. My community has the cliche of a church on every corner, and it really doesn’t matter if a Christian tells me with words that they loved me just the same. When they treat me as less than any one of their fellow parishioners, I’m essentially subhuman and the message is felt loud and clear. Before making a statement on behalf of all Christians, you might want to step into someone elses shoes for awhile.

          • gimpi1

            So sorry you’ve been treated this way. Internet hugs and hot chocolate.

            Jeff, do you have a response to the “…round them up and shoot them.” comment?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I have lived in the south all my life, and I really don’t belong here, as I’m so different from the “average southerner”.
            Within five miles of my house is a two Methodist, a pentecostal an IFB and at least three Southern Baptist congregations, a Jewish community center, and believe it or not, a Buddhist center.

            I”m straight, and it makes me so angry to hear the LGBT community being spoken of so disparingly by people here, people who are devoted Christians. but then they don’t think too highly of people of color, of social progressives, of hispanics, or people who don’t vote Republican. Inclusiveness and respect for our differences has a ways to go here in my corner of the world. It is less a religion matter and more a deeply ingrained cultural matter in an area that resists change with every fiber of its being.

          • Bones

            Like this?

            Franklin Graham –

            “God hates cowards. And the cowards that the Lord is referring to are the men and women who know the truth but refuse to speak it.”

            “We have a responsibility to speak on the moral issues. Abortion, homosexuality, these are moral issues. This is a free country, you can do what you want to do but I want you to know it’s a sin against God. This is a sin,” said Graham.

            http://www.christianpost.com/news/franklin-graham-calls-on-pastors-to-speak-out-on-abortion-homosexuality-says-god-hates-cowards-120265/

            So God hates most of the people on this site.

            Oh and gays of course.

          • James Sparks

            You have misquoted the Bible to meet your ends. God hates sin and loves people

          • Andy

            You might be thinking about sin too much.

          • Bones

            Where did I quote the bible?

            Is Franklin Graham the bible now?

            It’s all in your head, dude.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            I’m not sure why you’re quoting the “God hates cowards” line. It seems fairly apparent that Mr. Graham is referring to other Christians as cowards (if they’re afraid to speak out). When you proceed to say “So God hates most of the people on this site,” are you misinterpreting Mr. Graham’s quote, or am I misinterpreting your comment?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Mr. Graham has a history of saying some really hateful things about the LGBT community.
            And you are misinterpretating Bone’s comment.

          • Andy

            Could you explain this false dichotomy? You haven’t explained why you think I’m wrong. Saying “you’re wrong” but not explaining why you think that is no way to have an intelligent conversation.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Andy, you said “I posit that if you are against acts of homosexuality, you consider gays subhuman.” That is a false dichotomy. It’s an “if you x, then you must y” when there are clearly other options than y. I’m a little surprised that you don’t glean this from my previous posts. I feel like this is the third time I’ve had to say it.

          • Andy

            It wasn’t that I don’t know what a false dichotomy is, it’s that you haven’t tried to refute my point. I said that I thought someone is relegating gays to subhuman status if he or she is opposed to homosexual acts because it denies gays one of the inalienable rights guaranteed to Americans by the Declaration of Independence. You haven’t responded to that.

            What issue do you have with my position?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Andy, I apologize. I was not trying to imply you didn’t know what a false dichotomy is. Now, respectfully, I must insist that you are opening a door that I did not feel like Mr. Shore was opening in the article: a political one. If you want to discuss politics, that’s fine. I’d be happy to do so. However, it seemed to me like the thrust of this article (and the quoted line to which I objected in particular) were spiritual and moral in nature. It is possible to oppose homosexual acts spiritually and morally but support the political freedom of homosexuals to engage therein. That’s why I took relatively strong umbrage with your assertion that a person who considers homosexual acts to be sinful must consider the homosexual to be subhuman. That still is a mindblowingly incorrect assertion in my opinion, primarily due to the fact that it’s a false dichotomy.

          • Andy

            I’d rather this wasn’t a political issue, either, but it is, considering there is legislation barring same-sex marriage.

            More to the point, though, I was trying to think of a way to make a point, and that’s the first one that came to mind. I did not intend for this to become a political discussion. Thank you for explaining.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Andy, respectfully, gay marriage is only one aspect of homosexual conduct, or rather an offshoot thereof. Mr. Shore seems to have started from the position that any disagreement with homosexual acts (notwithstanding the legality of gay marriage) necessarily means that the disagreer does not consider homosexuals human. That is an extreme assertion that compelled me to call him out on it.

          • Andy

            Let me see if I can work through my analogy.

            First question: do you think that humans are entitled to certain inalienable rights just by virtue of being human?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Yes, sir.

          • Andy

            Excellent. I agree. Would you say that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are amongst those inalienable rights, and that one should respect those rights in others?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Politically, yes of course. Morally, however, I think it’s quite appropriate to choose not to respect some of the things that others do with their freedoms. This lack of respect is not necessarily disrespect, and it is certainly not dehumanization.

          • Andy

            Thank you, I understand how you make the difference. So would I be correct in inferring that you are opposed to homosexual acts religiously? And if I may ask, are you for or against legislation barring same-sex marriage?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Yes, at a spiritual level, I oppose homosexual conduct. But politically I oppose gay marriage bans.

          • Andy

            Okay, I understand where you’re coming from. I appreciate that you are able to make the distinction. Thanks for the discussion.

          • gimpi1

            Your position is entirely consistent. You have every right to be uncomfortable with homosexual conduct, or any other conduct for that matter, as long as you don’t want your beliefs inshrined in law. I wish more people were able do differentiate between their beliefs and the rule of law.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Well, are you? Are you against sex between two people of the same gender?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Forgive my obstinance, but are you asking whether I am against it morally or against it legislatively? I feel like this is an important distinction.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            There is no distinction between the two. One motivates the other. So where do you stand?

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            I believe there is a distinction, which I made below.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            Also, no, I don’t think that one motivates the other. For example, I personally think it’s immoral to use cocaine and heroin, but I don’t think we should have drug laws.

          • buzzdixon

            So God was okay with David and Jonathan loving each other with a love that surpassed the love a man has for a woman. And God was okay with people of the same gender embracing and kissing. So, how far is too far? Is it okay for two people of the same gender to buy a house together, adopt kids together, sleep in the same bed together, hug and kiss so long as there is no bumping of uglies (as Joe Bob Briggs would say)?

        • gimpi1

          You may not believe you consider gay people to be sub-human, however, if you place restrictions on their lives that you don’t have to endure, you are treating them as though they are sub-human. In other words, if you can marry who you love, and your gay friend can’t, he is severely constrained in ways you aren’t. If you think that’s OK, you are treating him as a lesser being, even if you don’t actually think of him that way.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Then you aren’t paying attention to what Franklin Graham has been saying. Or the support that the owner of chick fila received when it was revealed that he supported charities that promoted the legalisation of jailing or killing gays in Uganda, or the pastor who suggested we put all gay people in camp with barbed wire,with no way out.

      You must not live in an area where the SBC is dominant either, because its there.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Jeff,

      Do you believe it is right and good for people who are gay to live fully into the human experience including romantic intimacy and family formation? Or do you believe that people who are gay are morally required to suppress their sexuality and live a lifetime of celibacy?

      If the latter then you are viewing people who are gay as less than human. Your may not feel like your traditional belief is dehumanizing, but it is and it always has been.

      Traditionalist theology pathologizes people who are gay (ie against nature or intrinsically disordered), and says that the relationships gay people (and by extension the people in them) are inferior and immoral.

      That’s not subjective; that’s a fact.

      • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

        Your litmus test is amusing. The big problem I have with this leap to supposed dehumanization is that you conflate disagreement and disapproval with suppression and inferiority. Christians, in my experience, do not consider themselves better than anyone. This should be abundantly clear to anyone who reads that passage in Romans that says for all have sinned. Moreover, in my experience, just because Christians disapprove of something doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll try to prevent others from doing it. It seems that the author of this article and a lot of commenters here are jumping to wrong conclusions.

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          Hmmm. Perhaps you could enlighten me. Isn’t it true that traditionalists believe that the relationships opposite sex couples form are morally superior to those formed by same sex couples? Doesn’t the traditional sexual ethic forbid gay people from expressing their sexuality?

          And, not for nothing, you didn’t answer the question.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            I think I’ve said it elsewhere in this thread, but here it goes again: yes, Christians tend to believe that homosexual conduct is immoral. That doesn’t mean Christians consider homosexuals to be subhuman. That is a wild claim indeed. Your questions cannot be answered simply by virtue of the way you leadingly phrased them. For example, your “human experience” question – some people do not desire romantic intimacy (asexuals) or family formation (people who don’t want to get married or have kids/adopt). Your “morally required” question – probably not; that’s a weird way to ask a question.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Jeff –

            The bible doesn’t say “it is not good for man to be alone unless you’re gay”. We are created to be in relationship. Traditionalist theology (and therefore those who subscribe to it) posits that gay people are somehow intended to live contrary to God’s creative intention. The theology demands that gay people reject God’s gift of sexuality and live less than fully human lives.

            You can claim that traditionalists don’t see gay people as “less than”, but that claim is belied by their belief. Gay people are fully human children of God and worthy of all of the blessings that come from loving and being loved, of knowing and being known by others.

            I wish you peace.
            David

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If that were true, then why are Millenials leaving the church? http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/trendwatch/2014/03-5/millennials-leaving-religion-over-lgbt-issues.html

            And the numbers of people opposing equality is not as strong as one assumes. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/02/28/3341021/millennials-turning-religion/

            The ones being the most vocal on the anti-gay front, are not a true representatives of the Church’s view on this, they just are the most vocal,

          • gimpi1

            Perhaps the exodus of young people will catch the attention of the leaders in these denominations. I’ve said for years that, from an advertising standpoint, the standard Conservative Christian™ presentation was going to cost them market-share. Angry and condemning only sells for a brief time. It gets old fast.

          • BarbaraR

            It will catch their attention, all right, but they will likely not look inward. Instead, they will blame it on “the temptations of the world,” “the watering down of the gospel,” or some similar excuse.

          • buzzdixon

            Just just a short while ago many Christians taught that people of African descent were sub-human and to be isolated and subjugated because God had cursed them thru Noah’s curse on Ham’s son Canaan. Today most Christians would say that the teachings of 19th century slave owners and 20th century bigots were false, no matter how many Bible verses they cherry picked to support them.

            We are taught we are all equal in the eyes of God: No difference between male and female, no difference between Jew and gentile, no difference between master and slave. If it doesn’t matter to God, why should it matter to us?

    • R Vogel

      When you deny a significant part of someone’s humanity, such as their gender identity or sexuality, you are dehumanizing them and make them less than human. When you use people as pawns to enforce your shabby religion, you are dehumanizing them. When you demonize people’s families, and declare that gay people adopt children in order to ‘indoctrinate them’ (the irony of that statement from an evangelical christian just killed me!) you are dehumanizing them. When you blame natural disasters and all the world’s ills on LBGTI folks and those who support them, you are dehumanizing them. When you want to make laws enshrining the right to discriminate against LBGTI folks, you are dehumanizing them.

      • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

        “When you deny…” What kind of denial are you talking about?

        “Shabby religion”? Sounds like you’re denying a significant part of believers’ humanity, such as their belief systems. Are you dehumanizing them? Probably not.

        “All the world’s ills”? Straw man.

        “Make laws”? Again, over-ascribing the views of some Christians.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          “When you deny…” What kind of denial are you talking about?

          He said: “a significant part of someone’s humanity, such as their gender identity or sexuality, you are dehumanizing them and make them less than human.”

          A longing for intimacy and closeness, a shared life with a partner with whom to share and enjoy life with, the opportunity to raise a family, to have a confidant, a sexually intimate partner, an ally and friend… This is a deeply necessary part of our humanity. When you deny gay people the right to partner with the person of their choosing, you deny them this.

          Re: “When you blame natural disasters and all the world’s ills on LBGTI folks and those who support them, you are dehumanizing them.”

          Surely you are aware of statements made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson suggesting Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 were God’s punishment on sinful cities for the sin of homosexuality.

          • http://jeffbrockmeier.com/ Jeff Brockmeier

            I read the rest of the sentence about denial. What I want to know is whether he means moral disagreement or political oppression. There is a massive difference, but it seems a lot of people here are conflating them. Also, you’re letting a couple of statements regarding natural disasters represent “all the world’s ills”? Talk about overgeneralizing.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Some people use hyperbole for effect.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    To me it looks like an ultimatum has been made to a denomination that has prided it self autonomy in its congregational structure… Or that is how it was when I attended SBC churches

    The thinly veiled threat is there. Comply with this one teaching based on ambiguous interpretation of a few scripture or face ousting. Don’t question the political undertone to this either, or bring up all our former shall nots which we don’t care about anymore because clergy needed the loopholes or congregations pressured us to change.

    • R Vogel

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition….. ;)

      • AtalantaBethulia

        No, just the Baptist one.

    • R Vogel

      I guess this will test the ‘independence’ of the independent baptist churches….

  • James Sparks

    Biblical ignorance on this site is truly remarkable. They only way a lie can permeate is when no one knows the truth. It seems that very few know it or want to know it because their lust is what they want to fulfill no the knowledge of God.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      James, if someone took the time to show you the biblical research, the original Greek translations, and the scholarship on this subject would you be willing to give it your attention and fair consideration?

      • James Sparks

        I will be glad to. The question is will you be willing to listen to sound truth yourself? I won’t speculate and say more I will give you the platform.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          If you believe your position already represents the sound truth, what footing at all would another position have with you? If new information casts doubt on a position that you already believe to be true, are you open to being persuaded by new information?

          • James Sparks

            There is nothing new under the sun. Changing truth is an oxymoron else there is no truth to know and your very comment is relative. If there is truth what is it? The Bible teaches that sin will always be sin and our feelings toward it does not change it. How we feel does not change truth. Legislation will not change gravity. It is the law of non contradiction. In the garden of eden this very sin is the cause of it all. The sin of saying, `Has God said you shall not eat?` We are so rebellious to His laws.

          • James Walker

            the Bible was written by human beings and is certainly not changeless or perfect. setting aside the fact the text has changed over the centuries, translation into English has often altered the meaning of entire passages. attempting to base an absolute vision of “Truth” based on the Bible is problematic, to say the least.

          • James Sparks

            By what standard makes what you say truth? Your very admission makes your statement relative.

          • James Walker

            the standard of scientific and historical inquiry reveals to us the truth – the writings that have been compiled into the Bible changed, sometimes greatly, over the generations. the John gospel, for instance, had entire new parables and events inserted. the story of the woman caught in adultery? it was not present in the earliest copies we’ve found.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Ah truth. 1000 years ago, everyone thought the sun revolved around the earth. 100 years ago, everyone thought that space flight was just a fantasy much less being able to send objects outside of the solar system. 200 years ago, the idea of communication over long distances via tiny hand held devices was unthinkable. 50 years ago, no one would have dreamed that the Soviet Union would be no more, or that China would be a manufacturing superpower.
            Truth evolves. The same is true about religious truth with one key element, the unique personal flavor that religious belief demands. In other words, your truth doesn’t have to be held by anyone else for it to be a valid truth…to you.

          • James Sparks

            Thank you so kind of you to share all those analogies of changing liberal context meaning. Those elements they were outside the pages of Scripture. So glad you brought that up because Isaiah spoke of encircling the Earth far before liberals and the so called church at the time went along with it. As time has progressed only the discoveries made are proving the scriptures and a Creator and a truth. I am glad you brought that up. And furthermore if there is no truth then by why standard does your statement hold any legitimate argument? Thanks!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            1800 hundred years ago there was no such thing called a new testament. 1000 years ago very few people had access to this work which was copied slowly and inexactly by hand. Almost six hundred years ago the printing press was invented in Germany. Early books were Bibles, yet literacy rates were still so high, most couldn’t read them.

            In the 18th and 19th century. Biblical inerrancy was not a factor for most. Many looked at the storoes as legends amd moral tales.

            The modern inerrancy theory is only 4 decades old, and is held mostly in conservative branches of the church.

            So truth about the bible also evolves..even taking different branches

          • James Sparks

            According to scripture it is called the fulness of time. Nice post thank you!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The modern inerrancy movement is not one held by christianity at large. You are aware of that…right?

          • James Sparks

            I am aware many have tried all have failed. Thanks for the info. I will be keeping an eye out. Thanks, very kind of you!

          • James Sparks

            Well thanks for the info I will keep an eye out

          • buzzdixon

            In fact, inerrancy was promoted by slave owners to justify enslaving other human beings. It was a direct response to Christian abolitionists using Christ’s “love one another” and golden rule teachings.

            Ergo, a perversion of God’s word…

          • Andy

            A lot of people don’t take things like the story of the Garden of Eden literally.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            You didn’t answer my question.

            In light of being provided new information that you were previously unaware of, are you open to changing your mind?

          • James Sparks

            Sure I did my response was I will listen and by the same token you will me as well..you must haave missed it

          • James Sparks

            Sure I responded. You must have missed it. BTW I forgive your presumption I didn`t and you bashing me.

          • Andy

            It appears to me that you’re trolling. Stop it, or I’ll have to ask you to leave.

          • James Sparks

            Andy sorry you think that. I am addressing those who take shots at me and I simply am letting them know I addressed their responses. If that is trolling all here are guilty. As here I am addressing you in like manner.

          • Andy

            You’ve been warned.

          • James Sparks

            I thought about it. Now I know it is the right thing to say after praying about it. After you read this there is no excuse for you. If you like take your chances. I am just here in love trying to point you the
            right way. Christ is the only way to heaven. The only alternative is
            hell. Without Him you will go to Hell. I hope you trust Christ friend.

          • James Walker

            1) you’re outright questioning the Salvation of another person, which is not within your purview as a Christian.

            2) you’re challenging one of the moderators of this forum to kick you out

            these are not the hallmarks of someone who is acting from a place of love or friendship.

          • James Sparks

            You have been warned. You want to put words in my mouth. If He is saved does it matter that he has been warned or you? Nope. If he is saved then this is a voice of affirmation saying thanks for the affirmation. Nope it was offense and that shows the place the heart is in. And yours. When you throw a rock the dog its hardest barks the loudest. You barked he will bark. I will stand and know that you were warned. Now I didn’t question it I just reported the truth of theirs and your future without Jesus. So by their fruits you will know them. Don’t go to Hell eternity is far more important than this thread and your pride. Give your life to Christ. So go ahead threaten me. They did Jesus and killed Him. The worst is you can ban me from a thread? I know I have told you truth and you hate me for it. Now you are accountable for it. Blessings.

          • James Walker

            Sweetie, I’m from the Dirty South. We know all about the carefully couched double-talk here. You as good as told Andy that he is going to Hell and then you want to pretend you’re all kindness and friendly-like and get offended when I call out your nonsense for what it is?

            Bless your little pea-picking heart.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So you you have the power to condemn people to hell simply because we reject your insisting you are correct on things, and just don’t buy your theology?
            Should we be scared? I ask, because I don’t think you’ll find anyone of us cowering in terror. Such threats are empty, powerless and arrogant. I am also from the south, and I’ve heard scarier threats of eternal torment than yours.

          • Andy

            Okay, you’re done.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Here was the question I asked and was referring to when I said “you didn’t answer my question”: “If you believe your position already represents the sound truth, what footing at all would another position have with you? If new information casts doubt on a position that you already believe to be true, are you open to being persuaded by new information or are you unmovable in your position? Because you began this thread by assuming a position different than your own represents “Biblical ignorance” that is “truly remarkable.”

            Here’s is your answer: “There is nothing new under the sun. Changing truth is an oxymoron else there is no truth to know and your very comment is relative. If there is truth what is it? The Bible teaches that sin will always be sin and our feelings toward it does not change it. How we feel does not change truth. Legislation will not change gravity. It is the law of non contradiction. In the garden of eden this very sin is the cause of it all. The sin of saying, `Has God said you shall not eat?` We are so rebellious to His laws.”

            This did not answer my question: “If you believe your position already represents the sound truth, what footing at all would another position have with you? If new information casts doubt on a position that you already believe to be true, are you open to being persuaded by new information or are you unmovable in your position?”

            I forgive you for misunderstanding my statement.

          • James Sparks

            My reply is yes please share.

          • AtalantaBethulia
          • James Sparks

            Sure. First you have responded in effect that gay is already accepted and not a sinful act. It is not just sinful but an abomination against God’s creation. In doing that you open the gates for everything. To accept sin is something the Bible does not do. It classifies all sexual sin as wrong. So looking at your perspective I see where you are coming from and it is a point of reference to take the sin out of homosexuality. My question to you is anything wrong with anything? One cannot change the very laws that God created in the beginning no matter how you sympathize with those who have unnatural affections and feed them. Thanks.

          • James Walker

            we’re going in circles. the Bible does not actually say that homosexuality is sinful. it doesn’t. no matter which passage you try to cite, it never makes any reference to anything recognizable as homosexuality. where there ARE references to same-sex sexual interaction, the wording used clearly indicates something specific is going on that we would very likely also view as wrong even without the same-sex component.

          • James Sparks

            Sorry but it does.. homosexuality is sinful sex period. It is unnatural. It is outside of a marriage that God ordains in the Bible. He does not ordain Gay marriage. (Your analogy) Then it condemns it that way. By your way of thinking then it does not condemn eating a whole bowl of donuts or ice cream literally but we know what moderation and gluttony entail as we do sexual sin.

          • Andy

            You keep saying that, but repeating it over and over won’t make it any more true. It’s still bullshit.

          • James Sparks

            And Andy I see because of a lack of response to what I said you say a curse word. Okay and you accused me of trolling. So the fact you cannot respond intelligently you say something ugly. Okay.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You keep saying the same thing over and over. The repetition is so old. By the way the full spectrum of colorful words is allowed here.

          • Andy

            Ah, the hoary old “they resorted to bad language, so I’ll pretend they don’t have a point” trope. Well done, again.

          • Theresa Chedoen

            “Shit” is a curse word? How does that curse anything? It may be a vulgarity, but to call it a curse word is to resort to the grade school playground. “Curse word”, indeed.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Anything can be used as a curse word….some of my favorite variations…Fudgcicle. foot, crapatastic, poopariffic.
            those are variations I choose for the children around me, the rest of the time, I use the whole profanity spectrum. However my youngest brother came up with the perfect curse word at age six….Stickydoobutt.

          • BarbaraR

            Exactly which type of marriage are you referring to?

          • James Walker

            without referring to Jesus’ example given when He expounded on divorce (Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9), I challenge you to present to me the scriptural basis for God “ordaining” marriage. I’m telling you right now, it’s not there. nowhere in the Bible are we ever given a description of wedding vows or any ceremonial outline of marriage. In Genesis, Adam just says that Eve is his wife. God isn’t depicted as calling her that or telling Adam to call her that. nowhere in the books of the Law are we given any prescription for how a marriage is to be conducted. the Bible does make reference to husbands and wives who were not part of the Jewish or Christian faiths, and still calls them husbands and wives. therefore, marriage is not an estate “ordained” by God but rather an estate that existed outside of but recognized within the Jewish and the Christian faiths.

            again, nowhere in any of the Bible passages commonly used to condemn homosexuality is there, in truth, any discussion of orientation, attraction, consensual sex between equal partners who love one another. none.

          • James Sparks

            James now you are trying to pick and choose what I can argue with. Typical losing inability to to respond so liberally you want to control even what another says. I don’t need it. Even the first marriage God performed in the Garden I will use these versions for you. why liberals hate the Word of God so much they even refer to it to try to change it so another cannot use it to debate.

            Parallel VersesNew International Version
            Adam
            made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to
            Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”

            New Living Translation
            Now
            Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant.
            When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the LORD’s help, I have
            produced a man!”

            English Standard Version
            Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

            New American Standard Bible
            Now
            the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave
            birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of
            the LORD.”

            King James Bible
            And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

            Holman Christian Standard Bible
            Adam
            was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to
            Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the LORD’s help.”

            International Standard Version
            Later,
            Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve. She became pregnant and
            gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have given birth to a male child—the
            LORD.”

            NET Bible
            Now
            the man had marital relations with his wife Eve, and she became
            pregnant and gave birth to Cain. Then she said, “I have created a man
            just as the LORD did!”

            GOD’S WORD® Translation
            Adam
            made love to his wife Eve. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
            She said, “I have gotten the man that the LORD promised.”

          • James Walker

            nowhere does it say God conducted any ceremony making Adam and Eve husband and wife. nowhere does it say God ordained what marriage would entail. in the story, God simply gives Eve to Adam and Adam says “this is my wife”. Adam, not God, says the next sentences describing how men will leave their families to become one flesh with their wives.

          • Andy

            Also, it wasn’t originally written in English, so we can certainly question the veracity of a translation. Not every language has an equivalent for every other word.

            I’m not saying no translation is ever correct, only that we have the right to question it. Question everything.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            And where in the Garden scenario is Eve given the choice to say no? Or where does evidence exist of a mutual decision between two people to be partnered? Or that they liked each other?

            If we take it literally in the way you would like us to do as the standard for “biblical marriage”, then people wouldn’t choose each other for marriage. Men should (apparently) view women as God’s gift to them and see them as being provided for the taking.

          • James Walker

            I seriously take issue with being described as “hating” the Bible. I have a deep and abiding love and respect for the Bible. I use it almost exclusively in my study and meditation on my faith. It is my opinion that I hold the Bible in a higher regard than most so-called “conservatives” for the simple reason that I actually read and study what it has to say. I search out the context of the writers and the meanings of the words in their original languages in addition to considering the “traditional” teachings on what those passages mean.

          • James Walker

            one other note here. I specifically requested that you not make reference to Matthew 19:4-6 or Mark 10:6-9 because I have already addressed those passages elsewhere and do not wish to repeat myself. the short version is that these passages do not represent Jesus giving a teaching on the definition of marriage.

          • buzzdixon

            None of those verses have God pronouncing them husband and wife. Whoever passed along the story is the one who used that term.

            (That would be Noah & his family, because all other human beings died in the flood, ergo all information in Genesis 1 – 9 represents the best recollections of a group of perhaps 8 people)

          • James Walker

            another thing on this topic – the Jewish law does not condemn sex outside marriage for Jewish men. only for Jewish women. the only prohibitions on extramarital sex for Jewish men were: no close relatives, no animals, no lying down with another man “in the lyings of a woman” (whatever that meant). adultery specifically meant having sexual relations with another man’s wife, not having sex outside marriage. Jewish men who were in the army could rape women among the captives of a city or town they had invaded and then claim those women as their wives (or concubines). this action did not result in any sin being accounted to them or any uncleanness they had to subsequently purify before being allowed into the presence of God to worship at the Tabernacle or Temple.

          • James Sparks

            Sorry but sex outside of marriage is condemned because it is the very act that consummates marriage. In the 10 commandments the Bible says. You shall not commit adultery. Not sure where you are getting your information but in getting it you are ignoring what God has said in His Word.

          • James Walker

            “Thou shalt not commit adultery” = “Thou shalt not have sex with another man’s wife”. period. it does not have the broader meaning that we have ascribed to it of any extramarital sex. The reason I know this is true is that we have plenty of examples in the Bible of men who were already married who had sex outside their marriages and were not condemned for it. Instead, they just gained from the experience another wife or concubine.

            also, have you stopped to consider why we have several examples given in the Bible of prostitutes in Jewish cities? who do you imagine were the customers of these prostitutes? aside from the Proverbs where young men are admonished not to waste themselves on whores (good advice regardless of the century), nowhere in the Bible do we see any Jewish men being condemned for doing so.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Tamar and Judah for example. In fact that story is used as a lesson about being faithful to covenants and women getting what they are entitled to.

          • Andy

            Really? You’re still not tired of this?

            Also, that doesn’t follow logically. Try again.

          • buzzdixon

            Adultery is betraying a spouse. No marriage = no adultery. If I reach over on your plate and take an apple you paid for and eat it without your permission, I have just stolen from you. If we’re walking in a public park and I see an apple on the ground that fell off a tree, I’m not stealing from anybody if I eat it.

          • buzzdixon

            So you’re saying we should follow OT law and stone teenage girls to death if they go too far on a date?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Sure. First you have responded in effect that gay is already accepted and not a sinful act.”

            Where have I responded in this way?

            Re: “So looking at your perspective I see where you are coming from and it is a point of reference to take the sin out of homosexuality.”

            I haven’t given my perspective. I’ve listed some articles by others for your consideration.

            Re: “My question to you is anything wrong with anything?”

            Yes.

            Re: “One cannot change the very laws that God created in the beginning no matter how you sympathize with those who have unnatural affections and feed them. Thanks.”

            The entire point of this exchange was to see if you had ever read or considered what the position of others is based on scripture. No one is talking about changing God’s laws. What people are talking about is misunderstanding the Bible and calling it irrefutable truth.

            Did you read all of the links I provided?

          • buzzdixon

            God fulfilled the OT covenant thru the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ said the OT covenant would not pass away until all was fulfilled, but his death & resurrection was that fulfillment (viz. “It is finished”). To seal the deal God sent Peter a vision saying kosher law — arguable THE most intrinsinc aspect of daily Jewish life — was not merely done away with but never really existed in the first place other than as something Moses came up with because nothing God makes is unclean.

            So we’ve either got a God who changes His mind — thus refuting the Bible which claims Him to be eternal and changeless — or we’ve got sincere people making faulty assumptions about what God wants. ‘Cuz if the OT laws are still in effect then we are all going to hell for wearing cotton/polyester blends.

          • buzzdixon

            I’ll give you a nickel if you can point out anywhere in the Decalogue that God spoke aloud from Mt Sinai there is any mention of any form of human sexuality beyond not committing adultery if you want to honor your parents. It would seem to me if same-sex relations were all that high on God’s agenda He would have brought it up.

            Yeah, Moses said God said it was an abomination, but the Bible also points out that not once but twice Mo changed or added to stuff God told him, so he is by the Bible’s own account an unreliable narrator.

            The Decalogue is the only time in the OT that God spoke out loud to a large group of earwitnesses instead of to a single prophet or patriarch (well, Sarai eavesdropped on God’s conversation with Abram; I’ll give you that). The next time God speaks aloud in front of large numbers of earwitnesses, it’s through the voice of Christ. I don’t recall him talking about same-sex relations or homosexuality other than to say in regards to being asexual, some people are indeed born that way.

            So, if heterosexuals are born that way and are acceptable to God, and if asexuals are born that way and are acceptable to God, then it follows homosexuals are born that way and thus acceptable to God.

            Because after all, God sent Peter a vision where He specifically struck down all the OT laws that bound him as a Jew and told him nothing He created was unclean. Since Christ fulfilled the OT covenant (which, strictly speaking, is a contract and not a law; laws are open ended but contracts can be fulfilled and completed), all the OT laws of Moses were done away with and we are bound by a single new covenant: To love one another as Christ loved us

          • James Walker

            FYI – making public mention of what you believe someone did to “wrong” you is the exact opposite of forgiveness. it is possible to correct gently without making an ass of yourself.

            and, this comment would be me making an ass of myself publicly to help you understand the point.

          • James Sparks

            I did and will.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So your purpose in coming here was just to to be insulting?

      • James Sparks

        Insulting is not knowing truth. Now you do. It is never how you feel. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Hell is real and hearing truth now can prevent an eternal existence there..

        • http://www.goldenappleconsulting.org tob

          I thought we had new hearts, in Christ?

          • James Sparks

            We do and the ability to resist the sin nature. Yet the sin nature is still there. The prodigal is a great story that addresses it.

        • James Walker

          that translation of Jeremiah 17 is poorly done. a better word than “deceitful” is “crooked” or “rough”, meaning (when you read the reset of the passage) that only God can read the heart to determine who is true and who is false.

          it’s wonderful to me, though, how so many people try to use this verse to “prove” that we can’t trust our own hearts. what an abuse of scripture!

          • James Sparks

            I like your interpretation as well. We are crooked and bent. Sin made us that way good point. There are other interpretations in Strongs. Vines is okay as well. Nice. Thanks!

        • Andy

          It’s hilarious of you to think that we aren’t familiar with the scriptures and aren’t capable of exegesis. If all you’re going to do is insult us, you should probably move along.

          • James Sparks

            Thank you. I appreciate your sharing with me. I will proclaim truth and I see light in your darkness sure brought out that spirit of hate towards me. Thank you for sharing back to the subject and I forgive your attack.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            James what you are engaging in here is a form of passive aggressive communication (I forgive your attack). It is an inauthentic way to engage with people and a poor form of communication that increases frustration and hostility, often damaging relationships. It would be beneficial for healthy communication if you found better ways to engage with others and express yourself.

            What you have said here also assumes the best about oneself (you are proclaiming God’s truth) and the worst about your opponent (their disagreement represents darkness and hate). This is not a charitable nor gracious way to engage either.

    • Dan_Cartwright

      I don’t find yuor comment insulting at all, merely factual. It’s either that, or what we have is capitulation to the same lie that got Eve – “Did God REALLY say?”

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        It is not factual, its opinion, and a really low grade of opinion. Now do you have something productive to add, or are you just trolling?

  • Dan_Cartwright

    The ‘crying shame’ is that professed Christians are caving to the pressure of those that openly defy God in their sin and compromise the clear text of scripture. Either the words on the pages of scripture mean exactly what they say, or you call God a liar (especially Romans 1). We have been told in the same book that there is a time when men call evil good and good evil. We are there in a huge way.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Hi Dan,
      Really? Is there no nuance?

      It’s generally believed that we are saved by grace through faith. But Jesus says that he will seperate the “sheep” from the “goats” based on actions toward our fellow man. So which is it?

      The bible is full of contraditions. That’s not a bad thing. God is revealed as we work through them. But to pretend that they’re not there, or to pretend that there is such a thing as “the clear text of scripture” does a diservice to the beiliver and to the (big C) Church.

      God will not be contained in our little boxes.

    • Leslie Marbach

      It’s really that simple to you, isn’t it? Either everyone believes the translations you use are totally perfect and perfectly represent God’s will and thoughts or they’re calling God a liar? What if we’re not calling God a liar, but calling translators and faulty scholars liars? Or even merely calling them out on being wrong unintentionally? God, I believe, is infallible. People (including those who wrote the Bible and translated the Bible) are definitely not.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “Either the words on the pages of scripture mean exactly what they say, or you call God a liar”

      OR… we’re reading them incorrectly without knowledge or wisdom or insight relevant to the time they were written.

      It’s not either a plain and simple reading of the text (that matches your position) is correct or God is a liar. It’s really not that simple at all.

      • Dan_Cartwright

        Perhaps if you look up the perspicuity (clarity) of scripture it would be helpful to you. Do you really think that God would inspire a book that us ordinary folks could not understand in the plain reading of it? That’s what Roman Catholicism still teaches and why you rarely see a Roman Catholic take his/her Bible to church.

        • James Walker

          please do not engage in taking pot-shots at other denominations and their faith practices.

          • BarbaraR

            Thank you.

        • buzzdixon

          Love God, love your neighbor.

          That seems to be all anyone really needs to know about the Bible. If any verse in the Bible does not jibe with that, then it’s a fair question to ask how much human interpretation / interpolation is involved.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Insulting Catholics is putting you further into the losing points category

          • Dan_Cartwright

            That the scripture is not clear and must be interpreted by the Magisterium (teaching body of the church) is not an insult to Catholics. It is central to Catholic doctrine and practice. Maybe your should study that also.

          • James Walker

            with the wording you chose, it seemed an awful lot like a stereotypical jab at Catholicism for supposedly preventing the laity from reading the Bible on their own. so, my apologies if I over-interpreted your remarks.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Maybe you need to actually step foot into a Catholic church, sit through a mass, or two, get to know people who are Catholic. Actually discover that scripture is important to the Catholic faith. Until you do, I suggest you keep your insulting opinion zipped.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          re: “Do you really think that God would inspire a book that us ordinary folks could not understand in the plain reading of it?”

          I had this same conversation with my uncle who is an ordained minister. He falls on the “plain and simple” side of the fence. I’ve read too much to fall into that trap any longer.

          A few questions to test your hypothesis.

          What does it mean when the Hebrew Scriptures say Abraham and Eleazar “put his hand under his thigh”?

          What is the significance of the barley harvest in the book of Ruth? Or the threshing room floor? Or Ruth “uncovering Boaz’s feet”?

          What is the significance of El Shaddai? or Shekhinah?

          If there is no cultural insertion in scripture because it is inerrant, why isn’t it the Parable of the Widow’s dinarius?

          What is the significance of the named women in Jesus’ lineage?

          What is lost by reordering the books of the Hebrew scriptures into the Christian New Testament?

          Why don’t we ever hear the story of Ishmael and Abraham from Hagar’s perspective?

          I’m going to have to go with Galileo on this one, especially since he had some experience with the Church being insolent when it came to new information and their self-righteousness about the infallibility of their biblical interpretation: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

          The Bible is a collection of ancient texts written in more than one language, none of which most of us here natively speak, in a particular time and place yet over centuries, full of metaphor and symbolism and idioms within an historical and cultural context about which most of us are ignorant.

          So, no. I don’t think that God inspired a book that ordinary folk could understand in the plain reading of it.

          • Dan_Cartwright

            You didn’t really answer my one question. While I could easily some of yours, they are not relevant at the moment aside from the fact that you use them to refute the overall perspicuity of scripture. That is perhaps what you should study a bit. It doesn’t mean that we will understand everything we read in the Bible the moment we read it. There are some really good articles out there on the topic of the clarity of scripture and I will leave you to find some, if you are really interested in what it means. If you are, you will.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            You asked one question: “Do you really think that God would inspire a book that us ordinary folks could not understand in the plain reading of it?”

            Though you claim, “You didn’t really answer my one question.”

            I did answer it: No.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Could god inspire a book? Maybe. Could he inspire a poet, a composer, a sculptor, a novelist, a naturalist, an biochemist? Maybe.
            Do we have proof of any of it? No

        • Bones

          “Do you really think that God would inspire a book that us ordinary folks could not understand in the plain reading of it?”

          Can you read Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek?

          It’s not as simple as you think.

          You also need to have an understanding of the author’s culture to understand their writings eg Revelation, John’s depiction of Jews as of their Father the Devil.

          In fact the plethora of sects (each clinging to their own interpretation as God’s) and abuses of the Bible show why it needs to be studied and examined.

          • Dan_Cartwright

            Did I say that knowing the original languages can enhance our Bible Study? no. Did I say that knowing the various contexts of the Bible are also unimportant? No. I asked a question about God, which seems to me a good one and no one here is simply answering the question. Concerning clarity in scripture, there are things that do require more intense study to really understand. there is MUCH that does not require anything other than reading and assigning the normal plain meanings to the normal plain language. The issue of homosexual behavior is one of those, poerhaps one of the clearest.

          • Bones

            there is MUCH that does not require anything other than reading and assigning the normal plain meanings to the normal plain language.

            You mean like Paul’s use of arsenokoites? And Sodom and Gomorrah?

            It clearly fits in with your bigoted world view.

            Much of the Bible wasn’t inspired by God either.

            It’s more about humanity and creating God in our image.

          • James Walker

            in the normal, plain language (at least in Hebrew and Greek), there IS no “issue of homosexual behavior” in the Bible. at all. it doesn’t exist. it isn’t discussed.

            the ONLY way that you’re getting “homosexuality = sin” out of the Bible is from the traditional English interpretations. that’s the ONLY place it is “clear” from the “plain language” and the problem is the “plain language” in each and every one of these cases is demonstrably incorrect.

  • Andrew Williams

    I suppose I’m coming late to the party, but how can you say in your article:

    “…the New Testament Jesus says literally nothing about homosexuality? Nothing? Ever? Not once? For a moment? Total silence on the matter?”

    I know it may be condescending to bring up the passages that I’m sure you already know about, but what about Romans 1 & 1 Cor. 6?

    I know there are different explanations of those passages, but would it not be more honest to mention them and deal with them, rather than simply pretend they aren’t there, or don’t say anything about the homosexual issue?

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      Roman and 1 Cor were written by Paul, not Jesus.

      • Andrew Williams

        Yes, I realize just now I misread the sentance and missed the word Jesus. So His sentence is not incorrect.

        I apologize, John, I replied too hastily without careful reading.

        However, two issues still remain:

        1. Are we going to say that what Paul wrote is not from God, while Jesus’ recorded words ARE? If we reject Paul for some reason, could we not also question the accuracy of Jesus’ recorded words?

        2. Are we saying that Jesus’ teaching about Marraige, with its emphasis on a MAN joining to a WOMAN, has no bearing on the homosexual issue?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “Are we going to say that what Paul wrote is not from God, while Jesus’ recorded words ARE?”

          Why would Paul’s words trump those of Jesus? Are you willing to say they do? If Jesus IS God then his words are not FROM him. It seems reasonable to read the words of Paul in light of the the teachings of JEsus instead of what too often happens, Jesus is read in light of the teachings of Paul. We are not tasked to become more Paul-like, but to seek to be more like Jesus.

          RE: “If we reject Paul for some reason, could we not also question the accuracy of Jesus’ recorded words?”

          Some people do.

          Re: “Are we saying that Jesus’ teaching about Marraige, with its emphasis on a MAN joining to a WOMAN, has no bearing on the homosexual issue?”

          As is always true, context of those passages are important.

          • Andrew Williams

            I am not saying that Paul trumps Jesus, but that if Jesus is God, and that Paul’s words are scriptures from God, then what Paul wrote is as much from God as Jesus’ Words. If Paul teaches us something, then God is teaching it to us. I reject red-letter only Biblicism.

          • James Walker

            if Paul were giving us Scriptures from God, why did he sign his letters with his own name and make no mention of “as told to me by God” or “the Lord says, through me, Paul”? chew on that for a while.

          • Andrew Williams

            So do you believe that any of the New testament is given to us by God or not? When Ephesians tells me as a father not to provoke my children to anger, do I have any obligation to obey that as a command from God?

          • James Walker

            I think we have to apply 2 Timothy 3:16 as a test to see what is or is not Scripture for us today.

          • Andrew Williams

            1. Paul wrote that too…how do we know it’s a valid test to give…that could just be paul’s opinion?

            2. So If I find something profitable for teaching…etc, then it can be scripture for me today? And if not, then I can ignore it?

          • James Walker

            well, would YOU advise an escaped slave to return to his master? pieces of Philemon are quite clearly not scripture for us today because we believe slavery to be an evil, not something that “benefits” the spirituality of those enslaved.

          • Andrew Williams

            Well, It appears we have very different views of scripture, and will not likely sort those out here.

            Suffice to say I don’t believe that Paul was incorrect in his advice for Philemon at that time. Whatever I would say to an escaped slave today, I would not say that Paul’s words are not scripture.

            The point of impass between us is that I believe that Paul’s teachings in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 are still applicable, and authoritative for today, and that they express God’s good design that sex be reserved within marraige between a man and a woman. I beleive this is consistent with Jesus comments about Marraige between men & women, and with the created order in which God made male & Female to be sexual matches for one another.

            Because of my own sinful nature brought about by the Fall, I have attractions toward many many women, but God has said they are all off limits for the first portion of my life, and now that I’m married, they are all off limits except for my wife. I don’t discount same-sex attraction as a choice gay people make, but acting upon it is a choice, one that I believe God tells us is not his design.

            That said, 2 truths of Christianity still remain: (1) Christians are called to love and serve those with whom they disagree, even non- Christians. There are Christians who will love their hindu and atheist neighbors, but not their gay neighbors…and I think there is no excuse for that. (2) We are not saved by obeying God perfectly, but by a free gift of Grace received through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. So homosexual acts do not automatically mean someone is not a Christian, any more than telling a lie or ignoring a homeless person means they aren’t a Christian. But it doesn’t mean I should feel justified in my lying.

          • James Walker

            Then you are at least in a place where we can share Christian fellowship, even if you are somewhat concerned that I may be consuming meat sacrificed to idols, to borrow a metaphor from Paul. =)

          • Andrew Williams

            Btw, thanks for the replies everyone…It’s no fun to comment and then have nobody respond! …and Thanks John for not deleting my comments!

          • Don M. Burrows

            Your assumptions rest, of course, on the conviction that Romans and 1 Corinthians unambiguously condemn “homosexuality” as we know it today. That’s not without problem. Yet you are willing to give interpretive license to Philemon, written on the occasion of Paul returning an escaped slave (hence needing to plead for his life), to make it OK in a modern sense. Very telling.
            You then take a verse about divorce, and suggest the “emphasis” is on the male-female” part of it.
            All of this is proof positive that the prejudice comes first, and “biblical” rationalizations, unevenly applied, come second.

          • Andrew Williams

            1. Yes, you are correct about my assumptions and convictions, but I have read the arguments that say Paul was referring only to non-consensual acts, or homosexual acts by heterosexuals…and found them unconvincing. I have to go on what Paul SAID, not on what he might possibly have been referring to based on what we know of ancient Rome.

            2. I don’t know what exactly to do with Paul’s advise to Philemon, it’s a difficult passage, but I DON’T say it’s not scripture, or not from God.

            3. The point about the divorce passage is simply that part of Jesus argument against divorce was his affirmation of the accepted idea of Marriage.

            4. We all have our prejudices on both sides, I am not immune to mine any more than you are immune to yours.

          • Don M. Burrows

            “I have to go on what Paul SAID, not on what he might possibly have been referring to based on what we know of ancient Rome.” These are absolutely impossible to separate. How do we know what he said? How do we know how to translate the Greek he wrote? You realize, right, that Greek lexica are compiled by taking words and comparing their usage across authors, right? And that in 1 Cor, for example, the words he uses that are often translated as “homosexuality” are not all that clear? One of them appears nowhere else. It’s simply not credible at all to suggest you can simply read a word used within a given context and ignore the context.
            Romans 1 isn’t even clear that Paul is talking, given the rhetorical treatment it gets.
            Philemon is, in fact, a difficult passage. But why is it difficult? It wasn’t difficult to ancient Christians the way it is today. It’s “difficult” today because we’re sensitive to the evils of slavery. It’s very possible that in 100 years, even a conservative Christian, speaking honestly, will concede the clobber passages of today are “difficult” then, or will simply apologize away their meaning, the way many do today the passages regarding slavery.
            The divorce passage is about divorce. It’s not about sexuality and gender. If you want something direct by Jesus about that, check out Matthew 19:12 where he suggest some people “eunichize” themselves for the kingdom of heaven. What in the world does that mean? Castration? That’s what it means virtually everywhere else. Forgoing marriage? Whatever it is, it’s clear that the early Christians did not have an overall positive view of marriage at all nor of procreation. That’s a modern-day ideology.
            Yes, we all have our prejudices. That’s why evidence and argument are so important, not merely shrugging and falling back on what one simply “believes.”

          • Dan_Cartwright

            According to traditional scholarly consensus, Paul authored the Epistle to the Romans. Few scholars have argued against Paul’s authorship. The evidence for Pauline authorship is so overwhelming that no dispute by any serious theologian exists today.

            C. E. B. Cranfield, in the introduction to his commentary on Romans, says:
            The denial of Paul’s authorship of Romans by such critics… is now rightly relegated to a place among the curiosities of NT scholarship. Today no responsible criticism disputes its Pauline origin. The evidence of its use in the Apostolic Fathers is clear, and before the end of the second century it is listed and cited as Paul’s. Every extant early list of NT books includes it among his letters. The external evidence of authenticity could indeed hardly be stronger; and it is altogether borne out by the internal evidence, linguistic, stylistic, literary, historical and theological.[5]

          • Andy

            I don’t think anything in his comment questioned the veracity of any Pauline epistles. Also, you didn’t really respond to anything he said.

          • Don M. Burrows

            I’m not arguing against Pauline scholarship of Romans. No one does.

            What has been said, however, is this: ““It is still open to question whether these two verses represent Paul’s voice or the voice of a rhetorical spokesperson in Rom 1:18-32, whom the apostle criticizes beginning in Rom 2:1.” That’s from Ward in the Harvard Theological Review 1997. The diatribe of Romans 1, coupled with the vocative rejoinder of Romans 2, makes it unclear whether the sentiment expressed in the former is that of Paul or a basic, all-too-common ancient rhetorical technique.

          • Leslie Marbach

            You said “I have to go on what Paul SAID, not on what he might possibly have been referring to based on what we know of ancient Rome.” Can you see that you’re actually going on what Paul might have been referring to already? What is in the modern translations is largely influenced by what those translators THOUGHT Paul meant, not what he SAID.

          • Andrew Williams

            I should perhaps add, that if I were to continue in my lying, or greed, or cheating on my wife….without guilt or remorse, then another person would be perfectly justified in questioning the validity of my Christian Claims…Which is that Christians are often castigated for when they question the Christianity of those advocating homosexuality. The truth is I can’t know for sure about someone else, but If I were in a church that believed homosexual acts to be sinful…it would not make sense for us to call a Pastor who was an open, practicing homosexual…any more than a heterosexual one who liked to sleep around.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No, what would be justified was for your wife to clean out your bank account and sue you for divorce. Being a man with a dick control problem does not make one less a Christian, it just makes him a guy who’s going to regret letting Mr. Happy play in someone else’s yard. Christians are human beings who make really stupid mistakes, ones that they regret, ones that cause harm, ones that make them look like total idiots. Christians are just like any one in that matter.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Because of my own sinful nature brought about by the Fall, I have attractions toward many many women,”

            I wonder why many other men do not have attractions toward many, many women?

          • Andrew Williams

            When I see the prevalence of adultery, pornography, promiscuity, etc…I am convinced that it is the vast majority of men that at least have thoughts about other women than their wives. Those that do not act on them, including me, do so because they love their wives. (Fear of consequences has been proven a poor motivator.) However, an additional motivator is God…not just fear of his loving correction that might come with the consequences of such actions, but more so because I love God and would not want to displease him. It is out of love for God AND love for my wife that I seek to remain faithful.

            I work with teenage boys and hear them talk about girls, and I talk to my christian friends about their temptations, I’ve heard my non-Christian co-workers on road crews speak with vulgarity about passing women, I’ve seen adultery tear apart marriages, and I know how big the pornography industry is. If you are trying to tell me that the vast majority of men are not sexually attracted to many of the women they encounter on TV, Internet, and in real life…I’m not buying it.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Then maybe what needs to be happening is for men to own up to this failing, to be honest with themselves and society at large that they are walking horndogs who look at any women they are not legally tied to as walking vaginas to be potentially plundered. Maybe they need to stop thinking with their dicks and start speaking up when they hear women being looked or spoken about so degradingly. Maybe they need to stop blaming us for their inability to control their own libedos.

            Or maybe not all men think like that. Maybe they have healthy sexual mindsets that haven’t objectified women into objects of sexual temptations. Maybe you don’t hear things from them about women’s sexuality, because they have enough respect for us to treat us and think about us as humans, not potentially plunderable walking vaginas.

          • Andrew Williams

            “Then maybe what needs to be happening is for men to own up to this failing, to be honest with themselves and society at large that they are walking horndogs who look at any women they are not legally tied to as walking vaginas to be potentially plundered. Maybe they need to stop thinking with their dicks and start speaking up when they hear women being looked or spoken about so degradingly.”

            –Perhaps you are correct, but such change is unlikely to happen by men sitting around thinking “Don’t think about sex, don’t think about sex.” It is my belief that a love and committment to Jesus is what empowers real change. I can fortunately say that these temptations do not have the grip on me they did when I was younger…but I would be a fool and liar to say the temptation had gone away completely.

            “Maybe they need to stop blaming us for their inability to control their own libedos.”

            –True. I was not blaming women.

            “Or maybe not all men think like that. Maybe they have healthy sexual mindsets that haven’t objectified women into objects of sexual temptations. Maybe you don’t hear things from them about women’s sexuality, because they have enough respect for us to treat us and think about us as humans, not potentially plunderable walking vaginas.”

            –What I’m saying is that ALL of the evidence I’ve seen over my life points to the fact that the vast majority of men have brains that work in this way, to some degree or another. Some may not talk about it, but those who do will nearly all admit its true. Advertisers know it. Sex sells.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Do you suppose if men are sexually fulfilled and intellectually engaged sufficiently they would not spend their free mental time loitering over potential sex with strangers?

            Is it mental laziness and lack of maturity? A priority thing?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I didn’t say the vast majority of men. I said Christian men who frequently speak of their personal struggle with being sexually attracted to women who are not their wife, and I find this odd.

            Perhaps we should define what we mean by “sexually attracted”, because I think it’s perfectly fine to find someone attractive and notice them and this would not be considered “sexually attracted to.” “Hey, that’s an attractive woman” is not the same thing as, “Holy wowzer’s she’s hot, and I would so like to… ”

            Are we talking erections here or just “Hey, she’s nice looking”? Because 1) Erections are autonomic nervous system responses that are oftentimes uncontrollable, and if you are beating yourself up for that, you should probably stop doing that and recognize the normalcy of how your body works. And 2) If you’re just noticing that women are pretty, you should stop beating yourself up for that because there’s nothing wrong with that. But 3) If you mean when you see an attractive woman you think about yourselves in bed together… then, Yeah. What gives about that? Why is this a so frequent struggle for Christian men? is my question, when so many other men don’t entertain such notions?

            I posit that it is less about sin and more about psychology. As in: those things that we try so hard to avoid and put our focus on not doing are the very things that we tend to drift toward exerting our mental energy on. In other words: obsessing about how wrong it is to think about sex, likely makes people think about sex more often, rather than if instead of obsessing over it, people focussed their attention and energy on other positive things of interest, they would no longer be compelled to think about sex in this way so much.

            My two cents.

          • anakinmcfly

            I think he was referring to the first two; at least, that’s how I’ve always seen ‘sexual attraction’ defined, and yours is the first to the contrary.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            We should have learned from Augustine (I think) how obsessing over unwanted erections can lead to adverse theological results.

            So there’s a plethora of Christian men out there thinking themselves the consummate horn dogs and full of vile sin because their bodies react without their conscious consent and/or they notice an attractive woman?

            What a horrible way to live.

          • anakinmcfly

            Regarding the question, yes. (among those who are married, anyway.) At least, it was something new to me when I learnt only last year that the word translated as ‘lust’ in that passage was the same word also translated as ‘covet’ – i.e. the sin wasn’t in a married man finding another woman attractive, but in actively wanting to have sex with her.

            But outside of that, I’ve always seen ‘sexual attraction’ defined as, well, finding someone sexually attractive – in the sense of there being a physical response – rather than actually desiring to have sex with them. I guess that desire *is* there, given that it’s a part of attraction, but it doesn’t necessarily imply intention. Like: I *desire* to drink milk, because milk is awesome, but I don’t *want* to drink it because I’m lactose intolerant and it makes me sick. Likewise I might find someone sexually attractive and desire to have sex with them, while also not wanting to because we’re not in a relationship, or they’re already taken, or they’re out of my league, or not my type, or I don’t want to date celebrities. And so on.

            Meanwhile I’ve known gay Christian guys who keep a rubber band around their wrist and snap it every time they find another guy attractive, hoping to condition themselves away from homosexuality via that pain response. Reparative therapy works partly on that same principle.

          • James Walker

            I use 2 Timothy 3:16 because it meets its own test. plain and simple. it works.

          • Andrew Williams

            My own view would turn that around. I would say that obeying scripture works BECAUSE it’s true.

            God’s design for marriage and sexuality works, and has worked throughout human history because it is true. Those who have advocated sexual freedom have often found out through physical and emotional consequences that it doesn’t work.

          • James Walker

            that reasoning is circular. you’re relying on a pre-existing assumption to “prove” that your assumption was correct.

            we need a rational approach. what other test can we apply to determine whether a given writing is scripture or not? it must be something that is sacred in its character and that gives us teachings to formulate good doctrine, conducive to the formation of moral and ethical behavior, consistent with the commandments given us by Christ. if it doesn’t serve those purposes, how can it be scripture for us? regardless of whether countless years of “tradition” say it’s scripture, if a given writing can’t help us to fulfill Jesus’ commandments, it should be ignored or at least set aside for another time and culture who may find it useful.

            see, the one thing none of the books compiled into the Bible have is any kind of testament contained in them stating “and this piece of writing is Scripture, inspired by God”. so, we’re stuck either accepting tradition or testing and proving. I vote for testing and proving over tradition any day.

          • Andy

            His comment is a textbook example of begging the question.

          • James Walker

            ooh! new favorite site! thanks, Andy. =)

          • lrfcowper

            We could always apply the model of testing a teaching by its fruit. So what are the fruits of an anti-gay take on scripture?

            Suicide, depression, drug abuse, homelessness, bullying, oppression, murder, people rejecting the teaching and grace of Christ out of hand, without knowing what Christ said or did.

            I say that’s a pretty rotten fruit right there.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            God’s design for marriage and sexuality? You mean like the one Abraham used, as well as his grandchildren? Or what about the model of King David? What about the tribe of Benjiman’s means of getting wives? What about design for the war and rape victims?

            Hate to tell you but the model for marriage is very much a human construct, one that has had similarities in its variations of pairings or groupings, all throughout human culture and history.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Allegro you just proved Andrews point. Because those means were not God’s design, and they did not work out well for any them in any of those cases…..

          • Andy

            Right, because every monogamous heterosexual marriage works out.

            What you said doesn’t follow at all. Let’s try again.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Correct, every monogamous heterosexual marriage does not work due to other sin issues. In the particular instances she named the punishment was directly correlated to the sinfulness in those actions, such as David losing his child from his adultery.

          • Andy

            Sometimes it’s not sin. Sometimes people just make mistakes. Or they fall out of love. It happens. Should they therefore remain unhappy the rest of their lives?

          • Brandon Lytle

            Are you married? Because I guarantee it is always sin. You would not “fall out of love” with someone who never sinned against you or whom you never sinned against….And no they should not remain unhappy they should seek/give forgiveness which fosters an even stronger bond of love. Let’s not take marriage out of the context of what it is a picture of and it’s number 1 purpose: To reflect ultimate truth, the Gospel of God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Marriage with the intention to reflect the gospel of God totally creeps me out.

          • Brandon Lytle

            So Ephesians 5:32 “This mystery (marriage) is profound, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church.” creeps you out?

          • James Walker

            yes, Paul did describe marriage as portraying a picture of the union between Jesus and the Church. I don’t think he indicated that was the purpose of marriage. he was attempting to illustrate how the relationship between husband and wife, ideally, ought to work. although, how he knew anything about marriage in the first place, being a confirmed bachelor and supposedly celibate, is anyone’s guess.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Jesus on multiple accounts referred to himself as the bridegroom, and the old testament prophets make this correlation often. And again in reference to Paul he was an apostle with an understanding of marriage given to him by the Holy Spirit.

          • James Walker

            when Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom, He was referring to Israel as His bride. always. it’s only later in the early Christian literature that changes and becomes the Church.

          • Andy

            That’s absolutely not true. If you believe that just because 2 people got married with the best of intentions that they’ll be happy the rest of their lives, I’ve got news for you. There are countless examples to the contrary.

            You’re living in a dream world that looks like Disney movies. Wake up.

            And yes, I’m married, not that it matters. People are imperfect, and they make mistakes. Even marriages. It happens. Don’t get all high and mighty just because you have some fantasy ideal of marriage. If yours works out that well, awesome. Consider yourself fortunate. If not, well, don’t worry, because a lot of them don’t.

          • Brandon Lytle

            I am not taking a high and mighty stance with a fantasy ideal of marriage. Far from it. Marriage is extremely difficult, because you have two sinners in consitent close quarters. Contention is bound to happen. I am saying that every marriage needs the gospel, and what the gospel has to say about the human condition is far from high and mighty.

          • Andy

            I’ve known plenty of people who aren’t Christian and have had long, successful marriages. Conversely, I’ve known lots of Christians who didn’t get it right the first time. (And some didn’t even the second time.)

            Try again.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Just because a non-Christian relationship has “success” does not mean that aspects of the gospel were not there nor does it mean that from the inside it is a healthy relationship (speaking generally because I have no idea the makeup of the relationships you are referring to). Also, just because a relationship is between Christians does not mean that the gospel is central.

          • Andy

            And just because the gospel is central doesn’t mean that they will stay happily married all their lives.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Yes it does. If the gospel is truly central they will remain joyfully married. Not to say there won’t be difficult seasons.

          • Andy

            That’s absolutely not true at all. I have seen examples of people just on this website that serve as counterexamples.

          • BarbaraR

            That is total BS.

            There are a variety of happy marriages and unhappy ones. Having the gospel central to it, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead, means squat. As evidenced by this blog, there are six million interpretations of scripture, and everyone is convinced theirs is the only correct one.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Christ has died.
            Christ has risen.
            Christ will come again.

            Now, if by keeping the gospel central to the marriage you mean both parties equitably live a life of perfect selfless compassion and humility toward each other, loving each other as themselves and committing to do unto others as they would have them do unto you and refusing to do to the other that which is abhorrent to you – then yes. If that’s the center of a marriage without wavering and it is equitably shared, then that marriage will likely thrive.

            But if by keeping the gospel central to the marriage you mean focussing on how Jesus died for our sins as a substitutionary atonement for our transgressions and sin nature because of the fall of Adam so that by believing in him as the Lord and Savior as our life, and that he was born of a virgin, died on the cross, was buried for three days, was resurrected on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will one day return to judge the quick and the dead… so that one day we might live in heaven with God when we die…

            then no. That doesn’t work to make sure a marriage survives.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Umm…Yes it does.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Then please explain how – in detai l- beyond merely asserting it as fact.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            This comment is spot on. In the neo-reformed church, the doctrine of total depravity has been taught in such a way that self-loathing has become a sign of godliness. Self-deprication has been confused with humility.

            This has implications for the great commandment. If one has been taught to loath himself, how is he to love his neighbor as himself? Hence the unbalanced focus on sin in others.

            Remembering this helps me have compassion.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Bad theology is rife with unhealthy psychology.

            *Seems like a good bumper sticker to me.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “You would not “fall out of love” with someone who never sinned against you or whom you never sinned against.”

            This is not true. People change for reasons other than sin.

            Re: “And no they should not remain unhappy they should seek/give forgiveness which fosters an even stronger bond of love.”

            Which is laudable when someone has wronged someone, but sometimes someone hasn’t wronged someone. Sometimes people just aren’t good at communication nor understanding their partner and before restoration can occur, understanding must, which often requires counseling from a licensed, certified therapist.

            Re: “Let’s not take marriage out of the context of what it is a picture of and it’s number 1 purpose: To reflect ultimate truth, the Gospel of God.”

            I have to say that even as a Christian, I find this to be this is a strange claim: the primary purpose of marriage is to reflect the ultimate truth, the gospel.

            It’s just confusing at least and potentially just spurious. What objective reality leads you to this conclusion? And how does this claim in any way square with Paul’s writing that it’s better to remain single for the cause of Christ?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Here is an example of how marriages can fall apart because of miscommunication. I’m not willing to call miscommunication a sin. A human limitation, a weakness, a failing at times. But not a sin.

            This is also why self-awareness and understanding human psychology are very important… other things that very conservative Christianity also eschews and dismisses as humanistic and sinful, much to their own peril and the peril of others.

            http://passiveaggressivecommunication.com/

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And infant death didn’t hurt David’s marriage one bit. He went on and had three more children by Bathsheba, the oldest of which became his heir. That marriage worked, even though it was hardly monogamous.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            They aren’t? Where in the Bible does God tell any of these people that their sexual configuations was not following the design? In fact God is pretty silent there.
            What about all those people not mentioned in the Bible, the millions of people with no marriage in their culture, where the women had multiple partners, existing in matriarchial societies, the families with chief and secondary wives, the couples who don’t bother with marriage, the societies that had no issues with sex between men, and looked at women as really inferiour.
            marriage is not a one size fits all thing.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Those other people….like the Canaanites?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Like the people of the Indus, of Africa Asia the Americas Europe. You know those people who existed and who exist that the bible never mentions, or seems to even be aware ofof. But then how could the writers know of all those other people and cultures, being only aware of their small corner of the world?

          • anakinmcfly

            I’m gay and I don’t advocate sexual freedom. All I want is to eventually be able to spend my life with a guy I love and who loves me in return. Maybe there’ll be sex, maybe not, though either way I wish to keep that until marriage. The only ‘freedom’ I’m asking for here is in my choice of partner, which most people have considered for years to be a basic human right.

            The only thing producing physical and emotional consequences right now is my loneliness.

          • anakinmcfly

            “Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

          • AtalantaBethulia

            We reject biblical idolatry.

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          John has written extensively on these topics, for example: Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality.

          • Andrew Williams

            Thanks, that was helpful to read.

        • James Walker

          Jesus did not give a teaching about marriage. I suggest that you go back and re-read the passage in question. He gave a teaching and critique on divorce as it was practiced in the Jewish faith at the time.

          • Andrew Williams

            In the passage John quotes in his article, Jesus is affirming the OT teaching about marraige, rooted in God’s wise creation of man and woman.

          • James Walker

            No, Jesus is expounding upon the Rabbinical teaching about divorce (citing nearly word-for-word from one of the commentaries) and gives an illustration to make His point about why divorce, as the people of His time were practicing it, was not in keeping with the spirit of the Law concerning marriage.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            That’s exactly right, James.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Saying that children who have fallen into wells on the Sabbath should be pulled free is not affirming that children should play near wells.

            Saying that all foods are clean is not affirming that all foods are good to eat.

            Saying that the woman who gave her mite gave all she had is not affirming that mites are the holiest of tithes.

            Saying that God knows when every sparrow falls is not affirming sparrows as God’s favorite bird.

        • Andy

          1. What Paul wrote was not necessarily from God. He was writing letters to specific people or peoples, not instruction books for general use. Did he ever say in any of his letters that “these are guidelines I got in divine revelations” or something like that? And yes, we should indeed question the accounts of what Jesus said, just like everything else.

          2. I didn’t see the word “only” in there. Did you?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Can we not consider that Paul was writing personal letters, stating his opinion on specific matters, and he may be quite appalled that people think his words equate God’s?
          Can we not consider that we don’t know for sure if anything credited to Jesus was actually stated by him, because all quotes attested were written down at least 30 years after hs time here?
          As for point #3, the answer is an emphatic yes. Homosexuality has nothing to do with heterosexual marriage, or heterosexual sex. They are simply not the same thing. The relationships are different, the sexual dynamics are different, where the similarities lie is in affection and commitment, as well as biological urges. What little Jesus had to say about marriage was a social admonition against men who wanted to dump a wife just to marry another, as women had no say so in the matter.

          • Andrew Williams

            1. There is strong evidence that Paul thought that his writings were authoritative as an apostle of God, a case strengthened by the fact that he on occasion would be careful to say, “on this matter I have no word from God, but here’s my opinion….” (Did he understand that every word he wrote was to be scripture directly from God, I don’t know).

            2. Oral culture in that day was much more reliable than it is now, and besides that, even after 30 years, Jesus’ sayings were so widely known, and so many witnesses would have still been alive, that anyone changing them would have been called out as a fake.

            1 & 2. It is helpful to ask, are modern critical scholars the only ones who have a correct view of scripture? From the earliest years of the church, Christians have accepted both Jesus’ words and Paul’s words as scripture from God. Do we thing that now 2000 years later, we finally understand it all better than they did?

            3. So the fact that (a) God created humans as Male & Female, and (b) that He for thousands of years, taught that these 2 should marry each other, and not only that, but that sexual actions outside of marriage were against his good design….this has no relevance toward the discussion of homosexuality?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            God has created male and female for hundreds of thousands of years, and people with both sets of genitals, and people who are sexually attracted to the same gender, or both gender, or have no sexual attraction built into them at all.
            If Paul thought he was going to be part of what we call the Bible, and that his writings would be the voice of God, then he was one of the most arrogant men who ever lived.
            Oral tradition while sound is inexact in keeping things perfectly intact as when it happens.. Songs, poems, are easily remembered and handed down verbatum, but even they are altered. Quotes, stories are not, as each teller will put their own touches into things and are not reliable exact sources.

          • Brandon Lytle

            “Oral tradition while sound is inexact in keeping things perfectly intact as when it happens.. Songs, poems, are easily remembered and handed down verbatum, but even they are altered. Quotes, stories are not, as each teller will put their own touches into things and are not reliable exact sources.”
            Unless the Holy Spirit of God, who can hand down words verbatum if he so pleases, does so.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oh so we need the divine magic touch, which only happened to the Bible in order to make an oral tradition transition to a written one verbatum…And I rode to work on a square of crushed pile.

          • Brandon Lytle

            Yes we do, and it is a mercy, and the correlation of that square of crushed pile you make is with the words of a Holy God….which I believe is something worth riding on.

          • James Walker

            there is no evidence supporting the idea that God worked any special miracles to preserve the text of any of the writings that were incorporated into the Bible.

          • Brandon Lytle

            We have over 5000 manuscripts of the new testament, and for other works such as Aristotle we have less than 20….that’s seems pretty miraculous to me!

          • James Walker

            it doesn’t occur to you that many, many more people were interested in copying and sharing the works of the early church fathers than held a similar interest in the works of Aristotle? also, are you unaware of the alterations over time in those many thousands of manuscripts?

            there’s no miracle here. moving on.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            We have zero originals of any book of the Bible.

          • Brandon Lytle

            And I did not say we did. It would be very difficult to argue that 5000 different manuscripts are all 1 original….

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            Does that mean my autographed first edition is a fake.

          • anakinmcfly

            Yes. Demand a refund.

          • anakinmcfly

            Just as a note – the practice of quoting people verbatim is a modern phenomenon that began I think only in the nineteenth century. Prior to that, people would record the gist of the words, not the exact words themselves.

          • Brandon Lytle

            To further your point Andrew, Peter also agreed that Paul’s writings were authoritative and put them on the same level as Scripture (2 Peter 3:16), which also states that the ignorant and unstable twist them to their own desturction….hmmm. To your point about Jesus’ words, again, you are correct, and to strengthen your point Jesus himself told his disciple in John 14:25-26 that by the help of the Holy Spirit his words would be remembered by them.

          • James Walker

            say rather that the author of 2 Peter claimed Paul’s epistles were scripture. the authorship of 2 Peter is in doubt, even more so than that of 1 Peter. it was very likely included in the canon for the simple reason that it could be used to justify incorporating Paul’s epistles in the canon despite several of them being of dubious usefulness themselves.

          • Andy

            I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting(s) where canon was decided.

          • Brandon Lytle

            He begins the epistle with “Simeon Peter, a servant, and apostle of Jesus Christ” that seems pretty clear to me.

          • James Walker

            evidently you’ve never heard of the phenomenon known as pseudepigraphy wherein the author claims to be someone he/she is not…

            there was quite a lot of that going around in the 1st and 2nd centuries. the church fathers rejected many pseudo-Petrine, pseudo-Johanine, pseudo-Jacobean and pseudo-Pauline epistles while compiling the canon. not to mention gospels attributed to Thomas and others.

          • anakinmcfly

            “So the fact that (a) God created humans as Male & Female”

            Except that there are literally millions of people who can’t be so easily categorised within that binary, physically or otherwise, and many more who are but are unaware of it. (for starters, atypical sex chromosomes are apparently more common than assumed, including in those who otherwise appear to have typical male or female bodies to the point of being able to procreate.)

      • Steve Owenby

        Jesus is the author of ALL Scripture. 2 Tim. 3:16.

        • James Walker

          2 Timothy 3:16 makes no mention of Jesus, nor does it state that God is the author of Scripture, nor does it tell us which specific writings are to be considered Scripture.

          • Steve Owenby

            You are joking, right?

          • James Walker

            no

          • Steve Owenby

            Then we have hermeneutical differences that over shadow anything we might say or discuss on this topic or a passage of Scripture, making it a waste of time for both of us to interact on this.

          • James Walker

            well, at least you’re perceptive. =)

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I’m not joking either, neither is the vast majority of Christianity. Jesus is not the author of the Bible and 2 Timothy doesn’t affirm it.

    • Dan_Cartwright

      John Shore actually did discuss those passages and others in a really bad attempt to justify homosexual behavior today vice in Paul’s time. You can read the article at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/04/the-best-case-for-the-bible-not-condemning-homosexuality/ IMHO it’s a rather pathetic attempt to justify sin.

      • Andy

        You think it’s pathetic?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        And that is what this is….your opinion. Duly noted.

    • Wolf

      Romans and Corinthians are the words of Paul, not Jesus. Jesus is silent on the issue.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell Freedhearts

    I tried to post this on Albert Mohler’s article, but, hm, there was no place to comment. So this is to him:

    We were never told to decide on people’s sin as a group. We are
    to love, regardless. Remember that the Pharisees were certain about the
    scriptural foundation of their “rightness” on certain issues, and
    Jesus never let them get away with that. We are not to be judging
    another man’s servant, but to deal with our own log — our lack of love, lack
    of mercy, lack of compassion, all of which are incumbent upon us. This issue
    might be more likened to eating meat sacrificed to idols, which Paul called
    “disputable matters,” and which he said we are NOT to dispute. (A look at Brownson’s book or Wilson’s book or Vine’s book will show you this IS a
    disputable matter.)

    The “reductionist binary” approach lacks the sweet aroma of Christ — who actually defended those the church leaders condemned — but instead carries the stench of the legalists — who Jesus never allowed to draw the “reductionist binary” lines they wanted to draw.

    Given Jesus’ tenor to all religionists, if your reasoning resonates like
    that (and it does), you might stop in your tracks and rethink. Jesus never let
    them isolate any group for any reason, and he told us repeatedly to focus not
    on behavior but on life in him. Surely you don’t want to resonate with the
    only group Jesus actually condemned in the Bible.

  • Dan_Cartwright

    Indeed, we are talking about a moral issue & God’s unchanging moral law. And no amount of scripture twisting and/or ‘creative’ justification will change that moral law. Certain things are sin, and among those listed in a couple of passages in 1 Cor list the subject -sin’ of this blog post among them. The most loving thing I can do for someone whw practices any of those sins as a ‘lifestyle’ is to point out what the Bible clearly says (despite what John Shore tried to say in 2012) during the process of leading someone who is lost and on the way to Hell to the Cross of Christ. Anything who thinks it is ‘loving’ to affirm sin of any stripe has either not read his/her Bible or might be smoking the now legal whacdky week in Colorado.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So anyone who disagrees with you in this topic is a Bible illiterate or a door head.

      And this is not insulting how?????

    • jonphillips

      typical SBC b.s.

    • Andy

      Do you have much experience in exegesis? Because such would almost certainly teach you that there are really very few things the bible is clear on.

      Keep on alienating non-Christians with your archaic ways, though. Well done.

      • Dan_Cartwright

        Perhaps you also should look up the doctrine of the ‘perspicuity/ clarity of scripture. Go for it.

        • James Walker

          we understand that doctrine and also comprehend its limitations given that the documents in question were written thousands of years ago by people from completely different cultures and languages than ours.

          • Dan_Cartwright

            Is your God big enough to have not only created the universe and everything in it and also preserve His inspired written word? It’s a yes or no question.

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            Perhaps you should look up the definition of rhetorical question.

          • Guy Norred

            Short answer, yes. That of course leaves out the question of if He does, or if He does, how He does it. To take the classic example of Moses and the horns, for hundreds of years, there it was in what was pretty much the only Christian scripture available–Moses had horns. I have no reason to believe there was any animus on Jerome’s part or that he didn’t try to give the best translation possible. He even went to Jerusalem and studied with Hebrew scholars to improve his Hebrew. Admittedly, Hebrew texts survived and eventually better translations were made, but not before this one little detail, especially when combined with ingrained antisemitic cultural baggage from other sources, to influence how millions have characterized Jews–even to this day.

          • James Walker

            I refuse to be drawn into your false dilemma

        • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

          I will if you promise to look up tautology/circular logic.

    • Bones

      What moral law is that?

      Slavery?

      Genocide?

      Uncleanness of women?

      Capital punishment for children?

      Killing the unbelievers?

      Arranged marriages and dowries?

      Oh yeah that’s right God’s moral law doesn’t change.

      Much.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    I haven’t been able to understand the difference that they come up with for same-sex marriage and no-fault divorce either, John. It’s like they rank them and find they can stomach one but not the other, and that makes no sense to me.
    The tone of Mr. Mohler’s article is telling. He does a good job explaining his binary approach but the moves to the supremacy of the SBC’s rules over local church practice. Why is he pointing to these rules as the guiding force, rather than Scripture? Lists of rules are onerous, as Paul told the Galatians. Perhaps Mr. Mohler could have made his point with the grace of Scripture, but we’ll never know since he chose to stand on man-made rules instead. Sad.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “Why is he pointing to these rules as the guiding force, rather than Scripture?”

      Authoritarians tend to do that.

    • James Walker

      Evidently, Al Mohler sees himself as the SBC Pope in waiting.

    • Steve Flower

      “Why is he pointing to these rules as the guiding force, rather than Scripture?”

      The answer is the same as it was in the Watergate investigation: “Follow the money.” The SBC provides resources much more immediately than God does for SBC churches. Your pastor’s retirement? Your church’s staff health insurance? God’s not funding that. Seminary support? No checks falling from heaven. When one can exclude one from financial security, community and fellowship, one has the most powerful weapons in the world.

      But as John has shown, they have shouted their hypocrisy from the heights for all to hear.

  • James Walker

    I’m struck by the constant references to how Jesus addressed Scripture during His ministry, and the presumption that since He cited passages from the Torah, from the Wisdom literature and from the Prophets, that He was somehow demonstrating His authorship and the authority of Scripture to dictate what is right and wrong in our lives. What those Christians fail to realize is how Jewish men and Rabbis approached Scripture. They did not stand by the “plain text meaning”. They did not presume that the interpretation which worked at one time would work for all times. They CHALLENGED Scripture. They ARGUED with it and WRESTLED with it.

    If any of you has not watched the film Yentl, or has not watched it recently, I advise doing so and pay attention to how the Torah school is conducted. Every Jewish male is encouraged to seek meaning and to argue for it. No one translation or interpretation is viewed as the single “correct” one.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Yentl! What a delightful movie.

    • James Walker

      and one other thing, Jewish males were encouraged to memorize the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus’ ability to quote the Law, the Wisdom and the Prophets was NOT REMARKABLE for His day and time. it was somewhat astounding that He could hold His own in debate with the Rabbis at the age of 12. but once he was an adult and had disciples, it was no longer perceived as odd or out of place.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      I’m reading Avivah Zornberg’s “The Particulars of the Rapture” right now. It’s a look at the story of Exodus (ie the redemption of the people) through the lens of the midrashic tradition. It’s remarkable and is having a profound effect on my understanding of the gospel. I’d highly recommend it.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I’m reading the evolution of god by Robert wright
        Interesting so far

        I have erhmam’s latest on hold at the library

        • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

          I have it on good authority that Ehrman is “a professed agnostic.” Reading his books can lead to critical thinking and nuanced understanding of scripture. Be afraid, be very afraid. I’ve read his book so its to late for me but there is still hope for you.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Too late. It will be my second of his books. I fell into the critical thinking hole some time ago

          • Andy

            What’s to be scared of? Thinking critically? Being open-minded?

          • James Walker

            don’t you know those are the “very scary monsters” the SBC is most afraid of? ;)

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            Critical thinking and open mindedness can get you kicked out of Club Christian. I am so totally depraved that even hard core fundamentalists have given up on me. In fact it is possible that I might be a demon.

  • Bradley Speck

    How i got my husband back…

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    So I decided to visit a spell caster, to see if he can help me out. So immediately I went to the internet, where I saw an amazing testimony of a spell caster who brought someone’s ex lover back, so I contacted him immediately and I explained to him all my problems and he told me that it will be very easy for him to solve, compare to the ones that he has done before. And he also gave me some proof to be really sure of his work, and he assured me that my husband will come back to me immediately he is through with the spell. And also he told me to put all my trust in him, and I really obeyed him. So it was 8:00 am on the next morning, when I was about going to work, when i received my husband’s call, and he told me that he was coming back home, and he apologized to me, and told me that he is very sorry for the pain that he has cost sme. And after some hours later, he really came back home, and that was how we continued our marriage with lots of love and happiness, and our love was now stronger than how it were before.

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  • Dan_Cartwright

    Actually, Dr.Mohler’s position in his blog post was that there is NO third way, for Southern Baptists or any Bible believing Christian. Guess what? There is NO third way in this issue. You either believe scripture or you don’t.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      You leave no room for the possibility of human misunderstanding.

    • Bones

      Yep.

      It’s my way or the highway.

      • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

        And that would be the highway made famous by AC/DC.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Way to bring back happy memories of my senior year in high school…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEPmA3USJdI

          • Andy

            You were in high school in 2009?

          • James Walker

            head -> desk

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You are my new best friend Andy. 1981 actually.

          • Don Lowery

            Was in high school when this album came out…but have always loved “Hotel California” as well. Even funnier…was told by those I used to go to church with if I listened to this “type” of music that I was going to hell. Just wish I could’ve told them that the producer of this album would later become Shania Twain’s husband and they love her music and have no problem owning it.

    • Robert McHenry

      Dan… so this means that you accept that no Southern Baptist can be divorced and remarry… great… why don’t you begin to preach and get the southern baptists to stop allowing divorcees into their churches…

      • James Walker

        my Dad lost his job as Associate Pastor in a Southern Baptist Church in 1980 because he tried to insist they couldn’t appoint a deacon who was a re-married divorcee. that should tell you how long the SBC has been hypocritical on this point.

        ETA: added “re-married”

      • Andy

        Twenty bucks says he doesn’t address this one.

    • http://www.theunderstandingapp.com Kevin Osborne

      God is creating a universe with enough space to hold 1000 billion billion stars and microscopic enough that there are more molecules in a glass of water than all those stars and more atomic particles in that glass than square feet of space in the entire universe. How limited do we want to believe this God to be?

    • Judy

      No Dan.Your idea is that I either believe YOUR interpretation of Scripture or I don’t. The fact is I DO believe Scripture. And I DO believe Scripture supports inclusion, acceptance, gay marriage, the whole “enchilada”.
      Guess my God is not as limited as yours.

    • Don Lowery

      So I guess you throw out the part of scripture which tells you to love your neighbor as yourself. If I remember right…it wasn’t conditional on anything or anyone they were loving…just love them like you love yourself.

  • Dan_Cartwright

    I need to leave this alone. God has spoken on this issue and His word still stands. Any and all arguments with me are really arguments with God. :) Nuff said.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      This is the arrogance of which we speak, this exactly right here: My understanding of scripture is = to God’s intent. My interpretation of Scripture is perfect and without error as if God said it.

      This is untenable. It lacks grace and humility.
      You have elevated your interpretation of scripture to God and that is idolatry.

    • Bones

      Are you God?

      It appears Jesus has returned.

      • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

        in a dipshit hat, too. I KNEW that would happen!

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Dan: arrogant much?

    • Dan_Cartwright

      I do regret my choice of wording, I should have said what I really meant, that if you argue against what is abundantly clear in scripture in scripture, you don’t argue with me, but God. Not the hypothetical ‘IF’. I choose to end the conversation with the biblical injuction against engaging in fruitless doalogue (vain disputation).

      • AtalantaBethulia

        I’m wondering if it is at all possible to find common ground on one point?

        That thoughtful and faithful Christians can and do read the same text and come to different understandings, not because of a lack of faith, nor a lack of having actually studied the text, but because of genuine differences in understanding. And that the fact that Christians disagree on matters of interpretation does not automatically make one of them less a Christian than the other.

        Can we agree on that?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Ok, Two things.

          Can we also agree that John points out a valid issue of hypocrisy when the SBC and Mohler take a strict stand against welcoming LGBT people into the church while taking a loose stand on divorce and remarriage. And that if they are to have any credibility with the world at large and with other Christians, and for the sake of their testimony – consistency is necessary.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        The bible is not God. We simply disagree with your views on some things the bible may or may not actually say……. Unless you are god…. Which I completely doubt

      • anakinmcfly

        We’re not arguing against what is abundantly clear in scripture. We’re arguing that it’s *not* abundantly clear in scripture.

        • Dan_Cartwright

          In order do dismiss the words on the pages of scripture, which are very clear, one noted writer (who will lie to you with a great big smile) just dismisses OT law with ‘we are not under law but grace, misusing what the Apostle Paul was really saying about law v. grace. Then he reads into certain clear NT passages ‘social context’ that has nothing to do with Paul’s argument. You, and everyone else can read a good and comprehensive article about all this at thebattlecry49.com

          • Bones

            Stinks of Calvinism which didn’t surprise me..

            Why do the Reformed hate everyone else?

            You see it on their websites.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            When one is certain of their elect status it feeds the ego. Tribalism does that.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So which OT laws do you keep, which ones do you ignore?

          • Bones

            The ones he likes and fit his prejudice.

            I’m sure he no longer advocates slavery.

            Though he is Southern Baptist and that’s perfectly not clear from scripture.

            I wouldn’t get too worried. His ilk hate everyone: Catholics, Pentecostals, Progressives, Homosexuals, Democrats, Dancers…

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I’m a democrat, dance, albiet embarrasingly (at least that’s what my kids say) profanity using, wine imbibing, progressive minded pacifist. It is why I no longer feel remotely comfortable with that denomination, my views are too heretical.

          • Don Lowery

            Was told I was heretical while going to an American Baptist church for many of the same reasons you listed above. The one I didn’t get told about was the dancing. Don’t…since it’s hard enough walking and chewing gum at the same time…so dancing is out of my league. ;)

          • Dan_Cartwright

            I do not follow any of the OT laws that the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) concluded that ‘Gentile’ converts need not keep. I do not keep those OT laws that are purely religious/ceremonial or dietary restrictions. God’s moral however has not changed. It never has been difficult to distinguish between the various ‘types’ of God’s law with a plain reading of the text (the clarity thing). They were plain to me when as a teenager I read the whole book for the first time. Most theologians place OT law into three categories (ceremonial/civil/moral). Christ fulfilled all of the law and the prophets. He did not ‘abolish’ them (Matt 5:17). Without Christ having fulfilled the law on our behalf, no one would ever reach heaven since we will still have sin in us when we die.

          • Bones

            Most theologians certainly do not!

            That is an artificial and false categorising of the Law.

            Jews recognise ONE Law.

            It is all the Law. Not bits and pieces though you try to make it so.

            Those who try to partition the Law are no different to the Judaizers who wanted Gentiles to become Jews.

            Without Christ having fulfilled the law on our behalf, no one would ever reach heaven since we will still have sin in us when we die.

            Nope!

            You don’t go to a fictitious Hell for not being a Jew.

          • Bones

            Dude, the OT law isn’t from God.

            You do know that, right?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            We aren’t that one noted writer.

            Re: “In order do dismiss the words on the pages of scripture,”

            In English? Which translation?

            There IS a great deal of important subtext in scripture that is missed when we aren’t educated in the language, the history and the culture of the original texts. This is an objectively true statement. How can you disagree with that truism?

          • Dan_Cartwright

            I agree. Context, context, context are the three most important rules for good biblical interpretation. When considering the entire context of the Bible, for example, it isn’t rocket science to conclude that the Bible is a completely ‘heterosexual’ book.

          • Bones

            Tell us what the Bible clearly teaches about divorce?

          • Bones

            It’s OK Dan’s fighting the battle for God.

            He is the Defender of the Faith ala Oliver Cromwell who has come to tell us how bad he thinks we are and how everyone who isn’t like him (or his remnant) are going to Hell..

          • Dan_Cartwright

            I never fight God’s battles – it would be stupid of me to think that I can. All he wants me to do is be a light in the darkness and declare His truth – and a great privilege it is to do so!

          • Bones

            Your opinion isn’t God’s truth – though I know that’s hard for you to distinguish.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I read your blog post. It’s familiar ground. Ground I used to believe myself. It tells me that you are unfortunately either unwilling or unable to be reasonable and that a great deal of your first paragraph can apply to yourself if you are able and willing to be self-relfective about that.

            Two questions.

            1) What about free will? You seem to want to trump that. Or are you a follower of Reformed theology?

            2) The primary point of this article is to point out the hypocrisy of the SBC when it comes to how they apply their denominational rules to divorce/remarraige and homosexuality.

            Will you please address this matter of inconsistency?

            Because if the SBC wants to return to a hard line on divorce and remarriage in order to be consistent with their hard line on homosexuality, that’s ok with some of us.

          • Dan_Cartwright

            Fundamentalism by definition means believing the fundaments of the fiath outlined in scripture. Yes, there have been excesses by some in the fundamentalist camp, but you make another unwarranted generalization about ‘fundamentalism’ en toto.

            Your question about ‘free will’ is unrelated to this discussion and seems to have garnered equally unwarranted/unkind comments about Calvinism. BTW In answer, God is the only being in the universe who has complete autonomous free will. We humans also have a will that is free to choose whatever it desires and that usually does choose what it thinks is in the best interest of one doing the ‘choosing’ at any given moment of time. “The will is the mind choosing.” (Jonathan Edwards). The real question here might be “What is ‘fallen’ mind capable of choosing and what ‘will’ is choose or not choose by its very nature. What does the Bible tell us about the mind of fallen men? For part of the answer read Rom 8:7, please.

            Thank you for reading my blog post. I have no doubt you have heard it all before, just as I have heard all of the arguments in favor of homosexual behavior’s normality. That you will have none of it does not surprise me. I just wanted to put it out there. One or more actual substantiated refutations as comments to the post would have been nice, although they would probably have been something from outside the Bible denying that the Bible says what it says. Such is the natural tendency of the unregenerated mind.

            BTW God’s love for us is indeed a mystery, as we have nothing in and of our natural selves to commend that love. Yes there is still something of the image of God in each one of us, but it is tragically flawed by sin. God’s love cannot and will never affirm sin, any kind of sin. We can be justified however (declared righteousness though still flawed) because God’s great loved caused Him to pour out His Holy wrath upon His own son on our behalf.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Fundamentalism by definition means believing the fundaments of the faith”

            This is one definition. It is not the only one. The other involves a militant religiosity as a pushback against modernity common to most all religions and which share some common character traits.

            Re: “Your question about ‘free will’ is unrelated to this discussion and seems to have garnered equally unwarranted/unkind comments about Calvinism.”

            I’m confounded as to how asking if you ascribe to Reformed theology can be construed as unwarranted and unkind comments about Calvinism.

            Re: “That you will have none of it does not surprise me.”

            I never said I wouldn’t, that’s an unfortunate assumption on your part.

            Re: “Such is the natural tendency of the unregenerated mind.”

            Passive Aggressiveness and Ad hominem remarks will get you banned. So we probably won’t be hearing from you much longer. that’s your first and only warning.

          • Bones

            Ah yes Jonathon Edwards’s ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ is so apt of your theology.

            God didn’t pour His wrath on God.

            Neither is God angry.

          • Don Lowery

            Thank you for that. Don’t understand how it didn’t come into my RSS feed…but it’s what I needed today…so I guess that’s a good thing it didn’t come through.

          • Bones

            Your hero Steve Camp was recently divorced and remarried.

            What does Jesus say about that?

            It’s pretty clear.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        RE: “I do regret my choice of wording…”

        The interesting (and troubling) thing is that this wording is familiar to us because we hear it so often from our brethren (and sisters) who share your theological perspective.

      • Lamont Cranston

        Nice of you to admit you can’t tell the difference between yourself and god.

        • http://www.theunderstandingapp.com Kevin Osborne

          When you can, you have figured it out.

      • V743JMR

        Dan, this “progressive so-called Christian” blog is filled with hostility against conservative Christians. They aren’t listening to you.

        • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

          And how is calling people “so-called Christian[s] not hostile?

          • V743JMR

            That’s fine. Remove the “so-called” part. With that removed, how about the rest of what I said? Would you deny there is hostility toward conservative Christians on this blog? I see no attempt for people to honestly understand one another here. There seems to be only one acceptable attitude. The article itself is seething with resentment. I could clear up the writer’s misunderstanding of the issue on divorce, but what for? Would he even listen? Does he really care? I think not, as far as my reading of his article goes. My understanding is that this whole blog (not just this one article) is for progressive Christians. I am fairly sure that progressives in general in America are going to do their best to push conservative Christianity out of existence in America. They are going to use intimidation tactics and even the law to try to do so. For instance, the Christian bakers who politely tell a potential customer that they would rather not bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. You would think a reasonable person would say ok and just go to any number of other bakers who would be perfectly happy to bake them a cake. But, no, they have to make an example of the person. They have to do their best to use the power of the law to run them out of business. I have news for you, guys. You may think that is ok because you agree with it. But when that same beast eventually turns around to bite you in the rear yourselves in some other situation, you will rue the day that you did not defend that baker’s rights to his own conscience, or that conservative Christian’s right to speak his mind in a supposedly free country. All this hatred and anger and ridicule of one another (on both sides) is truly unnecessary, unless of course you admire Nazi tactics and want a scorched earth policy where we all end up the losers.

  • Robert McHenry

    Thanks John… you have pointed out yet again how christians use the bible like a chinese menu… selecting the bits they want and ignoring the rest… and once again this tends to prove that anyone and everyone tends to use the bible to support what they already believe. The bible is essentially filled with lots of mixed messages…(“eye for an eye” and “turn the other cheek”)… which essentially makes it a meaningless document when it comes to moral/ethical standards. And christianity has become a meaningless label because it seems to mean that as long as you have been “saved” whatever you do is ok.

    • Andy

      Except engage in same-sex relations. That one’s right out.

      • Robert McHenry

        yup.. same sex stuff is pretty much the only one that seems to be out… you attach your baby (that you had out of wed lock) to the back of you bridal train and that is ok because you are walking with the lord. (I say the pic on Yahoo). You can pull a gun out and kill anyone (if you are white)… and it is ok… cause your walking with god. You can support war, genocide, water boarding and torture… and it is ok… because your walking with the lord and he is on your side in everything. Life is easy when your walking with the lord cause it seems that everything you like… is what the lord likes… cept if that has to do with those nasty same sex attractions… but hell… I just go out and shoot something instead. Amen. (sarcasm).

        • Andy

          Exactly!

        • Bones

          Yep.

    • Dan_Cartwright

      that is a gross misrepresentation of gneuine Christianity, Paul cautioned against specifically in romans 6.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I will be quite frank, if what you are representing here is genuine Christianity, I want no part of it. This mindset amd those similar to it is what drove me away from the SBC. I attend one service a year as part of an annual family reunion and I have a sore tongiey at the end from having to clamp it place with my teeth.

      • cajaquarius

        Paul was most likely a False Apostle. Looks like you are either being misled or just looking for Scripture that appeals to itchy ears. In either case, you can check if you want to disagree (let it not be said I make assertions without backing them up. Sometimes).

        http://danizier.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/paul-vs-jesus-and-james/

        • Dan_Cartwright

          Your blog post was interesting. Actually Paul taught salvation by faith (belief) (Eph 2:8-9) and so did Jesus. Did Jesus talk about works? Yes. Perfect works are a requirement to inherit eternal life. However, here’s the twist. No man ever has, or ever will achieve that perfection. Christ’s perfect life as our substitute and trusting in that perfect sacrifice on our behalf that grants us ‘permission’ to enter. Furthermore, Jesus specifically defined the required ‘work’ for us mere mortals. See John 6:29 and it’s context:
          “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So, so tired of the preaching. Please stop.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            It’s been stopped.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Thanks. kept getting distracted by work.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            There’s a certain kind of concern troll who, whenever I block them, I 100% know is going to email me within two hours. Dan, I knew, was one of these Last Worders. And, sure enough, it came. This is what he emailed me:

            I see that you have officially blocked me from commenting. I was wondering how long that would take. Was it the comment about a noted author telling lies with a smile? I’m not sure if the majority of your readers would figure out I was referring to you. You did dismiss the OT law with a really bad interpretation of the words of the Apostle Paul and read into the ‘clobber’ verses, as you call them what could not intelligently be used to prove the point you were so fallaciously making. I have nothing against you personally. I don’t know you. What I do know is what IS plain in the text of scripture. What I find so incredibly sad is the epidemic level of biblical illiteracy that has infected the church. Not your fault – it’s all over the place. I’ve read quite a bit concerning ‘progressive’ Christianity and I think the PCA would more aptly be defined as Progressive Christian Apostasy. Maybe I’ll blog about it at my place. :)have noticed that discussing

            So you stop me from trying to discuss scripture but allow any and all sorts of ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, and other stupid dialogue as suddenly blaming it all on John Calviln. Shame on you. And you profess to be a Christian. So sad

            Proof, yet again, that it’s entirely too easy to drink entirely too much.

          • BarbaraR

            “Concern troll.” So perfect. Love it.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            “Concern troll is concerned”

          • Andy

            You are awesome.

          • anakinmcfly

            Hey, you’re a noted author now!

          • V743JMR

            Just wondering if you got his permission to make his email public.

          • Bones

            That’s a shame.

            I wanted his comments on the clarity of the Bible on divorce.

      • Don Lowery

        Very true…but this is the biggest reason I left the Baptist movement for the Anabaptist movement. Got sick and tired of seeing people say a few magic words…being told they were saved…then doing NOTHING to show they were saved. The reason I was pointing this out to others was for many years…it was me. I had said the magic words…but had nothing to show for any change because of those words. Personally…I believe this is the reason you see so many empty Baptist churches out there.

        • Dan_Cartwright

          Some have called that ‘easy believism’ or ‘decisionism’. Genuine salvation always produces fruit, :)

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Dan, remember when you said you were done commenting here? Would you mind going ahead and sticking with that plan? Thanks!

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          True. We have a plethora of Baptist churches here in my neck of the crazy southern woods. Most are small with aging congregations. Most try to draw in and keep the youth, but unless one’s parents or grandparents already attend a SBC, the odds are not that high. I remember when I attended a small congregation in the wilds of the western NC mountains, we did VBS and Christmas plays ever year. The purpose was of course to minister the youth. Well every year the only kids there were our own.

          Of my three, one’s theology is like mine, liberal, more spiritual than dogmatic, one just converted to Mormonism as her husband was raised that, and the other attends Catholic mass with his girlfriend, and he’s more liberal than I. The last time I visited that church, I saw only small kids.

          • Don Lowery

            Reminds me of an American Baptist church I went to when I arrived back in Colorado Springs. It made some Southern Baptist churches look moderate. Just like you described…the only three children were less than 10 years old and adopted by the middle-aged pastor and his wife. The rest of the church was over 70 with myself/my former roommate/pastor and his wife the youngest there. When he got up and said more conservatives needed to be elected to office and the rapture three times…I left about 15 minutes into the service and never went back there.

            Funny thing…the Mennonite USA church I go to has about 150-200 with tons of kids and people of all ages. I fool you not…but the only available seats are in the first two rows in front of the pulpit. Have never seen this before…since many churches are lucky to get about a third of the service full on Sunday mornings.

  • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore

    ThankYouThankYouThankYou!!! Perfect.

  • BT

    I can’t disagree.

  • Darach Conneely

    Perhaps it is easier to empathise with divorcees,you can easily imagine the pain of your own marriage breaking up and the loneliness that would follow, whereas for traditionalist heterosexuals homosexuality is yucky.

    • anakinmcfly

      But what about the loneliness that would follow if they were not allowed to have a partner in the first place?

      • Darach Conneely

        Of course. It is just that they don’t identify with it because of the ‘yuck’ factor. They might even be mistaking their natural reaction as heterosexuals for how God feels about it.

  • Michael Sprague

    “less than human” ?? No, sinners are not less than human. Definitely an overstatement.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      People have said that those who don’t have sex in the same (approved) way that they do “are like animals.” That would be dehumanizing, no?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Not really. When people are looked at for thier “sin” and for only that reason, then they have been dehumanized. When they are held at arm’s length, considered unclean or unsafe, a bad influence, hated by God, only for that percieved sin, they have been dehumanized. When they are denied basic things we take for granted only for that percieved sin, they’ve been dehumanized. When laws are passed to prevent better rights or fuller equality, for only the reason of that percieved sin, then dehumanizing has occured. When people are jailed, beaten, murdered, for only this percieved sin….notice the pattern??
      When no other percieved sin prompts such treatment of a person as this one, then dehumanizing has taken place.

  • CastleRockBear

    AWESOMENESS!

  • Don Lowery

    As a former Southern Baptist and a graduate of a Southern Baptist university in Oklahoma who has discovered the Anabaptist movement and is attending a Mennonite USA church because of those like Mohler…I find it rather funny that many of the big flagship churches around the Oklahoma City area got fed up years ago with the Southern Baptist BS and joined the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Wonder how soon churches like Pastor Cortez’s discovers the world doesn’t revolve around the BS of the Southern Baptist BS and takes their church and money where it can actually do more good?

    • Jeff Preuss

      OBU?

      • Don Lowery

        You got it. Class of 84…before the fundamentalists were able to run me off for being able to think for myself.

        They did run off one of my favorite professors for being gay a couple of years before I graduated. Got hold of him a couple of years ago & thanked him for caring enough to do whatever was needed to keep me in school. I wouldn’t be the person I am if it wasn’t for him.

        • Jeff Preuss

          My Mom went there in the 50s, and my grandparents all lived in Shawnee, so we visited a lot. I really liked the campus. Luckily, Mom was a bit more…free thinking with her Baptist faith, even as we went to FBC OKC in the 80s. :)

  • Sheila Warner

    So, the SBC church that Pastor Danny heads might be kicked out of the SBC? And that would be a punishment? Sounds like the church might be headed for liberation from having to adhere to mental gymnastics when it comes to the Bible.

  • JaneyRae

    To the writer of this article:

    Looking at your argument logically, if the SBC is wrong about their stance on divorce, that does not make them wrong about their stance on homosexuality. I assume your argument is to say Dr. Mohler is a hypocrite. But Dr. Mohler is just a fellow traveler on this planet like everyone else. I would think that a Christian is interested in the deeper question of what does God think of these issues?

    Scripture teaches very specifically that all sexuality, straight or gay, outside of marriage between a male and female is unacceptable to God. So you are not wrong to point out divorce; and it also applies to living together without marriage, having multiple sex partners whether straight or gay, or just being in any sexual situation with anyone other than one’s spouse in natural marriage.

    Regarding divorce, the Jewish leaders had conveniently arranged for men of their day to divorce their wife for the flimsiest of reasons. The Law of Moses itself permitted divorce at all because of, as Jesus said, their hardness of heart. Thus, to protect the woman, parameters were set in the Law. Christ went on to say that divorce was never God’s intention, and at that point in the text He reaffirmed God’s original plan for marriage, i.e., between a male and a female, and the two ideally remain married for life.

    To say that Christ never mentioned homosexuality, and thus it is ok, is an error in logic. Looking at it logically (and Christ is definitely logical), He did not need to mention it. Why would He? He had already re-affirmed God’s original plan for marriage as being specifically between a male and a female. Period.

    I find it interesting that at that time, Jesus specifically mentioned the fact that God created marriage to be between a male and a female. The people of that day understood that marriage was between a male and a female. They entertained no other concept in their minds. Thus, He was saying something that was like “well, duh” to them. Could He have been mentioning the male-female requirement for just such a time as THIS, i.e., our day, when this would be an issue? Just a thought.

    Jesus declared that divorce on the ground of adultery is allowed. So it is incorrect to say there are no grounds for divorce per the Bible. There was a time in America when a divorce was more difficult to obtain and it was greatly frowned upon, especially by the church. But in the early 1900s, morality began to slip in America, and that has escalated to the present day. The church was indeed affected by it. It should re-evaluate its position. But what should that position be?

    The position of the church should match what Jesus taught, i.e., that the only ground for divorce is adultery. But what do we do about people who come to the church initially but are already divorced for the wrong reason and subsequently remarried? Do we disallow them? Well, is there such a thing as forgiveness of a sin? If they have repented of their sin, are no longer committing that sin, and are faithful to one another for life, then to not forgive them is equally wrong.

    As to homosexuality, though, there is no basis in Scripture for ever permitting it in the first place. So for that reason, it differs greatly from the divorce situation. There is no circumstance in which the practice of homosexuality is permitted in Scripture. Scripture strictly forbids all sexuality that occurs outside the bounds of marriage between a male and a female. That includes everything, straight or gay.

    I assume I am speaking to people who have some regard for Scripture, since this is a “progressive Christian” blog. But a similar argument would be helpful to the secular world as well, since Christ’s teachings are for our welfare. We may not like them, but they work best for us in the long run and certainly regarding our eternal destination. I am no better than you. I am a sinner too. This is my attempt to discuss what Scripture teaches.

    • Bones

      What’s bizarre is we have had people who are divorced and remarried (contrary to scripture) in here condemning other Christians because they weren’t living according to the Laws of God.

      Steve Camp is a classic example of a Christian who condemned the entire Christian Music scene as worldly and not beholden to scripture when he divorces and remarries and it’s like oh well it happens to everyone.

      As progressive Christians we don’t judge people because of divorce or homosexuality because
      a) it’s none of my business
      b) Mercy triumphs over judgement
      c) Jesus is about compassion
      d) God isn’t as interested as most Christians in who you have sex with.or how.

    • BarbaraR

      “The people of that day understood that marriage was between a male and a female. They entertained no other concept in their minds.”

      Simply not true.

    • anakinmcfly

      And what about people who are neither male nor female? Are they supposed to remain celibate, because any relationship they have would be at least a little bit gay? If so, please provide scriptural evidence for this view. (and Matthew 19:12 is not it.)

      • BarbaraR

        I think for many people, it’s quite black and white. From the perspective of those people, if you view yourself as neither here nor there (no matter what the physical evidence may be), it’s because you’re out of step with God or under Satan’s spell or something similar. There’s an unwillingness and/or inability to accept that we’re not all one thing or the other.

        • anakinmcfly

          yeah, that’s true. I know of lots of intersex people who were shunned by their church and other Christians as sinners, just because they had genitalia or bodies that didn’t fit the standard male or female template, even though they were very evidently born that way and there was clearly no sinful choice involved. :/

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “Looking at your argument logically, if the SBC is wrong about their stance on divorce, that does not make them wrong about their stance on homosexuality. I assume your argument is to say Dr. Mohler is a hypocrite. But Dr. Mohler is just a fellow traveler on this planet like everyone else.”

      Yes. He’s a hypocrite, who represents the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Are we not to hold our religious leaders to a high moral standard… as instructed to do so in scripture?

      Consistency is all we ask. I, for one, am fine with the SBC taking a hard line on divorce in the same way they are taking a hard line on homosexuality. But, if they are not going to take a hard line on divorce, then it is unjust to take a hard line on homosexuality.

      Jesus reserved some of his harshest words for the religious leaders of his day whom he called out for being hypocrites.

  • tech33

    I think that it is your stance that is on the slippery slope. Because if marriage is not a lifetime commitment, why even bother with it in the first place? Secondly, I consider the ideals behind the LGBTQ movement dishonest from multiple angles i.e. they say one thing, but do another. They say they do not have an agenda, but yet there are numerous lawsuits against Christians who do not want to provide services for their weddings (Elaine photography being a terribly disappointing example). And this is not the only instance. Their “gay pride” parades supposedly is about “family values” but yet we see things like in Toronto where indeed the family is there with the young kids, but so are the numerous naked men marching in the parade in front of the families acting and promoting specific sex acts and subjects.

    So, then, if that is what it means to be “gay.” I will actively encourage discrimination against them, Because this is behavior we do not see from divorced people who may attend SBC churches. And touching upon that point too, forgiveness is available to gays, as much as the divorced.

    • BarbaraR

      The LGBTQ agenda is this: To have the same rights that straight people never give a second thought to.

      Unfortunately, there are some people who are unclear on the notion and feel it is acceptable to deny services to people because they believe their religion allows them to discriminate against them.

      Gay pride is about gay pride. That includes gay families with children. Children at a gay pride parade have no idea what the sexual aspect is; they just know they’re at a parade.

    • Jeff Preuss

      Part of your problem is you ascribe these actions of some gay people to the entirety of LGBT people. Not all of us vote on and participate in these stances you relate. I haven’t sued anyone, and I was super-bored at the single Pride parade I’ve attended, so I’ve never gone to another. We, like straight people, are just as varied in our exploits and adventures and perspectives.

      If there is anything we share as an “agenda” it’s a desire to actually have the freedom to be who and what we are without fearing loss of job, loss of home, or loss of life. Many states have NO laws to protect me from losing job or home for being gay. That’s unfair and just wrong.

      Stop calling us a movement or an agenda, and recognize us as individual human people deserving of rights and your respect.

      Hi. I’m Jeff.

      • tech33again

        “Part of your problem is you ascribe these actions of some gay people to the entirety of LGBT people.”

        Ok, what percentage of the “LGBT community” is the “some?” The fact is that that those “some” were not called out by the “any” of the presumably larger LGBT community (that you are ascribe to) that were there makes the whole complicit with their (the minority you infer) actions. And this is not the only example of this behavior. It is difficult for an observer such as me to see how this is not an “agenda” – as no one dares to offend any in the LGBTQ anymore – which is their goal (and hence agenda), is it not? Otherwise people who voted for prop 8 would not be hunted down for the donations that they once made too. That is also an “agenda” is it not? Or, are you going to fall back on the “part of [my] problem is you ascribe these actions of some gay people…..”

        In other words, the actions of the LGBT community is inconsistent with your (and their) message.

        While some have changed their mind about same sex marriage, but to have any real validity it is going to need to answer to observations such as mine without deleting comments and banning accounts. The truth is difficult – if you purport to be advocating for it.

        • Jeff Preuss

          Well, since clearly I am the recordkeeper for the entirety of the gay community, let me check my files…….3.6%.

          Seriously? How unaware are you to assume that there is never any debate within the LGBT community as a whole about how we as a group should handle anything? We are all differently-minded individuals, just like straight people.

          When you further to stereotype us and decide what our stances are on things (and minimize our worth by calling our struggles for equal rights an “agenda”), the further entrenched your position is, which just equates you to an ostrich shoving its head in the sand.

          We are individual PEOPLE. Treat us as such.

          Again, Hi! I’m Jeff. You can ask me MY stance on things, but I’m not suited to speak for LGBTQALMNOP as a whole, other than requesting they all deserve your respect. Which you seem wholly incapable of providing.

          Peace out.

        • James Walker

          wow. just. wow.

          so, let me get this “straight”

          you think that every single member of the LGBT+ community is obligated to make some kind of public statement condemning any behavior of LGBT+ people that YOU find offensive or hyper-sexualized or “wrong” or else those individual people are somehow individually responsible for the “sins” of the whole?

          I don’t see anywhere in your comment history how you’re actively speaking out against the hyper-sexualized Spring Break events in Texas and Florida. so by your own standards, that makes you a fornication and date-rape supporter.

          sheesh. take your shrill brand of “the gays are oppressing me” elsewhere.

  • Robert

    your feelings are now your inerrant infallible pope, the problem with that is
    your loving your son all the way to hell..
    http://www.whataboutjesus.com

  • ALOA

    A threat and fear-mongering? Here’s the
    entire quote in context – ‘For some time now, it has been increasingly clear
    that every congregation in this nation will be forced to declare itself openly
    on this issue [Same-sex behaviors and relationships]. That moment of decision and
    public declaration will come to every Christian believer, individually. There
    will be no place to hide, and no place safe from eventual interrogation. The
    question will be asked, an invitation will be extended, a matter of policy must
    be decided, and there will be no refuge.’ This statement in no way constitutes
    a threat. The only threat that he speaks of is the threat to people’s rights to
    their own personal beliefs. Unfortunately, you have misrepresented both what he said and his meaning.

    ‘…every
    Southern Baptist church is morally obliged to reject from its membership any
    person who has ever been divorced.’ Really? What about the people who divorced
    and remarried long before becoming Christians? Or, what about people who
    divorced due to an unfaithful spouse as Scripture allows? Are we to tell them
    to commit the same sin again by divorcing their new spouses? However, if a
    person who is already a Christian divorces for reasons other than infidelity or
    endangerment to life, they are sinning in doing so. And if they remarry someone
    different while the first spouse is still alive, this too is sin.
    Nevertheless, if those who have divorced and remarried contrary to God’s Word
    come to the realization of their sin, repent, and commit to never divorce again
    for the wrong reasons, they are forgiven. Go and sin no more.

    • Bones

      So they’re not really committing adultery then.

      I would have thought they would have to leave their adulterous lifestyle.

      • ALOA

        Yes, they commit adultery when they divorce for the wrong reasons. However, those who weren’t Christians at the time of their divorce along with those that later realize their sin can repent and sin no more.

        To divorce their new spouse would be a sin also, would it not? You accuse those who divorce of committing adultery, but you then advocate that those who have remarried divorce again, the very thing you say is adulterous.

        • Bones

          Lol what you said doesn’t make sense.

          Obviously their second marriage would be null and void like a gay marriage – no.

          You seem to advocate people staying in an adulterous lifestyle.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Holy shit what a convuluted set of rules.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          No one advocates that they divorce again. That’s an unfortunate assumption. But the only way to be consistent in following the letter of the law of scripture and apply it in the same way to remarried people as folks do to LGBT people is for the remarried couple to “sin no more” they would have to abstain from sex for the rest of their lives. After all, this is what you expect from gay people.

    • Bones

      Btw the same fear mongering tactics were used with the civil rights movements.

      Blacks will be out to get your women and be prowling the neighborhood.

      It’s the same spirit.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      When I decided to leave my drunken abusive shit head of a husband, I was told by my Southern Baptist Pastor’s wife. “Well, you know that unless he commited adultery, you cannot remarry.” That was the whole of her counseling with me. I was too traumatized by one of the most terrifying decisions in my life to tell her what to do with her advice. I really wish I had. It was terrible advice, not helpful at all, and just plain ole patronizing.

      Within six months, I had left that denomination, and nearly chucked Christianity for good. When I remarried, in a Methodist church, to a life long Southern Baptist, who had also divorced, no one condemned our decision as ungodly, or unscriptual. Instead they celebrated.

      • Esther

        I’m very sorry that your pastor’s wife had such poor counsel for you during what was obviously a dangerous and terrible circumstance. Despite her lack of wisdom, the Bible’s clear instructions on divorce should not be discounted or compromised. I’m going through a long and difficult divorce myself after 18 1/2 years of marriage (4 of which included supporting my ex while incarcerated and on parole). We’re now three years into the divorce proceedings with no end in sight…however none of the terrible things that have been said and done against me excuse me from honoring my commitment to the marriage covenant.

        Yes, God gives reasons we can divorce, but as a wise deacon counseled me – there are only two circumstances where the Bible says we can re-marry (death and abandonment). This isn’t a popular message, especially today and especially when so many evangelicals have compromised. Nevertheless, it’s God’s holy and perfect standard and those who truly desire to obey will receive the strength needed to follow-through.

        Marriage is the closest picture on Earth we’ll ever have of Christ’s relationship with His Bride. When we understand this, then God’s standards for marriage don’t seem so impossible anymore. After all, who wants a relationship with a Savior who will leave us & marry another?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “there are only two circumstances where the Bible says we can re-marry (death and abandonment)”

          I’m sorry your deacon gave you such horrible advice.

          Re: “Marriage is the closest picture on Earth we’ll ever have of Christ’s relationship with His Bride.”

          This is just a metaphor. It’s not meant to be taken literally.

          • Andy

            Yes. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

          • Esther

            My deacon’s advise helped save my sanity and was the beginning of my allowing God’s grace and forgiveness to FREELY flow through me to others. It wasn’t easy to hear at the time (the truth never is), but I’ll be forever grateful that he had the courage to speak the truth in love. (BTW, he prefaced it by saying that it’s not a popular message among today’s Christians, even in my own church…so he was also very wise.)

            If the Church being the Bride of Christ is only a metaphor, then how do we know which parts of the Bible are metaphors and which are not? Who gets to choose – fallible man? How is that better than relying on an infallible and never-changing God who created and loves us, and who left His inerrant Word as a guidebook for our journey in life?

            Funny you should mention prison, my ex was in prison for almost 3 years then came home on parole for almost 2 before he (officially) abandoned the family. While I had moral grounds for divorce (and it would have been much easier to do while he was in prison), I chose to stay for 2 reasons: first, because I decided to honor my commitment.

            Second, because ultimately for me it came down down to this: if I truly believed that God can/will forgive ANYTHING (which I do), then how could I (a professing Believer in Christ) choose NOT to forgive? It was a personal choice that had numerous consequences (good & bad), twists & turns just so we could ultimately end up in the same place (but now I know why God led me to stay…He saved me from being a hypocrite).

            I’m not saying that this is what everyone has to do, or even implying that what I did is better than what others do. It’s a path God led me down to be a testimony to His grace and forgiveness (which He continues to extend to me so that I can extend to my children’s father).

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I have no interest in wedding a god, which maybe one reason why the analogy as Christ as a groom just made no sense to me…considering the church is many people, both male and female, making such a marriage the oddest polygamous arrangement out there

        • Bones

          It’s people like your ‘wise’ deacon who are responsible for women staying in marriages whilst putting up with domestic violence and all kinds of abuse.

          God does let you think for yourself you know.

          • Esther

            Yes, He does and yes, I did (think for myself). I’m not saying put up with domestic violence or abuse – we have laws and protective orders for that reason. I’m also not advocating to bring an abuser back into the home (although I know some people agree with that, I don’t find anywhere in the Bible that supports putting ourselves in dangerous situations).

        • Andy

          “there are only two circumstances where the Bible says we can re-marry (death and abandonment)”

          It’s almost laughable to think that people never make mistakes. If people in a marriage realize they are no longer suited for each other, and that both they and their children (if they have any) would be miserable if they stayed together, is it not better for everyone for them to divorce?

          Seriously, life is hard. Sometimes you just have to do whatever you can to make yourself happy. Going through life miserable…that’s what hell is. Why should anyone have to endure that?

  • Esther

    To take the Bible literally is not an “idiot game”, it’s a very high calling. Yes, divorce is a sin; yes, those who divorce and marry another commit adultery; and yes, someone who marries a divorced person commits adultery…just as lusting is a sin (regardless of whether it’s same-sex or opposite-sex lust) and sex outside of marriage and pornography and so many other sexual sins. The more we examine the issue the more we see how impossible it is to be pure (in any area) without the power of the Holy Spirit – that’s the point. I’m saddened for those who compromise on God’s holy and perfect Word, for great will be their surprise on that day when they hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

    PS this is coming from someone who’s going through a divorce right now and who understands the high cost of unforgiveness (because that’s all divorce is – one [or both] parties’ unwillingness to forgive). “‘Til death do us part” is a commitment is a commitment that was made long before we separated, and it’s one that the Lord is helping me keep. The answer isn’t to change our interpretation of God’s Word; the answer is to ask God for the power we need to obey His Word.

    • James Walker

      I find the Matthew 7:13-14 reference, along with the mis-use of “Depart from me, I never knew you” to be mean-spirited. I would hope that in future interactions with your fellow Christians you will refrain from such remarks that can only indicate you doubt our Salvation.

      It’s very tempting to feel “superior” because you believe your understanding of Scripture is “better” or more “literal” than another person’s. This is why time and time again Jesus called to task the “Scripture experts” of His day. It isn’t the person who has the “perfect” knowledge of Scripture who will be the acceptable child of God. It isn’t the person who has checked off all the “correct” belief boxes. It’s the person who actually carried out the mission Jesus gave us – Feed the hungry, Clothe the naked, Tend to the sick, Visit the widows, the orphans and those who are imprisoned.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        And it’s the person who lives out their faith from a place of metanoia (too often translated as “repentance” and understood as feeling guilty and sorry for sins, but better understood as a change in direction and following a new path.) <<< (Also why a literal and plain and simple reading of the text is, in fat, a fool's errand.)

        The person who "has the mind of Christ" who is transformed, who lives out the Greatest commandment, who is the selfless servant, who shows his fellows compassion and understanding and caring and forgiveness… who has a transformed heart… THIS is a person who is on the narrow path.

        the narrow path has nothing to do with the outward appearance and everything to do with the heart. So when Jesus says that on that day people will be surprised, it will be those who obsessed about keeping the letter of the law but who never once understood the spirit. This is how once married, never divorced Baptist preachers who don;t drink or chew or run around with those who do can end up being goats and the gay couple can be sheep.

        Blessing on your journey, Esther. I'm very sorry you are going through this difficult period in your life. I hope you are surrounded by loving and supporting friends who will love you no matter what and help you navigate this new phase in your life. I hope also that you will find a way to forgive yourself and find happiness once again.

        • Esther

          The narrow path starts with a heart transformation, but if that’s all it ever is then we’ve missed it completely.

          “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:18

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If a narrow path means that you get to stand there and proudly point fingers at others, acting all superiour like, then I’ll take the wider, more compassionate one.

          • Andy

            Yes please

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Yes, I’m talking about deeds.

            Rather than those whose caliphates are long and stand in the public square praying loudly, “Thank you Lord that I am not like this lowly publican.”

            What you miss in my comment is that the holier than thou crowd haven’t had a heart transformation. They’re still stuck in legalism and following the law.

          • Esther

            Who is “holier than thou”…the one who speaks the truth in love, or the one who resorts to attacks and name-calling?

            Not once have I attacked anyone, called anyone a name, or accused anyone of being or doing anything; yet I’ve been accused of being mean-spirited, holier-than-thou, proud, and feeling superior.

            All I’ve done, to the best of my ability and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is to humbly point out truths from God’s Word that have been learned through a long and painful journey. If the truth offends, then the issue you may have is with the Author of Truth, not this messenger.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            When I referred to the “Holier than thou” crowd I wasn’t referring to you, Esther, but to those who do act holier than thou and made a biblical reference to the same type of people Jesus was critical of in scripture (Luke 18: 9-14)

            9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

            13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

            14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “If the truth offends, then the issue you may have is with the Author of Truth, not this messenger.”

            This is, sadly, a common conservative Christian response that those who grew up in these circles are familiar with because we used to say it ourselves. But growing in grace and wisdom by the holy spirit we learned that it is not a humble thing to say and is actually self-enhancing – pumping up one’s opinion of oneself. Because it assumes that anyone who disagrees with you does so without any merit and is actually just “fighting the calling of the holy spirit by rejecting sound counsel and the word of God.” This unfortunately gives everyone who uses this an out to never actually examine their behavior and consider that their words and actions might not actually be loving at all and might actually represent something other than God.

            Now, about the substance of my comment: That inner transformation and not the letter of the law is what Jesus was teaching. What are your thoughts?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Anytime I have ever seen the phrase “truth in love” as a defense for one’s statement, either truth, or love or both are missing.
            Anytime someone claims to “humbly” point out supposed “truths”, humility has been lacking.
            Anytime someone tries to play the “well you are just disagreeing with God” when it is pointed out that other viewpoints are held as valid… cowardice has just come into play, because the person using that ploy doesn’t want to stand on their own opinions

          • Esther

            When the opinions are grounded in God’s Word, then the issue others have truly is with God’s Word. And the continued name-calling only serves to prove my point.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Well, what is God’s word is also a matter of opinion. As I find myself having to repeat way too often, not everyone is a biblical literalist. In fact people who do, sit at about 35% of the faith over all.

          • Don Lowery

            Funny thing you brought this up. In my search from Baptist to Anabaptist…one of the most worthwhile pieces of literature I read from the 1st century was “The Didache”. It’s not part of the Bible…but came out about the same time as some of the New Testament was written from what they claim is some of the same authors. Where it helped me was to show not everything you hear from a machine is correct…especially if the leaders of said machine have an axe to grind or their sacred lamb to slaughter.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I’ve heard of the Didache more than once, but havent read it…yet.

          • Don Lowery

            Picked it up for my Kindle for about a dollar or two. Very easy read that I finished in about an hour. Dr. Bass talked about it in her book from 2008/9 about the People’s History of Christianity.

            Another I picked up…but haven’t read yet is “The Shepard of
            Hermas”. Think I paid the same price for it on the Amazon website. It’s another one which came out about the same time as the Didache and was considered to be part of the canon…but eventually didn’t make it.

          • Guy Norred

            Curious so I just actually spent money on my Kindle–ok only $.99 but I almost never get anything but the free stuff.

          • Don Lowery

            Me either…but when many of the early Christian fathers are that cheap and I want to find out what the thought processes were before the era of Christiandom (Constantine)…it’s worth the cost and the time.

            Another location to get stuff for your Kindle…especially Brian McLaren and others…is your local library. My local library lets you check out many titles from Amazon for whatever the time frame is they use.

          • Guy Norred

            I don’t use the library enough anymore. I will look into it.

            I do find the thought that so many Christians have now–that the Bible just appeared and was immediately very clearly all direct from God with no influence from people–strange. Several people have actually told me I was flat wrong when I mentioned that the canon was several centuries being finalized.

          • Don Lowery

            I am currently taking a free online class from Emory University with Dr. Jacob Wright on looking at where the Bible came from. In the two weeks I’ve been taking the class…I have learned SO MUCH! For instance…much of the history part of the Old Testament was written after the Babylonian Captivity and from the viewpoint of Judah. The reason is that the ones from Judah had to prove that their kingdom and Jerusalem was the only place to worship God. As the best point about the course…the victor writes the history people study. Same thing with the Bible.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I do that all the time. I currently have Bart Ehrman’s latest on a waiting list. I also browse Kindle’s free books app too. I need to see if any of Mclaren’s work is available. I sort of doubt it. The religious selections tend to lean more to Beth Moore, Max Lucado and Joyce Meyers.

          • Don Lowery

            McLaren just had a book released yesterday. Heard about it from Rachel Evan’s blog where she had him as a guest answering questions. I believe Beth Moore lives in Twin Falls, Idaho where I used to drive by her home everyday when I was working there. Several people I used to goto church with were good friends with her.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: ” opinions are grounded in God’s Word,”

            The trouble, Esther, is in the overconfidence too many Christians have that their interpretation of scripture is correct and accurately represents the will of God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Where has name calling come into play?

          • Barry_D

            Non sequitor. And you seem to be questioning justification by faith :)

      • Esther

        Then you take issue with the Savior, not with me quoting Him.

      • Esther

        Jesus taught that those who do not do the will of the Father will not be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. Scripture teaches that doing the will of the Father means obeying His commands. No matter how gently and humbly the truth is presented, it will always offend.

        “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

        Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)

        “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

        • Guy Norred

          “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. Ont these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22: 35-40)

          Sometimes I see this and wonder how many laws are being supported and how many laws are being put on the gallows in light of these first two commandments. Much of what was once considered central to the law is now seen as something else entirely. The big obvious divide happening at the time of Christ and more actively as the church expanded beyond its Jewish origins, but this has hardly been the only point. In none of this do I think God changes but we are lead by the Spirit to better understandings of Him. It all comes down to the heart (ok–the soul, strength, and mind also) and only God knows the heart. I do not know your heart and can only take your motives at face value–and these are good. Therefore, I would ask that you do not close your mind to the possibility that your understanding is flawed. You may find as others have that centuries of cultural baggage and not God were how you were seeing things. This should not be surprising–the influence of these things can be strong and very difficult to overcome–especially if one does not know that they are there.

        • James Walker

          nice to throw in the quote from Matthew 5. are you claiming to be persecuted here? I haven’t seen anyone revile you or say any kind of evil against you so, I hope that wasn’t your intent.

          what do you presume Jesus was referring to in Matthew 7:21-23 when He discussed doing the will of the Father in heaven? do you think He meant the entirety of every commandment that was expressed in the Jewish Scriptures? or do you think He was referring to His own teaching of the Great Commandments (Love God, Love your neighbor)? (I think it’s pretty clear from 7:24 that He intends the audience to understand it as following Jesus’ teaching).

          likewise with the reference to John 14. Jesus is plainly indicating the way to become an acceptable child of God is to follow those teachings He gave us during His ministry.

          and before you trot out some statement to the effect that the entire Bible is “Jesus’ Word”, let me warn you that those of us here have not only heard all that before, we’ve studied it carefully and find no scriptural support for it.

        • Barry_D

          “No matter how gently and humbly the truth is presented, it will always offend.”

          Yes, and it’s quite clear that you are offended by the truth stated in this article.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      1. Divorce is not about lack of forgiveness…not at all. Its about one or both people deciding that continuting to be married is intolerable, that to stay would be a huge mistake. Yes forgiveness can be a part, but not always. Besides its one thing to forgive, and its quite another to stay in a relationship where someone is just going to continue to hurt you.
      2. Most of us here are not Bible literalists. We do not believe a non-literal reading of scripture compromises anything, nor is offensive to God. To us the Bible is a wonderful tool, that offers insight into an ancient people’s attempt to catch a glimpse of the divine, that can help us do the same. We respect what it offers, we do not revere it as divine.
      3. Having been through one myself, I know how difficult divorce is. But I know it was also the best decision I could make for myself and my children. I was challenged, shaken and through it found courage, tenacity and peace. Then I met the love of my life.
      4. Obeying God is not adherence to interpretation of scripture in many of our views. Its trying to be people of peace, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and love, example of which God places around us every day.

    • Barry_D

      “To take the Bible literally is not an “idiot game”, it’s a very high calling.”

      The whole theme of the original article is that Mohler and the SBC don’t take it literally. They quite selectively pick and choose.

  • Esther

    …and as for Dr. Mohler’s supposed hypocrisy, a little research on his website shows he’s clearly not trying to steer clear of calling divorce a sin or on calling out the fact that evangelicals lose credibility when they accept divorce.

    “Divorce is not the unpardonable sin, but it is sin, and it is a sin that is condemned in no uncertain terms…our credibility on the issue of marriage is significantly discounted by our acceptance of divorce.”

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/09/30/divorce-the-scandal-of-the-evangelical-conscience/

    • James Walker

      so… Al Mohler gives lip service to the idea that divorce and remarriage is a sin, yet we do NOT see him (ever) calling out pastors of SBC churches who are themselves divorced and remarried. We do NOT see him (ever) calling out SBC churches who appoint Associate Pastors, Music Ministers, Youth Ministers or Deacons who are divorced and remarried. The only instance where we’ve seen Al Mohler calling out an SBC church, and asking that they leave the denomination, is when the pastor of that church has publicly, after a lengthy and prayful search of the scriptures, announced he finds no evidence supporting the idea that homosexuality is a sin.

      That, Esther, is hypocrisy.

      • Esther

        Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s OWN behavior does not conform.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          It is also attempting to enforce moral standards or beliefs on others, whether they want to or not, all while feeling rather smug about it. That is what Mohler and company are attempting, rather badly, I may add. The transparancy is too apparent.

          • Esther

            Southern Baptists are not trying to enforce their moral standards/beliefs on others; they are trying to walk according to standards they’ve set among themselves. (As a side note, I’m not a Southern Baptist; although I was raised in a SB church.) Any Church can choose to join the SB Association or not. The transparency is intentional, and should be expected, so that the churches know exactly what type of organization they’re joining.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No, the lack of transparency is more apparent than you may realize. I know of a church in my area, that does not list itself as SBC, yet it is. They keep it under wraps, until you decide to join.

            The amount of members in Congress who are Southern Baptist is 12%. People like Franklin Graham, Ted Cruz, Tony Perkins, are very vocal, and are very much trying to enforce their version of morality onto others.

          • Esther

            In my opinion, lack of transparency would be if the church didn’t disclose the association with the SBC until AFTER the person joined.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I almost didn’t join that church because of thier silence on the matter, but I did, for two years, then I walked away from the denomination for good.

          • Don Lowery

            Living here in Fundamentalist Hades (Colorado Springs)…I have seen too many churches which are Southern Baptist…but you wouldn’t know it by their signs or yellow page/webpage listing. Saw the same thing happen when I lived in Southern Idaho.

            The truth of the matter is the “Southern Baptist/SBC” label is becoming more and more toxic all of the time. If it wasn’t…why would these churches not want to proudly proclaim what they are…rather than practicing bait-& switch?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Its what I thought as well. And I may have to play rock paper scissors with you over the right to fundamentalist Hades (the upstate of South Carolina) We got Franklin Graham to the north of us, Bob Jones U. just to the south

          • Barry_D

            “Southern Baptists are not trying to enforce their moral
            standards/beliefs on others; they are trying to walk according to
            standards they’ve set among themselves.”

            (1) No, they are happy to enforce their standards on others.
            (2) No, they are not even trying to walk according to their own stated standards.

        • James Walker

          it’s also claiming one’s stance is X while one’s behavior clearly demonstrates one’s stance is Y. that’s what we’re pointing out with Al Mohler and the SBC leadership here. they’ve claimed to take a “high view of Scripture” and yet we can see they’re only applying that view to selected teachings.

        • Andy

          It looks to me like you’re trying to condone his behavior on the basis of linguistic semantics.

          I think it’s pretty clear that we mean he’s being hypocritical as a leader of the SBC, whom he probably presumes to speak for. Such is it with leaders of an organization. If he himself hasn’t gotten divorced and remarried, whoop-tee-doo. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a hypocrite.

          • Esther

            I was simply calling out the fact that a hypocrite is one who says one thing while doing another. Dr. Mohler has clearly identified that the high rate of divorce issue among Evangelicals is an issue that causes us to lose credibility when taking a stand on other moral issues. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could call that hypocrisy.

          • James Walker

            for the very simple reason that he reserves this kind of rhetoric for the issue of LGBT+ people and whether the church ought to or ought not to include us among their members. he does not adopt the same kind of “line in the sand” approach to any other moral issue (except, perhaps, abortion) even when the Bible is much more clear and has much more to say on the subject than it does about LGBT+ people. instead, with regard to divorce, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, etc. he “suggests”. he “guides”. he “cajoles”.

            but when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion in the church? no, he demands any church that affirms LGBT+ Christians to leave the denomination.

            how could his hypocrisy regarding biblical church leadership be made any more clear?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: His own hypocritical behavior

            Calling for the ousting of SBC affiliate churches who do not comply with the SBC position on homosexuality while NOT calling for the ousting of SBC affiliate churches who do not comply with the SBC position on divorce and remarriage And/or not working to bring into alignment the SBC positions on homosexuality and divorce/remarriage.

          • Barry_D

            Incorrect, Esther. What the author of this article is quite clearly stating is that the position of the Mohler and the SBC leadership is that some serious sins are different from others. According to their theology and the literal, inerrant words of the Bible, divorce = adultery. But they treat that as a ‘serious problem’, not grounds for excommunication.

          • Cris D Putnam

            If you are not a hypocrite, your standards are way too low.

      • Cris D Putnam

        How many divorce-pride parades have you attended lately James?

  • Cris D Putnam

    It’s astounding that Shore invokes “reason” and makes a fallacious argument from silence that has been addressed ad infinitum “Jesus says literally nothing about homosexuality? Nothing? Ever? Not once? For a moment? Total silence on the matter?” — wow — Jesus said literally nothing about bestiality John, will you defend it next? Jesus affirmed the moral code of the OT and it condemned same sex sexual acts in the strongest possible language, he didn’t need to address it because it was not controversial. And without God’s moral code, why not bestiality? Who are you to judge?

  • Brian

    A couple of points where John Shore of this article is misrepresenting Albert Mohler, the SBC position, and historic Christian doctrine (by the way, I’m an evangelical Christian, but not a Southern Baptist):

    1. The author quoted himself: “The Christians on one side of this debate are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.” That isn’t true. I personally know of no Christians who claim that those on the other side of the homosexuality debate are “less than human”. Quite the contrary! The Bible teaches that ALL people regardless of their lifestyles are made in the image of God and therefore have great value. Whether some who call themselves “Christians” (whether or not they are Christians is not my point) always interact with those with whom they disagree with grace is debatable. But if Christians do not speak and disagree with love and grace, we are sinning and also need to repent. Saying someone is a sinner in need of grace, repentance, and salvation is different than saying they are “less than human”. We are all sinners in need of grace.

    2. The Bible doesn’t teach that divorce and remarriage is ALWAYS sinful. Divorce always is a result of someone’s sin (or the sin of both spouses), but the act itself isn’t necessarily sinful. Historically, Christians have agreed that there are exceptions where a Christian could divorce and even remarry. For instance, if your spouse commits adultery, an exception is granted where the “innocent” spouse could divorce and even remarry (see Matthew 19:9). So, if there is a divorced and remarried Christian who is a church leader, it isn’t necessarily that the SBC or any other Christian denomination is overlooking divorcees and disciplining other folks (like those who are practicing homosexuality). Because contrary to this article, churches are not automatically “morally obliged to reject from its membership any person who has ever been divorced.” That is a false claim. Granted, some churches have failed miserably in upholding the Bible’s teachings on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. But it just isn’t the case that every time someone who is divorced remarries it’s “those Christians being hypocrites again”. Also, as other commenters have noted, Albert Mohler has consistently posted against divorce and the need for Christians to submit ourselves to the Bible’s teachings on marriage. Please try to represent those you disagree with accurately and not “straw man” arguments.

    3. The reference to a “Nazi” look for Albert Mohler’s blog is simply a rhetorical cheap shot. It’s a font. Get over it! Why did you not choose as an example any of the other THOUSANDS of historical documents that could have been equated with his blog header? For instance, the Declaration of Independence? (http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_zoom_2.html ) This was just needless name calling. I hope people can see through it for what it is. When one doesn’t have a valid argument, one resorts to calling people names (or in this case, equating Albert Mohler to Hitler…nice job).

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      1. Well, I’m not sure that the Bible is consistent on telling us that all people are made in the image of God, because there are several stories where people went on genocidal endeavors being of the mind that God told them to do so. As for not knowing any Christians who look at the LGBT community as less than human, well, you don’t personally know anyone. But trust me they exist, and one doesn’t have to try very hard to find them. I see comments, demeaning demoralizing, degrading comments, about LGBT people almost daily online, and weekly out in the real world

      2. How does one “sinfully divorce”? How does one “sinfully remarry”?

      What do you have to say to the thousands of women who were told to stay in abusive marriages, by pastors, and that to divorce was a sinful act? What do you have to say to a woman who decided to ditch such a spouse if she opts to remarry? I personally know the answers there.

      What do you say to the couple that married too young, and realized that they’d made a mistake, so decide to part as friends, cordially, and without remorse, and each later marry others? Who the hell are we to judge considering that none of us is incapable of making mistakes?

      You see, What gives us pause on Mr. Moehler’s views and that of his denomination is the inconsistency, the loopholes and the outright turning blind eyes to serious problems, like domestic abuse, child abuse, and pedophelia within its ranks. That is not even counting the pride and the condenscending tone so common. The whole beam vs. mote ideal is very prevelant.

      3. The font was an interesting and a rather unfortunate choice by Moehler or his press agent. They were likely unfamiliar with the historical use of that font usage, which has already been pointed out. No one here is attempting to make such a comparison, just the notice of a font with a unsavory history.

      For the record, we here are not Bible literalists. We look at all the Bible and see that it says very little about the “RIGHT KIND OF MARRIAGE”. Mainly because it mentions several types, as a matter of fact, without judgement, that I am quite certain would not be recognized as valid today, despite it being a marriage example in the Bible.
      I also wonder if you are sure what a Straw Man argument even is.

      • Brian

        allegro63,

        I probably won’t have time to engage after this post…but I’ll respond briefly:

        1. I’m sorry that those claiming the name of Christ have engaged in those types of degrading tactics. I personally don’t know Christians like that, but I don’t doubt they exist. I simply doubt if they actually have been born again (either way, they’re sinning in those actions and should repent). The Westboro Baptist crowd is a disgrace and don’t speak for God, that’s for sure! As far as not being sure that “the Bible is consistent on telling us that all people are made in the image of God”, I’d disagree. Starting from the beginning of the Bible (e.g., Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 9:6) and all the way through to the New Testament (e.g., James 3:9) this is the Biblical portrayal of humanity. The image of God in all of us may be marred with our sin, but it’s there in all human beings.

        Also, let’s not confuse with God’s divine judgment of people (as in the Old Testament) with genocide. And let’s also not make the mistake of thinking that just because the Bible mentions something means that God approves of everything contained in the narrative. While we probably disagree on how to read and interpret the Bible, hopefully we can agree on those two points (though I doubt it).

        2. In any case, you asked how I would respond to certain situations:

        a) Women in abusive marriages…That’s a horrible situation to be in, but I would tell them to separate from the abuser, call the police, try to get the abuser locked up, and that I’d try to help them sort things out in the aftermath.

        b) The couple that married “too young”. Not sure what your age limit is for being responsible for our decisions, but I’ll answer regardless. Instead of compounding what might have been a mistake by pursuing a divorce (a sin if it doesn’t fit the Bible’s narrow exceptions), I would tell them to stay married and seek Jesus for transformation of their life together. People can change by God’s grace! The question is: Will they trust God’s design as good and seek Him together for what is needed?

        As far as “who are we to judge”…that’s easy. It’s not for me to judge. I just try to follow the Bible because God’s the only Judge that matters. You can disagree with me, but I’m just trying to apply what the Bible says to my life. If other people don’t care about Him or His word, then that’s on them. It makes me grieve, but I can’t make them change if they won’t trust that Jesus is good. They will likely divorce and remarry, and that’s on them. But they shouldn’t try to claim the name of Christ and ignore what He says…that’s where I would draw the line and say that I could not accept them as a member of my church (because they’re not seeking to follow Christ). So, to “sinfully divorce” or “sinfully remarry” is simply to divorce or remarry outside of the very narrow exceptions found in the Scriptures.

        As far as inconsistency (hypocrisy) among Christians (or the SBC, or Albert Mohler)…I’m afraid we agree! I am not proud of it, but I am sometimes a hypocrite myself. A lot of people think Christians think we’re better than everyone else. Just the opposite! True Christians believe we are probably worse than everyone else. We know we’re sinners, that we need God’s help to be changed, and that forgiveness and transformation happen by grace through faith in Jesus alone. So, yes…sometimes we mess up! We’re still not perfect. But true Christians repent when we realize our sin…turning to Christ in faith once again. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be called out on hypocrisy, it just explains why it happens. The good news is that because Jesus lived a perfect life on my behalf and then died the death I deserve for my sin, my failures are not counted against me. He gives me His righteousness because He took my sin upon Himself at the cross! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

        The Bible teaches that Christians are changed bit by bit to become more like Jesus over a long period of time. But that’s no excuse for our own disobedience to God. We can’t say, “Hey, look at that person (Christian or not) over there…they’re a hypocrite, so I don’t have to trust and obey God either.” We shouldn’t use others’ behavior as an excuse to ignore the Bible’s teaching in any area. That includes divorce, remarriage, murder, lying, homosexuality, greed, gluttony, etc. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness and transformation through Christ.

        3. As far as the font goes, I think you’re being a little disingenuous. It does seem to have a similarity to the font of Hitler’s book, but also of literally THOUSANDS of documents throughout history (off the top of my head I could recall it from the Declaration of Independence, which I linked to in my previous comment). It looks like a pretty standard “Old English” font to me. Why, if no one was making the comparison between Mohler and an evil figure like Hitler, was Hitler’s book the only example that got posted? I’m pretty sure that was the point of mentioning the font.

        Finally, I fully understand that some people are not “Bible literalists”. I’m just constantly confused as to why those folks insist that other people can’t read the Bible as the Bible itself says to read it. The Bible clearly aimed at writing theological history, aimed at communicating the supernatural (i.e., the miracles mentioned are not meant to be seen as myths) and especially to point to Jesus Christ as the Savior of all who believe and the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament narrative (Luke 24:27, 24:44-28).

        So, yes…I believe the Bible, and I seek to read it on its own terms. I do believe it speaks to the “right kind of marriage” (Matthew 5:27-32, 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Ephesians 5:22-32, and many other verses). We take the more clear “teaching” passages like these I’ve just mentioned and then work toward the less clear passages of narrative and the like. And I believe what you end up with is that marriage is defined in the Bible as the exclusive and life-long covenantal union of one man and one woman (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-24; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:2-16, 39). That’s God’s design.

        I hope that you’ll understand that I have no animosity toward those who disagree with me. I only seek to follow the contours of the Scriptures, as I believe the Bible to be God’s holy word. I hope that you will come to that conclusion for yourself and trust in Jesus Christ and the word that points us to Him. Thanks for your time if you’ve read this long reply!

        P.S. Webster’s Dictionary defines a “straw man” argument as: weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted.

        That is to say, I thought John Shore’s representation of the opposing view was (intentionally?) set up to be easily confuted. He didn’t engage the actual opposition, only a fallacious version of his opponent’s viewpoint. Al Mohler does not give divorcees a “free pass” as John Shore stated. The Bible does not teach that ALL divorcees should be automatically disqualified from church membership. Those are “straw man” arguments because they’re imaginary opposition (i.e., not what Mohler or the Bible actually says).

    • Jeff Preuss

      I’d like to echo Allegro’s point about people treating me as if I am less than human. I have been called an animal, a Pagan, a pedophile, sick, diseased, a terrorist(!), a pervert, a demon, etc. simply for being gay (and knowing NO details about my life other than that), all by people claiming to express this as an extension of God’s love and divine judgment.

      And, having grown up in the Southern Baptist Church, as a child I was exposed to EVERYONE not within the walls of said church being referred to as “Pagans.” So, from my experience within this very church, this characterization of the pervasive attitude SBC can have toward the “other” is spot-on.

      And, in response to your later post, in which you say, “I simply doubt if they actually have been born again,” that’s been said about ME many a time, as well, even though I clearly state that I have, but am still gay. So, constantly being told my faith doesn’t matter, my walk with Christ doesn’t matter, my discerning God’s Word doesn’t matter all combine to make me feel “less than.” By other Christians.

  • Jonathan Clark

    Just read this and the Mohler piece. Simply want to comment that I think it’s not helpful for you to say that the threats are coming from the SBC. (Though they may come from there too.) I think the article makes it very clear that the ‘threat’ is from the issue in your nation, which will require every congregation to make the choice. It’s not that the SBC is going around invite a response. The response is already invited. Your desire seems to be to cast Mohler in as unfavourable a light as possible, and the way you lean on that paragraph is not fair, I think.

  • bryan

    Thank God, God is not Southern Baptist.


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