There’s a Disturbance in the Evangelical Force (Hint: It’s the Gays)

First, Fred tells us that Steve Chalke’s fantastic and robust Oasis ministry has been kicked out of the UK evangelical alliance.

Now CT reports that longtime evangelical publisher Multnomah has been forced out of the National Religious Broadcasters Association because it allowed some of its employees to work on Matthew Vines’s book for sister publisher, Convergent.

That’s right, if you allow your employees to work on a book that doesn’t fit your ideology, you are no longer evangelical.

On the webcast (above) about Vines’s book earlier this week, I closed by saying that I don’t think it’s possible to find a reasonable “third way” in the gays-and-church debate. Here’s another example of why.

I’m begging those of you who are trying to make changes from the inside, quietly laboring away in evangelical organizations and ministries, to open your eyes to what’s really happening.

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  • danhauge

    I think different people can take different approaches to these larger cultural battles. I have a great deal of admiration for those who choose to stay and fight a longer battle within evangelical structures. I don’t think it’s because they don’t see the realities, I think its because they really believe in the possibility of change, as distant as it looks right now.

    On the other hand, I fully respect anyone who is just exhausted from all the pushback and decides to break off, or just step away for a while, or decide that ‘evangelical’ doesn’t describe them anymore. A very understandable decision.

    I just don’t think we need to get together and decide on one approach to these things. People are doing to navigate these battles differently. Personally I think we need a variety of different approaches, and mutual respect for those choosing to fight for equality in different ways and different venues.

  • Rob Gerber

    Tony, is there no third way because evangelicalism has fragmented into hundreds of pieces? I think, that the last Evangelical to leave the building should turn out the lights

  • Angie Rines

    I left the Evangelical church years ago and I have no desire to go back,

  • AJ

    As a gay Christian myself I suppose I should be flattered to be at the center of such intense debates and splintering, but it’s getting really hard to care anymore.

  • Darach Conneely

    One of the points brought up about Matthew’s book online is that the Greeks actually did have a concept of people being homosexual by nature, http://facultyblog.eternitybiblecollege.com/2014/04/review-of-matthew-vines-god-and-the-gay-christian-part-2/ but I think this strengthens Matthew’s point. The Greek word nature phusis included people who were homosexual by nature as well as those who were heterosexual by nature, so when Paul talked about people going against nature and engaging in homosexual acts, he really was only talking about heterosexuals going against their heterosexual nature, not people who were homosexual by nature.

    I suspect the idea that homosexuality is ‘against nature’ is a later medieval concept and we should not read it back into the Greek meaning of the word that would have been shared by Paul and his Greek speaking readers.

  • Andrew Dowling

    If anyone chooses to stay and fight, that’s their prerogative but they should not give any money to their church/organization in the interim. Money talks . . once an organization is zapped of resources, it will either adapt or die. Churches through the ages have adjusted their rhetoric, in both tone and substance, to keep the people in the pews, which in turn keeps the money flowing into the church. That the church has NOT adjusted to cultural whims throughout history is a laughable myth . . it has and will continue to do so. Just compare the language concerning homosexuality among major conservative denominations/churches in the 1980s and today . . . SIGNIFICANT changes have occurred. For starters, no major church today publicly calls for the reinstatement of sodomy laws . .public support for those laws by churches was still widespread just 25 years ago. 25 years from today, you’ll still have major churches not conducting same-sex marriages themselves but practically all of them will come to acceptance with it and not be publicly fighting for it being made illegal. This is incredibly easy to predict.

  • dougsyo

    A good number of evangelicals have “circled the wagons” to protect themselves and their virtue from change, much less outside influence. The gatekeepers are trying to control the conversation by declaring who is “OK” and who is “a heretic.”
    There are GLBT evangelicals, but many are in our own churches, as opposed to staying (unwelcome or limited in many cases) within the greater evangelical church circle, or joining with more mainstream affirming churches. Jesus only made one body, it’s a shame that people are more interested in dividing…

  • Livin

    In the video Tony said “We know something today that neither Jesus nor Paul knew” if that is the case then Jesus is not God.
    If Jesus is not God then Christianity is a false religion.
    If religion is false we should fight against it just like the American Atheists do.

    • Andrew Dowling

      Sorry, I missed what creedal statement declares Jesus’s omniscience. You’re painting a false dilemma

      • KStrett

        Why would you only use creedal statements as evidence for Biblical positions?

        John 8:58
        verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

        I believe he also said he was Lord of the Sabbath. He said he would raise himself after three days…… etc

        Jesus can not be God if he is wrong wrong about homosexuality.

        1. If Jesus was wrong he can’t be God, and the Christian faith is incorrect.

        or

        2. You are substituting what the Bible says with your beliefs.

        • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

          Perhaps each aspect of the Trinity knows things the other aspects don’t. It’s quite possible that Jesus is God but is not fully aware of everything the Father knows. Jesus admits this when he says that he doesn’t know the hour or day he’ll return.

          There are other elements of scripture that do raise questions about Jesus’s omniscience, like cursing the fig tree for not producing fruit out of season.

          • Livin

            But Jesus is up front about what he has kept from himself as part of the Godhead. Morality is not one of those things

            • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

              Let’s go back to the fig tree example. Jesus is hungry, approaches a fig tree with no fruit. Then he curses it for not having any, even though the text says it is out of season.

              Now it’s possible that Jesus did this to teach a lesson, but the text doesn’t hint at any. Instead it implies that Jesus didn’t know whether the tree had fruit in the first place, and he didn’t know enough about fig trees to know that none of them would bear fruit that time of year.

              If Jesus was unfamiliar with the seasonal cycle of trees, then it is likely that Tony’s statement is correct, and “We know something today that neither Jesus nor Paul knew.”

          • KStrett

            Jesus admits this when he says that he doesn’t know the hour or day he’ll return.”

            You are using deconstructionism and making a category error. Not knowing when his return will be is completely different from completely changing what the Bible already says about homosexuality.

            Your logic chain dictates any behavior the Bible calls a sin is permissible because you can replace homosexuality with whatever sin you want.

            Premarital sex is Biblically permissible because Jesus didn’t know when his return would be and the culture was different back then…..

            The OT calls it homosexuality a sin and so does Paul. Paul receive he Gospel as a direct revelation from Jesus. Was Paul wrong about homosexuality?

            Homosexuality was prevalent in the Roman culture and Jesus was not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. If Jesus believed that two men or two women should be able to get married why didn’t the Church perform marriage ceremonies? .

            1. If Jesus was wrong he can’t be God, and the Christian faith is incorrect.

            or

            2. You are substituting what the Bible says with your beliefs.

            • http://twitter.com/dangerousandy Andy

              Jesus never said anything forbidding me from forcing electroshock treatment of Christians in order to dismantle their belief systems. I guess it’s cool, then!

              When do you want to come by the lab? I’ll probably start filling up appointments pretty quickly, so you should lock one down now.

              • KStrett

                Andy,
                I believe love your neighbor would bar you from shocking someone into agreeing with you.

                Noticed Jesus also engaged the Jewish leadership in debate using logic and reason instead of attempting to brainwash them to believing what he did via electroshock treatment.

                Also, your comment could be construed as an insult against yourself. The only way someone would agree with you is if they are shocked into a catatonic state and brainwashed.

                Do I have the exact same constitutional right to redefine marriage to the definition I like or is redefining marriage just a special right only for homosexuals?

            • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

              The question is whether we know things today that neither Jesus nor Paul knew. I think it’s clear that we do.

              • KStrett

                The question is:

                Is redefining marriage to include homosexuals Biblically permissible?

                The answer to that question is No.

                You red herring question should be:

                Do we know things today that neither Jesus nor Paul knew about sinful behavior?

                The answer to that question is no.

                Do I have the exact same constitutional right to redefine marriage to the definition I like or is redefining marriage just a special right only for homosexuals?

                • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

                  Actually, the answer is certainly yes. Our knowledge of psychology and human development has grown thousandfold since Biblical times. We have a far greater understanding of sin thanks to science. Pul may have taught us about the fruits of the spirit, but he didn’t know what happened at a biochemical level when we show them.

                  • KStrett

                    “Our knowledge of psychology and human development has grown thousandfold since Biblical times.”

                    In your view then, psychology trumps what the Bible says about a sinful behavior?

                    It isn’t scripture alone but the group of people who deemed electroshock therapy and lobotomies as a viable treatment for mental disorders who we should listen to?

                    By your own rationale, all sin in the Bible is permissible. We know so much more then, therefore, adultery and premarital sex is permissible.

                    You have just conceded that you are replacing what the Bible says with what the current cultural beliefs are.

                    You have also just stated that despite God himself declaring homosexuality sinful behavior, he was apparently wrong.

                    How can God be wrong? He must be the wrong God! Why are you calling yourself a Christian if man knows better than the God of Christianity?

                    You also didn’t answer my question.

                    Do I have the exact same constitutional right to redefine marriage to the definition I like or is redefining marriage just a special right only for homosexuals?

                    I wonder why you are avoiding answering this question?

                    The logic chain to allow the redefinition of marriage for homosexuals dictates I have the exact same right to marry two women. That must be Biblically permissible too.

                    I am sure there are bisexuals who would like to marry one man and one woman. You must believe they have the exact same right to redefine marriage too, which means you must believe the bisexual marriage arrangement has God’s stamp of approval too, correct?

                    1. Men and women are designed to be attracted to each other.
                    2. homosexuals are not attracted to the opposite sex.
                    3. Therefore, homosexuality has to be an abnormality

                    What you are left with, is a group of people who launched a PR campaign to label homosexuality as a normality instead of an abnormality.

                    God gives his stamp of approval re-branding homosexuality as normal when it can be clearly shown to be an abnormality?

                    • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

                      You don’t get it. Let’s use lying as an example. Now not only do we know that lying is a sin, we also know the physiological changes the body goes through when you i.e., the physical signals you give to indicate that you’re lying, as well as how the mind processes lies. These are things people in Bibical times could not have known.

                      BTW, I ignored your question because it’s off-topic.

                    • http://quijotefelix.blogspot.com/ rick allen

                      “We have a far greater understanding of sin thanks to science.”

                      “Sin” is not a scientific category. Neither are duty, command, authority, obligation, culpability, right, wrong, offense, merit or guilt. The scientific method is incapable of establishing whether some act is moral, or in accord with the will of God.

                      There are sometimes correlations between subjective mental states and physiological states. That’s been known from time immemorial. But, no, lying itself, “sin,” cannot be detected “scientifically,” even with a “lie detector.”

                      Some have claimed to scientifically explain morality as an evolutionary or social advantage. It may well carry such an advantage, but if that explanation is thought sufficient it assumes that right and wrong are advantageous illusions. Science can only say what is, and (if what is is reasonably determined to be subject to a law that doesn’t change with time) what was and what will be (if not otherwise interfered with). It has no method by which to say what ought to be, and attempts to make it an ethical oracle are considerable more damaging to the real and important enterprise of science than the silly efforts of creationists.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      “It may well carry such an advantage, but if that explanation is thought
                      sufficient it assumes that right and wrong are advantageous illusions.”

                      How is it an illusion if it confers real advantage? That’s as “real” as it gets! Our brains (well, the wide majority) are hard-wired to empathy. I don’t think that disproves God, but the lack of morals coming from “top down” (commanded by a Godhead at some point in history) doesn’t mean morality is an “illusion” . . .quite the opposite.

                    • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

                      You’re misunderstanding my point. I’m not saying that science can explain morality. The question is whether Tony’s statement that we know more today than we Jesus or Paul did is true. Clearly it is, but KStrett insisted that we don’t know more about morality. Thanks to sociology and psychology, we do.

                      As I see it, the people who dispute Tony’s argument are arguing that Jesus wasn’t really human. The Bible says that Jesus learned from his elders, meaning he lacked full knowledge. Otherwise you’re arguing that Jesus would have been able to speak 100 languages and do trigonometry the moment he came out of the womb.

                    • http://quijotefelix.blogspot.com/ rick allen

                      If one is a Christian–an important proviso–then
                      Jesus is understood as the incarnate Word of God, the culmination of God’s
                      revelation through Israel in the law and the prophets. The Son reveals what the
                      Father wishes to impart, and, depending upon whether one is Protestant or
                      Catholic/Orthodox, the Holy Spirit vouchsafes that revelation in scripture
                      alone, or in the whole complex of holy tradition. It’s not a question of
                      whether baby Jesus knew trigonometry, but whether the message of his ministry
                      was a genuine revelation from God, and whether the work of redemption and
                      reconciliation was real.

                      It is difficult to square this notion of Jesus’
                      teaching as the revelation of God with the idea that revelation can be superseded
                      by assertions from psychology and sociology.
                      I should probably admit that I can’t consider the social sciences as comparable
                      to the exact sciences such as physics or chemistry. They are certainly sciences in the older
                      sense of the word, organized bodies of observation and theory–but not susceptible
                      to primary expression in mathematical terms and characterized by a wide variety of often
                      contradictory approaches and methods which are not themselves capable of being
                      sorted out in a scientific manner.

                      Science can tell us how to set off a limited chain
                      reaction. It can’t tell us whether we
                      should set one off in the middle of a large city. A statistical survey can tell us whether a
                      certain behavior is common or uncommon, but it can’t establish whether that
                      behavior is right or wrong. I often wish
                      I could believe that our morality has improved as much as our technical
                      power. But I see no evidence of it.

                    • KStrett

                      “Now not only do we know that lying is a sin,”

                      The Bible states lying is a sin and it also states homosexuality is a sin. In the case of lying you agree that it is still a sin but you don’t agree that homosexuality is still a sin. In other words, you are not using the Bible as your barometer for what is a sin and what isn’t.

                      The bible states sex out side of marriage is a sin. In the Current culture, fornication is the default position for relationships.

                      God disagreed with the current culture when there were two fornicators in Moses’ camp. The fornicators might really love each other for a few months or maybe
                      more. It might be possible that something might not seem like abig deal to us or even be a good idea but in the eyes of God it might actually be really horrific behavior.

                      “BTW, I ignored your question because it’s off-topic”

                      You ignored my questions and my points because you are incapable of a rebuttal and they force into a position you don’t want to be in.

        • Andrew Dowling

          Again Jesus quoting Genesis about marriage (which was meant to make a statement about divorce) implies nothing about gay marriage. Gay marriage wouldn’t have been on the planet of the radar of 1st Century Jewish concerns. Your average person would’ve had no idea what you were talking about.

          • KStrett

            “Gay marriage wouldn’t have been on the planet of the radar of 1st Century Jewish concerns.”

            You have conceded that the Church never married two men or woman and that Jesus and the apostles did not give their stamp of approval to homosexuality.

            “Your average person would’ve had no idea what
            you were talking about.”

            Not true! Homosexual behavior was happening back then. Does Rome ring any bells?

            In fact, the Old testament called homosexuality an abomination. It did not say homosexuality is an abomination unless the two dudes are married.

            If Jesus is God and he disagreed with the OT on Homosexuality, you would think God might have married two men or two women in the beginning instead of letting them live in sin for 2000 years.

            Jesus had no problem excoriating Jewish religious leaders but forgot to mention that it is Biblically permissible for two men or women to get married? Jesus can not be God if he is wrong wrong about homosexuality.

            1. If Jesus was wrong he can’t be God, and the Christian faith is incorrect.

            or

            2. You are substituting what the Bible says with your beliefs.

            • Andrew Dowling

              Your whole argument could be used to say slavery is OK too, since Jesus and the Apostles didn’t take the time to say the whole :owning another human being” thing isn’t cool with God.

              No, Rome didn’t have gay marriage. There was gay sex, and lots of men owning boys for sexual purposes (which would’ve been well known), but no Jewish peasants in Galilee would have not been familiar with the concept of two gay men or woman marrying and living in a little nuclear family unit. That wasn’t an issue, so why would Jesus talk about it . .or better yet, why would the oral tradition retain anything he said about it even IF he did mention it . .it was not an issue of any relevance to 1st century Jews.

              • KStrett

                “Your whole argument could be used to say slavery is OK”

                First of all, you are making another category error. The issue is sinful behavior. You need to compare a behavior the bible calls a sin to another behavior the bible calls a sin.

                You also coupling the category error with misconstruing the Biblical definition of slavery with the slavery in America.

                Biblical slavery was indentured servitude. If you owed someone a debt and couldn’t pay it back, you would become the debtor’s slave until the debt was paid.

                That is completely different from believing a group of people were the equivalent of animals that could be owned.

                “No, Rome didn’t have gay marriage.”

                I didn’t say Rome had gay marriage. My point was homosexuality was prevalent in Rome and Jesus was certainly aware of it.

                “That wasn’t an issue, so why would Jesus talk about it .”

                He would talk about because He is God and if he didn’t redefine marriage to include homosexuals, homosexuals would be living a life of sin if he didn’t give his stamp of approval, which you conceded that he did not.

                The OT clearly calls homosexuality an abomination. The OT calls it homosexuality a sin and so does Paul. You would think if Jesus had a problem with the OT labeling homosexuality as an abomination, he might have mentioned something about that because Jesus certainly wouldn’t want a group of people living in sin.

                Paul received he Gospel as a direct revelation from Jesus. Was Paul wrong about homosexuality too?

                1. If Jesus was wrong he can’t be God, and the Christian faith is incorrect.

                or

                2. You are substituting what the Bible says with your beliefs.

                You have essentially conceded that you are replacing what the Bible states with what the current cultural liberal fad is.

                If homosexuals are being discriminated against because they can’t change the definition of marriage, am I being discriminated against because I am being denied the right to change the definition of marriage to one man and two women?

                • Andrew Dowling

                  You seem to be unable to grasp that concerns in the 21st century could not have been in the 1st century.

                  “You would think if Jesus had a problem with the OT labeling
                  homosexuality as an abomination, he might have mentioned something about
                  that”

                  You might have thought that since ethnic cleansing was in the OT, Jesus would’ve said a word about that. But nope. And even though you’re completely wrong about Jewish slavery, there was certainty ownership of human beings in Rome . .”Jesus must have known about it” . . so any word on slavery . .you know, to ensure the next 1800 years of blessed slave-owning in Christendom could have been avoided, and those poor slave owners could know they were committing a sin? Nope.
                  And no, Jesus never even said the right hand of fellowship was open to Gentiles, it took years of debate and subsequent “revelation” for that to be accepted by Jesus-followers/Christian Jews.

                  • KStrett

                    “You seem to be unable to grasp that concerns in the 21st century could not have been in the 1st century.”

                    You just conceded my point, albeit without realizing it. You are focusing on the concerns of the 21 century not what the Bible says about homosexuality.

                    “You might have thought that since ethnic cleansing was in the OT, Jesus would’ve said a word about that.”

                    You keep making category errors to construct straw-men. You are comparing a behavior the Bible says unequivocally is a sin to either describing an event that happened or a special revelation from God that was a one time exception.

                    “And even though you’re completely wrong about Jewish slavery, there was certainty ownership of human beings in Rome .”

                    Slavery in the Bible was different from the slavery here in America. That is a fact.

                    “And no, Jesus never even said the right hand of fellowship was open to Gentiles, it took years of debate and subsequent “revelation” for that to be accepted by Jesus-followers/Christian Jews.”

                    Here is another category error to construct a straw-man. You are comparing confusion among the apostles about Jesus’ message and sacrifice to a behavior that the Bible clearly says is a sin.

                    The apostles initially thought Jesus was going to over throw the Roman government and become king. After Jesus’ Resurrection, they didn’t understand salvation was not just for Jewish people, therefore, redefining marriage to include homosexuals has the Biblical stamp of approval?

                    You can use that exact same logic chain to make any sin permissible! Jesus never even said the right hand of fellowship was open to Gentiles, therefore premarital sex is has the biblical stamp of approval.

                    Once again, you argument dictates that God didn’t know that a sinful behavior isn’t sinful and let a group of people stay in sin for 2000 years.

                    1. If Jesus was wrong he can’t be God, and the Christian faith is incorrect.

                    or

                    2. You are substituting what the Bible says with your beliefs.

                    Also, you didn’t answer my question.

                    Do I have the exact same constitutional right to redefine marriage to the definition I like or is redefining marriage just a special right only for homosexuals?

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      First off, I don’t know what apologetic BS website you’re pasting your addendum from, but it’s extremely annoying and inaccurate. No, Jesus does not have to know everything to be God . .you are forcing your conceptions of a God onto Jesus.

                      “You just conceded my point, albeit without realizing it. You are
                      focusing on the concerns of the 21 century not what the Bible says about
                      homosexuality.”

                      Are we on the same planet?? . . you’re the one saying gay marriage was an issue in the 1st century . .it was not, so why would anyone bring it up?

                      “You are comparing a behavior the Bible says unequivocally is a sin to
                      either describing an event that happened or a special revelation from
                      God that was a one time exception.”

                      Ah, more WLC-style apologetic crap. It’s not a straw man, but extremely relevant. First off, there are several God-ordained slaughters in the OT . . .many Christians for centuries used these to justify their one massacres. So, as a MORAL issue, why would Jesus not set the record straight? You also completely ignored my point about slavery . . another institution that by any rational mind is much more horrible than gay marriage could ever be . . why is slavery not clearly stated as a sin by Jesus or Paul? Why didn’t God keep 1800 years of sinful behavior from happening?

                      “After Jesus’ Resurrection, they didn’t understand salvation was not just
                      for Jewish people, therefore, redefining marriage to include
                      homosexuals has the Biblical stamp of approval?”

                      Why didn’t Jesus clarify that (kind of crucial) nugget, The point being . .it took time and reflection to come to their decision . . a decision that was against what Scripture said at the time. The same can be said of gay marriage. With reflection and increased knowledge about homosexuality, we can make changes to tradition just like the Apostles did. That’s the tradition of Jesus.

                      And no, it doesn’t equate to anything goes. Going through the teachings attributed to Jesus . . instead of searching for clobber texts, get the general picture. God is found in acts of love, charity, mercy, and forgiveness. And the ultimate expression of God is found in sacrificing for others . .hence Jesus on the cross. That’s the Gospel, not some bogus declaration where you get on stage and become :born again” and then go back to your regular life.

                      So the question becomes . . . is the response to gay people furthering sacrificial love and mercy (on YOUR part) or is it not? Being a judgmental twat, from what I can tell . . is being a judgmental twat; you aren’t following the example of Jesus one iota by supporting the prohibition of their desire to love each other just like heterosexuals do. Jesus, through all 4 Gospels . . NEVER says the way of mercy is the wrong way. If the idea of gay sex grosses you out . . tough. Leprosy grossed people out in the 1st century too.

                    • KStrett

                      “No, Jesus does not have to know everything to be God”

                      You would think God would know what is sinful and what isn’t, wouldn’t you?

                      The old testament called homosexuality an abomination. Paul said it is a sin too. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah?

                      But now all of the sudden homosexuality is okay! What part of scripture are you getting this from?

                      Answer: You are not getting this from scripture. By your own admission you are getting this from the current liberal cultural beliefs and not the Bible.

                      Again, you can throw up as many ad hominem attacks and red herrings as you want. Your position dictates God is wrong. If God is wrong, he must not be God. If that is the case, why follow that particular religion?

                      Even if I conceded your argument that is predicated on deconstructionism, your position dictates that anyone can redefine marriage to the definition they want and that marriage arrangement has God’s stamp of approval.

                      If group A is being discriminated against because they can’t redefine marriage, the equal protection clause dictates everyone has the exact same right to redefine marriage.

                      If group A has God’s stamp of approval to redefine marriage all groups must have God’s stamp of approval to redefine marriage too.

                      You position boils down to, as long as you can get a marriage license God is okay with your marriage arrangement.

                      Bisexuals should be able to marry one man and one woman and God is cool with that. If you are against that you must be a judgmental bigot and the thought of bisexual sex grosses you out.

                      ” you’re the one saying gay marriage was an issue in the 1st century .”

                      Here is another straw-man. I didn’t say redefining marriage was an issue back then. I said homosexuality was prevalent in Roman culture and Jesus and the apostles were aware of homosexuality.

                      Your position dictates instead of marrying two men or two women, Jesus let homosexuals be imprisoned in sin for 2000 years. Once again, apparently Jesus was wrong about homosexuality and you are right.

                      Seeing that Jesus is God and you believe he was wrong, it logically follows that Jesus was not God, why would you call yourself a Christian?

                      “Ah, more WLC-style apologetic crap. ”

                      Who needs logic and reason?

                      “It’s not a straw man, but extremely relevant.”

                      It is a straw-man. We agree that it is relevant too. However, it relevant because it shows your position is logically flawed.

                      “First off, there are several God-ordained slaughters in the OT . . .many Christians for centuries used these to justify their one massacres.”

                      You are using the same category error to construct the same straw-man to knock down. This is a logically fallacy no matter how many times you repeat it.

                      The God ordained slaughters were a direct revelation FROM GOD! They were an exception to the rule and this came directly from God.

                      In other words, thou shall not kill but in this case God directly ordered them to eliminate any Canaanites that wouldn’t leave. That doesn’t mean once the Canaanites were gone, thou shall not murder was null and void. Once the Canaanites were gone, thou shall not murder applied again.

                      Your second example is of groups not following what Jesus taught. For example, take the Salem Witch trails:

                      No where did Jesus and the apostles murder anyone. Jesus did not teach us to execute witches.

                      On top of that, Jesus or the apostles didn’t even defend them selves when someone was attempting to kill them, which they were would have been justified to do.

                      Once again, you are comparing a behavior the Bible calls a sin to an exception to the rule that was a direct revelation from God and groups of people who were not following what Jesus taught.

                      This is a text book category error! You made the category error to construct a text book straw-man to knock down so you can make a behavior the Bible calls a sin acceptable.

                      “You also completely ignored my point about slavery . . another institution that by any rational mind is much more horrible than gay marriage could ever be”

                      I did not ignore your point. However, slavery is a red herring. I am not arguing back and forth about slavery.

                      For the sake of the argument, lets stipulate that there is a country where slavery is permissible. Can a slave owner treat a slave well? Yes!

                      The slave owner doesn’t have to beat his slavers or treat them badly. It might also be the case, if the slave owner set their slaves free they would be murdered or harmed.

                      I find it laughable that you accuse me of dodging a point when I have asked you the exact same question at least three times.

                      “why is slavery not clearly stated as a sin by Jesus or Paul?”

                      It was indentured servitude. Jesus used this in some of his parables. Again, the slave owner doesn’t have treat the slave horribly and could actually be protecting the slave from people who would beat and murder the slave.

                      Look what you are doing:

                      You are comparing a behavior both the OT and NT call a sin to a (at best) unrevealed sin in order to make a reveled sin okay. This doesn’t make any sense!

                      “Why didn’t Jesus clarify that (kind of crucial) nugget, The point being . .it took time and reflection”

                      Category error after category error!

                      He did but they didn’t understand! You are comparing the apostles misunderstanding the OT prophesies of the Messiah and Jesus’ teachings to a reveled sin in order to make the revealed sin Biblically permissible! This makes absolutely no sense!

                      “And no, it doesn’t equate to anything goes. Going through the teachings attributed to Jesus .”

                      Yes it does. The exact same logic chain you are using would apply to adultery or premarital sex or any sin for that matter.

                      “God is found in acts of love, charity, mercy, and forgiveness”

                      God is found in works? The only way God is found only though Jesus.

                      “And the ultimate expression of God is found in sacrificing for others . hence Jesus on the cross. That’s the Gospel, not some bogus declaration
                      where you get on stage and become :born again” and then go back to your regular life.”

                      Here is another straw-man. Believe it or not, there are Christians who repented, believe in Jesus with all their heart, and are saved. Notice repent from sins is also included… repent from sins not embrace sin….

                      “So the question becomes . . . is the response to gay people furthering sacrificial love and mercy (on YOUR part) or is it not?”

                      I did nothing for anyone’s salvation. Jesus’ sacrificed everything. I don’t deserve to be saved.

                      It is not Biblical to say I am required to further sacrificial love and mercy by embracing a behavior the Bible clearly calls a sin.

                      Jesus told people to repent from sin! He did not give them a hug, tell them he loves them and no matter what they do they are getting into heaven, therefore sin at will.

                      “you aren’t following the example of Jesus one iota by supporting the prohibition of their desire to love each other just like heterosexuals do.”

                      Where did Jesus say it is permissible to keep sinning?

                      Are you not following the example of Jesus one iota by supporting the prohibition of polygamists and bisexuals desire to love each other just like heterosexuals
                      do?

                      “Jesus, through all 4 Gospels . . NEVER says the way of mercy is the wrong way.”

                      It does not say giving people mercy(meaning to accept sin) is the way to salvation. You can dish out heaping portions of mercy out all you want and not be saved.

                      Jesus did say if you don’t believe in him and you don’t repent from sin, you would be sent to a BBQ in a tropical location.

                      The Bible also clearly states homosexuality is a sin. The means of salvation for homosexuals would be to turn away from homosexual behavior and believe in Jesus.

                      The same would apply to fornicators. Your logic chain dictates that you can believe in Jesus and fornicate all you want.

                      The fornicators might really love each other for a few months or maybe more. Although, it might be possible that something might not seem like a big deal to us or even be a good idea but in the eyes of God be really horrific behavior.

                      I recall God not being very happy with a few fornicators in Moses’ camp………..

                      You are replacing God’s revealed word with man’s ideas and you have admitted this.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      You are now ranting and all your cries of “category error” and “strawman” can’t put humpty dumpty together again. I do hope sometime in the future you won’t steer your life around fear so much; for those in fear cannot truly love. Bye bye now.

                    • KStrett

                      In other words, you can not defend your position on Jesus putting his stamp of approval on homosexuality.

                      “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. ”

                      You can not say this is suddenly permissible without making all sinful behavior permissible.

                      You can not argue that homosexuals have the constitutional right to redefine marriage without giving the right to redefine marriage to everyone.

                      This dictates polygamists and bisexuals have the exact same right to change the definition of marriage to a new definition they want.

                      If God is cool with homosexuals changing the definition of marriage despite clearly calling homosexual sex an abomination, he must also be cool with polygamists and bisexuals getting married too.

                      “I do hope sometime in the future you won’t steer your life around fear so much; for those in fear cannot truly love.”

                      In other words, you must be steering your life around love. Do loving people resort to insults when someone disagrees with their position?

                    • Brad

                      Well if Jesus had half brothers, my first guess would be Joseph was a bit of a wild man. He’s a saint, though, so my guess is there was no infidelity there. There are plenty of ways to translate Jesus’ “brothers” as cousins in Greek.

                    • Brad

                      woops,that was for kstrett

                    • Brad

                      KStrett, your approach to this issue carries a variety of implications that make you just as much of a relativist as the people you condemn. You may not be coming from a “deconstructionist” angle, but your fundamentalism is just as defenseless, and just as circular.

                      When you admit God makes “exceptions to His rules”, because HE’s the dictator of morality, your placing God above morality, and your pitting Him against morality. If your God can do as he pleases, because “he’s God”, you are serving a psychopath. If God is all-good, and all-loving, he can’t do things that are not all-good, and not all-loving.

                      “The God ordained slaughters were a direct revelation FROM GOD! They were an exception to the rule and this came directly from God.” – Yikes, talk about logical fallacies!

                      Just because you make “God” an absolute, doesn’t mean you’re defending absolute truth. Your logic crumbles into relativistic non-sense if the object you call God stands above logic. It’s no different than saying you yourself stand above moral goodness. The only difference is your spouting the name of “God” in your defense.

                      “God is found in works? The only way God is found only though Jesus.” – Have you ever considered that maybe Jesus IS a work of love and mercy? I used to be an avid RC Sproul/Al Mohler/Piper reader, like yourself, but perhaps you should read what St. Augustine argues in his “On Free Choice of the Will” about works and God’s grace being fully REALIZED in human works. God is realized in works of charity. If you can’t see that, God help you. You ought to open your eyes beyond this naive “faith vs. works” neo-Calvinism. Salvation isn’t an enemy of good works.

                      You’re pitting Jesus against works of moral goodness. Once again, you’re isolating God in this untouchable and unanalyzable realm of “faith”. This is no different than someone saying “it’s true, because I believe it’s true.”

                      Since your arguments sum up to “God cannot be reached by human reason”, your God can only be reached by faith. And if God, who IS moral goodness, is only answerable to your faith in Him and not answerable to “man’s reason”, your beliefs about moral goodness have no order and are openly illogical, whenever your God sees fit.

                      You are not the spokesman of what God “plainly reveals” in Scripture. Do you realize how many thousands of years of painstaking scholarship on this word “revealed” has been in place for you to just toss it around with a wave of your wand? Be careful what you say of God. If he isn’t answerable to moral boundaries, He can create a rock so big He can’t lift it.

                      By you dictating “the plainly revealed truths of Scripture”, you have isolated yourself from any rational discussion. I hope you eventually see that. I don’t know how else to say it, but you have a very naive approach to “man’s perspective” and “man’s ideas”. The Scriptures were written by men, who were influenced by ideas, and who were influenced by reason. That does not take away from the fact that the Scriptures REVEAL God.

                    • KStrett

                      ” your approach to this issue carries a variety of implications that make you just as much of a relativist”

                      The Bible clearly says that homosexual behavior is a sin. Even if you redefine marriage to include gay couples, it is still a sin.

                      You don’t like what the Bible says about homosexuality. You like the current liberal cultural fad. You are attempting intellectual gymnastics to make homosexuality biblical. That is all that is going on here.

                      Your position dictates we can be saved and sin at will, which was addressed by the apostles.

                      “When you admit God makes “exceptions to His rules”, because HE’s the dictator of morality, your placing God above morality, and your pitting Him against morality. If your God can do as he pleases, because “he’s
                      God”, you are serving a psychopath. If God is all-good, and all-loving, he can’t do things that are not all-good, and not all-loving.”

                      Not true at all. You are putting yourself on the same level as God. For example, let’s say God said thou shall not kill but instructed a the Jewish people to kill a starving and frustrated artist in Vienna in 1907, a chicken farmer and a few other Germans.

                      You can judge God’s judgement but the problem is you don’t have God’s knowledge that the Germans he instructed to be killed would later become the leaders of the Nazi regime.

                      “Yikes, talk about logical fallacies!”

                      How is that a logical fallacy?

                      Notice you are not taking umbrage with the logical fallacy clinic being put on to support the notion of homosexuality behavior being biblically approved.

                      ” Your logic crumbles into relativistic non-sense if the object you call God stands above logic. It’s no different than saying you yourself stand above moral goodness.”

                      Moral goodness comes directly from God because he is good. If God has knowledge we don’t have, that defeats your objection. You have set up a false dichotomy.

                      ” Have you ever considered that maybe Jesus IS a work of love and mercy? ……..God’s grace being fully REALIZED in human works. God is realized in works of charity. If you can’t see that, God help you.”

                      My point about works was about in response to Andrew. You can do all the “good works” you want, not believe in Jesus, and you are not saved.

                      Even if what you said were true, it does not make homosexuality Biblically approved.

                      ” You ought to open your eyes beyond this naive “faith vs. works” neo-Calvinism. Salvation isn’t an enemy of good works.”

                      Was Paul naive?

                      “You’re pitting Jesus against works of moral goodness.”

                      No I am not. You are reading things into what I am saying, not reading what I am saying, or not realizing I was having a discussion with someone else.

                      “Since your arguments sum up to “God cannot be reached by human reason”, your God can only be reached by faith”

                      Again, I did not say that and I have no idea where you are getting this from.

                      “By you dictating “the plainly revealed truths of Scripture”, you have isolated yourself from any rational discussion.”

                      Yet, no one who wants homosexual behavior to be Biblically approved is making any rational or logical points whatsoever but you didn’t have a problem with their thinking.

                      Aside from a bunch of red herrings, you have made zero points to support the notion homosexual behavior is permissible in a biblical sense.

                      “The Scriptures were written by men, who were influenced by ideas, and who were influenced by reason. That does not take away from the fact that the Scriptures REVEAL God.”

                      In other words, you can cherry pick what you like and disregard what you don’t like? Is the Bible is that flawed why would you call yourself a Christian?

                      If that isn’t the point you were making, why are you ignoring what God says is a sinful behavior?

                    • Brad

                      “The Bible clearly says that homosexual behavior is a sin. Even if you redefine marriage to include gay couples, it is still a sin.”

                      Yes.

                      “You don’t like what the Bible says about homosexuality. You like the current liberal cultural fad. You are attempting intellectual gymnastics to make homosexuality biblical. That is all that is going on here.”

                      I don’t approve of homosexual behavior or gay marriage.

                      “let’s say God said thou shall not kill but instructed a the Jewish people to kill a starving and frustrated artist in Vienna in 1907, a chicken farmer and a few other Germans”

                      Yes, they committed an immoral action, because they defied the moral order by which we know God. If God told them to do it, then He’s contradicting His all-good nature.

                      “Was Paul naive?” – St. Paul didn’t pit good works against salvation. He never said we were saved by faith alone. St. James makes it clear we aren’t saved by faith alone. That’s what Luther said… not St. Paul. Christ IS salvation. By that token you ARE pitting Christ against good works, you’re just too seeped into a superficial reading of the 5 points to realize you are.

                      “Yet, no one who wants homosexual behavior to be Biblically approved is making any rational or logical points whatsoever but you didn’t have a problem with their thinking.”

                      I do. I’m just not willing to play into their obsession with exegetics on the issue.

                      “In other words, you can cherry pick what you like and disregard what you don’t like? Is the Bible is that flawed why would you call yourself a Christian?”

                      No, Luther and your Protestant forefathers cherry picked what they liked and what they didn’t like. That’s why you have a different Bible than me. It’s a collection of sacred infallible writings for the

                    • Brad

                      woops, wasn’t done…

                      It’s a collection of sacred infallible writings for the Church and by the Church. It’s for the Church to understand – not cowboy theologians.

                    • KStrett

                      “It’s for the Church to understand – not cowboy theologians.”

                      The Bible is not for the average person to understand but the Catholic Church? I should just take the Catholic Church’s word for it?

                      Explain to me how Mary is a perpetual virgin when Jesus had half brothers?

                    • Brad

                      Well if Jesus had half brothers, my first guess would be Joseph was a bit of a wild man. He’s a saint, though, so my guess is there was no infidelity there. There are plenty of ways to translate Jesus’ “brothers” as cousins in Greek.

                    • KStrett

                      “St. Paul didn’t pit good works against salvation. He never said we were saved by faith alone.”

                      Are you playing games with semantics here? Yes he did say that as it was the premise behind much of his letters. It is not faith + works= salvation. It is faith in Jesus alone.

                      When you add works in to the equation, you are as Paul stated causing Jesus to die needlessly.

                      I find it vexing that you would pick a fight with me rather than the emergent church and their position on homosexuality.

                      Has it occurred to you what happens to the Church when more of the population are brainwashed into believing homosexuals not being allowed to redefine marriage is synonymous with the plight of Black people during slavery and the civil rights movement?

                    • Brad

                      Yes, I have “Solus Christus” tattooed on my arm. That does not mean “faith alone”. Your “premise behind much of his letters” is Luther’s “premise behind much of his letters”. That’s not St. Paul’s premise. That’s not the apostolic Church’s premise. Have you read St. James’ epistle on the topic of justification? No wonder it made Luther want to throw it out of the canon.

                      I’m not picking a fight. I’m just trying to show you that using “the Bible says so” is not a good way to go about the argument. There’s a moral reason. The more you resort to fundamentalism, the more you estrange yourself from a rational discussion. If you don’t make God appeal to reason, God doesn’t make sense. And if He doesn’t make sense, you can make Him say whatever you want Him to say. And you end up doing the same thing your opponents are doing. That’s why I don’t see these guys as any different than you; they’re just more sentimental and clever in the way they go about it. I’m sorry I make arguments you would expect from an atheist. Maybe you should take a different strategy in reading the Bible. You have a lot of different options.

                    • Brad

                      In other words, I’m beyond disagreeing with this crowd on homosexuality. I disagree with most of you simply on the way you reason about things. You have no universal way of approaching it, in which non-Evangelical people could join in a rational discussion about it. The rest of this crowd has just as much of a right as you to say Scripture supports homosexuality, by their “from the text” philosophy. They’ll just attach their own hermeneutic/exegetic twist to it, with a different “premise” that sounds good. Eventually people have to ask why does God approve/not approve of homosexuality. What universal REASON does He have/not have?

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      “Eventually people have to ask why does God approve/not approve of homosexuality. What universal REASON does He have/not have?”

                      And in this case, “reason” is on the side of permitting gays equal rights, including in marriage. There is a reason courts across the Western world have uniformly rejected the Church’s “natural law” hullabaloo on this issue, and it’s not because they’ve all suddenly become irrational (or as Kstrett would probably contend, overrun by demonic forces)

                      Clearly you must admit the RCC has been wrong in the past, or was slavery A-OK for the 1500+ years it had the Church’s blessing?

                    • Brad

                      Maybe the western world is gradually adopting an egalitarian paradigm that influences its description(s) of the human person, and it does not value a distinction of human sexuality anymore. On a political spectrum, the case against gay marriage has little to do with natural law.

                    • Brad

                      But on a public forum, aside from politics, the ethical/moral case against does have to do with natural law.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      The ethical/moral natural argument crumbles when you acknowledge that homosexuality is largely developed in utero, which is where the majority of solid research is pointing. The Church’s view on sexuality assumes a simplistic binary model which is just inaccurate. It’s a clear minority of people born, but if two people are born with an innate desire for their own gender, there’s no rational argument, civil or moral, that they should not be able to couple and love each just like the majority of straight people can.

                    • Brad

                      No reasonable natural law theorist is denying that homosexuality is a genetic inclination. The argument is over what is love, and is it possible for a homosexual person to give himself/herself completely to another person. It also involves a reflection of how our sexuality ties into our identity in a relationship with another human being. For a cradle Catholic, I’m surprised you didn’t say something in opposition to Theology of the Body.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      “The argument is over what is love, and is it possible for a homosexual
                      person to give himself/herself completely to another person.”

                      Why couldn’t it be? Some bizarre idea that sex can’t be “true loving sex” without producing children is an idea only a lifelong celibate like John Paul II could advocate.

                    • Brad

                      That’s not what JPII “advocated”. You ought to at least spend a few minutes on Wikipedia. He derived his essentially “bizarre” ideas from a not so celibate philosopher/theologian, Dietrich von Hildebrand. I’m not a lifelong celibate, and it’s part of my job to teach the subject. Do you call any idea you’re unfamiliar with “bizarre”?

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      So through all of the verbal sophistry, the underlying message isn’t that sex ultimately has to be able to result in children? What was I told through 8 years of Catholic school?

                      Look, I get the romanticism of the past the Church embraces, and I don’t even consider it all a bad thing. I think marriage should be taken very seriously and viewed as much deeper than a simple social contract. But I still have yet to view a rational reason to why people who are attracted to the same sex cannot join in the union of matrimony like straight people can.

                    • Brad

                      8 years of CCD tells me you were able to regurgitate some teachings of the Church, and that’s it. I have to go into schools and do clean up work for bad religion programs (although, some are much better than others). I don’t blame half the kids from leaving after college. It’s a shame, because the RCC and EOC are practically the only churches that integrate ancient, medieval, modern, and postmodern philosophy whenever they find value in it. And they often do it quite generously (e.g. JPII is openly indebted to Levinas and Heidegger for his Theology of the Body, and the rest of his philosophy on love).

                      You ought to be fair and not characterize the Church as if it’s clinging on to some golden age. The Church has had to reform the way it addresses the issue of human identity throughout the ages. At some points in history it’s behind on scientific scholarship (Galileo, Darwin), and with others, its scholars pioneer progress (e.g. the Big Bang, natural selection or genetics).

                      Most people give a glancing eye to western civilization and generalize it as this linear path of enlightenment via the hard sciences, and the ones that are almost hard sciences (e.g. genetics). Philosophers and theologians are pseudo-mystics who “speculate” about the things we don’t know about and give it metaphysical names, then “science” apparently comes in and wipes out the problem and there’s no more room for speculation. The whole idea of the soul was just a name we gave to things we don’t know about. In the same way, the Church is just holding on to this “romantic” yet archaic notion that the human person is made of this visible thing called the body and an invisible thing called the soul. What a shame.

                      Well before we discovered genetics, the ancient and medieval philosophy of the human person already made all the room for it. In order to understand what an organism is, you have to understand its function, and to understand its function, you have to understand its purpose. In order to understand what the organism is, you have to understand what it is for. It is called final causality. Locke conveniently eliminated final causality, because we couldn’t “observe” it, and Hume cleaned it up and said “you’re right! That’s why we can always be skeptical about causality!” After that, it was game over. All of our trusted scholars left out any talk of purpose and design (it’s written all over Kant’s writings), and all you could definitively say about anything was what we could “observe”. The metaphysical categories were gradually eliminated, because all intelligence in the West was in the service of science. No one considered what we were going to do about “ethics”. That’s when we came full circle back to Heidegger, where he acknowledged we HAD to have talk of final causality if we were going to talk about purpose. JPII said “Yes, our sexuality has a purpose, and we know this by its ultimate end: procreation.” When we give ourselves entirely, and do not try to prevent life from happening, we are fully giving ourselves to the Other. When we do not, we are only giving that person a part of ourselves. Just because you are genetically inclined to eat cookies, sit on couches, get drunk, have sex all the time, steal things, or play basketball, it doesn’t mean you should. In some of these cases, you’re not living out your design, and so you’re failing to be responsible with your humanity. When we artificially prevent the natural process of procreation, we are robbing ourselves of our own design.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      “Just because you are genetically inclined to eat cookies, sit on
                      couches, get drunk, have sex all the time, steal things, or play
                      basketball, it doesn’t mean you should. In some of these cases, you’re not living out your design, and so you’re failing to be responsible with your humanity.”

                      Right, so a person may be inclined to run track or eat cookies, so that may be their genetically-inclinded “design,” yes? But that doesn’t mean they should do, or always do them? Someone may play too much basketball and not attend to chores or homework, or eat cookies until they are 400 lbs. On the same page here?

                      “When we artificially prevent the natural process of procreation, we are robbing ourselves of our own design.”

                      That just went against what you just said. I may be designed to procreate as many little Andrews as I can, but just like with cookies and basketball, I should be responsible and not let the “inclination/design” rule. With various methods of family planning, one is given many options by which to control, to a very large extent, how many children one has. God bless advances in medicine.

                      “When we give ourselves entirely, and do not try to prevent life from happening, we are fully giving ourselves to the Other.”

                      Right, I know all of the tender Humanae Vitae language and reasoning. It sounds nice but simply isn’t true. Can an infertile couple not truly “give of themselves” in the sexual act? If yes, then why not a couple engaged in responsible family planning? If they cannot, what a judgmental and cruel notion, especially promulgated by persons supposedly who’ve never had sex.

                      You’re trying to pit the argument into a nice binary conflict . . .science/Enlightement v metaphysics. No, embracing science does not mean one has to let go of concepts like “purpose,” “meaning,” . . even “soul”. (although ironically that whole conception of an eternal soul is pure Hellenism and Jesus and the Apostles certainly did not share such a belief, but I digress) but whatever metaphysical ideas remain are going to have to make logical sense in a rational, moral framework amidst what we know and are constantly learning in scientific fields (one reason we no longer describe epileptics as demon possessed).

                      Frankly, the ethical and moral arguments behind birth control and family planning far outweigh any esoteric, obscure notion that sex can’t be primarily for pleasure and must involve some notion of “sacrifice” (especially of the temptuous female through childbirth) . .an idea going back to poor Augustine’s guilt-plagued obsession with concupiscence and the horrible idea of original sin, another nugget that would’ve been completely foreign to Jesus. Thankfully, the actual Church (you know, the lay people in the pews) thought the same regarding birth control and have almost universally chucked the idea in the garbage bin where it belongs.

                    • Brad

                      “On the same page here?”

                      I’m not sure. I am not saying we derive our design from genetics. Genetics shows us how human nature is inclined in various ways, but it does not show us our overall metaphysical design (e.g. life, love, play). This probably isn’t answering your sarcasm, so you might have to clarify the confusion, or the point you’re trying to make.

                      “I may be designed to procreate as many little Andrews as I can, but just like with cookies and basketball, I should be responsible and not let the “inclination/design” rule.”

                      You should always be open to the natural process of life. That is why there is NFP. With NFP, you are working around the cycles, but you are not artificially preventing life from happening.

                      “Can an infertile couple not truly “give of themselves” in the sexual act? If yes, then why not a couple engaged in responsible family planning?”

                      They should always be open to life within the sexual act, even if they’re infertile, so no. It is a defect that they do not have the organs to produce life, but they are not intentionally engaging in a defective act.

                      “You’re trying to pit the argument into a nice binary conflict . . .science/Enlightement v metaphysics. No, embracing science does not mean one has to let go of concepts like “purpose,” “meaning,” . . even “soul”.”

                      Definitely not. I’m insulted you think I’m that naive. You must have missed something. The whole point of my absurdly long comment was that in order for science and ethics to come together, you have to embrace some metaphysical concepts of human identity. That was the whole point of the Heidegger comment. After Nietzsche declared the death of metaphysics, Heidegger claimed that we have to resuscitate it, because we can’t have a comprehensive embrace of science and ethics together without it. And that’s WHY we had to recover the legitimacy of final causality. This doesn’t mean you toss out scientific discovery. You merge the two. That’s the point of METAphysics. We have made wondrous discoveries about human evolution, DNA, and we still want to know what is the right way to live. Sociology and psychology work in various theories to explain how we live, but they don’t show us how to live. By investigating our design, our final cause, we are able to delineate how to fulfill that design. If you investigate our design through sheer physical causality (as do the physical reductionists like Dawkins and Dennett), you have no prescription for how humanity should live, and you are not accounting for the experiences we all have that have no meaning when they are attempted to be explained away via genetics or cognitive science.

                      “whatever metaphysical ideas remain are going to have to make logical sense in a rational, moral framework amidst what we know and are constantly learning in scientific fields (one reason we no longer describe epileptics as demon possessed).”

                      You’re right. Except demon possession is a theological idea, not really a metaphysical one.

                      Well you seem to be on to some great ideas. I hope you tie up all of the logical ends, and tie them altogether. You would thrive well in a classics program. It’s nice to see a truly independent thinker willing to engage my non-sense.

                      It is a shame you see these ideas as esoteric. If procreation isn’t the final purpose of sex, maybe you ought to consider what is the final purpose of sex.

                    • Brad

                      Woops, I made a certain remark really confusing. They have the organs that are directed toward producing life, they are just defective organs, but their sexual act isn’t defective because they are acting out their biological design, as long as they’re open to life in the actual act. Woops! Ok, I’m done. I’ve burned too much of my Friday fun time.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      You can’t separate Catholic (or any religious) metaphysics from theology. You talked about procreation being the final purpose of sex. It CAN be. But the logic that it ALWAYS SHOULD BE stems from theological arguments . . your response neglected my comments about the roots of the Church’s centuries of thought on this issue, with Augustine really framing the issue. That may be because many of his ideas, for a number of reasons beyond simply the 20th century availability of birth control, just don’t hold up.

                      There is no good moral or rational reason why two monogamous adults cannot choose to have sex for the sole purpose of igniting the pleasure and bonding chemicals that intercourse produces; it’s healthy for the couple physically, psychologically . . by any measure you want to use. That old celibate men in Rome (and definitely not all of them, as the pre-Humanae commission recs shows) would know better is laughable, and the sensus fidelium has spoken on the issue.

                    • KStrett

                      “And in this case, “reason” is on the side of permitting gays equal rights, including in marriage”

                      If you are for equal rights, you must believe everyone has an equal right to redefine marriage, correct?

                      “or as Kstrett would probably contend, overrun by demonic forces)”

                      1. Men and women are designed to be attracted to each other.

                      2. homosexuals are not attracted to the opposite sex.

                      3. Therefore, homosexually has to be an abnormality.

                      By arguing homosexuals are being discriminated against, you are essentially saying homosexuality is normal. However, it is easily shown to be an abnormality.

                      There can be no discrimination via redefining marriage if homosexuality is an abnormality.

                      Since you just insulted me again by stating I see demonic forces behind everything , despite claiming you are all about love, please defeat my arguments.

                      Which premise do you object to #1 or #2 and please answer my question :

                      If you are for equal rights, you must believe everyone has an equal right to redefine marriage, correct?

                    • KStrett

                      Brad,
                      You are not reading what I am saying,not responding to my points, and ascribing positions to me that I don’t have.

                      The central question is:

                      Is redefining marriage to include homosexuals Biblically permissible?

                      Since God clearly states homosexual behavior is an abomination and the church never married two people of the same sex, the answer to the question has to be no.

                      How would you determine whether or not a Christian can engage in homosexual behavior? You would see what the Bible said about homosexuality.

                      That isn’t using circular reasoning. It is reading what the text says.

                      There is a difference between the questions, is homosexuality biblically permissible in a Christian context and why I am personally against homosexuals redefining marriage. You are clearly conflating the two.

                      I offered both Biblical and rational reasons why homosexuality does not and can never have Jesus’ stamp of approval and why the rationale in favor of homosexuality is flawed. To arguing I am only using circular reasoning is absurd.

                      “The more you resort to fundamentalism, the more you estrange yourself from a rational discussion.”

                      You obviously are not reading a word I said!

                      Lets use logic:

                      If group A is being discriminated against because they are being denied the right to redefine marriage, the very same equal protection clause that homosexual activists use as legal justification to redefine marriage would apply to all groups who want the exact same right.

                      If you are going to argue that God likes the idea of homosexuals redefining marriage and your position dictates all groups have exact same right to change the defition of marriage to the one they like, it logically follows that God also likes polygamy and any marriage arrangement that someone wants.

                      If God said that homosexuality is a sin, and you have determined that God actually likes homosexuality, the God of Christianity has to be a false god.

                      If you believe that God said homosexuality is a sin, but he changed his mind, all sin is permissible and you can be a Christian and you don’t have to repent from sin.

                      Explain to me how I am only using circular reason?

                      You won’t! You will repeat the exact same thing you said before while ignoring my points.

                    • Brad

                      “Explain to me how I am only using circular reason?
                      You won’t! You will repeat the exact same thing you said before while ignoring my points.”

                      I guess I’m doomed to failure, then. I will give it one last desperate attempt, and I will try my best at not ignoring your points.

                      “How would you determine whether or not a Christian can engage in homosexual behavior? You would see what the Bible said about homosexuality.
                      That isn’t using circular reasoning. It is reading what the text says.”

                      I hope you follow that same simple principle of “reading what the text says” when you read “what the text” says about women wearing head coverings. Do you follow what the “text says” in Leviticus? I doubt you do, but, if you do, I am at a loss for words. That is a looooong and tedious grocery list, but the text clearly and plainly says it. Should you really be eating all that crap you buy (or our mom buys) at the grocery store? The “text says” it is an abomination if you do.

                      “If you are going to argue that God likes the idea of homosexuals redefining marriage and your position dictates all groups have exact same right to change the defition of marriage to the one they like, it logically follows that God also likes polygamy and any marriage arrangement that someone wants.”

                      No one here is arguing that. Honestly represent one person on this thread that argues that position. They are arguing from the exact same source you are: “the Biblical texts support love between the same sex.” If you proof text something, they will just tell you it was a ceremonial or cultural norm “just like head coverings”, and love between the same sex was not really a moral issue addressed by the Scriptures. Or maybe they’ll tell you that heterosexual marriage is not an essential, exclusive truth laid out in Scripture. Or they might argue that homosexuality was only a marginal issue in Scripture, or maybe the ancients, when writing Scripture, did not know enough about our genetic makeup. In any way, they will make just as “clear” of an argument as you. If you argue that “the ancients didn’t write Scripture, God did”, then I hope the women in your life are wearing head coverings, because “God said it CLEARLY in the text”

                      “There is a difference between the questions, is homosexuality biblically permissible in a Christian context and why I am personally against homosexuals redefining marriage. You are clearly conflating the two.”

                      To get this clear, point one is (1) “whether or not homosexuality is biblically permissible in a Christian context” and point two (2) “why Kstrett is personally against homosexuals redefining marriage.”

                      Well, you are going to need more than just Scripture to prove your argument in point 1. With a collection of texts written over several thousand years in various cultural contexts, written by educated and uneducated folks, provided by at least two different religions (Judaism and Christianity), with varying arguments as to what belongs in that collection of texts and what doesn’t, good luck!! When you figure out all the clearly written moral laws in those books, notify Yale, Harvard, and Princeton and get your ass in a Department Chair. They will need you. And what is a “Christian context”? What denomination, or non-denomination, are you a part of?

                      Point 2 is about “why you are personally against it”… I don’t know what that means. When you say “personally”, do you just mean an opinion? Or are you basing it off of some universal source we can all point to? My guess is that you are not in college, yet, but, if you are, you won’t get away with arguing “from the Bible” in a college classroom. It is no different than a Muslim saying it is okay to bomb buildings, because the “God of the Koran” clearly says so.

                      (If you are in college, I meant no disrespect. I am just trying to reach you where you seem to be).

                      Kstrett, referring to a text does not mean you are avoiding circular reasoning. The problem is that Scripture just isn’t enough to prove your point. God gave you nature, too. You should be able to trust it, even if you’re a gung-ho 5 pt. Calvinist. If you are talking about “within a Christian context”, you are going to have to define what a “Christian context” even is. What rules do they have to abide by to appeal to a “Christian context”. Which Christian tradition are you talking about? There are a lot of them.

                      And do they have to believe that Scripture is inerrant? And what makes Scripture inerrant, anyway? Is it inerrant because it says it is? That is no different than me saying “I am inerrant because I say I am”. If you cannot show people why they should trust every word Sacred Scripture dictates, then you are resorting to nothing more than an empty assertion. That is what’s circular about it.

                      I know that it is taxing and time consuming to discern the truths of Sacred Scripture, but the road is straight and narrow. Truth is always going to be a difficult thing to come by. I am not trying to “troll” you here, or play “devil’s advocate”. I am a hair more mature than that, but I enjoy pushing people (including myself) to take the next more difficult step in investigating Truth. It is a lifelong journey, and if you think the intellectual side of Christianity is as simple as “you just open the Bible and read it”, you have another thing coming for you, and you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. Wisdom plays hard-to-get, because she has too much self-respect to be a “yes-girl”. She won’t take her clothes off just because you give her a compliment.

                    • Brad

                      By the way, here’s a book for someone (like you) interested in proving the morality/immorality of certain sexual behaviors. He doesn’t dig into the Bible, but he takes an angle you might find useful. He comes from a conservative angle, so I’m sure you won’t disagree with him.

                      http://www.amazon.com/What-We-Cant-Not-Know/dp/1586174819

                    • Brad

                      And I forgot to address this one, “You are putting yourself on the same level as God.”

                      Not anymore than putting yourself on the same level as God for judging an action to be wrong. If God isn’t reasonable, He isn’t God. Transcending the moral order is not the same as contradicting it. God can’t do immoral things. It doesn’t all of a sudden become okay because “God said so”. If someone said that, their judgment is flawed.

                    • KStrett

                      “Not anymore than putting yourself on the same level as God for judging an action to be wrong.”

                      The context of the discussion is whether or not homosexuality is permissible in Christendom. The Bible clearly says it is not.

                      The question is:

                      Can a person be a Christian an engage in homosexual behavior with the mindset that God approves of homosexuality?

                      We both agree the answer is no. That isn’t me putting myself on the same level as God. That is reading what the Bible says and determining it clearly states homosexual behavior is sinful.

                      Someone used the examples in the OT where God ordered the death of the Canaanites as justification on their position on homosexuality.

                      Their argument uses deconstructionism to to make homosexuality permissible. Because God contradicts himself ordering the death of the the Canaanites, homosexuality is permissible.

                      The problem with the argument is it is logically flawed.it makes all sin permissible and dictates the God of Christianity is a false God.

                      Instead of taking umbrage with the logically flawed argument to make homosexuality permissible, you piggybacked on it.

                      The objection:

                      “If God is all-good, and all-loving, he can’t do things that are not all-good, and not all-loving………..Yes, they committed an immoral action, because they defied the moral order by which we know God. If God told them to do it, then He’s contradicting His all-good nature.”

                      Your argument is something I would expect from an atheist.

                      1. If God is all and all-loving, he can’t do things that are not all-good, and not all-loving.

                      2. God does things in the OT that are not all-good, and not all-loving.

                      3. Therefore, God does not exist, the God of Christianity is a false God, KStrett’s argument is logically flawed ( I am not sure what your argument is here.)

                      Obviously, premise #2 is where your argument is flawed. You are putting God and man on the same level. God doesn’t issue commands to himself as he does to mankind and is not subject to the same prohibitions we are.

                      For example, humans are not permitted to commit murder. God can give and take life as He sees fit. He is God!

                      Mankind has fallen and we are full of sin. Because of our sinful nature we are subject to God’s judgement and we deserve whatever punishment He gives us.

                      If one guy kills another guy in robbery, that is murder. If God causes both of them to be struck by lightning, killing them both, he isn’t doing anything that goes against his nature.

                      Likewise, If God used the Jewish people to render Judgement on a group of people, that wouldn’t show he was doing something that contradicts his nature either.

                      The defeater to premise #2 is God can do thing humans can not. God has morally sufficient reasons to do so.

                      My example of God commanding the killing of the Nazi leadership before they were in power went over your head.

                      God had morally sufficient reasons to kill the Nazi leadership before they took power. He knew the leaders of the Nazi regime would be responsible for 6 million murders and of starting a world war, killing millions more.

                      You don’t have the knowledge that God has and to you it looks like he ordered the deaths of an innocent artist and a chicken farmer, when the reality is he saved 10 million people’s lives.

                      If God used the Jewish people to eliminate the Nazi leadership before they took power, that is not violating or contradicting anything of God’s nature.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      Paul was talking about circumcision and food laws when he mentioned “works of the Law” . . .it had absolutely nothing to do with “good works” as in “being a caring and unselfish person” . . .hundreds of years of biblical scholarship have shown the Reformers were terrible at Pauline exegesis.

                    • KStrett

                      It does have to do with good works. How are we saved?

                      Paul said over and over again that we are saved by hearing the gospel and hearing the Gospel alone.! Why?

                      Answer: Because if you add anything else to that equation, Jesus died in vain!

                      Notice he did not say hearing the Gospel and cleaning up trash, redistributing wealth, preaching about global warming, or opening opening up soup kitchens.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      I disagree with a lot of your ideas Brad, but the above post was spot on.

                • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

                  Indentured servitude was only one kind of slavery practiced by the ancient Hebrews. They also practiced sexual slavery and lifelong slavery for captured nonhebrew males.

                  • Giauz Ragnarock

                    @KStrett: And by the logic of Jesus being YHWH, Jesus commanded them to have sex/slaves.

                • Giauz Ragnarock

                  You are criminally wrong about Biblical slavery. For an in-depth look about Biblical slavery grab a Bible and ‘Is God a Moral Compromiser’ by Thom Stark (both made available free online).

      • Livin

        John 4
        26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

        • Andrew Dowling

          John 14:28; Mark 13:32 . . .we can play the “I’ll paste Bible quotes out of their larger textual and historical context” game until the cows come home . . .

      • Livin

        John 16
        28 I came from the Father, and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” 29 His disciples said to him, “Behold, now you speak plainly, and speak no figures of speech. 30 Now we know that you know all things, and don’t need for anyone to question you. By this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Jesus admits that he is not omniscient when he says he does not know when the end times will be. Also, if the Bible is “Jesus breathed” (usual interpretation is that Jesus told the Gospel writers what to write), then Jesus thinks he was born at two different times ten years apart, doesn’t realize some of the stuff he said was in the Tanakh doesn’t exist or is found in different books than where he says the verses are found, etc. It is fair to assume Jesus, as portrayed in the Bible, is fallible.

  • Livin

    I do agree with Vines that sexuality is self serving today. I would rather accept monogamy regular or same sex than accept easy divorce and remarriage. Acceptance of easy divorce has done more to hurt families and society than gay marriage ever could.
    Honestly I could have a conversation with Vines but not with Tony on this issue.

  • Ric Shewell

    Sola Scriptura is dying, but there will be plenty of people feeding its life-support.

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

    I used to share Matthew’s view – traditionalists are not my enemy. After the World Vision episode, I no longer believe that. I explain here:

    http://fordswords.net/2014/03/28/a-farewell-to-hope/

  • Brad

    Tony, I really think it would be beneficial to Christians of all shapes and sizes if you addressed John Paul II’s points on sexuality and personhood in his Theology of the Body. I know you have dabbled in phenomenological literature in the past, but I’m a firm believer that phenomenology is the key to opening an unexplored descriptive territory for most Evangelicals – especially when it comes to reforming their approach to sexuality and human identity. Unfortunately, too many Evangelicals get sucked into an obsession with exegetics on the issue, which is more or less mind-numbing and almost always yields dead-ends. Evangelicals will learn close to nothing about the yet-to-be revealed truths of Scripture until they explore other avenues. It is a shame there is hardly any Evangelical literature on a kind of “Christian Anthropology”.
    I remember watching one of your interviews where you theorized about theology being something we “do” on a daily basis. I could not think of a better book for your intellectual taste than this one. You won’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate it.

  • http://aldaily.com Justin L. Conder

    I’ve given alot of attention to Vines’ thoughts on this. I really wanted to be convinced by his well thought out, scholarly arguments. And I am convinced of his integrity, emotional maturity, and testimony. But I am not convinced by his arguments. And I fear most of his calls for kindness and grace are falling on already closed ears. Hear me out. He seems to be a committed believer who takes his faith seriously, someone who has thought and struggled over this for many years. Much more than his evangelical audience, I’d hazard to guess. So I am not blithely dismissing his message, as many evangelicals already have. Instead, my concern is that he is burdened unnecessarily by the need to have the Bible (or at least the writer of Romans) “on his side,” as it were. And this may be a case where he can’t do that. I know some may be angry at me in the same way they would be irritated by an armchair quarterback who is second guessing plays on the field. I’m not saying his arguments don’t have some merit either – some are quite persuasive. But the overall thrust is carried with the assumption of Biblical inerrancy. And at a certain point, we have to take a step back. . . and admit that in making a *positive* ethical argument for the value of gay people, the clobber passages have done infinitely more harm than good . . . So Vines’ pleas for tolerance and wisdom in biblical exegesis end up sounding like an abused wife pleading her undeservedly esteemed husband’s case. I know that comparison might touch a raw nerve with some, and for that I apologize. But that’s what I hear – what I can’t help hearing. I hear the same sort of special pleading when Francis Chan talks about hell. As if God is in the next room, ready to burst in and beat us all to within inches of our lives if we haven’t come to the correct opinions. It’s like Chan is saying, “Keep your voice down – of course hell is real and most people are going! I’m so sorry! *sobs* God loves us!” Ugh – it is creepy on so many levels. Vines and Chan are both good people rationalizing bad doctrines – in Vines’ case, by claiming there is no problematic doctrine.

    Even if you manage to reframe the Bible as saying nothing about committed homosexual relationships, you’ll have to fight the same battles all over again about every single issue in which the Bible appears to support something (genocide, slavery, female subjugation) which most modern people rightly condemn. Maybe its politically expedient to continue the charade to persuade conservatives – but I remember being a conservative evangelical. I could handle the truth. And I did handle the truth – but I had to hear it first. I came to the realization that morality runs through the Bible – it doesn’t come from the Bible. Morality has deeper roots. To give the Bible the respect it deserves requires that we stop treating it with kid gloves and accept that it has some darker passages and, yes, *gasp* outmoded teachings. THAT is the message the audience Vines is targeting desperately needs to hear. And its the one that is politically inexpedient to point out. We can’t keep tip-toeing around it forever. The Bible, though inspired of God, is imperfect. . . just as we are the image bearers of God and are imperfect. Accepting paradox and human limitations is the first step to a broader faith perspective. One that opens up the believer to a host of other possibilities – including our treatment of non-human creatures and our environment. And the good news is God’s work isn’t done. That’s one message of the Bible that rings through unambiguously. If you think that a human aspect of the Bible makes Scripture useless to the believer, then I have to say your view of the Bible was unrealistic (and borderline idolatrous) to begin with. In addition, you’ll have overlooked the larger truths which survive any critical reading.

    All that said, I am praying for Vines to move evangelical hearts and minds, since his goals are laudable (even if I find the arguments personally unconvincing). He is a brother in Christ and it is a matter of doctrinal positioning and tactics on which we differ. I think if anyone can make a conservative evangelical case for our gay brothers and sisters, it is him. There should be voices and arguments coming from many corners, to make the church safe for all new believers – not just for a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant with an impeccable “worldview,” an extra tithe-able income, and a Y chromosome.

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