Doctrine DOES Change

Pope Francis arrives at the Synod on the family.

Over the last two weeks, Pope Francis made some courageous steps in dragging the Catholic Church into the 21st century. First, he called a Synod to discuss non-traditional family arrangements, including divorces, those raising children outside of wedlock, and gays and lesbians. Then he began the synod by telling the assembled bishops to speak their minds honestly, not holding anything back.

Halfway through the synod, the Vatican released a provisional report on what they were discussing, and it contained language so welcoming to gays and lesbians that it ignited a global debate. After another week, the final report was released, and it lacked much of the language that welcomed gays, lesbians, and those who choose to raise children without getting married. Andrew Sullivan called it, “Two steps forward, one step back.”

What has most surprised Sullivan and others who watch the Vatican closely is that instead of just releasing the final report, the entire report was released — including the defeated paragraphs — along with the vote tally for each paragraph. This kind of transparency from the Catholic magisterium is a revolution itself, and its possible significance should not be underestimated.

Sullivan concludes his post on the Synod,

The church is not a political party, voting on a platform, and shifting from one convention to the next. Its core doctrine is unchanged and unchangeable. But it has evolved and grown and changed in the way it has encountered the world throughout history. It has absorbed and assimilated new ways of thinking and newly discovered truths about humankind and attempted over the centuries to integrate them into its internal dialogue.

Here Sullivan echoes a refrain of many Catholic leaders, both conservative and liberal. It was voiced earlier this month by a bishop who was attending the Synod:

On the floor of the synod, “there was no language whatsoever of a need to change doctrine,” reported Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica who attended the closed sessions. Rather, the desire was “to repurpose what we know in a way that’s accessible” to all.

“I didn’t hear anything about changing doctrine, but I heard a great desire to deepen our understanding of doctrine,” he told journalists.

This is an longtime linguistic game that the Catholic leadership has played — doctrine never changes, our understanding of it changes.

The error here is based on some old school Platonic metaphysics, there there is some perfect, some ideal, that is transcendent and unchanging. The problems are twofold — one pragmatic, one philosophical. First, the Catholic church has changed innumerable doctrines, and saying that it’s just a change in interpretation is semantics. Second, and more problematic, is the idea that there is some perfect, unchangeable ideal that emanates from an unchangeable God.

But that’s not the God of the Bible, not the God of history, and not the church of history. God changes. Yes She does.

PS: Do yourself a favor and read the pope’s closing comments to the Synod. They are beautiful and wise and a model of what Christian leadership is all about.

—————————————————————————————–

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  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

    The issue here is, what criteria do we use to judge the Roman Church’s actions? And before answering that question, we have to ask, is true religion a human endeavor of man discovering God or is it a result of God’s revelation reaching down to man? Of course, that spurs other questions as well. The point being that joining the 21st century is not always good. Certainly the Church’s persecution of gays in society is horrific and must stop. But, the Church also sees sex within a creation context and that context is described in God’s revelation. And so we need to ask if we are willing to throw that out because of how it has been misused by people looking to abuse others?

    • Wolf

      Curt, that was a well-reasoned post, but I only have one problem with it: you said that “the Church sees sex within a creation context.” In the creation context, there was no marriage, no rules governing sexual behavior – nothing but two human beings who were incomplete without each other. And yes, they were man and woman, but just because that is blessed, does that mean that anything else is cursed? (I’d prefer not to go into a long discussion about each of the “clobber passages” and why they fall short; I’m sure you’ve read others’ interpretations of such, and if they haven’t changed your mind on them, there’s little chance that I will – peace.)

      You say “that context is described in God’s revelation,” but God’s revelation was given to imperfect man. That’s my point, and I *think* that’s the author’s point as well. :)

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        Wolf,
        First, thank you for the kind words and for the kind of response you gave. I understand not wanting to get into a Bible verse equivalent of a UFC match.

        The issue in the garden concepts and implications involved. And yes, God’s revelation was given to imperfect man and man is imperfect on two levels, in understanding and morality. And yet, if we take an all-or-nothing approach to that revelation, our only choices are either those who can only be literalists and who carry an unacceptable amount of false certainty and those who, like Sargent Schultz, know and see nothing–perhaps Hume would have been more appropriate. Here, we have to ask ourselves: Does imperfection imply that clarity is impossible?

        I hope my answer was not more than you wanted to read.

        • Wolf

          Of course not :) It was very concise. And no – imperfection does not imply that clarity is impossible. But you seem (all respect intended) to have created a false dichotomy, where there can be ONLY literalists or “nothing-matters” interpreters. I would submit that this is where we – as individuals and as a church – have neglected the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is a book. It’s paper and ink. The WORD became flesh and lives with us and in us – that is the Holy Spirit at work. I think the Bible speaks to different people in different ways throughout different circumstances.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Wolf,
            But how does Jesus, the Living Word, regard the Scriptures?

            • Wolf

              Jesus overturned established doctrine consistently, Curt. He healed on the Sabbath. He chose not to condemn the woman who should have been stoned to death. He gave a drink of water to the Samaritan woman. By the Scriptures in existence at that time, he should not have done any of those things.

              But Jesus recognized that the doctrine was pushing people further away from God instead of bringing them closer.

              • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                Wolf,
                What Jesus constantly objected to was the self-righteous replacing of Scripture with the set of interpretations called traditions. And in so doing, He revealed the full meaning of the law. Thus to hate or slander was considered to be murder and to lust after another woman for men was counted as adultery.

                • Wolf

                  Agreed. Which makes one wonder how much of OUR Scripture has been replaced with “a set of interpretations” and called tradition. Marriage, for instance, is never clearly defined in Scripture – or if it is defined at all, it’s defined in such a way that degrades women, or allows men to have many wives. The word “homosexual” was not added to the Bible until 1946. The point is, the same dangers of a rigid view of Scripture in Jesus’s day are still dangerous today.

                  God’s Word is a living word. Living things change and adapt. The ultimate point that Jesus was trying to make is that the SPIRIT of the law is much more important than the LETTER of the law – and that spirit consists of two things: love God, love one another. You and I may never agree on what that means, but whether being gay is a sin or not, I think we CAN agree that the Church has handled it in completely the wrong way.

                  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                    Wolf,
                    We didn’t agree as much as you thought. The scriptures and the interpretations, such as talmud, are two disjoint sets of work. Plus, lower criticism tells us that we have a very good rendition of what was in the original manuscripts. Higher criticism disagrees but it doesn’t work with the physical evidence that lower criticism does.

                    So your view would come from a higher criticism point of view. My view comes from lower criticism point of view. The difference being whereas lower criticism is content with comparing the physical manuscripts we have, higher criticism involves the projection of the scholar and his/her subjective judgements into what was possible for the Biblical authors to write. In addition, higher criticism uses an evolutionary model of thought while working with the Bible rather than a revelatory model of thought. The evolutionary model presupposes that the Bible was written as a result of man’s search for God. The revelatory model assumes that God reveals Himself to us in various stages in the Scriptures. We can go back to the Gospels to see which approach Jesus and His apostles used.

                    Finally, do all living things change? Does God change? And yes, we can agree that the Church has handled homosexuals not just wrong, but horribly wrong.

                    • Wolf

                      We found a point of contention on which we both agree: the church’s wrong treatment of its LGBT brothers and sisters. I am content with that for now. I don’t believe our differences in how we interpret Scripture can be fully reconciled – certainly not within the scope of an online message board, anyway. In that spirit, rather than call out all of your points, how I disagree and why I disagree – when, if we are both honest with each other, there is little chance either of us will change the other’s mind – I would much prefer to simply extend the olive branch here.

                      As Thomas Paine once said, “Time makes more converts than reason.” If, through the course of time, God intends for LGBT equality to happen, then it will happen (and he will use his followers to make it happen). If he does not intend it, then it will not happen. For that, I am content to let God and time sort out what is right – my job is only to love unconditionally, not by judging or pointing to others’ sins, but by living the best life *I* can live, as an example. (Matthew 5:16)

                      Peace

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      Wolf,
                      It is always important when discussing differences to celebrate agreements. I’ve appreciated our conversation

                    • WilmRoget

                      “And yes, we can agree that the Church has handled homosexuals not just wrong, but horribly wrong.”

                      And that is the fruit of the evil belief you are asserting. That evil fruit, the ‘horribly wrong’ way “the Church” has treated homosexuals – murdering us, torturing us, beating and maiming us, depriving us of basic human rights, slandering us – some of which you have done in word and thought – these things prove that the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is entirely evil and does not come from God nor does it reflect God’s will.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      WilmRoget,
                      You have deduced that that is the fruit of my beliefs. Then how come I work and speak out for equality for homosexuals in society? Why am I even attacked by my fellow Conservative Christians for supporting and promoting marriage equality? Why do I oppose the Jim Crow type laws targeting gays if my beliefs lead to the fruit you claim?

                      Could it be that your deductive approach in our discussions is not supported by an inductive approach of looking at the positions I take? Thus, it is this overuse of deduction that causes you to come to conclusions that are not backed up by the facts on the ground. In this way, you do act like some of the conservative Christians I know. They are so confident in their use of logic that they choose not to listen to the people they judge.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “You have deduced that that is the fruit of my beliefs.”

                      No, I have experienced that it is the fruit of ‘homosexuality is sin’, which you teach.

                      ” Then how come I work and speak out for equality for homosexuals in society?”

                      There is no reason to believe that you do. Further, your inconsistency, if you were telling the truth, does not change the fact that the belief you teach destroys human lives.

                      ‘Could it be that your deductive approach in our discussions is not
                      supported by an inductive approach of looking at the positions I take?”

                      No. What it is is simple – the belief you teach is evil, it destroys human lives. I have experienced the harm it causes first hand, I have buried friends who were murdered as the deliberate expression of ‘homosexuality is sin’, I have been deprived of my basic human rights because of that belief, and I know personally hundreds of other people, and know indirectly of millions more.

                      “In this way, you do act like some of the conservative Christians I know. They are so confident in their use of logic that they choose not to listen to the people they judge.”

                      Actually, that is you. Your are asserting your reasoning over reality itself.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      Here is one of my blogposts on the subject. It was written in 2012. And I have already signed petitions, boycotted companies, and challenged people on other blogs about equality for gays. A reason for believing that I have spoken for equality is that I am reporting it to you. another is the blogpost below.

                      http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/2012/05/should-christians-support-gay-marriage.html

                      So again, our conversation is over.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “So again, our conversation is over.”

                      So, again, you’ve proven that you cannot even tell the truth about yourself. You make the grand exit, proclaiming the conversation over, and then you cannot live up to it.

                      Oh, I know. Your “our conversation is over” is your way of telling me not to refute or rebuke you.

                      Again, at most your blog shows an extreme lack of integrity on your part. You revile us. You slander us, but you’ll condescend to allow us some civil rights – as long as we know that how much your false god wants us dead.

                      You are not an ally. You are an oppressor, someone who preaches that your god wants us dead.

                      And you are someone who cannot even live up to his own exit line.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      The other thing I don’t understand is thinking of a social construction like marriage as a “doctrine.” Articles about God, Jesus, reality, etc., sure — that’s doctrine. But marriage? That’s something, but not doctrine.

      • Jeff Preuss

        That’s a real sticking point for me, whenever I have to defend my civil right to get married against someone who insists that marriage is only defined by Church (and, by extension, God) and is somehow considered a “central tenet” of Christianity. (And, also, that marriage has existed in solely for one form for thousands of years, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.)

        I sure don’t remember grade-school Sunday School teachings about the central points of my Christian belief hinging on heterosexual marriage. I mean, I remember Jesus as God in Man, Virgin Birth, Trinity, Resurrection, etc. all being some crucial elements, but whom one could marry was never propped up as an essential element of faith.

        • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

          Jeff,
          I don’t think you should have to defend your civil right to participate in marriage outside of how the Church defines it. The Church is one segment of society and those of us in the Church must recognize the equality that those outside of the Church must have in society.

          At the same time, the Scriptures are clear in terms of marital relationships. I just think it is wrong for Christians like myself to insist that Society must adopt the Church’s definition of marriage without consulting those who don’t choose not to belong to the Church.

          • Jeff Preuss

            Yes, but I DO belong to the Church as a whole, and I don’t agree with those who would say that my civil marriage should negate my ability to worship as a part of it. (Don’t have the official marriage yet – it hasn’t come to my state.) That’s where that “doctrinal” insistence comes into play again.

            And, I’d counter the Scriptures aren’t exactly clear on marital relationships, as many unions other than the simple 1 man + 1 woman are on display throughout. Unions that are clearly verboten by the Church today.

            Still, I appreciate that you don’t agree with the notion that Christians should force secular society to mirror only that definition of marriage. One of my common arguments in rebuttal to when I’m told my gay marriage would be an affront to God is to ask when we shall them outlaw Hindu and atheist marriages, etc. since surely those are affronts as well?

            I never get an answer.

            • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

              Jeff,
              We could go through the Scriptures if you want. But what I believe has happened here is that past Conservative Christian privilege in society has been used to marginalize those who are too different in order to control them. And those who instinctively recognize the immorality of the marginalization feel compelled to be lax on Scriptural standards in order to express a conscientious and humane concern and support those who are being marginalized.

              Perhaps an answer to your question is that society’s laws should be based on a more heterogeneous population than laws followed by adherents of a particular religion.

              • Jeff Preuss

                I don’t need to go through the Scriptures. Been doing that for all my life on this Earth – I know what they say, what they don’t, and a little about the contextual history in which they were written.

                You know, I realized during choir tonight that when you say “Church” you may mean the Catholic Church, given the topic of this blog post, in which case, I’d agree with you that Church teaching has had a consistent viewpoint (at least from my outsider’s perspective) on marriage. When I say Church with a capital C, I mean the Christian Church as a whole, and that is where my argument about the inconsistency stands.

                The whole of Christianity is varied, and not every adherent to the faith nor every church or denomination feels it inconsistent with Church teachings to accept same-sex marriages, and it doesn’t make them “lax” on Scriptural standards. While I certainly understand there may be some who adopt an “anything goes” attitude to overcompensate for the vast amounts of rejection foisted upon people in the name of God over the years, that doesn’t apply to everyone, and think there is a real middle ground to be had.

                As for that answer to my question, yes, that’s perhaps what I SHOULD hear, but usually my debates on the topic are with folks who readily call non-Christians “heathens” or “pagans” so they’d seem to have a hard time accepting non-Christians as part of their societal ideal.

                • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                  Jeff,
                  I never meant the Catholic Church when referring to the Church. I come from the Reformed Tradition. Rather, the Church could stand for the visible church or it could stand for the invisible church. The difference between the two is that visible church is a mixture of believers and unbelievers.

                  My sorrow for today’s debate, not our discussion, is that my fellow Conservative Christians have acted far too many times like the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying. The times when we need to remember our equality the most is when we disagree.

                  • Jeff Preuss

                    Hmmm, visible church v. invisible? Not sure what you mean by that – care to elaborate?

                    I hold that sorrow, as well. I grew up in the conservative Southern Baptist Church, and saw too many people turned out or pushed away as simply not “good enough.” Even as a child, I could recognize that didn’t line up with what we were reading in the Bible.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      Jeff,
                      The visible church consists of all those who profess to believe in Christ. The invisible church consists of all who actually believe both past and present. Not all who profess to believe, actually believe.

                    • Jeff Preuss

                      Gotcha! Makes more sense. Although I generally hesitate to hazard a guess about anyone’s true faith and try to take them at their word, I admit to being fairly skeptical about certain televangelists who appear to have turned faith into a high-profile business rather than a calling. Part of me wonders if those folks actually believe what they claim, or if they’re putting on the right face to rake in the bucks.

                      If I’d heard “invisible church” before, it’s been years, and I’ve forgotten the definition. Thanks!

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      Jeff,
                      I have doubts about the televangelists too especially since I went to one of their colleges (Oral Roberts University). I’ve enjoyed our conversation. Thank you.

                    • Jeff Preuss

                      Oooo, yeah, Oral Roberts. Oy. I still vividly remember his ’87 fundraising drive and thinking how ludicrous his claims were then.

                      I like everything else about Tulsa. :)

                      I’ve enjoyed our chat, too.

              • WilmRoget

                “We could go through the Scriptures if you want.”

                The fact that you didn’t start with it strongly suggests that you know your case won’t hold up. What are you going to do, cite from Matthew 19, and pretend that a passage addressing an explicit question about heterosexual divorce creates a condemnation of same-sex marriage? That would be fraud.

                Eventually, you’ll have to address the passages that forbid you from treating others as inferior to yourself.

                • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                  WilmRoget,
                  Actually, passages in Leviticus and Romans 1, along with I Cor 6 speak against homosexuality in total. THat doesn’t mean that we should prohibit it in society, but those passages don’t bode well for those belonging to the Church who practice it.

                  • WilmRoget

                    “Actually, passages in Leviticus and Romans 1, along with I Cor 6 speak against homosexuality in total.”

                    No, they do not.

                    But by citing Leviticus, you bound yourself for judgement to every single law in Leviticus. And the second of the two passages you are referencing indirectly demands the death penalty. So you are committing murder in thought and word, asserting that your god demands human sacrifice, the slaughter of seven hundred million human beings.

                    Romans 1 addresses idolatry, specifically, temple prostitution. It cannot be about homosexuals, Curt, because Paul writes of people abandoning their innate sexual use of the opposite sex – something homosexuals do not have. And Romans 2 warns you:
                    “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

                    5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.””

                    Bear in mind that what you and your peers have done is persecute real human beings, producing murder, torture, rape, violence of every kind. You personally just argued that we are to be slaughtered.

                    I Cor 6 – nope. Though Greek of Paul’s day had seventeen words for homosexuality and related concepts (http://www.gaychristian101.com/what-words-could-paul-have-used-if-he-intended-to-condemn-homosexuality.html)

                    Paul did not use any of them. He did use malakoi, which your photo indicates could apply to you, looking at that soft paunch. (That is why you shouldn’t judge, Curt, it will always backfire.) Malakoi did not mean homosexuals, or male prostitutes. Paul invented arsenokoite, apparently, and didn’t bother to define it. It is irrational though to conclude that he meant homosexuals, given the seventeen words he could have used.

                    But you are not off the hook, because reason and morals should tell you that homosexuality has nothing in common with the other items on Paul’s list in I Cor 6, or the one in I Tim. So you are a slanderer, condemned under that very passage, for simply asserting that our innate capacity for love is like murder, stealing, addiction, adultery, etc.

                    Further, since homosexuality is innate, your guess basically rejects Christ’s death and resurrection as the means of salvation. You make salvation, the Kingdom of Heaven, contingent on being born heterosexual. You basically turn Christianity into a sex cult.

                    And that, sex cults, is what Paul actually is talking about in Romans 1.

                    ” but those passages don’t bode well for those belonging to the Church who practice it.”

                    Nope. But Matthew 7:15-23 shows that everyone who teaches ‘homosexuality is sin’ is a false teacher. They bear evil fruit, like murder and rape, like your promotion of murdering homosexuals when you cited Leviticus. You bear evil fruit, everyone who teaches ‘homosexuality is sin’ bears evil fruit. Therefore:

                    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

                    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

                    Pay attention to this, it is about every one who teaches evil beliefs like ‘homosexuality is sin’. You and your peers bear evil fruit, and Jesus is clear about happens to such.

          • WilmRoget

            “At the same time, the Scriptures are clear in terms of marital relationships.”

            Not in any way that forbids same-sex marriage.

            • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

              WilmRoget,
              When you want to quote the Scriptures that say God does not show favoritism, before trying to make the point you want you need to see if those scriptures are speaking to the same context that you are. And to do that, you will have to address the scriptures that speak against sexual immorality. Here, I don’t think you can make the case you want but go ahead and try.

              • WilmRoget

                “before trying to make the point you want you need to see if those scriptures are speaking to the same context that you are.”

                There are no caveats. And it is obscene, frankly, for you to invoke context. You raped passages from Leviticus, Romans, and Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth with no concern for the context, at all.

                ” And to do that, you will have to address the scriptures that speak against sexual immorality.”

                Since homosexuality is not intrinsically ‘sexual immorality’, you have no point, but you have committed slander by insinuating that it is sexual immorality.’

                So let’s look at some verses that apply to you:

                12 A troublemaker and a villain,
                who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
                13 who winks maliciously with his eye,
                signals with his feet
                and motions with his fingers,
                14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
                he always stirs up conflict.
                15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
                he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. 16 There are six things the Lord hates,
                seven that are detestable to him:
                17 haughty eyes,
                a lying tongue,
                hands that shed innocent blood,
                18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
                feet that are quick to rush into evil,
                19 a false witness who pours out lies
                and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6.

                Notice, first of all, that there is no mention of homosexuality is the list of the things God hates. But you, Curt, have committed all seven in thought and word, just be asserting that homosexuality is sin. Would you like to walk through each of these with me to discuss how you have sinned?

                And how about the sin of slander that you’ve engaged in? I usually refrain from quoting Leviticus, but since you willingly placed yourself under it:

                Leviticus 19:16
                “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.

                Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. You broke that claiming that homosexuality is sin, since people are murdered, raped, tortured, beaten as the direct expression of that belief every day.

                Psalm 101:5
                Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.

                Want to talk about this sin of yours? Or how about the sin of bearing false witness?

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        Tony,
        Whether we want to classify it as a doctrine or not, we have to look at the Scriptures and see if God had specific designs for our relationships including marriage. To me, this goes back to the question of whether certain relationships, like joining of two people, are to evolve and thus be discovered as people change or were there specific things revealed in the Scriptures about certain relationships.

        • WilmRoget

          “and see if God had specific designs for our relationships including marriage.”

          And an examination of the Scripture shows us that God’s design for all of our relationships is based on equity, fairness, from the law of love (love your neighbor as yourself) to the verses about favoritism:

          https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=favoritism&qs_version=NIV

          Romans 2:11
          For God does not show favoritism.

          Colossians 3:25
          Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

          1 Timothy 5:21
          I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

          James 2:1,9
          My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. . . . But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

          If you only allow heterosexuals to marry, and forbid homosexuals to marry, you are a lawbreaker showing favoritism.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            WilmRoget,
            But is the favoritism referenced in the verses you’re citing applicable to this context or another especially when we consider the scriptural verses against sexual immorality?

            • WilmRoget

              So you are arguing, contrary to Scripture, that some instances of favoritism are allowed, and others are not.

              There is nothing the passages cited that limit what kinds of favoritism are disallowed. Anyone who opposes same-sex marriage, and allows mixed-sex marriage, is a lawbreaker.

              You cannot allow any good thing for yourself and disallow it for others, without violating Christ’s law.

              • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                WilmRoget,
                You’re not addressing my comment. You’re applying the passages about favoritism to a context that might not match the context that the scriptures that speak against favoritism. And all I did was to ask you to see if the contexts match, I didn’t even make an argument. Rather, I asked a question.

                • WilmRoget

                  “You’re not addressing my comment.”

                  I did address your comment.

                  There is nothing in the passages or context that allows you to discriminate against homosexuals.

                  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                    WilmRoget,
                    I did address your point. But I challenged whether your use of the scriptures is consistent with the Scriptures you’re quoting. You quote scriptures on favoritism and from them you logically conclude that they are implying that homosexuality is put on the same level as heterosexuality. The problem is that the scriptures you’re quoting do not make your point.

                    Romans 2:11 addresses favoritism regardless of race between those who are self-seeking and reject the truth and those who do good and seek glory and honor. Now here’s a spoiler alert. This verse in Romans is part of a section that declares that none are better than the other and that all have sinned whether they are the unbelieving Gentiles from Romans 1 or the believing Jews from Romans 2.

                    Colossians 3:25 says that everybody who does wrong will be punished because God does not show favoritism. Please note vs 5-9 to see what Paul says will be punished.

                    I Timothy 5:21 talks about believers keeping Paul’s instructions in that letter without partiality. There is no reference to equating homosexuality with heterosexuality to avoid showing favoritism.

                    James 2:1, 9 talks about not favoring a rich man because of his money so that we are to treat the rich and the poor alike.

                    See, in none of the passages you cited can be used to say that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equal. First, they are orientations that lead to practices and second, they do not cancel out the scriptures that condemn sexual immorality. And, in the NT, sexual immorality is defined as sex outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage. If you disagree with that assessment, that is fine. It is that you have not shown how the passages on favoritism contradicts the passages that define sexual immorality.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “But I challenged whether your use of the scriptures is consistent with the Scriptures you’re quoting.”

                      And you provided nothing to substantiate that challenge. Further, it is extreme hypocrisy and fraud on your part to even invoke the concept of context.

                      “The problem is that the scriptures you’re quoting do not make your point.”

                      And yet they do. But how ironic of you.

                      “Romans 2:11 addresses favoritism regardless of race between those who
                      are self-seeking and reject the truth and those who do good and seek
                      glory and honor.”

                      No, you are being dishonestly limited. “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil:” Romans 2:9. Every human being. That includes you. ”
                      10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:” Romans 2:10 For everyone. The context of the point about favoritism is universal, it applies to all people and all circumstances.

                      “This verse in Romans is part of a section that declares that none are better than the other”

                      Which means that you are not better than GLBTQ people, and you cannot show favoritism toward yourself, over GLBTQ people.

                      “Colossians 3:25 says that everybody who does wrong will be punished because God does not show favoritism.”

                      Again, everyone. The issue of favoritism is universal. You are not exempt for showing favoritism against GLBTQ people. “Anyone who does wrong” includes you and your peers who persecute, in thought, word or deed, GLBTQ people. And anyone who persecutes anyone. There is no exemption there that allows you to abuse GLBTQ people. There is no exemption for showing favoritism against GLBTQ people.

                      “I Timothy 5:21 talks about believers keeping Paul’s instructions in that letter without partiality. There is no reference to equating homosexuality with heterosexuality to avoid showing favoritism.”

                      “and to do nothing out of favoritism.”

                      What part of this is confusing for you? Nothing in the text allows you to show favoritism to anyone, or against anyone, in any thing. It is a universal expression against favoritism.

                      Bear in mind, none of these passages mention you by name, by the reasoning you are attempting, one could argue that it is acceptable in God’s eyes to show favoritism against you, to discriminate against you personally, in all ways, because you are not explicitly named in these passages.

                      You are making excuses for your sin.

                      “James 2:1, 9 talks about not favoring a rich man because of his money so that we are to treat the rich and the poor alike.”

                      You are imposing a false limitation. That is fraud, and very, very wicked.

                      “8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

                      Again, the message is all-inclusive. There are no exemptions that allow you to persecute or discriminate or abuse ‘those people’.

                      “See, in none of the passages you cited can be used to say that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equal.”

                      Since that is not what I was doing, your straw man shows your deceitfulness and incompetence. None of these passages allow you to treat any kind of people differently from yourself. Heterosexuality and homosexuality, by the way, are essentially equal, but more importantly, to God, homosexual people and heterosexual people are equal. You are not allowed to abuse some people.

                      “and second, they do not cancel out the scriptures that condemn sexual immorality.”

                      Since homosexuality is not sexual immorality, your point does you no good.

                      ” And, in the NT, sexual immorality is defined as sex outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage.”

                      No. There is no passage that makes that assertion.

                      ‘It is that you have not shown how the passages on favoritism contradicts the passages that define sexual immorality.”

                      That never was the point. Again, homosexuality is not intrinsically sexual immorality. It cannot be, for that would be favoritism on God’s part.

                      You see, at the heart of your theology is a disgusting slander against God. You think God is purposefully unjust, cruel and capricious, that God favors you and your kind above other people.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      WilmRoget,

                      I certainly not only challenged but showed that your use of the Scriptures. You conclude from the teaching that God does not show favoritism that God cannot possibly condemn homosexuality. However, there is no indication from the scriptures that refer to favoritism that that is the case. Furthermore, your logic is contradicted by Leviticus 18:22; 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, and I Cor 6:9-10. You want to deduce how God must view homosexuality and yet you do so by taking what the Scriptures say about favoritism and inserting it in a context that the scriptures never use when talking about favoritism. It is you who declares that homosexuality is not immoral but that is not what the scriptures say when they refer to homosexuality.

                      In addition, you take what is said in Romans 2 out of context. For you say that favoritism is universal and applies to all “circumstances,” but that is not what Romans 2 does. There, favoritism referred to in terms of who do we live to please, God or man. And though there it looks like there can be those who seek to please God as opposed to those who don’t, Romans 3:9-20 states that is not the case. Why is not one person better than the other, it is because we are all under sin. And thus, according to Romans 2, we are judged with those who are self-seeking.

                      Yes, straights and those who are LGBT are equals, but we are equal in sin, and in the lack of righteousness. And those who are saved, are not saved because they are better; they are saved through faith because they cannot carry out the law (Romans 3: 21-31. And that our believing in Christ does change us (I Cor 6:9-11).

                      You deduce that God cannot oppose homosexuality because of how you view favoritism. But that is your deduction that is disproved by every Scripture passage that addresses homosexuality.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “I certainly not only challenged but showed that your use of the Scriptures.”

                      That’s kind of incoherent.

                      “However, there is no indication from the scriptures that refer to favoritism that that is the case.”

                      Wrong. There is no evidence in the Scripture that it allows any favoritism in favor of heterosexuals and against homosexuals. The Scripture forbids all favoritism.

                      ” Furthermore, your logic is contradicted by Leviticus 18:22; 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, and I Cor 6:9-10.”

                      No. None of these passage are about homosexuals. Further, by trying to apply Lev 20:13, you are a mass murderer in thought and word. By apply that passage to us, you are asserting that we are be slaughtered to please your god. That is evil.

                      “but that is not what the scriptures say when they refer to homosexuality.”

                      The Scriptures do not condemn homosexuality as immoral.

                      “In addition, you take what is said in Romans 2 out of context.”

                      Your false accusation is sin. Please repent.

                      “There, favoritism referred to in terms of who do we live to please, God or man.”

                      Again, no. These concepts are not present in the passage:

                      “9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”

                      But you and your peers demand that homosexuals live to please you.

                      “but we are equal in sin, and in the lack of righteousness.”

                      Not a word of that indicates that homosexuality is a sin. Your argument is deceitful and dishonest. You are still claiming that heterosexuals are allowed marriage, sexual intimacy, and all of the benefits therefore, while promising homosexuals that they are to be murdered if they are not celibate.

                      You are a lawbreaker, Curt.

                      “You deduce that God cannot oppose homosexuality because of how you view favoritism.”

                      No. Actually, I know that God does not condemn homosexuality because God told me so, as God has told many others. I also point out to people like you who won’t listen to God, that because of God’s intrinsic nature of perfect Justice, God cannot, and does not, condemn homosexuality.

                      ” that is disproved by every Scripture passage that addresses homosexuality.”

                      Your lies accomplish nothing.

                      Matthew 7:15-23 prove you wrong, for you teach evil. You threatened me, and every other GLBTQ person on earth with murder when you quote Lev 20:13, that is evil. You bear evil fruit, and your belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ cannot be from God because it produces evil. Evil you won’t even bother to acknowledge, but evil none the less. You are a false teacher, Curt, a worker of iniquity to whom Christ will say “I know you not” if you do not repent.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      WilmRoget,
                      Whether what I wrote is coherent or not is a matter of opinion.

                      Again, the favoritism forbidden by the scriptures is the judgment of people on whether they are following God. It does not include favoritism with regard to sexual orientation.

                      Leviticus definitely condemns homosexuality but the civil penalties prescribed in many of the Leviticus passages had meaning only in the then identity and status of God’s people. Romans 1, for example, does not prescribe any death penalty. In fact, there are no NT verses that prescribe the continuation of the death penalty for sexual immorality. The NT equivalent to that penalty is excommunication. Thus, I am posing no threat to anyone whether to disobedient children, those who are sexually immoral, or any other group of people.

                      So again, the passages like the ones cited from Leviticus, and note that only one of them talks about the penalty for such sin, and the passage in Romans 1 condemn homosexuality and that is in contradiction with the message you said you personally received from God.

                      But there is one thing we agree on, I am a lawbreaker. But then again, so are you. We are equals there. That is why the righteousness of God does not come through the law but through faith (Romans 1:16;3:20-31)

                    • WilmRoget

                      “Whether what I wrote is coherent or not is a matter of opinion.”

                      Nope. In this case, it a matter of a least several words missing from your sentence.

                      “Again, the favoritism forbidden by the scriptures is the judgment of people on whether they are following God.”

                      Again, no. None of the passages have that condition, caveat, limit. Favoritism is universally condemned.

                      “Leviticus definitely condemns homosexuality”

                      No, it does not.

                      “but the civil penalties prescribed in many of the Leviticus passages had meaning”

                      No. You do not get to wriggle out of your death threats. Essentially, you are raping the Bible, wielding pieces of it as a weapon to harm others, while dismissing the parts that reveal your monstrous sin against GLBTQ people. If you use the first half of Lev 20:13, you are bound to and responsible for the second half as well. That makes you a mass murderer in thought and word. And remember, by using Leviticus at all, you are bound to all of it. If you don’t keep kosher, if you don’t tithe, if you break any one of the Levitical laws, you break them all.

                      There is no wigging out of it.

                      ” Romans 1, for example,”

                      Romans 1 is not about homosexuality either. And the end of that chapter describes you and your peers, like Fred Phelps and the people who murder homosexuals, orders of magnitude more than it applies to homosexuals.

                      “Thus, I am posing no threat to anyone”

                      Wrong. You absolutely making a very real threat to very real human beings. No matter how much you deny it, the belief you teach produces murder and rape and torture. When you cited Lev 20:13 at me, you declared that your god wanted me dead. That was a death threat on your part, one that too many other people who believe as you do have carried over and over and over again.

                      Do you get that? Real humans, their lives every bit as worthy as yours, have been murdered because of the belief you are spewing up.

                      ” I am a lawbreaker.”

                      And you, therefore, have no business ever accusing GLBTQ people. None.

                      “We are equals there.”

                      No. You teach evil.

                      “That is why the righteousness of God does not come through the law but through faith”

                      And yet you viciously beat us with your vicious and murderous interpretation of the law, not for righteousness sake, for for your pride and ego and malice.

                    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

                      WilmRoget,

                      Wow, missing words in a blog comment, who would have thought that that could occur such as in your line starting with “Nope.”

                      Again, in all of the scriptures you cited except for the James passage, the issue of the scriptures was whether we are following God and that God will judge us on that without favoritism. We can go back and forth on this like two kids, so I am comfortable with people reading the passages and deciding for themselves. BTW, as for James, he warns us not to show favoritism toward the rich.

                      The same goes with the Leviticus passages. And yes, the reason for the penalties has to do with the historical context of who God’s people were at that time. I’ve made no threats, but that isn’t the issue for you. Either you are just trying to get a reaction or you are set on painting a false picture because you can’t take a word of criticism of homosexuality. In either case, people can look at one of my blogposts from 2012 to see if your assessment of me is right:

                      http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/2012/05/should-christians-support-gay-marriage.html

                      In fact, they can look at all of the blogposts I’ve written on homosexuality.

                      And since you seem intent in repeating personal accusations against me, I will end our conversation here. This is our second go around where you approach the scriptures on this issue with your mind made up that God cannot possibly call what you favor here sin despite the explicit statements otherwise. I can understand that but you want to turn these conversations into an opportunity for lashing out. Nobody, including you, is served by that kind of conversation.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “Wow, missing words in a blog comment,”

                      Making excuses for such sloppiness really doesn’t add to the credibility of any of your claims.

                      “Again, in all of the scriptures you cited except for the James passage, the issue of the scriptures was whether we are following God and that God will judge us on that without favoritism.”

                      Again, no. The texts do not support your conclusion. Such sloppiness does not help the credibility of any of your claims.

                      “The same goes with the Leviticus passages.”

                      Again, no. You cannot use half to judge and condemn other people, and then pretend that the death penalty you call down on us is irrelevant.

                      “And yes,”

                      No. You cannot separate the penalty from the judgement. You argued that seven hundred million people are to be put to death to please your god.

                      ” Either you are just trying to get a reaction or you are set on painting a false picture because you can’t take a word of criticism of homosexuality.”

                      Your abusive false characterization of me is not only slander and sin, it shows that you have real defense to make.

                      “In fact, they can look at all of the blogposts I’ve written on homosexuality.”

                      If you are that particular Curt Day. It does not matter, you teach evil about homosexuals. The fact that you give lip service to civil rights, while reviling us in public, only makes you appear two-faced and devoid of integrity.

                      “And since you seem intent in repeating personal accusations against me,”

                      Your entire position is a vicious, degrading and malevolent personal accusation against all GLBTQ people, including me, my husband, many of our friends, and seven hundred million people. Get over yourself.

                      “I will end our conversation here.”

                      Of course, you only want to revile us, you certainly don’t want to hear that you are sinning against us.

                      ” where you approach the scriptures on this issue with your mind made up’

                      Again, your slanderous fantasies only reflect your malice and hatred for GLBTQ people.

                      “despite the explicit statements otherwise.”

                      There are no such statements regarding homosexuality in the Bible – which is why you are running away rather than even attempt to address the points I raised regarding the passages you cited.

                      “I can understand that but you want to turn these conversations into an opportunity for lashing out.”

                      Nice projection, but your slanders of me only show that your sole purpose here is to denigrate GLBTQ people so you can feel exalted.

                      ” Nobody, including you, is served by that kind of conversation.”

                      Oh, every GLBTQ person is served when your hateful belief about us is rebuked in public. You are not served, except in the street lingo sense, but of course, your whole purpose here is to serve yourself, to enrich your self at our expense.

                    • WilmRoget

                      Maybe you should just learn to keep your trap shut about GLBTQ people, since you cannot stand to hear the truth about the evil your belief produces, and clearly do not give a damn about the people you harm, and clearly, are unwilling to learn how utterly wrong you are.

                      We do not need you reviling us. We do not need you running around promoting violence against us by citing Lev 20:13 and claiming it condemns us. We do not need you judging our loving relationships.

                      From the start, you tried to make yourself look righteous, but under the veneer, is hatred for hundreds of millions of people, slander, a message of death and destruction.

                      Just shut up about us. We are not answerable to you, you are not superior to us in any way, and Curt, reviling us is not going to fix any of the many sins and wrongs in your life. You can never, ever make yourself righteous by slandering us. So just stop.

                    • WilmRoget

                      Further, it is dishonest and fraudulent of you to keep claiming that “every Scripture passage that addresses homosexuality” without making any attempt, at all, to address the challenges I have already made to your abuse of those verses.

                      You place this huge burden of GLBTQ people demanding that we prove our innocence. But that is itself horrific sin on your part.

                      You’ve danced around trying to find some way to exempt GLBTQ people from God’s perfect Justice, to say that God is unjust and capricious and cruel when it comes to our lives.

                      But there is no justification for treating us differently, placing burdens of us that you do not bear, reviling our innate capacity for loving while insisting that yours is celebrated.

                      There is no exemption, no caveat, that allows you to persecute us. You are a lawbreaker.

                    • WilmRoget

                      What it boils downs is that because we know that being just is God’s nature, that God does not play favorites, does not prefer any kind of people over others, your guesses about Leviticus and Romans 1 and all the rest

                      absolutely

                      absolutely cannot be correct. But you are trying to assert that this absolute quality of God, God’s perfect Justice, is not perfect or Just at all, but rather a matter of capricious whims that just happen to favor you.

                      It is the same basic thing that people use to do to use the Bible to condone slavery and racism.

                      The intrinsic nature of God, like God’s perfect Justice, trumps your guesses about what any passage in the Bible means, so when you interpret a passage to condone injustice of any kind, including that inflicted on GLBTQ people, you cannot

                      cannot

                      be correct.

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

        Not everyone considers marriage a “social construction”:

        1603 The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.

        1614 In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

        I understand that neither you nor many of your readers believe it. But it is plainly the doctrine–the teaching, the proclamation–of the Catholic Church. And, until this last generation, with the exception of the disallowance of divorce, this was almost universally the doctrine of the whole spectrum of Christian churches.

        • WilmRoget

          Appeals to tradition are pathetic. For many generations, the doctrine of most Christian churches embraced slavery as God’s will.

      • Defensor Autem

        If Jesus made a direct statement about the nature of marriage, why wouldn’t we want to call that doctrine? You must at least agree with the fact that “the two will become one flesh.” That sounds classifiable as doctrine.

        • WilmRoget

          And that idea ‘the two will become one flesh’ is applicable to many kinds of couples that some doctrine’s exclude.

  • tanyam

    Ooh, wish you’d said a bit more. Some examples maybe, this is intriguing.

  • S_i_m_o_n

    “Second, and more problematic, is the idea that there is some perfect, unchangeable ideal that emanates from an unchangeable God.

    But that’s not the God of the Bible, not the God of history, and not the church of history.God changes. Yes She does.”

    As my high school mathematics teacher would say, “please show your working out”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      See my new book. I work it out there.

    • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

      Your math teacher had a rather loose grip on English. 😉

  • AlanCK

    I am sympathetic to what you are saying Tony. But in what way are we to take seriously the statement “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”? I understand how this verse has been utilized to undergird Platonic thinking with regards to God with the result being a theology where heaven is quite static. Is there not a way we can know God as dynamic and still affirm what Hebrews 13:8 testifies?

    • WilmRoget

      So which is your Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ, or doctrine?

      There is a difference between the two.

      • AlanCK

        What are you meaning by the word “doctrine”? Is not doctrine the vehicle by which we are told of the reality of who Jesus Christ is? I do not want to assume what you are inferring so can you explain what you mean by “difference”?

        • WilmRoget

          Doctrine covers many subjects, not just the nature of Christ.

          • AlanCK

            How do we come to know the nature of Jesus Christ?

            • WilmRoget

              There are many ways to know the nature of Jesus Christ.

              Why are you chasing off on tangents?

              • AlanCK

                Please, I am not chasing off on tangents. I am merely giving you opportunity to give account of what you believe about Jesus Christ. I asked Tony a question about Hebrews 13:8 testifying to the sameness of Jesus Christ throughout time in relationship to Tony’s commentary about the changeability of doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church is going to say that their doctrine reflects what Jesus Christ has revealed. Your original question to me was pretty much do I choose Jesus or doctrine. Never have I ever felt the need to choose between the two. When the creeds are recited (and they are doctrine) they are referring to the God revealed in Jesus Christ and so that is why I am a little puzzled by your comment. I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say or what I may have implied by my comment to Tony. Doctrine is derived from the revelation of Jesus Christ. Different? yes. Related? absolutely.

                • WilmRoget

                  ” I am merely giving you opportunity to give account of what you believe about Jesus Christ.”

                  Which is a tangent.

                  “Your original question to me was pretty much do I choose Jesus or doctrine. Never have I ever felt the need to choose between the two.”

                  I understand, you are trying to interrogate me, rather than face your own misleading post. You see, AlanCK, Tony’s essay here is about doctrine, and changes to doctrine. But you wrote:

                  “But in what way are we to take seriously the statement “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”?”

                  Essentially, you are confusing, substituting, or otherwise replacing the actual subject “doctrine” with Jesus Christ. Now this could be deliberate fraud on your part, an unwillingness to address the historical changes in doctrine. Or it could mean that you sincerely confuse Christ with doctrine, or that you choose to serve doctrine over Jesus Christ.

                  As for your “Never have I ever felt the need to choose between the two.” that is truly unfortunate, for there are in our modern society, and in our past, cases where following doctrine has required rejecting Christ.

                  ” Doctrine is derived from the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

                  Some doctrine is. Other doctrines are not.

                  Instead of trying to play the pharisee and trap people, Alan, you should try being authentic and honest.

                  • AlanCK

                    I’m convinced you are not interested in communicating. If you feel better by projecting onto me, I am happier for you. You are free to continue with your suspicions. Farewell.

                    • WilmRoget

                      “I’m convinced you are not interested in communicating.”

                      Nothing in my post indicates any such thing.

                      “Farewell.”

                      Now that is a sign of an unwillingness to communicate. Will you live up to it though?

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

          Doctrine is nothing more than our best guess at what we’re staring at in the dark mirror. It’s a human choice of what to believe based on study, tradition, prayer and meditation, and experience. It’s an informed guess, but a guess none the less.

          Doctrine is not the revelation of Christ – the gospel is. All of the rest is so much human folly.

          • AlanCK

            What do you believe that God wants us to believe and what would be the basis for that belief?

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

              Rabbi Martin Buber taught, “God does not want to be believed in, nor be debated and defended by us, but simply to be realized through us.”

              It’s important for us to try to discern God’s will in a disciplined way both individually and as the Church. It doesn’t matter one whit whose atonement theory or view of salvation is correct (if anyone’s…although I’m certain it’s Tony Jones’). What matters is how we operate in this life that we’ve been given at this particular time in this particular place.

              So we take our cues from scripture – the story of God’s relationship to humankind that culminates in the gospel story.

              It’s a pretty simple story, really. Get over ourselves and see imago dei in others, act in ways that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and delight in the fullness of God’s creation.

              So easy to understand. So difficult to live.

              • AlanCK

                Agree entirely. But I would not go as far as saying doctrine is a guessing game. The creeds are most certainly a clear reflection of what you refer to as the story of God.

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

                  The creeds are most certainly a clear reflection of what you refer to as the story of God.

                  The Lord’s prayer is even clearer.

    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      Alan,
      you hit on the key problem of the post. There are things that are constant throughout time. We should note that sometimes society does point out valid problems with the past while at other times society is like sheep that seeks to go its own way. Fashioning a gospel that does not recognize the latter characteristic is to cut ties with the past and to have no gospel at all.

      • WilmRoget

        “There are things that are constant throughout time.”

        The speed of light in a vacuum is not relevant to this essay.

        • Defensor Autem

          The moment before the big bang, what was the speed of light?

          • WilmRoget

            Who created God?

            • Defensor Autem

              If God were created then he could not be God. The concept of “God” requires a being that never was created.

              You may argue that the speed of light was never created, however I may also argue that it never was created and neither of us are any better off.

              The concept of a creator appears to me to be more likely than the idea that physical laws which are incredibly specific and significant simply have always been. That is my opinion though.

              • WilmRoget

                So much of your adios. And for getting the point I was making.

  • Jake

    Catholic doctrine does not change. Disciplines in the Church may come and go certainly, but doctrine does not. Nor does God. If you have a God that changes, he is not I AM WHO AM but rather a lesser being. God is who he is. If you suggest that God changes, you suggest that he was wrong and then came to be right. I would not give myself to that God. What if he is currently wrong?

    • WilmRoget

      Catholic doctrine has changed. The doctrine of Papal infallibility, for example, dates back to just 1869, it is a change from the prior doctrine on Papal authority. This cite, despite its ’80’s flashing graphic and other flaws, cites other examples:

      http://www.bible.ca/catholic-flip-flops.htm

      Marriage to non-Catholics was invalid until 1818 AD.

      Eucharist: Withholding the communion cup from the laity began in 1416 AD.

      Eucharist: Frequency of communion changed from weekly to daily in 500 AD.

      Baptism changed from immersion to sprinkling in 1311 AD.

      No infant baptism till 4th century.

      However, the issue is not whether or not God is wrong, but whether or not people are and have been. Mischaracterizing it as you have creates the impression that the RCC is your god.

      • Jake

        The Church is not my god. However, she is married to Him, as Christ describes the Church has His bride. And as she is ‘the bulwark and pillar of the truth,’ I listen to her.

        I apologize for not being more clear. I should have stated the difference between doctrine and discipline. Doctrine does not change; however, discipline can be subject to change. For example: the fact that the frequency of communion changed from weekly to daily (assuming this to be true) does not change doctrine. The Eucharist is still viewed as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. How often you receive Him in that way is a discipline. In fact, the Church hold that you must attend mass on Sunday, but not that you must receive communion. You could receive communion less than even weekly still today. With baptism, the Church holds that for it to be valid it must be done with water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If the water is sprinkled or the person immersed does not change this. So you see, the practice may have changed, but not the doctrine.

        • WilmRoget

          “The Church is not my god. However, she is married to Him,”

          The RCC does not necessarily equate to ‘The Church’, i.e, the fellowship of all followers of Christ.

          “Doctrine does not change;”

          To paraphrase Galileo “And yet it does”. There’s another interesting example of a change in RCC doctrine.

          • Defensor Autem

            Sorry guys but Jake is right. Think of it this way. At an intersection there is currently a traffic light. 20 years ago there used to be a stop sign. 70 years ago it was a dirt road and people just made sure they were good to go.

            Did people change their belief about whether cars ought to run into each other? Of course not, however the manner in which they prevented this from happening has changed.

            Tradition may change, discipline may change, habits, language, etc may change. But the truth in the teaching does not change.

            • WilmRoget

              So all of the examples of change in doctrine you’re just going to pretend away.

              • Defensor Autem

                Oh come now, one of the basic rules of a good argument is your opponent should be able to use it back on you.

                So all of your theories about proposed change in doctrine you’re just going to fancy up in your head to suit your views?

                • WilmRoget

                  I offered no theories about proposed change in doctrine.

                  Why do you argue for violating Christ’s law?

                  • Defensor Autem

                    Alright this argument just lost its academic aspects. Adios

                    • WilmRoget

                      You hadn’t provided any academic aspects. Other people have.

                      It clearly has stopped being an opportunity for you to feed your ego though. Now we will get to see if you can live up to your ‘adios’.

            • Sven2547

              Since you are rising to Jake’s defense, I’ll ask you what I asked him: Why is the prohibition against same-sex marriage “doctrine”, while the Church’s positions on slavery, capital punishment, and antisemitism are “discipline” or “tradition”?

              • Defensor Autem

                They aren’t. Plain and simple. The Church has never changed its teachings about the morality of these issues. Is slavery itself wrong? Not necessarily, is slavery easily corrupted and did it turn into one of the most evil systems in history? Absolutely. The just treatment of humans has always been a teaching.

                Very succinct answer I found on capital punishment. https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/capital_punishment.htm

                You can look back as early as the 400s to see formal teachings from fathers of the church discussing protection of Jews.

                Have the people of the church always done the right thing? No. Do people ever fully follow the rules they are supposed to? Let me know if you find one.

                Furthermore the Catholic Church does not teach homosexuals are evil or morally wrong. The teaching is sexual acts outside of the confines of marriage for the purpose of both unity and life giving potential are immoral. Also marriage is between a man and woman.

                There are numerous homosexual priests. They simply do not act on their impulses.

                Thank you for the challenge, I actually learned something about my faith I did not know.

                • WilmRoget

                  Your false assertions only reflect poorly on you. They show a definite lack of any academic interest.

                • Sven2547

                  The Church has never changed its teachings about the morality of these issues.

                  Flatly false, as I shall elaborate shortly…

                  Is slavery itself wrong?

                  Yes! Yes it is. This is a very obvious concept to anyone with any shred of moral principle. In 1965 the Second Vatican Council declared, without qualification, that slavery was an “infamy” that dishonored the Creator and was a poison in society. (1)

                  From your source on capital punishment:

                  The Church’s teaching has not changed, nor has the Pope said that it has. The Catechism and the Pope state that the state has the right to exact the death penalty.

                  Despite Mr. Donovan’s claims, the Vatican released a policy paper in 2007, saying the death penalty “is not only a refusal of the right to life, but it also is an affront to human dignity” (2).

                  The paper said every decision to use the death penalty carries “numerous risks,” including “the danger of punishing innocent persons” and the possibility of “promoting violent forms of revenge rather than a true sense of social justice.”

                  A capital execution, it said, is “a clear offense against the inviolability of human life” and can contribute to “a culture of violence and death.”

                  “For Christians,” the Vatican said, “it also shows contempt for the Gospel teaching on forgiveness.”

                  The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. . . . I renew the appeal I made . . . for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.
                  —Pope John Paul II Papal Mass, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999

                  You can look back as early as the 400s to see formal teachings from fathers of the church discussing protection of Jews.

                  Up until the 1950s, the Roman Catholic Church taught that the Jewish people were guilty of deicide; for the betrayal and execution of Jesus, and claimed that the Roman destruction of the Temple was punishment for that act. As recently as 1938, Pope Pious XII spoke of the Jews “…whose lips curse (Christ) and whose hearts reject him even today”.

                  (1) Gaudium es Spes, paragraphs 27 & 29

                  (2) http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700736.htm

                  In the Roman Catholic Church’s defense, they have come around on these teachings, and others. It’s not too late for them to change on other subjects as well. How strange, for an organization which claims to have exclusive access to timeless revealed moral truth, that they need to be dragged into morality by outside secular interests.

                  • Defensor Autem

                    Alright, you have worn me out on this round. I will supply answers to these points however I am losing interest.

                    Slavery: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0006.html

                    I highlight a few quotes from the source:

                    “we should be clear about what we mean by slavery and the real story of the Catholic Church’s position on it. As used here, “slavery” is the condition of involuntary servitude in which a human being is regarded as no more than the property of another, as being without basic human rights; in other words, as a thing rather than a person. Under this definition, slavery is intrinsically evil”

                    “However, there are circumstances in which a person can justly be compelled to servitude against his will. Prisoners of war or criminals, for example, can justly lose their circumstantial freedom and be forced into servitude, within certain limits. Moreover, people can also “sell” their labor for a period of time (indentured servitude).

                    These forms of servitude or slavery differ in kind from what we are calling chattel slavery.”

                    “The Second Vatican Council condemned slavery (i.e., chattel slavery): “Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery . . . the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed . . . they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator” (Gaudium et spes 27; cf. no 29). Unfortunately, what Vatican II said about slavery is of little interest to opponents of Catholicism and Catholic dissenters, except insofar as they think it useful to demonstrate Catholic hypocrisy.”

                    Fact of the matter is, slavery meant in one way is wrong. Meant in others is permissible. This teaching has remained constant.

                    Death Penalty
                    I am not going to re-cite or anything here. I will simply say yes the death penalty should end. It is a terrible thing. However as Pope Francis stated it is a state’s right in the most extreme and unusual of circumstances.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      Sublimus Dei was rescinded after complains by royalty.

            • Steve Bailey

              Wrong on several fronts.

            • MainlineP

              What are you talking about? The Very nature of Christ and the Trinity and basic Christological issues about person and essence and substance were hotly debated and disagreed upon in the first millennium of Christianity long before the Reformation. We have separate “oriental” and Orthodox churches in no small measure by reason of such differences. You wrongly assume that the see of Rome ruled unchallenged or supreme during the first 800 years of Christianity. Bogus history.
              Then there are the many teachings held core parts of your church’s “magisterium” which have either quietly or explicitly disappeared. The condemnation of religious freedom (“hersy has no freedom” thundered past popes), condemnation of democracy and free speech/press.The teaching that the Papacy had as part of its core inherent and necessary powers temporal power over both territory and all other secular rulers who could be deposed by Papal fiat. Only those dwelling in SSPX la-la land still hold that nonsense.

            • Andrew Dowling

              So what was the truth in the teaching that witches could be tortured until they confessed their sin?

              • Defensor Autem

                Witchcraft is wrong and always has been wrong. There is no change in teaching on that. However the way in which witches have been dealt with are not part of a teaching.

                This article may be helpful
                http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/witchcraft-101

                • Andrew Dowling

                  There is no such thing as witches.

        • Sven2547

          I should have stated the difference between doctrine and discipline. Doctrine does not change; however, discipline can be subject to change.

          This is a post-hoc definition. You’re just looking at stuff that has changed and saying “that’s discipline”, and stuff that hasn’t changed yet and saying “that’s doctrine”.

          Why is the prohibition against same-sex marriage “doctrine”, while the Church’s positions on slavery, capital punishment, and antisemitism are “discipline”? I’ll bet dollars to donuts the RCC will come around on same-sex marriage within my lifetime, and when they do, they’ll swear up and down that it was “discipline” the whole time.

        • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

          If you’re a guy, and talking about being a “Bride” getting (or already) married to some Big Bocephus, then is that not just a little gay?

      • Jim

        Remember when we were suppose to confess when we committed the sin of eating meat on Friday? Violations of many “disciplines” were thought to be sinful. Now that we can eat meat on Friday, did we commit a sin when it was unlawful and we did it?

        • Jake

          Yes we can eat meat on Fridays, but were you aware that Friday is still a day of fasting? You are supposed to offer up some form of sacrifice every Friday, but the Church has said that we may pick something that is suitable to us. It is still binding, it is just not as particular.

          • Jim

            This is another one of the “disciplines” that is not sin to violate. It has noth9ng to do with morality.

    • Andrew Dowling

      I don’t understand the logical gymnastics conservatives do . . so God can do whatever He wants . . but if He decides to change, He is not worthy of worship . . .WTF???

  • chad

    “to repurpose what we know in a way that’s accessible to all”

    that’s an interesting sentence to unpack…

  • Defensor Autem

    Change requires time. By definition change is being different at an earlier point in time compared to what you currently are. God is outside of time. If God were inside time then God could not have created time. Time does not restrict God. Furthermore we know that time and space are essentially one in the same. Before space-time, there was nothing. Nothing is nothing. Nothing has no time, for time is something.

    Please prove me wrong. I’m not being sarcastic even, if someone can prove me wrong I will be thrilled.

    • WilmRoget

      Again, confusing doctrine with God is a bad idea. It gives the impression that you worship doctrine, not God.

      • Defensor Autem

        I am starting to lose interest in caring what perception you have of me. God has doctrine. To seek to understand doctrine is to seek to understand God. A God without doctrine is a God without absolutes. If God is not absolute then he cannot be God at all.

        • WilmRoget

          So your adios was a lie. So there is no point in taking your “I am starting to lose interest in caring what perception you have of me.” seriously, it is obviously just grandstanding for the sake of your ego.

          Clearly, you deliberately confused doctrine and God because you believe that your doctrine is God’s.

        • Andrew Dowling

          “If God is not absolute then he cannot be God at all.”

          By what criteria? Yours?

          • Defensor Autem

            Rather than imply my criteria is false simply because it is mine, please provide evidence suggesting I am wrong or at the very least your own criteria for setting what God absolutely is.

            • Andrew Dowling

              It’s just a little ironic God has to meet your specific standards of functionality.

              • Defensor Autem

                I did not simply make these criteria appear and then said this is how God exists. A lot of reading and thought have gone into my opinions. How about we discuss premises for the existence of God. I can understand how the conclusion I draw is not immediately accepted.

    • Jeff Preuss

      The clearest example of saying that God changes is the transition between how He was portrayed in the Old Testament and then the New. The very act of sending His Son to Earth represents (in my faith, at least) at least a change in temperament from the quite wrathful Master to the more generously-loving Father. One could quite easily that this was always part of His plan (since He is outside time and in all time at once), so therefore He never really changed, but to me that seems quite different.

      He’s certainly been portrayed as changing His mind more than once in Scriptures. Again, always part of His plan? Or did He recognize something in humanity that caused Him to change plans? We cannot ever fully know, can we?

      • Defensor Autem

        In the historical world, the perception of God definitely changes. He chose to reveal things in a certain order and therefore appears to be different then compared to now. Was he himself different? I argue no. He structures what he wants us to perceive of him based on our situation. He is always the same though.

        Changing his mind again is framing his change in terms of the spacial realm. Yesterday he said this, today he says this. He never contradicts himself. He remains the same.

        You bet we can never fully know. The things we debate are of course on the edge of rationality and beyond our means of fully understanding. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the heck out of debating them.

    • Sven2547

      God is outside of time. If God were inside time then God could not have created time. Time does not restrict God.

      Please prove me wrong.

      These statements are meaningless deepitys that can neither be proven right nor wrong because they are untestable, unverifiable, and frankly nonsensical.

      Furthermore we know that time and space are essentially one in the same. Before space-time, there was nothing. Nothing is nothing.

      If God is outside of time
      and if space and time are one and the same
      and if nothing exists outside of space-time
      then God cannot exist.

      • WilmRoget

        Further, the claim that God cannot be within time imposes a limit on the infinite God. So does the claim that God does not or cannot change. The premise that God transcends time – i.e., is not bound by it but able to be either within or outside of time simultaneously, does fit with the understanding of God as infinite and without limitations.

        Defensor just doesn’t understand the mysticism he/she is trying to invoke.

        “Furthermore we know that time and space are essentially one in the same.
        Before space-time, there was nothing. Nothing is nothing.”

        That is a very poor rendering of the far more nuanced and complicated position that physics currently proposes.

      • Defensor Autem

        You’re correct in that I cannot prove them. However they are my belief and while I may not be able to convince you without proof, the same applies in your attempt to prove my arguments in valid.

        Good try on that last proof. However I do not only involve those premises or those stated in that way. Let me clarify the point. My argument would state:

        God is not a material/physical being. (He may take a physical form if desired-not part of premise but important to state)
        All things material are contained within space time.

        Because God not a material being, he may exist without space time.

        Only things that exist within space time experience change.
        God is without space time.

        God does not experience change.

        • Sven2547

          Because God not a material being, he may exist without space time.

          And yet you said

          Before space-time, there was nothing. Nothing is nothing.

          I am left to believe that “God = nothing”.

          • Defensor Autem

            You are right I was not clear. However trying to use the argument that I was wrong because I was not clear is weak.

            Nothing is nothing. I never said God was nothing. I said God is immaterial.

            • Sven2547

              What do you mean by “immaterial”? What are “immaterial” things, here?

              • Defensor Autem

                Things without space-time or not under the influence of it. Things not consisting of elemental make-up and/or lacking any quality of a scientifically measurable entity.

                A thought or concept may be considered immaterial. Please do not try and claim thoughts and concepts are simply neurotransmitters firing in the brain. This argument leads to an endless hole. Chicken and the egg, tree falls in the woods, you get the picture.

                • Sven2547

                  One thing immaterial things have in common is that they seem to exist strictly within people’s heads.

                  • Defensor Autem

                    That is simply because we cannot move outside of our head to take a peek! Was the concept of a tree around before the first intelligent beings walked the earth? Did the gravitational constant exist when there was no life to be found at the beginning of our solar system? It must have since our solar system was able to form, but no person was thinking about it.

                    • Sven2547

                      The gravitational constant is an observable, quantifiable, verifiable quality of the universe.

                    • Defensor Autem

                      That does not make it material. It does not change as time changes. It is not limited by space for in essence it is space. Whether space existed or space did not exist, the idea of the gravitational constant would still exist.

                    • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

                      Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all material bodies attract each other. There is nothing “immaterial” about such a force.

                    • Defensor Autem

                      Don’t get hung up on the details of gravity. Per the definition I gave for what I interpreted as immaterial, gravity was excluded. Gravity as force could be considered material, as I have found several definitions for what is considered material. Gravity as concept could be considered immaterial. In the same way a concept of a tree is immaterial, however a tree is a very material thing.

                    • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

                      When you can detect what you claim is real by your senses, or by instrumental extension, let me know. Otherwise, you are talking abject non-sense. Even Paul admits preaching abject nonsense.

                      I suggest to you: don’t get hung up on nonsense, ok?

                    • Defensor Autem

                      So you are saying concepts are not real? If not then what are you talking about because I am confused. Apart from bringing into the discussion another word that we would need to define (“real”), you successfully took a verse of the Bible entirely out of context.

                    • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

                      Heaven, Hell, and God are not mere “concepts” to you, you posit them as very real. Try again.

                      And no, I took nothing out of context. You believe in abject nonsense, as the bible rather explicitly states, more than once.

                      But I did expect that you to pull out that “context” talisman to try to ward off the plain meaning of the bible. Here’s your sign:
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK7P7uZFf5o

                    • Defensor Autem

                      You continue to use out of context thoughts to contradict what I have said. Of course love one another has an inherently good message(referencing the video). That has no purpose in the current argument and it really is a weak attempt at arguing the fact that you’re pulling Paul out of context. Let’s pull the actual text of the verse indicated to find where Paul is condemning preaching about nonsense anyways. I’ll go ahead and analyze it out of context to see what I get.

                      18 For the message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written,

                      [thoughts: Okay message about cross is nonsense to those being destroyed, makes sense. Kinda like an atheist probably doesn’t understand the Bible the same way we as Christians do]

                      “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
                      and the intelligence of the intelligent I will reject.”[a]

                      [thoughts: quote referring back to Isaiah 29 discussing hypocrites who try to fool God, cool]

                      20 Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? God has turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense, hasn’t he? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God,[b] God was pleased to save those who believe through the nonsense of our preaching.

                      [thoughts: nonsense of our preaching? that’s confusing, perhaps he means to say that ‘our’ [meaning the apostles] preaching is nonsense because the people they talk to do not understand truth and wisdom? I didn’t look up that analysis, just a quick one off the cuff, seems logical though]

                      Okay so where is this condemnation of abject nonsense? I’m still confused but I’ll leave you to your devices.

                      Getting back to the point, I do posit heaven and hell as real. They are still concepts though also in the same way a tree is real and a tree is a concept. Earlier in the debate the point was made that these types of concepts seem to only exist in the human mind. The purpose of my argument was to show that although the concepts exist in the human mind, their existence is not reliant on a person to think about them. They are real either way.

                    • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

                      Nothing is taken out of context; learn what the term means academically. “Out of context” is simply a talisman used by bibliolators to ward off thinking about horrific or embarrassing passages.

                      >I do posit heaven and hell as real.

                      The underworld realm of Loki’s daughter, Hell, is Norse mythology. The similar underworld realm of Zeus’ brother, Hades, is Greek mythology. Both depend on a flat-earth cosmology. Enjoy your fantasies.

  • Christopher Lake

    There is a seriously lamentable ignorance about Catholicism in Tony’s post and in the many of the comments here. *Doctrines* do not change in the Church. WilmRoget’s comment, from 8 days ago, is simply filled with historical misinformation– he or she should read the early Church Fathers on the authority of St. Peter and his successors, the Popes, and on the Eucharist. The early Church Fathers believed what the Catholic Church teaches today on these matters. With that said, the frequency with which the laity *takes* the Eucharist is a matter of *discipline, not doctrine*. *Disciplines* (certain practices) can change, and obviously have changed, throughout the Church’s history. The practice of fasting from meat on all Fridays of the year is one example. That is a discipline in the Church that has changed (in certain countries, according to the Bishops in those countries, which is within their rights, in canon law). Fasting from meat is not a *doctrine*. The fact of the Sacrament of Marriage being between a man and a woman is a matter of doctrinal teaching, based on what Jesus Himself taught about marriage being a one-flesh union between a man and a woman. That is doctrine. It cannot and will not change in the Catholic Church. Disciplines can and do change though. There is a real difference between the two.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Is an all-male priesthood “doctrine”? Yes. Has it changed (ie, was it invented)? Yes.

      Same with a celibate priesthood.

      Same with the banning of usury.

      Same with Limbo.

      Same with Purgatory.

      I could go on.

      • Christopher Lake

        Tony, I do understand where you’re coming from in your misunderstandings of Catholicism, because I wasn’t raised Catholic, and, to the extent that I studied Church history, before I was Catholic, I did so with Protestant presuppositions. I had to learn many things about how the Church teaches and “works,” and it was very humbling, in regard to what I *thought* I already understood.

        Jesus chose and ordained (breathed on and laid hands on) twelve men. He did not do so with women. To be sure, women did spread the Gospel message, but not as priests, given the authority by Jesus to forgive and retain peoples’ sins in confession (see John 20:19-23).

        About the celibate priesthood, again, that is a *discipline* in the Church, not a doctrine. Disciplines can change; doctrine cannot. Are you aware that there is an Eastern Catholic rite (as opposed to the Latin/Roman rite) in the Church, which is also under the Pope’s spiritual leadership, but whose priests are allowed to be married?

        As for Purgatory, praying and making offerings for the souls of the departed, which only makes sense in the context of Purgatory, can be found in the 2nd book of Maccabees, which Martin Luther literally took out of *his* canon of the Bible, which Protestants then accepted up to today. The early Church Fathers affirmed the existence of Purgatory (I can provide passage after passage from them on the subject).

        I could go on too, but the day calls!