If America Became a Christian Nation (They Probably Wouldn’t Like What it Looked Like)

If America Became a Christian Nation (They Probably Wouldn’t Like What it Looked Like) May 12, 2015

Flagge der USA mit Unabhängigkeitserklärung und Bibel

With political season kicking off again, so is the season where folks begin to use the term “Christian nation.” Some claim we were one, some claim we are one, and some say we need to become one. Yet, each time I hear that phrase I have an inner Princess Bride moment where I say to myself, “you keep using that word, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

Because truth be told, if America actually were to become a Christian nation, I don’t think the people who advocated for it would be too happy with the end product. Since Christian is supposed to mean “little Christ” or “Christ follower,” we actually have a way to offer some clear cut examples of what a Christian nation would look like– because all we have to do is look at what Jesus taught, and how Jesus lived, as a model to pattern national behavior.

So, what if we became a Christian nation? Well, a few things would have to change… drastically. Here’s a few quick examples:

We’d Have To Abolish the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is so beloved by American Christians that this alone would likely be the sticking point preventing us from ever becoming a Christian nation. Jesus taught his disciples that they were to never use violence to respond to evil (Matthew 5:39) and that they were to actively love their enemies. He also lived a life of nonviolent enemy love as a model for us to follow– and living our lives patterned after how he lived his is the ultimate proof that we belong to God (1John 2:6). A Christian nation would have no room for the 2nd Amendment.

We’d Have to Replace the Department of Defense with the Department of Enemy Love.

Refraining from killing one’s enemies is just part of the package with Jesus- he also taught that enemy love was to be an active love. He taught his disciples that they were to bless their enemies, serve their enemies, and actively do good things for them. In this regard, disbanding our military would be the first thing a Christian nation would do, but the second thing would be that they would begin actively loving enemies. Converting the Department of Defense into the Department of Enemy Love and using those billions of dollars to bless the world- particularly the Muslim world- would be a good start towards having a nation that looked like Jesus.

We’d Have to End Capital Punishment.

Of course, there would be no capital punishment in a Christian Nation because Christ is the one who disrupted a public execution and told the executioners that only a perfect person was qualified to serve in the role of executioner (John 8:7). This means the role of legitimate executioners has been vacant ever since, and would not exist in a Christian nation.

Eradicating Poverty Would Be One of Our Most Pressing Concerns.

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us a picture of the final judgement day, and describes the scene as he gathers “all nations” before him. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending which side you end up on) Jesus doesn’t give the nations a theology exam. However, he does judge them based upon whether or not they took care of the poor and vulnerable– and those who did not (professing Christians) are told to “depart.” A Christian nation would remember that feeding hungry people is one of the boxes on Jesus’s judgement day score card.

We’d Freely Care for the Sick.

Healing people of illnesses was one of the central aspects of Jesus’s earthly ministry. Any nation worthy of calling itself a Christian nation would also be a nation who freely and indiscriminately provided healthcare for the sick and lame, just as Jesus. Jesus even freely healed a man who was paralyzed because of his own stupid life choices (John 5:14), so any Christian nation would be extremely generous in the provision of healthcare.

We’d Become The Most Loving Nation Toward Immigrants.

That passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus judges the nations? Welp, one of the other items on the score sheet is “welcoming immigrants” (Matthew 25:35). A Christian nation would be seen as the most pro-immigrant nation on earth.

We’d Do Away with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Kids all across the country begin their days by standing, facing a piece of fabric, and taking a pledge to give their allegiance to it. In a Christian nation however, we would recognize that it is impossible to serve two masters and would be repulsed at the idea of pledging our allegiance to anyone but Jesus himself. Furthermore, we wouldn’t take oaths in a Christian nation (Matthew 5:34), so the entire practice of pledging allegiance to the flag would seem creepy to us.

We’d Pay Our Taxes Without Complaining About It.

It seems many of those who *think* they want America to be a Christian nation see taxation as a form of thievery, but when Jesus weighed in on the issue (speaking within a culture that had a high taxation rate) he simply noted that we should pay to Caesar whatever belongs to him. Jesus had his big moment to expose the evils of taxation and missed it- essentially telling his followers to pay it and move on. In a Christian nation, we’d all be like Jesus: telling people to pay their taxes.

As over-the-top as some of these seem, they’re all things that Jesus directly taught and modeled for us to emulate. Any Christian nation, by definition, would have to be a nation that lived out the teachings and example of Jesus, and would be a radical anomaly on the world scene.

So, politicians can use the term “Christian nation” all they want, but I don’t think any of them understand what the term actually means– nor do I think any of them would find a Christian nation appealing.

A Christian nation doesn’t exist, nor will one ever exist. However, the Kingdom of God does exist, right here, right now– and you’re invited to live within it, where all of those above things are lived and practiced already.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Honestly, I could support each and every one of these suggestions. Maybe that’s the point. My allegiance belongs to God and no nation.

  • liberalinlove

    A nation of Christians instead of a “Christian Nation!” I wish those who call themselves followers of Christ, would look a little more like Jesus when it comes to the rhetoric and viral e-mails that are flying around. We are known by our love. If we do not love we do not know God.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)
    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you for this, Benjamin. Jesus and the Greatest Commandment are indeed offensive to U.S. evangelicals, which explains the frothing vitriol regularly spread in the comments section here, in the comment sections of many other Progressive Christian blogs including Red Letter Christians and elsewhere.

  • A great thought provoking article, Ben! I was especially intrigued by the idea of doing away with capital punishment by the idea of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. He definitely spared her life but he also let her go. I would struggle using the idea of Jesus doing away with executions (using this story) without dealing with the part of him allowing her to go. One could argue that using this story we should let murderers go free. I am not advocating capital punishment (I still lean towards the use of it, although not nearly as much as I used to). I am interested in hearing your thoughts on using that scripture as a means to end capital punishment, yet locking away a prisoner when Jesus allowed this “lawbreaker” to go free. To me it seems like using part of a scripture to justify one thing but leaving out the other. Thoughts?

  • GilGordon

    Nice idea, but they would find a way to do the exact opposite of all that! They would bring back slavery, start wars of conquest, force women to submit to men…and do you want to know why, because the reality is they aren’t Christian!

    They practice a form of worship based on the Old Testament…

    Have you ever noticed that they spend more time quoting the Old Testament, and most of their time ignoring the Gospels…they hate gay people more then they love Christ!

    I have watched as these “Christians” spew their hatred of the gay community, I have seen their “leaders” lie with almost every word they speak, I have heard enough to know that they have no respect for the rights or freedom of others…they are people living in the darkness, because it’s where their real master resides!!!

  • M Raghavan

    I have always felt the religion of the Founding Fathers was used more as a compass, a guide, to developing a nation which would be Christian in its openness, its honesty, its sense of right and wrong, and its code of ethics defined in the Ten Commandments.

    Indeed, most of us immigrants came here to participate in those values, leaving behind the prejudices, caste structure, and corruption of the Third World.. Unfortunately, the politicization of what are to be held as values have cheapened them to the point we can no longer recognize them.

    The Left now criticizes what we are “liberalized” expatriates from the Third World once regarded as civilized, while the “conservatives” use the very same values to tell us we should not be here.

    One of the greatest social and economic experiments in history has failed miserably because of the ignorance of its own people.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Alternatively, welcome to the Mormon States of America. Temple garments will be mandatory.

  • Psycho Gecko

    At least, in your own way, you acknowledge the point that any attempt to declare the United States a Christian nation would soon run into the problem if figuring out which kind of Christianity would control the nation. There are a lot of different sects of Christianity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

    So no matter which one you pick, you’re going to end up with a government supporting a religion that most people in the country don’t adhere to.

  • Connor Haskins

    A consistent Christian nation would also eliminate any police forces. If the objection against military is that it is “resisting evildoers” contrary to Matthew and not turning the other cheek, the same objection would have to apply to law enforcement as well.

  • Noah

    Sorta. You’d still want folks for traffic, investigations, etc. The resisting is meant for individuals, not so much a societal role…in that police would be needed, but maybe a redefined role. The justice system would also be different.

  • Jordan

    A Christian nation is an oxymoron unless a nation is different than a state (which is not what I infer in this post). A Christian society would exhibit the traits you mention except for 2. Your points about the constitution and taxes are incorrect. A Christian society would have no 2nd amendment to abolish because a Christian society wouldn’t have a constitution (a set of laws imposed onto people, born and unborn, by landed aristocrats). There would be no taxes because taxation requires violence or the credible threat thereof by domestic soldiers hired by the aristocrats that, asserting only perceived authority, make laws. I would add that there would be no usurious banking and no corporations. I’m not saying corporations are bad, just that they wouldn’t exist because they are a function of the tax code.

  • Jordan

    >> “The resisting is meant for individuals, not so much a societal role”

    If it is immoral for an individual, it is immoral for society. Society doesn’t act. Individuals act.

  • dhajetii525

    Well said!

  • natsera

    Just wanted to let you know that the Methodist Church ad blocked enough of your words that I couldn’t read your article, and ai couldn’t find any way to get rid of it. Please bring that up with Patheos, OK?

  • Lisa Martinez

    And large Christian groups who amassed great wealth for themselves and their “organizations” would not be allowed to call themselves Christian. They’d have to be called for-profit corporations.

  • Don Lowery

    Having lived in Idaho/Utah/the Bible Noose..no thanks to anyone who claims their and others schizophrenic rantings tells them opposite of what Jesus said in the Bible. The non-fundamentalist/Deist/Enlightenment-inspired Constitution attempts to protect me from the ones who believe the lies of their “christian” nation.

  • Don Lowery

    Found this on another website: “What’s the difference between ‘Christian’ fundamentalists & Satanists? They worship the same entity but Satanists are honest about it.” You wouldn’t believe the amount of replies I get when I use it.

  • It’s been reported, thanks.

  • Amy Ehlers


    The issue I have is this has been going on for a long time. Abraham Lincoln lamented at the rotting horses in the Hudson River. Fast forward, Google…Companies involved with the Nazi’s during the occupation. Then Google Scott Lively who was involved with the genocide of Uganda. This is what the earthly church looks like. Google Nixon and Billy Graham…it goes on and on. I am a researching Queen. Watch, the movie, Testament. Could be ve true with the Union between Russia and China that is quickly evolving. It has all been very corrupt since the beginning. The issue I have is this…so please forgive me if I err, and I know we are at a crossing point.

    Where is the real church of God and why can’t we start to gather together to start the pendulum swing. Rev 12, speaks of the battle. However, and just my thoughts. We need to start gathering and start to bring up the new earth. The earth has been destroyed many times. Love my NIV Study Bible, not the Zondervan, but the one written by the Biblical Society…love the Intro’s to each book and the bottom part tells a whole different story than the top. I also read the Qur’an and Gita, among other Bibles or Spiritual books. How are we like, instead of how are we different. I hear the spiritual leaders today and I have yet to hear one, that states the most important commandment is….Matthew 22: 31-40. This is what I know from researching God in many of His words, which have all been altered, however, one theme rings true.
    God, Positive Energy, Love, hates it when men commit social injustice and pollute his earth.
    God, Positive Energy, Love, loves wisdom and knowledge.
    God, Positive Energy, Love, says: Love Me with all your heart, soul and mind and love your brother and sister as yourself. Who is my Brother? As Titus 3:9 says, do not argue about genealogy. I was raised in a Christian school and was taught about evolution. Protons and Neutrons and Atoms. The earth is created of Atoms and last I read, and I read a lot of everything, even the plants speak to one another.

    With regard to women’s rights. Ephesians 5:25 says that a man should love a women as Jesus Christ loved the church. Jesus died for us. So how should a man model themselves for women? Women are being thrown under the bus every day in the so called christian church, with the Sadducees and Pharisees. I think if a woman gets pregnant it is time for the men to step up to the plate instead of blaming us. However, we are sexual beings, created in God’s image. Really do think that Jesus probably had sex before he had to die for us. Just a thought. Was a man after all. How do men function. Much differently than woman, but that is another discussion. How do want to be loved.

    So, as the Buddhists do, when we can see that we are part of God, as He said, we are created in His image, and he came as a human….then maybe we can get a grasp of how important we are to the future and that we have a responsibility to start to create the New Earth. The intro of Revelations is very closely tied to Genesis.. A do over in the NIV that I know, which I believe the symbolism of Jesus is all about. Do overs.

    I do not think we are at an end. I don’t know how bad it has to get. Depends on the Sheeples, but there is a word for that also, Mathew 18:12, which to me speaks of the Occupy Movement, which tried to help…they were noted as the 99 originally.

    Just food for thought. However, Amos 8:11 is on right now. There is the church, the buildings and then the Church, the people who can hear God, fear God…which means to respect. I do think that is up to the Church to gather together a New Earth.

    Just a thought….nothing pressing. However, I think we all speak the same language of God, I could be wrong, but there is work to be done. That much I know.

    In The Light.
    Perhaps, what I am saying is just food for thought. Can get into many scriptures that are ignored, but I will just start here.

    God Bless you all.
    LOL, I am not sure what an anti Baptist is yet, lol. Grew up with a few, either long church services, hated everyone, or were very biblical and restrictive.
    However, maybe I am getting this. Then we are all of the Light, God, Love…hat the religious labels anymore. More metaphysical as for me, and travel with God tightly.

  • RonnyTX

    Gil,those people you speak of,they seem to think a person like myself,can’t exist. That is,a person born of God and thereby a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ and gay.

  • RonnyTX

    Amen Timothy! And I am glad that God chose for me to be born in the US;but that doesn’t make me better than people born in other countries. And the citizenship that matters the most to me,is my citizenship in the kingdom of God and not in my US citizenship.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Long comment, Amy, but I read every word… Greetings to a fellow eternal-seeker… nice to see there are some of us still around…

    And I don’t refer to that term as though we have no convictions – just, to me, seeking the various expressions to adore That which knows Itself to be, rather than how we conceive such… A multi-faceted jewel is dharma (in the broadest sense of that word). Many of my online and offline Christian friends are observing a particular facet of that jewel, while insisting the facet is the sum total of the jewel… Me? All the facets of the jewel of reality fascinate me, but more than the facets, the entire Jewel is what I seek. (Keeps me busy and out of trouble… good thing, that… {*smile*}

  • Christine

    Of course, the Second Amendment specifically cites well regulated militias, and preserving freedom. However, we shouldn’t forget that rural poverty is still, like, a thing. Some people do still hunt to put meat on the table. Also, given the state of factory farms, it can be argued that hunting for meat is the more ethical option when compared to supporting an industry that thrives off of the lifelong suffering of beasts. So while the second amendment might have to go, I do think there would still be room for those specific firearms that would be suitable to the task of hunting.

    Still, I wonder whether the very notion of a “Christian Nation” is something that would cut muster as a Christian notion.

  • Noah

    No, scripture primarily speaks to Christians as individuals. Society at large will always include non-believers and those of different Christian beliefs.

    I, as an individual, shouldn’t necessarily need the police, but society will need them for some purposes.

  • RonnyTX

    I’m glad you’ve reported that,as I’ve been having some of the same problem. Thought it might just be my computer? But did find that if I reloaded the page, 3,4 or so times,that ad disappeared. Another one would pop up;but the kind that had the deal on top,where I could click and make the ad go away. Have had to reload on other blogs as well at times, so still not sure if all of this is a Patheos problem,a problem with my computer or internet connection,etc?

  • RonnyTX

    But I don’t need their special underwear! :-)

  • otrotierra

    I agree if the entity referred to here is the Self. Self-serving, self-centered self-worship.

  • gimpi1

    “Yet, each time I hear that phrase I have an inner Princess Bride moment where I say to myself, ‘you keep using that word, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means.'”

    I enjoyed this entire piece, but I love this quote. I keep hearing the phrase “Christian Nation™” and I keep thinking, “What in the heck are you talking about.”

    First of all, most of the folks seem to think the U.S. was more ‘Christian’ (a word they use as synonymous for good) in the past. A past where we enslaved a whole group of people based on their physical appearance. A past where children were worked to death in unsafe mines or factories. A past where we stole the bulk of the nation’s land from people living on it at the point of a gun. A past rife with double-standards, privilege for a few and oppression for many. THAT was more moral? THAT is what is meant by Christian?

    Then, the morality that is discussed has little resemblance to anything I recognize as morality. There’s tons of discussion about sex, but it’s mostly about condemning sexual actions that cause no harm. I can understand why people want to follow a sexual code for themselves, but why on earth do they care if other people don’t follow the same code, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone? Then there’s lots of condemnation for aid to the “undeserving,” a word that seems to mean, “not like me.” Lots of worry about lost privilege, as though having a Buddhist offer a prayer at the city council damages their faith. There’s precious little concern about justice – social or otherwise. How can you even discuss morality without justice? To me, a just system is the cornerstone of a moral society. “No justice, no peace,” isn’t a slogan, it’s a math-equation.

    I have my Princess Bride moments, too. I sincerly hope that ‘Christian’ does not mean what they think it means.

  • gimpi1

    My husband once asked a fellow to explain the difference between his idea of God and Satan using examples of behavior, not generic descriptives like “good” or “evil.” It didn’t go well.

    This fellow was much more of the Old Testament, fire and brimstone believer. His concept of God was petty, jealous, unjust, inconsistent and cruel. Sometimes I think we worship not just ourselves, but the worst aspects of ourselves.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    When Jesus said to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, he did not identify what things are Caesars. It is not unreasonable to assume that everything belongs to God, and nothing to governments.

    Jesus knew that the question was a trap, and could not answer openly there.

    There is another incident where Jesus spoke about taxation.

    Matthew 17:24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

    That verse seems to imply that taxes are not justified, but also not worth resisting.

    Jesus also told us not to resist evil with evil, and to give to whomever asks. Telling us to pay taxes is not in conflict with believing that taxation is theft, as he told us to pay our thieves too.

    Personally I take the Georgist view, that most taxes are robbery but fully justified taxes are also possible. It is not theft to tax that which is not valid property, or to require individuals to compensate others for the harms they cause them. I support Land Value Taxes as well as Pigouvian Taxes on Negative Externalities such as Pollution. Those sources of revenue should be more than sufficient for all necessary government functions, without ever resorting to unjust forms of taxation on top of them.

  • Earl Rogerson

    If you really want to know what the country would be like under the rule of Christinsanity, Just read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood or watch the film !!

  • R. Kemp

    Between the militarization of our youth, the radicalization of Christians and the politicization of just about everything else, our future seems bleak.

  • Timothy Weston

    Keep these coming! This is too good not to share.

  • misspeggy7

    It would be nothing like that.

  • Earl Rogerson

    It would probably be worse !!!

  • Alan Christensen

    If by “Christian” you mean the religious far right, you’re correct. Of course Ben is offering a different (and I would say more faithful to Jesus) vision of what it means to be Christian.

  • Michael Wilson

    Benjamin, if we follow this program wouldn’t have to replace our police with a department of domestic enemy love? If we can’t threaten to hurt people who don’t pay taxes wouldn’t a lot of rich people skip out on it? And without our defenses wouldn’t nations like China, Russia, ect. take our wealth rather than let the U.S. give it to the poor? And since their would be no one to stop marauders of all sorts, their wouldn’t be much wealth to spend since all the wealthy would move to non christian nations that would defend them. The U.S. under Jesus would be like Somalia or Ahfghanistan where their is no government to stop warlords from ruling with guns.

  • Tie-dye One

    20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

  • JNWesner

    Noah, you might be interested to know that “non-believers” provide a very small portion of the U S prison population. Check for yourself; it’s true. Some people just don’t need religion to know how to behave.

  • mencik

    Well, the premise of the article is to be careful what you wish for.

  • jbandsma

    What today is called christianity should more rightly be called Paulianity. The religion has more to do with the teachings of Paul than those of Jesus.

  • Connor Haskins

    Noah, my point is that you either take Jesus’ words to mean that resisting evildoers is inherently unacceptable in the Christian worldview and therefore a Christian nation wouldn’t do it (period) or that it’s not, and therefore it’s acceptable. There’s really no in between. All evil is done by individuals. And if resisting evildoers is wrong, then resisting a terrorist organization and resisting someone speeding in a residential area of town are both equally prohibited according to Matthew.

  • Psycho Gecko

    As someone from the Bible Belt, I know exactly what sort of “Christian nation” people around me want to have, and I’d rather not risk it.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Next you’ll be saying you don’t need the funny hats and the secret handshakes, either.

  • Noah

    Again, sorta. Enforcing laws and such (like taxes), doesn’t fall exactly into the ‘resist evildoers’ piece. That’s advice to the person being ‘assaulted’, it’s not a blanket statement to allow evil to happen at any time

    Especially not a statement to eliminate repercussions, consequences and justice.

  • Noah

    I’m not sure what that has to do with anything I’ve said? I certainly never suggested people need religious beliefs to behave well.

    The country identifies 70-85% believers (90ish % Christian)…..so yea, I imagine the prison population would reflect that.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Not sure what s supposed to be good about this? It shows a clear misunderstanding of the Bible and of many of the politics that were discussed.

  • Connor Haskins

    That’s a valid point, I could admit that being feasible. At the same time, could a nation with no police/military force and significant resources exist for more than 5-10 years without being overrun?

  • Noah

    Certainly not a large one with a heterogeneous population.

    Switzerland comes to mind as a test population!

  • Chris Fritz

    I don’t even know where to begin. Abolish capital punishment? Okay, sounds good and compassionate, but what’s the next logical step, opening up all the prisons? Where would the compassion be for all the victims in the worst case scenario, then? It is an individual’s job to forgive, not the gov’t, not society. A society that took many of the steps you suggest, would not be doing its job, that of preserving freedom, so people could give freely of themselves. They would also have the freedom NOT to give, but that is the chance you take. And if you are saying paying taxes like good obedient lemmings, will make us better Christians, I don’t agree at all. It sounds like something Jimmy Carter once supposedly said (although it was actually John Fugelsang): “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, stop saying you want a Christian nation, because you don’t.” It is so easy to pay confiscatory taxes which fund gov’t programs and call it charitable giving, but is that REALLY what God wants? Does giving only through gov’t programs make us better Christians. or does giving FREELY?
    “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)

  • Chyenne Mollohan

    Jesus was, in fact, very specific about what things were Caesar’s.

  • Chyenne Mollohan

    The early Jewish Christians were mostly vegetarian and vehemently against taking life and animal sacrifice in the temple. So Rural Christian Americans should put aside their firearms and not kill the flesh.

    Also, cut muster is a mix of the metaphors,”pass muster” and “cut the mustard”. They both mean roughly the same thing,but it just grates upon one’s eyes.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Switzerland does have a military, but its friendly neighbor Liechtenstein does not.

    Their armed forced were abolished in 1866. (Before that, it consisted of 80 men who never saw combat.) Despite World Wars being fought nearby, the Principality has remained completely neutral and has not been invaded.

    Liechtenstein does have a police force, but it consists of only 87 field officers (who carry small arms) and 38 unarmed civilian staff.

    The Prince of Liechtenstein is a very unusual monarch, the closest thing the world has to an anarchist head of state. He does not receive any income from taxes, but instead lives off the dividends of stock in a bank which specializes in helping others avoid their taxes. His primary powers are the ability to call for ballot initiatives without needing to get enough people to sign a petition (anyone can put anything on the ballot with enough signatures) and vetoing some acts of their legislature. (The veto was last used in order to keep abortion illegal.) This Prince has stated that he believes every private individual has a natural right to secede from whatever state he lives in, taking his property with him to form a new micro-state. He tried to enshrine this right in his country’s constitution, but was blocked by the legislature. Instead, they settled for allowing any municipality to secede based on a simple majority in a local referendum. Municipalities in Liechtenstein are small, so secession might require only getting a couple hundred people to agree.

  • Don Lowery

    As I’ve come to believe…if the god of the fundamentalists is really a God of Love…then why would he want to torment anyone for all of eternity? That’s more along the lines of what Satan would want to do. That being the case…then my phrase is more true for the fire and brimstone believer of believing in a sadistic god…rather than someone who came to do what John 3:17 claims. Anyone wants to believe this…more power to them…especially with this being wrong…what else in their belief structure is wrong as well?

  • Noah

    Good stuff. They were also on my mind.

  • otrotierra

    Henry George may be interesting, but I can assure you he is not a sufficient replacement for Jesus. I’ll stick with a Jesus-centered view.

  • tariq

    We take a step in this direction and God would back us… http://www.churchwisdom.com/Topic/Title/Dealing-With-Your-Giants

  • Pfruit

    Renouncing prison is not the next step after abolishing capital punishment. How can you even make that hyperbolic comparison without realizing how irrational you sound?

  • Cassie Devereaux

    So Christianity, in your point of view, is defined in the moment of the early movement that defined themselves as Jewish followers of “The Way”? The definition of “Christian” is frozen and set in a context that didn’t even use the word, let alone recognize it as a religion of its own? THAT is what “Christian” is, and no other interpretation is valid? Really?

    And if “cut muster” so terribly grates your eyes, I’d imagine that they must be raw and bloody by the time you’ve spent five minutes anywhere on the internet. These days, I do backflips if someone uses capitalization and attempts punctuation. Perhaps it’s time to let these things go? It might save your eyes.

    (Besides, anyone can look over your posting history and the linguistic choices YOU commonly make, so…. glass houses, throwing stones, natch. Legit!)

  • Pierce Baugh

    I really enjoyed this article. I think it’s ironic that we claim to be a Christian nation yet we constantly demonize the poor and those who are on welfare, something that Jesus NEVER would have done. I was reading an article today about the top ten countries that do the most to help developing nations and the United States did not make the list. Some of the countries that did make the list, however, were Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland. I also find it ironic that these countries are some of the least religious countries in the world, not that I’m condemning that, but do more to help those in need than the “Christian” country that is the United States. In no way am I condemning people who are’t affiliated to Christianity, but I think it’s sad that countries who are secular are doing Christianity better than the United States, the land where you see Bible verses plastered everywhere and where the majority of the population claims to be Christian. Bottom line: I think people who aren’t Christians are usually better Christians than people who claim to be Christians.

  • drklassen

    Death penalty, nor imprisonment, are NOT about “compassion to the victim”.

  • drklassen

    Taxes aren’t robbery; they’re club dues.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    If a club demands dues from those who do not consent to membership in that club, then those dues are robbery.

  • Damiana Swan

    I like to refer to it as being a Selective Pauline Levite.

  • The tax that is being referred to is the temple tax which was used for the maintenance of the temple and to pay for sacrifices in the temple. It was a requirement that all Jewish males over the age of 20 pay this tax. The question that was being asked was whether or not Jesus were required to pay the temple tax. The point was that although it was not necessary to pay the temple tax, it should be paid for the sake of peace within the community. So nothing to do with Caesar.

  • Michael Wilson

    I get the impression Ben thinks this would be a good thing. But he hasn’t thought this through. His vision of a pacifist state is an oxymoron. States cease to exist when they are pacifist. With Benjamin’s view of Christian pacifism the great tragedy of American slavery is that they were freed. Now they are complicit in a system of violence, protected by laws enforced with violence. Before they were innocent victims. It is cruel ideology mistaken for love.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    It is not advice being given to someone that is being assaulted the verse is talking about retaliation. The verse is clearing up the verse directly before it. And has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment or defending one’s self.
    It is clearing up the miss understanding “You have heard said” about the Law “eye for and eye.” It was never meant for personal retaliation.

  • Agni Ashwin

    So you would argue that a Christian nation is not a nation you would like to live in?

  • Agni Ashwin

    Those Methodists are a sneaky group of Protestants.

  • Agni Ashwin

    Liechtenstein über niemand.

  • Michael Wilson

    If they are absolute pacifist, no. Their would be no police, laws, or governent services. The Christians around me woukd soon be forced into servitude and I woukd be at the mercy of who ever claimed them. Despite the claims from radical libertarians nations without government don’t prosper. The poverty and declining standard of living would imperil my well being. But I suppose if I were the only non christian in such a pacific place I would be their Caesar and voukd irder them as a wanted, but I’m not sure how great an emporer I would be.

  • Michael Wilson

    I wouldn’t be as hard on Benjamin if it was simply that he thought Christians shouldn’t participate in government, but it is the sloppy reasoning that money is wasted on the army that could be spent on the poor. That wealth exist because there is an army. Without the department of defense their would be no extra money for peace, their would be less than there is now available for peace, love, and poverty relief. He should gratefull that theur are people less concerned with Jesus than he to protect him and me from even greater bastards.

  • Well, it’s actually pretty rational. American prisons are nothing more than corporate sponsorship for government organized, systemic racism and classism. Also, America has less than 5% of the world’s population, yet its prisons hold a massive 25% of the world’s prisoners (according to a 2008 article by the NY Times…it’s probably worse now).

    So, in spite of Chris’s textbook examples of straw man, slippery slope, and reductio ad absurdum, he accidentally brought up a good point. A “Christian nation” would, in fact, abolish mass imprisonment and instead help people out of the situations that made them think crime was their only option.

  • Pfruit

    Now who is crafting a strawman?

    Incarceration as punishment related to crimes that violate the sanctity of another individuals will (murder / rape / theft / assault) make sense in a civilized society.

    Incarceration as punishment for victimless vice crimes lead to mass incarceration.

    The next logical step from abolishing capital punishment is simply life imprisonment. The next logical step for prison reform is the abolition of vice crimes. The next logical step for prison reform is focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. etc…

    These ‘logical steps’ are certainly open for argument and debate, but in now way is it logical to move from a system of capital punishment to a system of non-incarceration in a single step.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i enjoyed this article and agree with many of your points. and in all honesty america never was a religious nation cause the founding fathers never wanted religion to influence politics

  • I think you’re missing the point of all of this, then.

  • That is not a straw man, it is actually, honestly and quite literally true. Private prisons are a real problem, however much you ignore it.

  • Yes, actually, Timothy shows he is pretty sure about it, don’t know why you had to ask that question.

  • A truly Christian nation would not “rule” a nation, so you are wrong about everything.

  • It is entirely unreasonable to presume that. And he did not identify which things were Caesars? I am pretty sure anything that is Caesars is Caesars, as per the verse does obviously say.

  • I’m not sure if this article kind of misses the point. What people are actually asking or looking for is a Judeo-Christian nation. The assumption is that Christianity is governed by the 10 Commandments so a Christian nation would live by them. By living in a ‘Christian’ nation, many Christians would suddenly wake up to why Jesus’ death and resurrection abolished those laws and gave us the freedom to live according to the spirit.

    We see all the time how Christians pay lip service to God’s law while actually following their base instincts. In such a Christian nation they might well rebel against a law they once thought equitable. The era of prohibition is an excellent example of what America looks like when governed by religious laws.

    ‘Christian nation’ is an oxymoron anyway. Jesus was adamant that his kingdom was not of this world. The leader of such a nation would be an antichrist by definition. Modern secular society knows more of Christ than did the Victorian Christian society. It could be argued that Christians are better placed influencing society through their Christ centred compassion, mercy and justice than exercising government.

    We only have to look at the record of our recent ‘Christian’ presidents to see that the epithet is meaningless.

  • drklassen

    You can leave any time.

  • How is that a straw man? I literally just stated a couple facts about the prison system.

    I think you may have misunderstood my point, or maybe I just made it poorly. I really wasn’t trying to make an argument for the order of hypothetical steps…that would be a rather meaningless argument. I don’t care about the logical sequence of events in this hypothetical (and impossible) move towards a “Christian nation.”

    Honestly, I was mostly just being facetious by using Chris’s own argument against him. He seems to think that a slippery slope from abolishing capital punishment to abolishing prisons proves this whole post wrong. As you pointed out, his argument is ridiculous. I agree with you there. I just saw an opportunity to point out that abolishing prisons is actually not a bad idea because they are horribly unjust.

  • Josiah Silas Michael

    Where can I find such a country?

  • Cat Buchanan(VA)

    I have made this point over and over and over again – that the religion is modeled on a man who 1) never even MET Yeshua, 2) persecuted the followers of Yeshua until he had a sudden change of heart, 3) was called in front of the early leaders of the church in Jerusalem (like James … Yeshua’s BROTHER) and was told to stop perverting the message, 4) would have continued to be denounced by the early church if Jerusalem had not been SACKED and the early leaders KILLED.

    Oh, and I am not a Christian though I do have a faith. I have done over 20 years of solo comparative religious study as well as have a minor in Sociology which includes Anthropology study (since Sociology is a branch of Anthropology) and also included college religious study classes.

  • otrotierra

    I’d rather see U.S. pastors follow the teachings of Jesus. I’ll pass on the “Fan Fiction” of rapture mythology, as it teaches us more about European thinker John Darby than it does about Jesus. I’ll stick with Jesus.

  • gimpi1

    I’m not Ben, but here’s my two cents:
    One thing I’ve always thought about that story, Jesus did not make his intervention dependent on the “Go and sin no more,” thing. He intervened first, stopped the brutal execution, sent the executioners packing and then suggested that the woman in question change her actions. He didn’t step in, extract a promise of changed behavior, then pressure the crowd to break up. For me, that personifies forgiveness wether or not the person in question cleans up their act.

    Now, I’m not saying that I can do that. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for me co accomplish. I’m still very much a ‘work in progress’ in that department. However, when people claim they don’t have to be accepting of those they regard as sinners “until they repent,” I remember that that’s not the way Jesus did it.

    Worth about two cents, right?

  • gimpi1

    I don’t quite understand your statement, “The Left now criticizes what we are “liberalized” expatriates from the Third World once regarded as civilized…” What does the “left” criticize that you regard as civilized?

  • gimpi1

    That’s how I read it as well.

    People can adopt the actual (apparent) philosophy of Jesus as a way of living, but nation-states really can’t, due to the need to protect citizens and provide infrastructure and services that individuals can’t create and business couldn’t turn a profit on (or do without.)

    Nations can adopt aspects of the kinder, gentler Christianity Ben believes in. We can take care of the sick, we can have a welcoming immigration policy, we can provide for the poor – many nations do these things, and some do them better than we do. However, a nation that can’t defend its borders or enforce its laws soon ceases to exist.

  • gimpi1

    “Does giving only through gov’t programs make us better Christians. or does giving FREELY?”

    Well, no society has actually provided for the needs of the sick, disabled and suffering through freely given charity. I believe Ben pointed this out; churches simply can’t (and don’t really want to) carry the load. Since freely given charity can’t take care of these needs (and nowhere in the world has that ever worked) we have two choices. 1) Tax people to provide for these needs: or 2) Don’t provide for these needs. Societies that choose option one are in general healthier, happier, longer lived, less crime-ridden and more peaceful than those that choose option two. (Again, a look around the world proves this.)

    You seem much more worried about the heart of the person giving than the needs of those in distress. Is that how you view God’s priorities? I care more about relieving suffering, and I want to do that in the way that is the most effective. While I don’t really bring God into the equation, I can’t really imagine a God that cares more about the the way aid is provided than the suffering that is eased.

    Also, the whole “… whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully.” is frankly crap. People get sick and can’t work. People lose jobs through no fault of their own. Crops fail, businesses fail, technology changes, and people suffer. The whole idea that suffering people deserve to suffer is pretty darn awful. It also makes me wonder about your version of charity. How likely are you to give generously if that’s what you believe?

  • gimpi1

    That may be what you want, but it’s clearly not what many Christians want. Witness that a Christian wrote this article and many Christians are responding well to it.

    If you read Ben further, you would know he believes the whole “end times” dogma is a scam, and he has good historical reasons for that belief. Google “John Darby” for more information.

    An aside, exactly how can “nations” stop ISIS? What tactics would you suggest? How can (presumably) the U.S. stop China, a sovereign nation, from making its own laws or force Pakistan (also a sovereign nation) to honor human rights that they don’t acknowledge? How has (presumably) the U.S. abandoned Israel?

  • …**sigh** my denomination, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently we are in need of some technology lessons…

  • PremiumOsmium

    I’ve actually looked into that, and the answer I’ve received is more disturbing. Basically they say that God doesn’t want to send people to Hell, but he doesn’t have any choice because it’s the only just thing to do because of humanity’s sinfulness.

  • otrotierra

    C’mon Methodists, step up to the information superhighway or get off the interwebz, gramps!!!1!

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Who demonizes the poor or those on welfare?

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    What on Earth are you talking about? I never mentioned Timothy. I was talking about this “article.” However, we can start with the 2nd amendment and the verses that were used to begin the illustration.

  • AMinus

    Scandinavia probably

  • What I find so strange is, I know we’ve got tech-savvy people not only in our denomination, but working for it. So how/why did they come up with a banner ad that couldn’t fit within the space provided? Somebody dropped the ball big time, here.

    …I’m assuming it’s a banner ad, at least. I should really turn my adblock off on sites like this, to give support to Ben and others.

  • Guy Norred

    Do that and you may occasionally find some very interesting juxtapositions. A couple of months there were a lot of ads for Liberty University coming up around articles that couldn’t be said to be complementary to them.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Paul did meet Jesus. Acts 9. And yes, Paul did persecute the Church passionately. But he turned to Christ and was forgiven. I’m not sure what information you’re going off of with the perception that Paul would have been killed by the early church, or that the disciples confronted Paul about his teaching. He was teaching what Jesus taught, and the disciples trusted him once they saw his conversion was genuine. And he actually even had to correct Simon Peter regarding his behavior with non-Jews in one instance, and Peter had been with Jesus throughout his ministry on the earth (Galatians 2:11).

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Of course, there also wouldn’t be state-supported provisions for abortion of any kind or homosexual marriages.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, nostalgia for a past that never existed…have you ever read “The Way We Never Were”? It’s a good read, and very interesting to see how our cozy notions of the past measure up against actual data.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Ha. that reminds me of the women that wrote an article on Jesus being a socialist and then when people started pointed out the error in the article quickly said that the article was never about Jesus being a socialist….it was an article about Obama not being a socialist.

  • gimpi1

    Actually, I have and I enjoyed it greatly. It’s valuable to remember what the past really was like, and why in so many ways it’s better now.

  • Chyenne Mollohan

    That seems a broad generalization of my hypothetical opinion. I am certain that Christianity is an ever changing thing throughout the 2000+ years of its existence. In fact, it is so far off from what the Main Man wanted that Modern Christians should call themselves something else. I was merely pointing out another way that modern Christians differ from the “O.G.” Christians. Frankly, I think that early Christians were far more committed to their faith.

    Every day you can see just how far Christians have fallen. Evangelicals and Protestants are stirring up intolerance and hatred towards their fellow man. Trying to turn our country into a theocracy. These qualities are all against the Beatitudes and these Christians are no longer blessed. They have ambition, greed, and lust for power. Not to mention that their elected leaders are constantly getting into scandals involving relationships out of wedlock. We’re supposed to listen and follow these sycophant hypocrites?

    I’ll throw stones in my glass house if I so choose. It’s my house. Keep Confucianism out of this. We are discussing Christianity. I have long since avoided getting upset over spelling and grammar on the internet, but one must draw a line somewhere. Mixing metaphors is my line and I will burn that bridge when I cross it.

  • Chyenne Mollohan

    I see shortening words is your line in the sand. Bravo for taking a stand! Upvoted for sheer pluck. Love the pluck.

  • Jordan

    The freest nations are the smallest ones. The Americans don’t seem to get that.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Darby was not the originator of he Repture though. It was first taught in America, by Cotton and Increase Mather, a century earlier. Darby is just the guy who got their nonsense to catch on.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Who said he was a sufficient replacement? I did not, and he certainly did not. He was himself a devout Christian.

  • otrame

    You forgot that the 1st Amendment would have to go too. It is completely incompatible with the first Commandment.

  • Pierce Baugh

    Some examples are many members (not all) of the ring-ring political affiliation, many people who don’t understand that poverty is generational and incredibly difficult to get out of, and people who are just in general jackasses. Even some spiritual leaders condemn the poor and those on welfare. During one of his sermons, John Hagee condemned those on welfare saying “if you don’t work you don’t eat”. He demonized a group of people who are already marginalized. Instead of practicing Christ’s message to help those in need, he preached his own message from the contents of his heart; welfare people are lazy and need to get of their asses. Meanwhile, Jesus looks down from Heaven and sighs.

  • Simon

    Another great article Ben. Keep up the provocative good work.

  • Don Lowery

    Heard this more times than I want to remember when I was a fundamentalist. Too bad that if their god’s rage and wrath is more powerful than the love the Bible says God is…then what difference is there between Satan and God? Sounds exactly like what an abuser tells his victim that because he loves them so much…that hurting them is the only answer because of their lack of self control. Still…not a god…but a sadist who gets off hurting others…with Satan as the most powerful being.

  • I keep coming back to read this. It makes me so happy – the vision of a truly Christian nation. Sigh.

  • Paul Hill

    Well this isn’t even remotely true, accurate or really anything substantial. I could talk for an hour about the misuse, mischaracterization, misquotation, and taking out of context of every verse used here, but that’s just a small part of the problem here. The author is a leading figure in the Progressive Christian movement, a watered down theology that: (1) excludes the Old Testament from teaching; (2) hold that the thesis of Jesus teaching was “love each other and be peaceful” and focuses only on passages that support such a viewpoint; and (3) push for society to reformat into a weird pseudo-religious socialist society complete with communal living, pacifism, and shared wealth. The less radical of these members even go so far as to deny the divinity of Christ and only focus on how they think Jesus taught people to live. All in all, Progressive Christianity focuses on works, not Christ and grace that He brings, which fully disqualifies this author to speak on who Jesus is and what a nation that points to Him would look like.

    But it gets even worse. First of all, his thesis is inherently flawed. A government, what he incorrectly refers to as a nation, is not a person. It is an entity designed to govern, serve, and protect the person’s within its jurisdiction. A nation is a group of people, potential spanning the boundaries of countries, that hold some sort of common identity found in ethnicity, religion, or some other identifying factor. When people say that America is a “Christian Nation” they are saying that our country was founded by and predominately made up of Christians and that we should have leaders in government that share such views as well as government policies that are consistent with, not necessarily reflective or a product of, such faith. They don’t want a theocracy; in fact they are very aware that theocracies cannot succeed unless Christ is physically at its head, something that won’t happen until He returns. Government, as it is not a person, is not supposed to act as a Christian would, and, while the people controlling it are, a government is not morally accountable to anything. All that talk of Jesus judging the nations isn’t Jesus judging governments it is Jesus judging the people within them, a judgment that no one will or can even hope to pass by their own works. But more on that later. Government and its laws, as Aquinas would say, are supposed to follow natural law and stay consistent, simply meaning not contradictory, to divine law. Basically government isn’t expected to follow or compel others to follow Christ, its just not supposed to compel others to disobey Him and His teachings.

    With the fall of his thesis, the rest of this article falls apart as well, as the government is not expected to act a person following Christ would. However, he doesn’t even accurately describe how a Christian should live. Jesus would have no problem with the 2nd amendment. The verse this guy quotes tells us not to resist persecution as a result of our faith. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that he should stand idly by in the face of a psychopath wishing to slaughter us and our family like sheep.

    Jesus does not disapprove of the military nor of serving in it. We are supposed to love and pray for our enemies but that does not mean that we should stand by and let them destroy us. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

    Jesus does not disapprove of capital punishment. The verse this guy uses is one where the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by tricking the adulterous woman and bringing her before Jesus to see if he would defy Mosaic law or kill the woman in front of everyone. Jesus’s response is not that you must be sinless to execute someone, it is that, since we are all sinful, we have to be careful about passing judgment on others because we are just a sinful as they. Furthermore, if you look to the Old Testament then you’ll see that God does acknowledge times where capital punishment is necessary.

    To the point about ending poverty: there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that the government’s primary job is to end poverty, however, there is everything to suggest that it is the job of the church and the body of Christ to help the poor. This extends to the point about universal health care. Christians and the Church are supposed to care for the sick and help them find treatment. As far as immigration goes, he has not basis to make this point, as the government is not expected to act inherently “Christian.” It is the people, the nation, that are supposed to be welcoming of immigrants.

    Jesus has no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance. The verse this guy uses is about refraining from taking oaths on things as in swearing on the Bible or your mother that you’ll do something or not do something or whatever. This has nothing to do with the Pledge of Allegiance. Furthermore, there is nothing in the Pledge that is against Christ, considering that the Pledge itself acknowledges that God is sovereign above it.

    Finally, to the point about taxes; the verse this guy uses is another instance where the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus into appearing anti-Roman so they would have an easier time getting the Romans to help stop Him. Jesus’s response is not a statement that taxes are bad or good but simply a reflection of the fact that they have nothing to do with His purpose on earth.

    The problems with this article all link back to the one thing; the author believes that Jesus came to earth in order to teach us to love one another. He is wrong. Jesus came because humanity is broken, sinful, and without any hope of earning a place in the presence of God. Simply stated, humanity was in need of a Savior. Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins, which is death and eternal separation from God, with His life so that by accepting His grace, His gift, we may be with our Creator once again. Then He conquered death by rising from the grave 3 days later, showing His power over sin and death. Did Jesus give us guidelines for how to live? Yes. Did He tell us to love one another? Yes. However, these were not the central points of His message. Jesus’s message was that we are not worthy of heaven, that we are not worthy of salvation, and that nothing we can possibly do will change that or allow us to earn a spot in heaven. Salvation is a gift given freely to we who do not deserve it by the grace of Jesus Christ. While this gift is available for all, unfortunately, only few will accept it. It is the job of those few to do their best to reflect Christ in everything they as well as use their life to point back to Him and tell others of the life giving truth of the Gospel.

    I am a Christian. I also believe that our country was founded on Christian principles and should pursue being a Christian nation. This means that I believe that our society should turn back to Christ and reflect Him, as well as that we should look to individuals who share such faith to lead our nation politically. That is what being a Christian Nation looks like.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    You seem very ocd abt all of this. Who loves ya bay-bee?

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    “During one of his sermons, John Hagee condemned those on welfare saying “if you don’t work you don’t eat.”

    I am using this as a microcosm of your post. More questions were really raised than answered. I still find myself wondering where the demonization of the POOR is? You say that he condemns those on welfare. Now at this point I would like to note that I do not recall hearing of Hagee before. I do not presume to know how he thinks. Nor am I in any way defending the his thoughts.

    I did, however, do quick google search and clicked on an article to which it is said that he condemns those dependent on welfare. There is a difference between those on welfare and those who are dependent on welfare.

    I agree that it is difficult to escape poverty. Though the current welfare system helps foster some of that difficulty. However, condemning those dependent on welfare and condemning the poor are two different things.

    The article gave the same quote “if you don’t work you don’t eat”…which is from 2 Thessalonians 3:10 below is the verse in context of the entire passage:

    “6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

    This raises the question…do you disagree with verses quoted by people that you disagree with? The verses are clear about idleness. Again….different than the poor.

    What is occurring here is a politicization of the poor. We are told by one political group that since the other political group wants welfare reform then they are against the poor. There is no issue with the poor. Or even those on welfare. It is those that take advantage of the system where the problem lies. Because they drain from both those that truly need it and the tax payers as a whole.
    Again….quite different from demonizing the poor.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    get ready for the new chancellor yeah?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    …& be not afraid.

  • Nick

    …that we have been in for nearly 2,000 years and will continue to be in until Christ returns.

  • Nick

    I am glad that you read this post/ I would recommend reading Jesus’ words plainly, trying to leave any baggage behind. It was enlightening to me.

  • Trilemma

    The Old Testament is morally bankrupt. That’s why it must be excluded from teaching.

  • John Bosquet-Morra

    Ben, you forgot the one that I thought you were going to list first! “Jesus said that we have to sell all of our possessions and give all the money away to poor people”– how could you have missed this essential christian concept! All right, I think you are trying to be provocative, but don’t you think your foes are more “nuanced” in their concept of what a Christian nation means? I have been hearing many different opinions about this for some time now, and never have I heard anyone seriously consider the US as a big Sunday School, or worse, a theocracy like Iran. What I do hear over and over is this: christian (little “c”) ethical principles and culture as part of our framework. Why does this creep you out, or am I reading you wrong?

    If you are going to use outrageous proof-texting for whole policies ( the one about the second amendment is just hilarious), then you end up sounding as simplistic as the very people you probably despise. Or maybe the joke is on me, and this whole thing was simply broad satire.

  • Paul Hill

    Baggage? You mean the spiritual purpose and concepts behind what Jesus was saying? Why would I want to leave that behind? Jesus is the Son of God who came to pave us a way to salvation. Why would I want to leave that behind when reading His words? If you think that all Jesus did was come and teach us how to live better, then I’m afraid your missing the point. You can’t just take a random verse of the Bible on its own and expect it to have any real meaning. Every passage must be read in the context of the whole story, from Genesis to Revelation. The story of man’s sin and God’s sovereignty, love, and faithfulness.

  • Paul Hill

    I don’t know what basis you have to make such a claim. Without the Old Testament, the Gospel is pointless. The Old Testament is shows the story of Israel’s (symbolizing humanity as a whole) depravity and constant turning away from God as well as His faithfulness to them even while they continued to turn from Him. Without the Old Testament, we don’t know why we are in need of a savior. Its also shows how the Messiah was promised to us back in Genesis directly after the fall of man. It shows us how the Messiah’s coming was continually prophecised by the Old Testament prophets. Without all that we don’t see how Jesus fulfills every one of those prophesies. Without the Old Testament we wouldn’t see how Jesus cannot be anything other than who He says He is, the Son of God.

  • metalbabe817

    With the exception that the bible says nothing specifically about homosexual marriage OR abortion. Actually, God himself is responsible for quite a few of those.. since he told the Israelites to slay every man woman and child in several cities.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    With all due respect, you can try to claim that about the Bible as others have, but that claim in unsubstantiated. In every instance marriage is discussed, only the union of a man and woman is considered. Acknowledging that marriage is designed by God, and that homosexuality is clearly defined as sin in Scripture (Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13, 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:26-28), God would not provide for or endorse a way for people to sin by permitting homosexual marriages. Why else wouldn’t it even be considered in Scripture? And most glaringly, why else would He make it impossible to procreate in such a way? Now, is homosexuality a worse sin than my own lust or my own anger or my periods of faithlessness to God? Certainly not. And someone who wrestles with homosexual attraction is welcome in the Church, because we are all sinners guilty in innumerable ways…except that Christ has died for our sin, and thus we are free from the power of sin and declared righteous on Christ’s merit alone, so we can rejoice together that submitting to Christ is greater than any relationship we can have on this earth because through him we have access back to the Father.

    To your other statement: First, God has the authority to end any life that He has created whenever He deems it the proper time. He does not owe you or me or anyone another breath of life. Everything we have is given to us by grace. He is the only one with that authority, and He cannot be questioned – Job 38:4-40:5; Rom. 9:14:24. So, if he is the only one with authority over life, then we are not permitted to end life outside of His decree. The question rides only on one issue: is an unborn child “alive”? God himself answers us: Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Job 12:10; Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2. The issue is not only about a woman’s body. Every Christ follower should hold a woman up very high, to be honored and respected. But when we’re talking about an unborn child as a living person, there are two bodies to respect. Preventing a woman from having to deal with the consequences of sin, either her own or a man’s, by killing a child, cannot be justified biblically. All sin is destructive, awful, horrific–because of Who we sin against. And thus, we cannot justify (attempting the) avoiding of its consequences by committing further sin.

  • Pierce Baugh

    While i do agree that idleness can be a problem for some people that passage from 2 Thessalonians is more about a spiritual matter. I no way do I disagree with it; I just think it was taken out of context. Hagee was misinterpreting this as people on welfare being lazy when in actuality the verse is meaning that if you din’t contribute to the Kingdom you wont reap the benefits of it. People who are on welfare are still a marginalized group in American society. We tend to view them as needy or leeches when in actuality most of them work 40+ hours a week at highly under-appreciated jobs that play a very important role in our day to day lives. There is an animosity we have towards the poor here in America. While some people might keep that to themselves and only reveal it to others who are usually like minded, others are much more vocal about it. Look how we nullify the homeless. We like to pretend that they are nonexistent even when we see them in person. We like to convince ourselves that they are in that position because of some negative characteristic they posses, or at least assume they posses, but really homelessness can happen to a lot of people. Many Americans have this bias against those in need but it tends to have an undercurrent that may go unnoticed, even by the on possessing it, until a push comes to shove situation reveals it. Also, one of the may problems that I have with John Hagee is that he panders to a paranoia people have about the Second Coming to make money. He likes to keep people scared so he can sell more of his books. I hope I cleared up any confusion.

  • Brandon Roberts

    I think I might be

  • B.E. Miller

    The Old Testament also contains passages about how it’s good to kill ‘the other’ and take their children for sex slaves, and how it’s okay to sell your children into slavery, or to kill your children.

  • Paul Hill

    Again, you lack the foundation to make such a claim. You can say whatever you want but it fails to be a legitimate argument without support, which in this case would be the actual references that you believe communicate such ideas. Show me the verses, and I’ll show you where you are undoubtedly mistaken.

  • TommyNIK

    No. The “Christian nation” envisioned by these foolish and misguided people would have none of that, and they would “refute” any and all of them with their own brand of bible interpretation. I think 40,000 “flavors” of Christianity and several opposing schools of theology validates this premise.

    And THAT is the intrinsic problem with Christianity and their “holy” book. It can, has, and WILL say exactly what the interpreter of the moment WANTS it to say and will be “justified.”

    A classic example of this is slavery. The South quoted scripture (correctly) that justified slavery while the abolitionists used the bible and their faith to rail against it (correctly and morally.)

    Religion is silly, dangerous, and MUST be marginalized.

  • Trilemma

    According to the Ten Commandments, God’s moral law, it is morally more important to take a day off of work once a week than to not rape. In fact, nowhere in the Old Testament does God ever say, “You shall not rape.” In the Old Testament, if I pick up sticks on the wrong day, it is so morally reprehensible that I would get stoned to death. If I rape the right woman, I get a wife. In the Old Testament, God condoned slavery and ordered the Israelites to commit genocide. If, like Abraham, God commanded you to kill one of your children, would you do it?

  • B.E. Miller


    Where God tells Saul to go kill all the Amalekites. Even the nursing babies. This passage is one fundamentalists love to teach to children to influence them about always obeying what God tells them….


    Talks about how daughters sold into slavery don’t go free at the end of 7 years as the sons do. Selling children into slavery at that time was not uncommon. Remember, there’s no birth control, or assistance from the government for families at this time. So parents facing difficulties feeding their kids, or a farmer who had a crop failure, had to do something to keep their kids from starvation.

    Wonderful verse about taking the girls from another tribe for yourselves…..This page on BibleHub also gives links to other such passages.


  • alanall

    LIke he said, you wouldn’t like a Christian Nation. Thanks for supporting his point.

  • Paul Hill

    (1) This is part of the historical account of the Israelites taking back the promised land. Most times the Israelites were commanded to take the land and kill everyone there, even many times the domesticated animals that were there. Sometimes they were told not even to take gold from the areas they took. God commanded this so that the infectious influence of the idolatrous people would be erased, protecting the Israelites from such evil. If anyone uses this passage to teach, they use the later part where Saul disobeys the command and exposes the Israelites to the influence of the Amalekites. This influence then causes them to turn from God, which was exactly why they were told to destroy everything.

    (2) This verse describes the Israelites spin on what you admitted was an extremely common practice in those days. If you had researched further then you would know that the way God told the Israelites to conduct this practice was far more favorable to women and really everyone involved than it was in every other people group at the time. Slavery was not the same in those days as we view it today, especially in the Hebrew nation. They were basically servants. They were not considered to be inferior, nor subhuman, and could not be mistreated in any way. The women sold in this way were not sex slaves. They were given away to be wives. This was more or less another avenue for arranged marriage. Granted, thats not something we would approve of today, but it was the practice of those days and the way the Israelites did it was far more favorable to women than anywhere else in the world.

    (3) If you read the whole chapter you would see that the Israelites were supposed to wipe out the Midianites in the same fashion as the Amalekites, however again they failed to actually do this and took them all captive instead. When confronted with this, Moses told the Israelites to kill the captives but spare the virgin women. Even after this, the influence of the Midianites still seeped in to the Israelites because of their failure to obey, which later caused the Israelites to disobey God. Again this was why the Israelites were told to wipe everything out and their failure to do so, not surprisingly, resulted in their corruption by the influences that they failed to erase.

    I’m surprised that these were the verses you used. (Try Judges next time, there’s some legitimately wack stuff that goes on there.) But you see the flaw with trying to discredit the Old Testament by pointing out the bad stuff that happens in it, is that the Old Testament isn’t supposed to be all sunshine and rose. The Old Testament depicts the depraved world that we live in and the fallen state of our very being. The crazy things the happen in the Old Testament, any drastic measures that are taken, are the proof that we are hopeless on our own in trying to do good or earn righteousness and that we are in need of a savior. That proof paves the way for the gospel which introduces us to that savior, who is Jesus Christ.

  • Paul Hill

    I would also like to point out that this entire train of thought is completely beside the point and argument of my initial response to this article.

  • Paul Hill

    My response does not support his point, it details how he is wholly incorrect on every level of argumentation in his article. What he described wasn’t a Christian Nation. It wasn’t anything, it was an illogical assortment of misinterpreted, ill-placed one liners from the gospel. Notice my large point about how he incorrectly uses the term “nation” to describe government. Then notice the rest of the argumentation detailing how he’s incorrect on what the Bible says about each issue. I do support a Christian Nation, but this author is completely wrong about what that means or what it would look like.

  • Andy

    ***WARNING: Proof-texts ahead***

    >>We’d Have To Abolish the 2nd Amendment. …

    “Then He [Jesus] said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’For the things concerning Me have an end.’ So they said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.'” –Luke 22:36-38.

    >>We’d Have to Replace the Department of Defense with the Department of Enemy Love. …

    “… The one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” –Romans 13:4.

    >>Eradicating Poverty Would Be One of Our Most Pressing Concerns. …

    “… Even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” –II Thessalonians 3:10.

    >>We’d Freely Care for the Sick. …

    Yet Benny Boy supports ObamaCare, which is making it harder to “keep your own doctor” and is bankrupting state Medicaid budgets?

    I’d say we’re doing well in this regard, but could use a return to the free market health care system (you know, when doctors made house calls and you could afford a hospital bill out of your own bank account?):


    >>We’d Do Away with the Pledge of Allegiance.

    “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” –I Peter 2:17.

    >>We’d Pay Our Taxes Without Complaining About It.

    “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech.” –II Corinthians 3:12.


    Um, Benjamin? We don’t have a Caesar in this country (at least not yet). The United States of America is a bold experiment — perhaps you’ve never heard of this. We were founded to where EVERY CITIZEN is equal, and God is our king. If we think taxes are too high, then, yes, we pay them; but as Americans we have every right to complain. And campaign for tax-cutters. And vote.

    And Benjamin would hate it if I said he should accept discrimination and be quiet about it. Or accept what he considers to be “marriage inequality” and shut up about it, because it’s currently the law of the land. But tax cutters are supposed to restrict themselves? COME ON!!!!

  • Cassie Devereaux

    And yours, the evolution of an idiom. But hey, I’ll return the upvote. Why not?

  • Nick

    To start, thanks for not pointing out my grammatical error. By baggage I mean the crap that we bring with us to our bible reading. Not the spiritual lesson that Jesus is trying to teach. I agree that you shouldn’t take a verse out of context. Read Jesus’ words in the gospels and let me know what you think.

  • liberalinlove

    Sounds a little like the Pharisees of old. You may know the word of God, but I am not sure you know the WORD of God.

  • Noah

    Yes, retaliation for being assaulted, taken advantage of, wronged, etc.

    Defending oneself is an aspect within retaliation. Retaliation can be seen as a way to avoid future conflict, which would mean there isn’t a need for self defense.

    My point, I think, was that police/the justice system aren’t just for retaliation type measures. My comments were to Connor’s post, not any exegetical argument. If that makes sense.

  • Paul Hill

    Once again, you lack any and all foundation to make these claims and have given no support to back them up. All of that was completely false. First of all, no commandment is more important than the others. Jesus establishes this in Mark 12. When asked which was the most important, He responds with love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself, neither of which are part of the ten commandments. By this Jesus is saying that non of the ten commandments are more important than the other and what is truly important, above the letter of any of the commandments, is your heart and intentions behind what you do. Second, no one was ever stoned for breaking the Sabbath. Third, the Ten Commandments prohibits all sexual activity outside the sanctity of marriage which definitely includes rape. I assume your referring to Deuteronomy 22:28-29 with the “rape and you get a wife comment.” This verse says that if a man rapes a virgin girl then, “he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” What this means is that the man has to pay a fine to the father and then he must OFFER to marry her. The father has no obligation to grant this request and I highly doubt any father would grant it either. In fact, there are no instances in the Old Testament where a woman was forced to marry a rapist. I rebutted any arguments about slavery and genocide in my reply to the other guy’s comments below.

    Finally, about Abraham. To preface this, I have to point out that the entire Old Testament is descriptive, not prescriptive. This means that it was written as a historical account describing the events that happened in the nation of Israel and God’s faithfulness in providing to them. It is not a writing that is written with the express purpose of teaching us how to do something. So the story about Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac is not meant to tell us all to be ready to give up are children if asked. It’s a historical account of what happened when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Its a story about Abraham’s obedience and God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, as God stopped Abraham from actually sacrificing his son, although he was prepared to obey, and provided a ram instead. More importantly, this story is also symbolism to what God did for us through Jesus. In those days, people made sacrifices to atone for their sin. This is the type of sacrifice that Abraham was asked to give Isaac up in, symbolizing how the real price for our sin is our lives. Even though Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, it both still wouldn’t have been enough to cover his sin and it would have been more than he could bear to pay. This is just like the fact that we can’t possibly pay the price for our sins. So knowing this God did not make Abraham sacrifice his son and instead provided a ram to be their sacrifice instead. This symbolizes and foreshadows how God later provided the ultimate sacrifice to fully pay for all of our sins, because we can’t pay for them ourselves, ironically enough with HIS SON. You see, thats what I’ve been trying to say in this line of thought, you can’t have the New Testament without the Old just like you can’t have the Old without the New. Each one is incomplete without the other. The Old Testament show the world and humanity as it is, depraved and broken, constantly turning away from God even though He constantly provides and is faithful to them. But in the midst of the darkness there is a hope. Hope in that darkness with the prophets saying, “Yeah things suck, but the Messiah is coming.” And as things get messy and worse they do all they can which is point forward to the hope that is Jesus. And this continues until finally Jesus arrives to give His life to pay for our sin and conquer death to pave the way for salvation for us all. Without the Old Testament, the New Testament is pointless, theres no reason for Jesus to come, no reason for us to need a savior. And in the same way without the New Testament, the Old Testament is depressing, void of hope, stuck in depravity. Each one needs the other. More than that, both Testaments are the inspired Word of God, literally spoken by Him through the authors. (“All Scripture is God-breathed”, 2 Timothy 3:16) Denying the Old Testament accomplishes nothing, as it is denying a piece of God’s special revelation to us.

  • Paul Hill

    I apologize, I honestly am just not understanding what you mean.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    You continue to raise more questions than answering.

    There is nothing to say about the notion that this passage is about spiritual idleness other than to say that is wrong.

    It is clear in the context of the verses Paul is speaking about laziness. In fact, Paul uses himself as an example saying that he worked while he visited the church rather than being a burden.

    “7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.”

    So Paul didn’t eat anyone’s spiritual food without spiritually paying for it? He spiritually labored and toiled as not to be a spiritual burden?

    The passage is clearly in the context of labor and working.

    But in case you are not sure, we can simply look at Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica.

    1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

    “10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and WORK WITH YOUR HANDS, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and SO THAT YOU WILL NOT BE DEPENDENT ON ANYBODY.”

    Is every time the Bible mentions working or eating speaking of spiritual matters? Is Paul asking here for people to spiritually work with their hands? So they are not spiritually dependent on anyone? No. This passage is plainly about being lazy. Again being lazy and being poor are not the same.

    Again with Hagee. Why do you bring him up again? But since you have brought him up, I decided to read a few more things about him. I intentionally tried to pick writings that seemed to be against him. Strange thing is that they all did the exact thing you continue to do. They say in the title that he condemns the poor and those on welfare. Then you click on the link and they actually quote him. The quotes are always about those ABUSING welfare. There is a drastic difference between condemning those abusing welfare and those on welfare. And there is an even more drastic difference between condemning those abusing welfare and the poor. If I am missing some quote where he says anyone on welfare is evil, then by all means point it out. I have yet to see it (I agree that there are many problems I have with what I have read about him).

    Since you continue to miss this difference I have to wonder are you in favor of people abusing the system?

    “We tend to view them as needy or leeches”

    Got a mouse in your pocket there bud? You can’t even quote a pastor off the internet correctly. Don’t presume to be able to guess how I feel about anyone.

    I have no problem with people like my parents (both worked 40 hours plus) using welfare so they could feed our family. I have no problem with people like one of my best friends (again works 40 plus hours) drawing food stamps to feed his kids.

    I have a problem with the people I see abuse the system. Everyone should.

    Remember my friend on food stamps? He has a problem with people abusing the system. Does that mean that he hates the poor? Or everyone on welfare? Including himself?

    “There is an animosity we have towards the poor here in America.”

    No there isn’t. There is a politicazation of the poor in America. There is a perception created by certain political groups that if you are against those taking advantage of welfare then you hate the poor. Your misquotations and presumptions are an example of this.

    A perfect example of this is a question asked on one of the pages I visited the just other day. The person referenced the “don’t eat don’t work” verse and ask why Paul was against the poor. Sigh. The verse doesn’t’ say if you can’t work. It says if you don’t work. Paul isn’t against the poor. He is against the lazy.

    “Look how we nullify the homeless. We like to pretend that they are nonexistent even when we see them in person.”

    My suggestion is if you nullify the homeless or pretend they are nonexistent then next time you are driving to get takeout and see a homeless person….buy Two meals. Give one to the homeless person. Or if they ask you for money to eat…walk them across the street to Subway and buy them something to eat. That isn’t a spiritual meal. It is a real one.

    All the verses that people use…the ones “saying that real Christians would support welfare…THAT is what they are talking about Christians doing for those that are poor. For those you truly can’t work.

  • The article should have been titled “If America Became an Anabaptist Nation” — because the assertion that all these items are Christian over and above other Christian understandings of these issues is simply equivocating on the term “Christian.”

  • Georgia Carter

    Jesus said in Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. He said this at the end of his life and the reason He said it was because He knew His dying on the cross would bring about a New Covenant. The New Covenant/New Testament starts for Christians with Jesus death and Him rising again. There were no Christians before Jesus died. He and His followers were under the law and the commandments. After Jesus died He provided us/Christians with a new covenant salvation by belief alone. We are no longer under the law or the commandments. Salvation comes from the grace of God by faith alone. Gal. 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. Warns us not to turn back to the law or the commandments, but to live strictly by faith. Jesus also commands us to John 13:34-35 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” These verses command us to love everyone unconditionally as Jesus loves us. There is no need for guns for those who love everyone unconditionally as Jesus loves them.

  • atalex

    You must have spent hours researching that dissertation on why good Christians should be warmonger who hate the poor and get off on executions. You be sure to hang onto that ands present it to Jesus when you meet him and he asks you what you did for the least of these.

  • Paul Hill

    That was a gross mischaracterization if everything that I’ve said. I never said anything of the sorts. The point of my “dissertation,” as you call it, was to show how the author of the original article was incorrect in his claims about what a Christian nation would look like as well as where he was wrong about biblical teaching on the issues he brought up. In fact I never made a statement about what Christian ought or ought not to do. I just explained what the Bible said about each issue. This shows that you didn’t actually read a word of what I wrote and instead decided to make wild, false claims without any basis whatsoever.

    Lets look at what I actually said on these topics. I didn’t advocate being a warmonger. I said that we should love our enemies but also be willing to protect ourselves from them. This means that we as a country need to be ready and willing to go to war when necessary to protect ourselves or others from evil. I also said that biblical teaching is consistent with that and that there is nothing in the Bible that disapproves of a country having a military or that disapproves of military service. Non of this suggests that I think we should all be warmongers.

    I never said that we should hate the poor. I said quite the opposite actually. I said that it’s the duty of the church and the body of Christ, rather than the government, to care for he poor and the sick. This is consistent with biblical teaching.

    I never said that we should enjoy executing people. I said that there are times when capital punishment is necessary, which is consistent with biblical teaching. I never said that we should enjoy the times when capital punishment is needed. I think that all life is sacred and its a shame when we are left with no other choice than to take a life. It’s not something that should be done rashly, but only when absolutely necessary. It sucks but that is the unfortunate result of sin, that there is death in the world.

    Finally, to your personal attack at the end of your comment; I am fully aware that I have nothing to present to Jesus when I meet Him. None of us do. I do my best to reflect and honor Him in everything that I do, but thats not enough. There isn’t an amount of “good” works that we can do to earn salvation or to outweigh our sin. All of our “righteousness” is nothing but filthy rags. When I meet Jesus and I am asked to account for my sins, all I can do is look unto Jesus and wait for Him to look back and say that He knows me and that I’m forgiven. There is nothing we can do, its all by the grace of Jesus.

  • Frank Lee

    Or GOD of the word.

  • Frank Lee

    I’m a Christian and I want none of that.

  • Mr. Annoying

    – Matters of religious dispute, such as whether infant baptism was valid or if only believer could be baptized, would be settled by the supreme court. Yes, if there is a national religion then the national structures get to decide that religions dogma. Not to worry though: in a Christian nation the supreme court would be made up entirely of God-Fearing Christians.


  • Mr. Annoying

    Actually, the priests of the nation would be required to administer an abortifacient to women who were suspect of adultery. See Numbers 5:16-31 for more details.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    The result in that text is infertility, not an abortion.

    That passage has to do with adultery. There’s no indication that the text there refers to a pregnant woman.

  • Mr. Annoying

    ” now
    may this water that brings the curse enter your bowels and make your
    womb discharge, your uterus drop!” And the woman shall say, ‘Amen.
    Amen.'” (verse 22)

    – Make you womb discharge, there is your indication that this potion is inducing an abortion. I am sorry if that disturbs you, but the fact that the Israelites were not modern day Christian fundamentalists,

  • liberalinlove

    New Living Translation John 1:14
    So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. New Living Translation
    John 14:7 New International Version
    If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    The Word of God became flesh and was full of unfailing love and kindness! Jesus the first fruit of many!

  • liberalinlove

    Religion yes, relationship no!

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    If that is your interpretation, I simply disagree with you. Either way, there’s no way to take that to mean God is endorsing the practice of abortion amongst people with no authority over human life. Like I said before, God has authority to do as He pleases. We do not have permission to kill unborn children ourselves.

  • Mr. Annoying

    You are missing the point. This passage makes it clear that the Old Testament does not consider the unborn to be children at all.

  • Trilemma

    You said, “First of all, no commandment is more important than the others.” Then you refute yourself by showing that Jesus said there are two commandments more important than all the others.

    You said, “Second, no one was ever stoned for breaking the Sabbath.”

    Numbers 15:32-36 says, “While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.’ And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.” -ESV

    You said, “Third, the Ten Commandments prohibits all sexual activity outside the sanctity of marriage which definitely includes rape.” The Ten Commandments only prohibit adultery.

    Here’s Deuteronomy 22:28-29. “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” –ESV

    It clearly says that she shall be his wife. It clearly does not say he shall offer to marry her.

    I claimed that the OT treats picking up sticks as morally worse than raping an unmarried woman. A tenant of justice is that the punishment fits the crime. Since picking up sticks on the Sabbath is punished by death and rape of an unmarried woman is punished by a fine paid to the father, the former must be morally worse the latter.

    I claimed that the OT condoned slavery. Leviticus 25:44 says, “…you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you.”

    I claimed that God commanded the Israelites to commit genocide. Samuel 15:3 says, “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” –ESV

    In your first comment, you criticized Progressive Christianity as, “a watered down theology that: (1) excludes the Old Testament from teaching…”

    Do you believe that we should teach today that it is morally right to execute someone for picking up sticks on the Sabbath?
    Do you believe that we should teach today that it is morally right to only punish a rapist with a fine paid to the father and that the woman must marry her rapist?
    Do you believe that we should teach today that it is morally right to enslave people from neighboring countries such as Mexicans?
    Do you believe that we should teach today that it is morally right to kill everyone who does not believe what we believe because they might change our beliefs?

    If you answer no, then you have excluded the OT from teaching. If you answer no, how would your excluding the OT from teaching differ from Progressives?

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Again, if that is your interpretation of that passage, I disagree with you. You are saying that this passage conflicts with the several others from the Old Testament that I listed in my comment below to the other responder (Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Job 12:10; Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2). So not only do I disagree with you, but more importantly, other passages in Scripture disagree with you.

  • Mr. Annoying

    You are taking passages intended as poetic flourish as literal statements.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Rather akin to those of the Word/Faith mindset that took a simple paternal and pastoral greeting by John, and a hope that his letter finds them doing OK and who built an entire industry around that…

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    “Flourish”? It may be poetic, but it absolutely reflects the heart and design of God, no matter what you wish for it to say. There is absolutely zero justification for abortion in the Bible.

    You are taking a very great risk in trying to bend Scripture around a certain motive. It is what it is, and we don’t have the authority to make it say otherwise, on ANY issue or truth.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    “Defending oneself is an aspect within retaliation. Retaliation can be seen as a way to avoid future conflict, which would mean there isn’t a need for self defense.”
    Retaliation is quite different than self defense. Let’s say I attack you with a knife. Self defense is disarming me and neutralizing the threat. Hopefully that is without injury to either person. Retaliation is using the knife to then stab me. They are quite different.

  • Mr. Annoying

    No Jordan, there is absolutely no explicit prohibition to abortion in the Bible. All you have done is taken passages that were not meant to be taken literally and assumed they were validating your beliefs. The Bible’s alleged opposition to abortion is just a modernist assumption.

    Leviticus 27:6 illustrates that children under the age of one month have no real value under biblical law. This point of view is echoed in Numbers 3:15-16. As I said before, the world of the Bible was not the world of today, and the people who wrote the Bible did not regard the beginning of life at conception.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Please read what you are saying. You are claiming that the Lord does not know us before we’re born and create us Himself? Is He not even God to you? If so, this is a different conversation.

    But further, you use the “Leviticus 27:6/Numbers 3:15-16” attempt to somehow justify abortion, after you have said that my use of the passages above took them “literally” when they “were not meant to be”. I can honestly say no reputable Bible scholar will corroborate your attempt, or the few others who have argued it. Please, search every commentary you can find (old ones if possible–see Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Matthew Henry, since you think I’m making modernist assumptions), then ask local pastors or seminarians or professors of Old Testament texts. Ask anyone with knowledge on these passages whether they think these passages (which are, by the way, on the unrelated subjects of vow redemption and instructions for a census) in any way are stating that children under a month old have “no real value” to the Lord. If so, you are advocating post-birth abortions then?

    My friend, please be careful. What you are doing is incredibly dangerous. You say that I am making assumptions, and yet you have tried to speak for the intentions of the “people who wrote the Bible” as if you yourself know their minds in a deeper way than the collective history of church orthodoxy. And over that, Christians believe God is the one who penned the Bible through these authors, so would you speak for Him? You have said the congruent passages I listed weren’t meant to be taken literally in meaning what they say (how else could those be taken, by the way?). That is an enormous assumption. You are then, ironically, trying to say those two passages you listed “illustrate” literally, I assume, that children under a month old have no value with the qualification of “under biblical law” despite their contexts. And yet you apply that to abortion? That is an enormous assumption, and a very random one. Then you say that “the people who wrote the Bible did not regard the beginning of life at conception”…an enormous assumption, with far-reaching ramifications.

    But please, try my challenge. Ask as many scholars as possible, and from varying denominations, without qualification, to comment on these passages. Read as many commentaries as possible, concerning these texts. See how many claim what you claim.

    Then, ask yourself honestly: why are you trying so very hard to justify abortion?

  • Mr. Annoying

    I have spoken to numerous rabbis. The answers I get have always been the same. Infant mortality and miscarriage were far more prevalent among our ancient ancestors than they are today. This led them to view the beginning of life very different. According to every Hebrew scholar I have ever spoken to the agreement is that our ancient ancestors believed that life did not begin until the child took its first breath. Even then they tried not to grow attached to the infant because they knew death shortly after birth was a definite possibility. That is part of why children were not named for the first few days of their lives.

    I am not trying to justify abortions. I am pointing out that the situation is not as cut and dried as modern fundamentalists would have us believe. The verses I cited are a far more accurate reflection of the views of the biblical authors than the poetic flourish you are relying on. The claims of modern fundamentalists that their views represent “that old time religion” do not hold up under examination.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    I question the “scholarship” of your scholars, honestly. Who were they? Can you list them? I’d prefer to look them up and contact them myself. And frankly, the prevalence of infant mortality and miscarriage automatically leading to, again, your assumption that “they” (being all of our ancient ancestors?) believed life did not begin until the child took its first breath (which is now different from what you said earlier, when it was at a month old), is fully unsubstantiated.

    Also, your term “modern” must mean something other than what I take it to mean. Because I have never seen a reputable work from any age that speaks on these texts the way you do. Your claim is far more modernist than that of mine (and Aquinas’s and Calvin’s and Luther’s and Henry’s, etc).

  • Noah

    Yes, they are different. But that doesn’t change that retaliation can be a part of self defense.

    Often, when nations retaliate they are doing so in the name of self defense.

    Retaliation can be a counter-attack for defense as opposed to just pure revenge.

  • Paul Hill

    I didn’t refute myself. The things Jesus put forth in Mark 12 aren’t commandments. They were symbolizing the spirit of the law, the motives and intentions behind the law, as opposed to the letter of the law. Here He was establishing that none of the commandments of Old Testament law were more important than another and that what was important above the letter of all of those laws was the spirit behind our actions.

    I stand corrected on the Sabbath, however, the point is moot. More on that later.

    “We interpret the Bible at it’s most literal, historical, cultural and grammatical, unless the context of the passage demands otherwise.” This quote comes from Cairn University, formerly known as Philadelphia Bible University. This concept is especially true with the Old Testament. You have to go beyond the English translation and look at the original Hebrew grammar, the cultural context etc. If you did such research then you would see that I am right about what the Old Testament really means by “adultery” as well as what’s actually going on in Deuteronomy 22. Flow all of previous points on the matter.

    The Bible does not say that breaking the Sabbath is worse than rape. You attempted to use the different punishments to guess at how God views their severity. You fail to recognize however that their punishment is actually the same. Ultimately, they are both sin, and the penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God. It is because of sin that we will all one day die and, if we don’t have a relationship with Christ, will spend eternity separated from God. This pales in comparison to any earthly consequence we could possibly receive for our actions.

    As i said before, the Old Testament is descriptive not prescriptive. It gives a historical account of what happened. Nothing that happens int he Old Testament is for the express reason of telling us that we ought or ought not to act as such. Is slavery allowed in the Old Testament? Yes, but that doesn’t mean its telling us all to own slaves. Are some people groups destroyed in the Old Testament? Yes, but that doesn’t mean its telling us to do the same thing. What you seem to be forgetting is that the God of the Old Testament is the same God in the rest of the Bible and the same God who is sovereign today. Furthermore, seeing as how God the Father, God the Son (i.e. Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are 3 persons of the same single being, the divine being who is active in the Old Testament is the same one who later died on the cross to pay for our sins, and vise versa. I don’t know why God did everything the way He did in the Old Testament. I’m not Him, and I won’t judge Him either. Goodness, justness, righteousness, love; these are not
    simply words used to describe traits that God has. He IS these things. We get our perception about what these words
    mean by His nature. He cannot do anything that is not good, or just, or righteous, because He cannot do something that is against His nature. Therefore when crap goes down in the Old Testament, it is still just, it is still righteous because God is justice and righteousness, even if we can’t see the justness or good in what happened. I will not judge God. I am not sovereign over creation, He is. The Lord does all
    things for good, and all His ways are just. Until you can say that you’re without sin, until you’ve created everything in existence, until you can know the stars why name, and until you’ve saved humanity from sin, then you have no grounds on which to judge God. I know that I am not, nor ever will be any of those things. Therefore I will trust that God who He says He is and that everything that happens or has happened is working towards good and His glory.

  • Mr. Annoying

    I obtained my information from the rabbis I grew up with, all of whom were fluent in ancient Hebrew and well versed in both the Torah and the Talmud. If you questioned some rabbis today, most would acknowledge the validity of the position I offered. Indeed, there are many verses in the OT which directly connect life with breath.

    Of course, if you searched long enough you would certainly find rabbis who disputed this point of view. This is hardly surprising. Disputes over various points of the Bible have existed among Jewish scholars, literally as long as history has record.

    This fact stands in stark contradiction to the opinion of fundamentalists, which insists that there has only been one correct view of biblical interpretation, and anyone who would dispute it is a liar or a fool. This viewpoint can be traced back to the publishing of “The Fundamentals” in the early 20th century. This viewpoint is not exclusive to fundamentalists, of course. It does, however, stand in stark contrast to what the historical record has to teach us.

    One unfortunate byproduct of this viewpoint is that it ignores the fact that our ancestors did not view the world in exactly the same way we do today. The assumption that all “real believers” think and have always though that life begins at conception is an anachronism. The fact that you use poetic flourish to defend your point, in contrast to more specific and definite verses to the contrast, highlights the desperation of the fundamentalist to cling to this fallacy.

    The problem with deifying anachronisms is that it gives a painfully distorted view of history. For example, slavery and racial segregation were both defended with quotes from the Bible. I refer you to “Jesus: Master Segregationist” by Lawrence Neff and “God’s Garden of Segregation” by H. C. McGowan for more details.

    However, as modern sensibilities have justly turned against racial prejudice, we have witnessed the phenomenon of conservatives desperately trying to re-write history to distance themslves from their spiritual ancestors. I expect even now you were preparing a response that the defenders of slavery and racial segregation were all Democrats, and therefore liberals (i.e. heretics in fundamentalist jargon). A less superficial view of history, however, shows that the defenders of slavery and segregation, regardless of their party affiliation, proudly declared themselves to be conservatives. I myself recall people decrying integration as a “communist plot.”

    Note the dynamic here. Viewpoints that were thought to be biblically valid were challenged. The people who felt their viewpoints were upheld by God resisted the challenge. However, when greater society upheld the challenge, the descendents of those who resisted chnage ret-conned history to give the impression that the view of society had always been their view as well. Its practically Orwellian.

    Clearly the deifying of one’s personal views, which are a product of one’s time and place, does a disservice to the Bible. More than that, it is a destructive tendency, in that it gives one perfect assurance that one’s personal views are applauded by God. This prevents one from questioning ones views, thus inhibiting personal growth.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Very well said, indeed… Not annoying at all… *chuckle*

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    My goodness.

    Ok, some nameless rabbis “you grew up with” shape two passages from Numbers and Leviticus to make unrelated assumptions from them, and from that you are calling anyone a “fundamentalist” who would say that you are taking these texts and manipulating them to say what you want them to say?

    If you call anyone who believes that the Bible is true a Fundamentalist, then I’m gladly guilty as charged. That isn’t a modern abnormality. That is evident throughout church history, but more recognized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a distinguished movement responding to a progressive loosening of moral standards. The term is not even relevant to this conversation. Believing the Bible is true doesn’t mean certain things can’t be taken in multiple ways. That doesn’t give us license however to take a single verse in a particular context and try to use it as a proof-text to make it say something it simply doesn’t say.

    I don’t know why you thought I’d blame the defense of slavery on Democrats/liberals, when it’s simply a matter of historical fact. At this point I actually thought you were now just showing that you had been playing all along. You think I’m a Republican? And that all Republicans don’t know history? You managed to disprove your own point with this paragraph, showing that there is an absolute wrong way to interpret the Bible…the people that used it to justify slavery were wrong. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses use quotes from the Bible too. They’re still wrong in their understanding and application. I could go into the differences between OT slavery and U.S. slavery (though both were results of sin), or the differences between provisions for it and condoning it, but it’s simply a practice that is against the heart of the entire nature of Christ’s work on the cross (Gal 3:28), and the picture provided in Revelation of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue worshiping Christ together.

    And who said “all ‘real believers’ think and have always thought that life begins at conception”? I never did. Because I don’t have the audacity to speak about what people thousands of years ago thought. I have quoted Scripture to you. Did you read the passages I listed earlier? Not all of them are even poetry language. So calling Scripture passages “poetic flourishes” while using unrelated other Scripture passages as hard evidence to make a proof out of context……see how that falls apart?

    Do you not see the immense concentration, an almost comical amount, of self-contradiction in what you keep saying over and over? Please read through what you’ve said. Essentially: “What you think is an opinion. My thoughts are only facts.” Doesn’t work like that, chief. If I tell you the Pacific Ocean can’t be swum across without any help, because of its size and the physical limits of humans…is that a rigid truth? You can interpret a map or your own strength as much as you like. But if you try, you still won’t make it. (Speaking generally now). Some things are true whether you believe them or not.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    I am not sure why you are trying to make this a complicated issue. Jesus was not holding a summit of world leaders. Nor was he briefing with the leading generals of NATO or even speaking to an army. He wasn’t trying to establish foreign policy or the groundwork for the any political party. Nor was he establishing rules of war. He was talking only his disciples. He was clearing up misunderstandings of what they had heard was the law and what was the law.

    The passage is talking about personal retaliation…..ie revenge. There is no part of self defense that is revenge oriented. One does not defend themselves out of revenge. When one retaliates….one has the choice to walk away without further harm but chooses not to.
    That is why bringing modern politics or events into discussions like this is silly. There were no drones or laser guided missles. ISIS had not been “created” by either President. This is the problem with cherry picking verses and trying to apply them to things that they have nothing to do with. It causes confusion.

  • Noah

    This comment line is about someone bringing up police and modern day U.S. in regards to what a ‘Christian nation’ would look like.

    It’s not about the original context, but more so application.

    My point was that a nation ‘full’ of modern disciples would likely still need some sort of police services.

  • trinielf

    metalbabe is accurate in that HOMOSEXUALITY (the medical definition) refers to an intrinsic sexual orientation where a man or woman is attracted to the same rather the opposite sex.

    It is a term that has NO ancient Hebrew or ancient Greek equivalent because it is a fairly modern definition (19th Century).

    Nothing in the bible discusses this. All the scriptures you cited refer to male-male sexual ACTS or CONDUCT that does not necessarily require homosexuality nor typifies homosexuality nor defines homosexuality nor is relevant to the lives of many male homosexuals. Also the bible has nothing to say about female homosexuals.

    In addition ALL of the male-male sexual ACTS and CONDUCT in those texts are within the context of pagan sex rites and prostitution. Leviticus 18 is an ENTIRE chapter about pagan sex practices and begins in that vein saying not to do things the other nations do and then proceeds to list various sex acts associated with abomination or in Hebrew “tobeah” which is usually used in reference to idol worship.

    These sex included, incestuous sex rites (many pagan people had Brother/Sister, Mother/Son Gods and Goddesses who were also lovers e.g.) bestiality (man-beast hybrid Gods and Goddesses) who were all honored with corresponding sex rites in the temples. Then, right before it mentions men lying with men “as with a woman” (a curious turn of phrase as a man cannot physically lie with a man in the same manner he does with a woman, so it clearly has some deeper meaning) it sets the context in verses 20 and 21 about not sacrificing your children to Molech or making them male and female prostitutes. We know from anthropological and archaeological studies into ancient Canaanite culture that after doing a human sacrifice to Molech, they would follow it up with a sex rite with male or female temple prostitute. Male prostitutes would be “as women” often castrated devotees of the Goddess, most likely Asherah.

    The ENTIRE chapter of Romans 1 is about idolatrous practices but most Christians just cherry pick from verses 26 which is clearly a continuation of something Paul was saying before because it begins, “For this reason…” so why not READ and UNDERSTAND the reason/cause before dealing with the effect? Romans 1 clearly states in verse 24 that the REASON the Romans were in frenzied lustful state was because of uncleanness, again a Greek word arkathsian which refers to idolatry. Again we know from studies of the culture what happened at these pagan sex rites to their Gods and Goddesses. People got drunk, ingested hallucinogens and went out of their minds and had wild orgies, acting contrary to their nature. We KNOW this was not how they normally acted because Paul said they “CHANGED” and “EXCHANGED”. These were NOT homosexuals as we know it by the medical definition. Furthermore Paul never said women had sex with women. He said they exchanged their natural use of the man. In other words, they were using men unnaturally. This passage from its earliest days was understood to mean women and men having anal sex, a common Roman practice to avoid pregnancy at the time. Paternity was very important to Romans.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “malakoi” boy prostitutes and “arsenokoites” the men who used and exploited them for sex. Not ONCE has any of these two words been used in ANY Greek writing to refer to love or a loving relationship between men or even a man who loves men. Arsenokoites is ALWAYS used in reference to anal rape, prostitution, exploitation. Again, none of this requires homosexuality, defines as homosexuality nor is relevant to the lives of homosexual people unless in addition to being homosexual they are ALSO boy prostitutes or men who use and exploit them. Certainly has nothing to do with lesbians either.

    You are doing the equivalent of someone taking passages about opposite sex acts related to pagan sex rites or prostitution and saying THIS is referring to heterosexuality IN GENERAL and condemns ALL heterosexuals and ALL heterosexual relationships.

    Your argument about marriage is flawed. It is the same as me saying, every time the bible mentions curing leprosy it ALWAYS says use birds blood (Leviticus 14:2-52) or get someone to pray or be healed by a miracle. It NEVER mentions antibiotics (leprosy is actually caused by Mycobacterium leprae).

    Or every time the bible mentions slavery, it says NOTHING about it being okay for slaves to rebel and fight for their freedom from their masters. It specifically says to accept one’s plight and be obedient. 1 Timothy 6:1-5, 1 Peter 2:18-29.

    Is omission (because of cultural and historical limitations) the same as prohibition? Gay marriage is a MODERN phenomenon, like antibiotics, space travel, open heart surgery, feminism, human rights of the Geneva Convention or women getting divorced because they are unhappy in their marriage.

    If you are legalistic and overreaching in one area are you the same about EVERYTHING the bible says? If not, then there may be a little bit of a double standard going on.

    As for abortion as far as the Old Testament goes, According to the Halacha or Jewish Law a foetus is considered part of the mother’s body and not a full human being.

    “When men fight and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment to be based on reckoning. But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life.” Exodus 21:22

    “Other damage” is taken in this text to mean “the death of the mother.”

    Jewish scholars interpret the law to mean the foetus miscarrying gives rise to the right to financial restitution – which indicates that the foetus is not a person – but killing the mother is murder, because the mother is a person. Judaism does not put the foetus on the SAME LEVEL as the mother. It is seen as developing life and yes, it has value. Jewish people allow abortion for reasons of saving the mother’s life, or distress to the mother or to prevent suffering. There is a BBC article on the Jewish position on abortion here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/jewishethics/abortion_1.shtml

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Thanks for a thought-out post that you put so much into. I am going to answer in much briefer style, but note that I acknowledge the amount of thought you put into that.

    I’ll just say that I firmly disagree with your understanding of the passages you were wanting to use as proof-texts above. For example, the classic Exodus 21:22 verse so many cling to…the translation of “and a miscarriage results” is a very uncommon translation. Most translations say “and she gives birth prematurely” or “and her fruit depart from her” or “and her children come out”. So your statement that “other damage” is taken to mean “the death of the mother” is not in any way a consensus understanding (far from it) of that text. Meanwhile there are clear-cut statements in Jeremiah 1:5, Job 10 & 12, Psalm 139, Isaiah 44, in which God relates personally and intimately with a child in the womb. We must use the whole of Scripture to interpret more difficult-to-interpret passages.

    On homosexuality- I’ll reiterate: do I think homosexuality is a greater sin than any of mine, beyond the redemptive power of Christ? Absolutely not. And I have homosexual friends and hope and pray any person with homosexual attraction would feel as welcome as anyone else at every church gathering. But despite all this, I believe it is readily apparent that God is unflinchingly firm on this, and it takes some serious doctoring, as you have done, to make it seem otherwise. If I actually agreed with you on your perception of the “omission”, which I do not in any way and think you have to work incredibly hard to even attempt that being so, our own biology would be sufficient proof. By His nature, I know the Lord is good, and if His design were for both homosexual and heterosexual marriages, then we would be able to reproduce either way, yes? And if we’re honest, we can both agree there are many, many positive statements about heterosexual marriage in Scripture. There are only negative statements about homosexual behavior. And I don’t have the time, but I simply can’t disagree more with your understanding of Romans 1…read some varied commentaries, or the ESV Study Bible notes, considering that was probably the greatest group of scholars to work on one project in history. See also “What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?” by Kevin DeYoung, if you don’t mind giving it the time. It’s short.

    Last thing: “legalism” is understood theologically to refer to, in short, “works based salvation”, or “salvation gained through an adherence to law” which is impossible. Agreeing with Biblical truth or its definition of sin is not legalism. Had I stated that you had to earn your way to salvation by “remaining chaste” or “keeping every Sabbath” etc, that would be legalism, and completely contradictory to the gospel of Christ. The whole point of the law was to show 1) God’s standard of perfection, and 2) that we cannot keep that standard of perfection (Rom 3:20) and thus need the blood of Christ, which makes those who trust in Him, instead of their own works, clean in the eyes of God.

  • Trilemma

    I’m not asking you to judge God. I’m trying to get you to judge the Old Testament. If you believe God doesn’t change, then something that is immoral today was immoral back then. So if you read something in the OT that is immoral by today’s understanding of God’s morality, then you have a decision to make. You can either make up a lame excuse for God’s immorality or you can judge that the writer is expressing his own human Iron Age morality rather than God’s morality.

  • Paul Hill

    If you believe that a biblical author is writing things that God did not intend him to write or that the author is lying about events that happened, then you are denying the inerrancy of scripture, denying that it is God-breathed, and denying God’s sovereignty over His word as well as His power to preserve it. The Bible itself claims to be the inerrant, inspired word of God. Jesus also affirms the Old Testament, claiming that He came not to abolish it but fulfill it. He also quotes the Old Testament several times throughout the Gospel. The rest of the New Testament writers affirm the Old Testament as well by quoting and incorporating it into their works as well. If the Bible is not inerrant or fully inspired by God, then the Bible is lying about itself. How can you believe that some parts of the Bible are true if its lying in other places? If the Old Testament isn’t fully part of God’s intended revelation then Jesus and the New Testament writers are incorrect in using it as support. How can you take Jesus or any of the New Testament writers seriously if they’re using such an immoral and false basis for their words? Furthermore, if the Old Testament writers could write things that God did not want them to write then how can you be sure that the New Testament writers are actually writing what God wanted them to? How can you be sure that Jesus actually did and said the things that the Gospel writers said that He did?

    Do you see how everything falls apart when you try to deny one piece of scripture? If part of the Bible isn’t true than none of it can be taken seriosuly, you can’t just pick and choose which parts you like. Its either all true or none of it is true. You either believe and accept the entire Bible, or none of it. You either believe in the God of the entire Bible that created you and everything else in this world, or you believe in a shadow of nothing. You can’t just create your own god using the bits and pieces of the Bible that you like. End of story.

  • lawrence090469

    I was hoping you were using the term ‘proof texts’ ironically, as they prove nothing.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Everyone seems to miss that part of the Bible where Jesus says that he didn’t come to change the law. The NT gives the salvation plan. It doesn’t mean that Christians forget everything that is in the OT.
    As far as Matt 26:52 – seems you missed a couple of things. 1. Jesus was chastising Peter for a. attacking without reason with his sword. b. he had just told the disciples that the time was nearing for him to fulfill the prophecies. So obviously Peter had not been listening. 2. Jesus told him to put the sword back in it’s place. He didn’t say go melt all the swords in the land down.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    I understand that. And my comments probably came across a bit more aggressively then intended. Probably should have responded to the other guy.
    The NT is around 288 pages long. The fact that people try to make it apply to modern politics is ridiculous. I mean the condensed version of Obamacare is 1000.
    The need for police, prisons, etc should be so obvious. Not everyone is going to convert to Christianity. Even if all Christians were model Christians.

  • Odd Jørgensen

    Seriously? Relationship with who? God? Kind of a one-sided affair to say the least, with only one side doing any of the communication. What is gods phone nr? Is he on Twitter? Facebook maybe? How do you get hold of him? Lately religion has got a bad rep due to priests diddling kids and the church coverup, and other unseemly affairs, not to mention the anti-gay debacle, so now it suddenly has become this relationship nonsense instead. Face it, it`s just you taking to yourself.

  • Odd Jørgensen

    Is it surprising? The babble is so vague and open to interpretation that you can find verses to validate pretty much any stance on a subject.

  • Noah

    Oddly enough, I think he was trying to point that out also. I think he was saying that if we’re being consistent with the need for no self defense, then we don’t need police.

    I was just saying that they serve roles unrelated to self defense, or so.

    I definitely think it’s fine to use the NT/OT as a basis for politics, etc…..with the obvious recognition that it’s personal belief. I mean, the vast majority of the NT most people would agree on as being good for humanity.

    The stuff people might not agree on is even murkier since there are varying ways to look at what it could mean for believers today.

  • trinielf

    On the abortion topic I was not sharing my understanding but quoting from Hebrew scholars and rabbis and Jewish doctors on their interpretation of their Jewish Laws on the matter. So I would give their analysis a lot more credibility than someone outside.

    I am very familiar with the anti-gay side of the argument. I did not make those statements out of ignorance of writings like, “What The Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?” I was raised in two STRONGLY anti-gay Christian sects, so I know that side of the argument well.

    My academic approach simply discounts those arguments for many reasons the two strongest being:

    1. WRONG DEFINITION. Homosexuality is NOT ritual anal sex to Canaanite Gods, rape, anal sex, male prostitution. Homosexuality is not a SPECIFIC behavior. As the medical profession defines it, homosexuality like heterosexuality are INNATE human traits called sexual orientation. The bible does NOT deal with this at all. Nor does it deal with all the expressions of homosexual orientation that fall outside the narrow purview of ritual anal sex to Canaanite Gods, rape, anal sex, male prostitution.

    The bible only deals with SPECIFIC behaviors all in the context of pagan sex worship, prostitution and rape. Using these to say THIS is a blanket condemnation of homosexuality is intellectually dishonest.

    2. Hypocrisy. Here is where I brought up the legalism thing. I was not referring to the Old Law specifically, though I understand your point and agree with it.

    I was referring to the way certain (because many Christian churches do not use the bible in this way) Christians have no problem making MASSIVE extrapolations and overreaching and stretching the application of a biblical verse but ONLY when it comes to something they ALREADY find disgusting, difficult to understand or personally dislike or fear.

    There has been a PATTERN of double standards in biblical approach and application by certain Christians. For example they had no problem stretching the meaning of biblical passages about slavery to justify 400 years of chattel slavery. Yet could not stretch the meaning of Jesus’ command to love ALL and treat ALL as you would be treated to see it referred to Africans as well.

    I am saying the SAME thing is happening when it comes to Christians easily extrapolating from biblical passages about an attempted gang rape of two angels to mean ALL homosexuals. Or even a verse about boy prostitutes and the dirty old men who abused them in Corinth, or Romans and their pagan orgies. They can extrapolate that it means ALL LGBT people and furthermore, ensuring ALL LGBT people are ill-treated in society. They can lay up HEAVY biblical burdens on others but do not intend to actually carry the same load themselves.

    They always have some side-stepping, apologetic excuse for why when say Jesus gives a DIRECT COMMAND like, “Go into your inner chamber and pray, do not be like those who make a big showy display of it.” to not have to follow it EXACTLY. I have NEVER seen a Christian take that approach to verses about not praying in public, not getting divorced, not retaliating against enemies with violence, not taking up the sword, not getting married as a priority but choosing celibacy as the preferred choice, selling everything and giving it to the poor. These are ALL New Testament references. So the legalism is not just about Old Covenant vs. New Covenant (yes I know the theology) even though anti-LGBT Christians do have no problems quoting the Old Law to condemn gay people, when they do not follow it themselves.

    I think people are beginning to notice more and more this double standard. If it goes unchecked, it will continue to cause the religion to decline.

  • Jordan Wilbanks

    Sorry, despite the all caps emphasis, I do not think that is an academic approach at all, especially having not named any of your “scholars” you’re quoting from (calling a book ignorant just from the title is a great example, as well). It is evident you are stating an understanding of these things geared only toward justifying homosexuality, and I think the Bible disagrees with what you’re trying to do — again, not a single positive statement in the Bible regarding homosexuality, as there are countless ones concerning heterosexual marriage not only that are positive, but that glorify such a union.

    And I have no worries whatsoever about “the religion” starting to decline. There’s nothing new under the sun. All debates have happened before, it’s all just recycled. But if Christ is who He said is, then the Church will never go away. He has always protected Her, and He always will.

  • Trilemma

    You said, “The things Jesus put forth in Mark 12 aren’t commandments.”

    The commandment to love God comes from Deut 6:5 and in Matt 22:38, Jesus says, “This is the great and foremost commandment.” The commandment to love your neighbor comes from Lev 19:18. Jesus said they’re commandments, not symbols.

    You said, “Furthermore, seeing as how God the Father, God the Son (i.e. Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are 3 persons of the same single being, the divine being who is active in the Old Testament is the same one who later died on the cross to pay for our sins, and vise versa.”

    What is the basis for your claim that God can die?

  • Trilemma

    You said, “…then you are denying the inerrancy of scripture…” I deny the inerrancy of the Bible. I highly recommend it.

    You said, “…you can’t just pick and choose which parts you like.” Yes, I can. Everyone does it. That’s why there are 40,000+ Christian denominations in the US.

    Based on everything you’ve said, including your defense of capital punishment based on the OT, my guess is that your vision of what a Christian nation would look like would include the following.

    1. Creationism would be taught in schools and not evolution, with textbooks supplied by Ken Ham.
    2. Anyone convicted of adultery would get the death penalty.
    3. Women would be required to wear burqas so that men could not look lustfully on them and thereby commit adultery and get the death penalty.
    4. Any child convicted of rebelliousness would get the death penalty.
    5. Anyone convicted of picking up sticks, travelling or cooking on Saturday would get the death penalty.
    6. It would be illegal for women to have management jobs over men.
    7. Any man convicted of having sex with another man would get the death penalty.

  • trinielf

    Sorry if the ALL CAPS are bothersome. I really wish there was some word formatting available so things can be stressed like they are in actual dialogue. I like writing how I speak. But that is all I have so that is what I work with.

    Everything I said has a lot of scholarship behind it. It came out of many biblical scholars’ academic approach of understanding the Hebrew and ancient Greek words for boy prostitute and temple prostitute and abuser of men to mean JUST THAT, not anything else like “homosexual” which is a COMPLETELY different definition and concept.

    Homosexuality is as medically defined: An innate sexual attraction (just as heterosexuality is an innate sexual attraction) to the same sex instead of the opposite sex. THAT’S IT! That’s all it is. Homosexuality is not a sex act, not a particular behavior. It also refers to women not just men.

    What most anti-gay Christians do is define ALL the male-male same-sex acts as homosexuality in order to help their case. However that is not necessarily true is it? Men rape men without necessarily being homosexual or because of having a homosexual orientation (having an innate attraction to that person). Men and boys engage in prostitution without necessarily being homosexual or because of having that orientation. Simply put a SEX ACT or SEX ROLE is not the same thing as a sexual orientation and one particular SEX ACT e.g. a man lying with a male prostitute is not the SUM of homosexuality or an indictment against ALL homosexuals, particularly lesbians.

    I’ve taken the time to look at both sides of the theological debate on this matter. I was already deeply familiar with the anti-gay side, so I had to look at the theological basis for so many mainstream Christian churches and a growing number of Evangelical churches abandoning that view and they do have some strong basis rooted in a clearer understanding of the ORIGINAL language, the culture and history of the time. Maybe that is of interest to you, maybe it is not.

    If you do not know the biblical scholarship behind this view or that even CONSERVATIVE biblical scholars from top,respected seminaries will agree that the biblical references to same-sex activities are very narrow and in context of male-male rape, pagan sex rites and prostitution and nothing more, then perhaps you should take time to research it, if it is of any interest to you what words ACTUALLY MEANT in their original language and context instead of the overreaching application to modern terms and circumstances outside the bible’s purview. Or perhaps you are already decided that you are content with your level of knowledge on the subject. That’s fine too.

    At the end of the day, these are just philosophical, theological discussions on ancient writings that people put faith in. What matters in the real day to day is how people treat others. What kind of actions do certain beliefs inspire? Do they make people love others and treat them as themselves or do injustice and inhumane things.

  • Paul Hill

    If you don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, then you don’t really believe in the Bible. Period. Legitimate denominations, those that actually believe in the Bible, are diversified by differences in worship preferences as well as differences in interpretation on the finer points of doctrine, i.e. predestination, transubstantiation, tongues, etc. They don’t pick an choose what they like, they just disagree on what about 4% of the Bible is saying. Big difference.

    Clearly you have failed to understand most of what I’ve been saying this entire time. My original response was all about how being a Christian Nation would be about society turning to Christ and our morality mirroring the Bible. It has little to nothing to do with what the government does. The author’s article was all drawing incorrect conjecture about what being a Christian Nation would mean for government. I very clearly disagreed with this and explained why being a Christian Nation has no inherent implications on the actions of government. Furthermore I don’t think that any of the things you listed are good things and have given you no reason to think I would.

    There clearly is no more room here for educational or probative discussion. You continue to make the same arguments regardless of my responses and you now have ventured into making unfounded personal judgments of my beliefs that are completely opposite of the statements I have been making all along. As such, I am done discussing this with you.

  • Trilemma

    You said that you don’t think any of the things I listed are good things. I agree and that’s why I believe they did not come from God.

  • Ben, you made some very valid and interesting points. One more is that if this really were to become a “Christian nation”, grace would abound. Unfortunately now the the opposite is becoming more prevalent. I like what Charles Colson and Philip Yancey both write in their books, that when the church and politics became bedfellows grace vanished from both the church and government.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Letting religions influence one’s decisions is a hard thing to escape. However, every effort should be done to not let this happen.

    What I was referring to was more along the lines of what the author did in this article. Take for instance is first topic of gun control. He takes a single bible verse (Matthew 5:39) that has nothing to do with guns or weapons and ram rods it into a pigeon hole to fit his political beliefs. And then in classic fashion uses another verse to give us a WWJD type finish to the topic (1 Joh 2:6).

    Guess he missed those verses where Jesus took a bundle of cords and got a little on the violent side (John 2:13-16).

    You mention that most would agree that the NT is good for humanity. I won’t disagree. Most people choose the parts that sound good. They miss the verses about not changing the law or that God doesn’t change. That is when one realizes that the God that loves unconditionally in the NT is the same God that is vengeful in the OT. And that the NT isn’t to be taken alone, but as a whole with the OT. People tend to not like the Bible when they can’t cherry pick a verse and the ram rod it into a pigeon hole.

  • I think one thing to keep in mind is that most of the commandments from Jesus were INDIVIDUAL commandments, directed at personal behavior. Jesus simply wasn’t going around talking about what a God-following nation would be like, since he wasn’t setting up an earthly kingdom. If we want God’s rules for how a nation should live, I believe they are pretty clear in the Old Testament, since that is exactly what Israel was supposed to be. Of course Jesus changed things, so we may have a different view, but Israel is the clear Biblical example of a God following nation.

  • I’m sure I’d rather live in his than yours.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    I don’t think these verses are saying what you think they are..

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    So I have a question….what is getting aborted?

    And let us get it out of the way…..I don’t care what your personal beliefs about abortion are.

  • David Cohen

    The ritual involves the “water of bitterness” (NRSV) which the priest gives to the woman suspected of adultery (Numbers 5:18). She drinks it (verse 24), which causes her womb to discharge (verse 27). In other words, the priest gives her an abortificant which induces a miscarriage. A miscarriage, by definition, involves the premature ejection of a fetus from a womb.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Yeah…I read all that too. Several different translations.

    You indirectly answered my question by mentioning the fetus. Where did the fetus come from?

  • David Cohen

    Didn’t your parents have that talk with you?

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    They did. I am wondering did yours? I ask because for there to be a miscarriage there would have to be a pregnant women. I see no mention of the women being pregnant.

    So I guess the better question would be why are you inserting a fetus that is not mentioned into these verses?

  • David Cohen

    If that’s how you cope with your cognitive dissonance, you go right ahead.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    Is that how you deflect things when you can’t answer simple questions?

  • David Cohen

    Given that access to ultrasound equipment was rare in Biblical times, it is quite understandable that the word “fetus” would not appear in the text. It is equally understandable that the term “unborn child” would not appear either. As I noted earlier, it would not have been considered a child until it took its first breath. It was merely something in the womb to be discharged (as the text DOES say). In this way the man could be assured that the child born of his wife would be his and not that of the man she committed adultery with.

  • Noah

    When was Jesus violent? Last time I checked every translation shows he did not use it physically on people. Asides that, come up with one other point where Jesus advocates for or uses violence on people. It’s not there. There’s nothing about his teaching to promote it.

    I certainly don’t think the author cherry picks. The vengeful aspect of the OT is certainly present in the NT. As is the loving aspect of the NT in the OT.

  • Yup. If Jesus was violent, he disqualified himself as the Messiah.

    “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isa 53:9

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    What the Israelite’s view on were on when life began are of no relevance to this discussion.

    You are correct that they did not have ultrasounds. However, they were aware of the idea of a women being pregnant (Gen 16:11, Gen 38:24, Gen 38:25, Exo 21:22, 1Sa 4:19, 2Sa 11:5, 2Ki 8:12, 2Ki 15:16, Isa 26:17, Jer 31:8, Hos 13:16, Amo 1:13, I will spare you the 30 plus other scriptures). They were also aware that the fetus (I am not saying they used that term) at some point became a person.

    You suggest that this is some test to insure that a man’s lineage continues. There is no mention of a pregnant women. We know they were at least aware of the concept. But there is no mention that the accused is pregnant. Seems to be an important part to just leave out…don’t ya think? Are you suggesting that every time a person commits adultery it leads to a pregnancy? Is that what your parents told you during “the talk?” Or is there a separate test for women that are suspected of adultery but not pregnant? But wait….they didn’t have ultrasounds back then did they?

    The scriptures here in Numbers speak specifically to a women that has been told in front of witnesses to stay away from him. She instead decides to seclude herself with him. The passage literally refers to being secluded long enough to have carnal knowledge.

    “It was merely something in the womb to be discharged (as the text DOES say).”

    The text says that her uterus discharges. Why are you so quick to assign this as a miscarriage despite scholars not attributing it as a direct punishment to the female. This most likely refers to a prolapsed uterus. It is a punishment to the women for committing adultery.

    But don’t worry. Just because you are incorrect on this point doesn’t mean that we can not continue. We can pretend that these verses are talking about a miscarriage and discuss the error filled notion that the passage is a Biblical justification of abortion.

    Shall I ask the first question?

  • David Cohen

    “What the Israelite’s view on were on when life began are of no relevance to this discussion.”

    – Boy did you miss the point. The Israelites point of view of when life began was VERY relevant to the Israelites. Yes, they were aware of the concept of pregnancy, but they did not view life as beginning at conception. Thus, the efforts of modern fundamentalists to backdate their own opinions and suggest that “the Bible has always said what we say about the beginning of life” is preposterous.

    It does not matter whether one does so by taking obviously poetic passages as literal truths. Neither does it matter if one scans the text for loopholes, as you have done. It is still making gross assumptions that the Bible has always and everywhere been interpreted as saying exactly the same thing, irrespective of the time, place and situation of the person doing the interpreting.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    “When was Jesus violent?”

    You did read the verses (John 2:13-16) right? Not aware that the other three Gospels (Matthew 21:12–17, Mark 11:15–19 and Luke 19:45–48) tell a similar tale?

    “Last time I checked every translation shows he did not use it physically on people.”

    Matthew 21:12 (NASB) – And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

    Mark 11:15 (NIV) – On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves,

    Luke 19:45 (KJV) – And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;

    John 2:15 (NKJV ) – When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.

    Across all verses the translations are pretty universal that he cast out the people and the livestock.

    “Asides that, come up with one other point where Jesus advocates for or uses violence on people.”

    First, I guess you are not aware that some think that the actions in John 2 are a separate incident from the other three Gospels? Majority view is they are the same. Also, I am guessing that you are unaware the verb ἐκβάλλω (ekballo) carries a notion of violence when translated “cast out?”

    Second…What? Not once did I say Jesus was violent. Nor have I once said that he advocated violence.

    What I have maintained is that Matthew 5:39 must be paired with the verse before it to be read in context. And when read in context , we easily see that Matthew 5:39 is not a political advocation against guns nor is it an instruction that a Christian can not act in self defense. It is a clarification of what his disciples had heard the law was and what the intent of the law was.

    But let’s look at what happened (and we will go with the idea of Jesus not attacking any people):

    Put yourself there that day. But not in a disciple’s sandals. You are someone in the temple buying/selling. Remember, you are committing NO CRIME. It is perfectly legal to be doing what you are doing. In walks a guy with a home made whip. He starts driving out the livestock. He starts turning tables over and pouring out money. By the way….THAT…it is illegal. What do you think the reaction would be? Don’t think Jesus might have to push or shove a couple of them out the door? At the least?

    “I certainly don’t think the author cherry picks.”

    He took a single verse (Matt 5:39) and quoted it out of context. That is cherry picking.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    A lot of smoke and mirrors in your post. Not really any substance. I will address it a bit out of order so that I can segue back to the original discussion.

    “Neither does it matter if one scans the text for loopholes, as you have done. ”

    Not sure what loopholes you think I have scanned for. Care to elaborate?

    “It does not matter whether one does so by taking obviously poetic passages as literal truths.” “It is still making gross assumptions that the Bible has always and everywhere been interpreted as saying exactly the same thing, irrespective of the time, place and situation of the person doing the interpreting.”

    Both separate discussions that are irrelevant to the first one. We can certainly pursue them at some point. Though you would have to elaborate on the “obvious poetic passages.”

    “Thus, the efforts of modern fundamentalists to backdate their own opinions and suggest that “the Bible has always said what we say about the beginning of life” is preposterous.”

    I agree. Just as it is preposterous for modern pro-choice advocates to backdate their beliefs. Or members of either of the major political parties backdating their socio political beliefs. It is all quite preposterous.

    ” Boy did you miss the point. The Israelites point of view of when life began was VERY relevant to the Israelites. ”

    I don’t recall ever sayting that the Israelites point of view of when life began wasn’t relevant to the Israelites. I said it isn’t relevant to “this discussion.”

    This discusion is about Numbers 5:6-31.

    There were a couple of parts to that discussion. One being that verse 27 isn’t talking about a miscarriage (as not everyone made to drink the waters would have been pregnant) but talking about a direct punishment to the female (most likely a prolapsed uterus) for adultery.

    The second part of that discussion involves discussing the verses as if they are speaking only about a miscarriage (remember….I offered) and it being an example of the Bible condoning abortion.

    The view point of when the Israelites viewed life to begin is not relevant to either discussion. Sorry if you thought that was some major blow. I’m quite aware that they didn’t view life to begin until birth.

    So now that we have that out of the way……

    You didn’t offer anything in your last post that remotely addressed anything from my last post. Up to you on that one.

    So as promised I will hold up my end and continue the discussion assuming that your interpretation is correct. For the purpose of this discussion, the women that went through the entire process in Numbers5:6-31 are suspected of adultery and are pregnant. Their husbands want to ensure that the child is his. So he brings her to the temple with his witnesses and the process begins.

    “In other words, the priest gives her an abortificant which induces a miscarriage.”

    But what if whe is innocent? Does the abortifacant given to her by the priest cause a miscarriage for an innocent women too? If they both had miscarriages…wouldn’t that muddy determining guilt/innocence?

  • Noah

    “I am guessing that you are unaware the verb ἐκβάλλω (ekballo) carries a notion of violence when translated “cast out?””

    Didn’t know that, so I’d certainly need to look into it, thanks.

    Though looking at the temple clearing, and not the over arching picture of Christ I’d say is cherry picking (not saying you are, but folks do).

    (He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.)

    I don’t see how he’s cherry picking, it’s not only in reference to the disciples expectations, but is also telling them what to do. ‘do not resist an evil person’

    Self-defense, as far as I know, is resisting. Of course, depending on what it is. Running away from someone, is that resisting? Later on….love your enemies. If we’re fighting them (to the point of death, muchless), I’m not sure how that’s loving them.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    “(He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.)”

    Staying within the realm of NT.

    1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

    violence can be translated as “injustice, wrong and cruelty” as well.

    “Though looking at the temple clearing, and not the over arching picture of Christ I’d say is cherry picking (not saying you are, but folks do).”

    Sigh…I said it was an example of Jesus acting with violence. I didn’t say Jesus was a violent person. For that matter I doesn’t matter how Jesus acted in the temple.

    The only way it is cherry picking is to say, “Jesus was a violent person.” And then use those Bible verses as evidence. Much like saying that a Christian nation wouldn’t have the 2nd Amendment but then half quoting a scripture that doesn’t even mention a weapon at all. If you don’t think the latter is cherry picking then I don’t know what you would even begin to think was.

    “Self-defense, as far as I know, is resisting. Of course, depending on what it is. Running away from someone, is that resisting?”

    While we could debate whether running is resisting or not, why not simplify it. If the evil doer yells to stop the a Christian must (according to your logic) lay down and allow the evil doer to stab them to death.

    What if an evil doer were trying to kill someone and a Christian stood in the way? Is (s)he required to move out of the way?

    “Later on….love your enemies. If we’re fighting them (to the point of death, muchless), I’m not sure how that’s loving them.”

    Can a parent love a child they punish? Death would hopefully be the last resort.

    “I don’t see how he’s cherry picking, it’s not only in reference to the disciples expectations, but is also telling them what to do. ‘do not resist an evil person'”


    It is cherry picking for several reasons. But we can start with the fact that you can’t just quote the one verse.

    “Mat 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

    Notice first we are talking about getting slapped. Not attacked. When you read the entire context of what is being said. and not just picking a verse that seems to say what you want, you see that everything that is done is an insult. A Christian is to bear the insult. When you read the entire sermon (and NT) you see that it talks a lot about intent. “What is in your heart.” A Christian can not simply do actions to do actions, that is . The intent has to be there.

    But once again, Jesus was clearing up misunderstandings in the law.

    You seem to think of everything in extremes. One instance of violence means a person is violent. A Christian must allow an attacker to simply murder them. Every occured to you that one might disarm the attacker and move on? The verses are talking about revenge. Self defense is not revenge. Does that mean that Jesus is saying that Christians should go killing willy nilly? Nope. Violence should always be the last resort.

  • Noah

    Well, Jesus was pretty extreme back in the day and often still is. Not sure how I am in this conversation. It’s not hard to have a serious look at non-violence and not defending yourself with how the disciples were killed. We don’t know if they did try defense or were violent, but that they met their ends violently means they weren’t successful if they did.

  • Anarhija Je Sloboda

    Aye, which is why this just looks like idealistic nonsense to me. Even if we were to just follow the teachings of Jesus one of those teachings is to follow all of the old testament laws as well. Which means the ten commandments aren’t a guideline, they’re law. The first of those laws is “Thou shalt have no gods before Me”, it’s clear that that law alone means no other religion or lack of religion will be tolerated by America at home or abroad. Be Christian, gtfo, or die in a fire.

    “Thou shalt not make idols” there goes Hollywood people, as well as any non-biblical figure who gets uppity

    “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” Goddamit, Jesus fucking Christ and Holy Mary Mother of God you are all going to burn.

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” As we all know remembering it doesn’t cut it, anyone who works on Sunday, or Saturday to be more precise, dies.

    “Honor your father and your mother.” Child abuse? No such thing. Mouthy kids? Fertilizer. Disobedient kids? Again, fertilizer.

    “Thou shalt not murder” Well, ok that one would be nice, but remember, it’s not murder if the Godly Government Church of America does it, so it’s perfectly fine to BE murdered.

    “You shall not commit adultery.” Just looking at that ass is adultery, we’re all fucked.

    “You shall not steal.” The RIAA will love this one, once they make it clear that failure to pay every time you even think of a song is theft.

    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Does that mean no lying? Prolly not, but certainly no gossiping.

    “You shall not covet.” Good Bye and Good Fucking Riddance you capitalist swine.

    And then there’s all those others that don’t fit on a concrete slab that Christians like to ignore. Also, lets not forget that gays must be killed, overturning slavery was illegal, and since we’re guilty of the sins of our fathers we’d have to legalize it, raping a woman is a crime against her father or her husband, but hey, if she’s not married you can buy her and rape her daily, it’s a-ok to sell your daughter into slavery, and so so so many more horrible things.

  • Jason Westerly

    You forgot one: after about ten years or so of the slow removal of our rights, my same-sex husband and I would be rounded up and slaughtered. Our children would be adopted off to good loving Christian homes.

    If you want a model of how it will happen, look at evangelical and fundamentalist Christian support for the creation and passage, and now the revival, of the Ugandan bill to execute homosexuals.

  • Eric Carter

    Going to explain to us why God use just 300 men to fight an Army in the old testament? Why God said to fight evil to worship me? Jesus did say to love your enemy! But didn’t he say his followers would had fight to kill those who hate him? But didn’t because his kingdom is not of the world!

  • Eric Carter

    It was God who said homosexual will NOT be allow in his kingdom! Not an Evangelical! All these men and women do is tell and preach the truth! You did not have children , you adoption them. Was given to you against GOD LAW! Ugandan is a very religion country! Believe in Jesus! And follow the BIBLE as their laws.

  • Jason Westerly

    Like many in Uganda, do you also support the beating, torture and killing of homosexuals? Does not the Old Testament command this?

    If you do, would you like to kill me and my family? If I gave you a knife, would you slit my throat? Would you slit the throat of my male spouse? Would you like to put a tire around my neck full of gasoline and burn me to death like they do to gays in Uganda? Did not God command this? Would not Jesus approve the killing and slaughter of gays? Perhaps you would like to throw me from a building instead like ISIS does to homosexuals? Surely your Jesus would approve.

    They kill homosexuals in Uganda. There are mob killings nearly every other month of a gay and a gay couple. Some are burned to death and some are beaten to death. We recently resettled a refugee from Uganda whose partner was burned to death. And, his ears were chopped off. Do you like this? Do you think God approves.

    Uganda tried to put a law into place that mandated the execution of homosexuals. Did you like that? Did you support the execution of homosexuals?

    Does my baiting you make you angry? Does it make you happy?

    Your comments rank as some of the most terrible I’ve read on here. I notice on other sites you read extreme right wing trash and hate all liberals and homosexuals. You then accuse them of hating you. Believe what you want, but we will defend ourselves and will punish you if you attempt to harm us. If you truly believe in killing homosexuals like so many Ugandan Christians then you shall surely burn in hell forever.

    You twist and pervert the scriptures. You preach evil in the name of Christ. Evangelicals have gone to Uganda and stirred up mob violence and hatred and have compelled the government there to attempt to pass laws to murder homosexuals. If you support this you are guilty of mortal and grievous sin. You will repent or you will be severely punished.

  • Jason Westerly


  • Eric Carter

    Jason just told every MUSLIM and ISIS he a homosexual! ! Maybe he will be beheaded by one! Uganda hate homosexual! Jesus would not approve it! But he will NOT let them into his KINGDOM! He said he love all sinner. Even said they need to TURN from their sin! Or face Damnation!

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Quite frankly, I’ve been reading this exchange for the past couple of days, and I’d say you’re even, because by your words and behavior, you’ve let everyone else know, who may be on the fence about it, that if you’re what Christianity is about, then they don’t want a thing to do with it.

    I’ve not worn that label for 20 years, but I know better… Just that you’re a really judgemental person who’s a really crappy witness for your supposed “joy in the Lord,” Eric…

  • Paul Julian Gould

    BTW… words in all caps don’t convey the emphasis you think they do… they just make you look like you’re yelling in a spectacularly inarticulate fashion…

    And also, you obviously don’t know your own holy book as well as you think you do… obviously the teachings of your favorite pastor, pundits and authors, but specifically American-style Evangelical Protestant interpretations are neither the only ones, nor are they particularly educated, outside of a Protestant unaccredited Bible college, that is…

    But hey, Joel Osteen’s only got a semester of a Bible school, and look how well and how wise he turned out…

    Yes, that was sarcasm, if there was any question…

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Obviously, it’s thought that anyone or anything to the left of Attila the Hun or Rick Wiles, or Bryan Fischer is deluded, deceived and downright demonic, you should pardon the unavoidable alliteration…

  • Jason Westerly

    Here is a question for you. Since the practice of slavery in the time of the Old and New Testament was widespread, does God condemn slavery? Where in the Bible did God command slavery to stop?

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    I never said that the views of the Israelites were not not relevant to the Israelites. I said they were not relevant to this discussion. However, once we can discuss that as well.

  • Jon

    The ONLY reason that Jesus instructs the disciples to have swords is so that the prophesy in Isaiah is fulfilled, the people with swords are the transgressors in verse 37. When the disciples take out the sword to strike out and defend him, Jesus rebukes them, telling them to put away their swords. Those who LIVE by the sword will DIE by the sword. That’s hardly strong advocacy to bear arms, but certainly a potential that if you put your trust in violence and weaponry of men but not in the armor of God, then you surely have received your reward.

  • Jon

    The very idea that he ONLY meant “Caesar” is ridiculous. The idea is more general than that – money is worldly and governments are worldly. It applies every bit to democracy as it does to Rome. And, I’m not exactly sure what you’re implying by your snide comment, but I have a bit more faith in God and the will of the people in this nation than apparently you do.

  • Jon

    And how Convenient when you quote Romans, you miss the context completely:

    13 Every [a]person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except [b]from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore [c]whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for [d]good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

    8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves [e]his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love [f]does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


    Note in the full passage AGAIN, that it doesn’t question the legitimacy of taxes, and the reason it talks about swords is because the community believed it was the VICTIMS of persecution by violence, to which Paul writes essentially, if you don’t break the laws of the human authority, then you will not face death by violence. This isn’t a verse meant to encourage people to take up arms, but rather to act in a way that prizes love for one another above all else, and by doing so, they will avoid violence and persecution, for loving one another does no wrong to anyone. But thanks for your cherry picking.

  • Jon

    This is the WHOLE context of 1 Peter 2: 13-20: On this particular point, I might agree, that there doesn’t seem to be any grave admonition against a Pledge of Allegiance to a nation, though I might note that there are people who abstain from making such a pledge because of their religious perspective that considers such a pledge to be idolatry.

    I wonder, though, how you might interpret honoring all people. And, there isn’t a sense that Peter is addressing only ‘servants,’ here, but he is calling all of us servants – that is a message for everyone, not just for some underclass.

    13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent [p]by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For [q]such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and [r]do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the [s]king.

    18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are [t]unreasonable. 19 For this finds [u]favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds [v]favor with God.

  • Jon

    This passage from second Corinthians is actually quite complex, and I don’t think it quite has the connotation you assume it does. What it suggests is that the letter (the law) KILLS, but the Spirit gives life. In Christ, the law doesn’t disappear, but it is only through Christ that we are not condemned by the law. Now, if the veil of the letter of the law is lifted, what does that mean for us? That we speak boldly…but in what capacity? To put the veil upon others by deciding who is unworthy by the letter of the law even as you have been freed from that veil in Christ through the Spirit? We can use the law as a cudgel to divide those we find unworthy, even as we are freed in Christ from the letter of the law which leads to death for ALL of us? In this scripture passage, there is a careful path laid out – we are freed in Christ and the Spirit, yet the law doesn’t go away. However, in that freedom seems to come a degree of responsibility – that the response in freedom is to love…and that with Christ and the Spirit, we will at once be better subjects of the law and yet freed from the law. Perhaps, then, it is better to speak boldly of the Grace and Truth in Christ Jesus in the Spirit, through whom we can be saved, rather than speak boldly in the condemnation of the law by which we are all guilty.

    4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came [c]with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was [d]with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

    12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil [e]remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

  • Jon

    But he did say that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. That much is most clear in Matthew, and he rebukes those who came to arrest him by violent means as well. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus [m]reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and [n]cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve [o]legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

    55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

  • Jon

    Actually, the admonition not to covet in the 10 commandments is PRECISELY an admonition against rape, because rape by definition is desire for something that does not “belong” to you. And coveting in the 10 commandments covers property and people.

  • Jon

    Actually, the Bible makes no such claim to inerrancy. And God-breathed does not discount human-written. The Bible is a complicated text that is both the people’s experience of God in a particular context AND the Word of God that transcends that context and human experience. It is ONLY in recent history that people have begun to worship the Bible rather than Christ. And, there actually are inconsistencies in the text that need to be reconciled. That is not to reject the places with which we disagree, but to discern what the text really means for us.

    Clearly, Jesus saw that it was important to meet the needs of those he came into contact with. And so, he healed on the Sabbath, suggesting that doing the work of healing is more important than adhering strictly to the letter of the law…not because “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” isn’t important or should be ignored, but because doing this work of healing WAS Sabbath, it WAS honoring God and demonstrating holiness.

    Jesus also commented on the restrictions in the law, essentially saying that when you use the law to cast people out, you are not doing the work of God. Often, we see this and other admonitions of Christ as a way to excuse ourselves from restrictions against eating pork and shellfish- because all creatures are created by God – they are not in fact unclean (and here is an issue – some of the statutes in the Old Testament actually are cultural differences meant to separate themselves from the dominant society, and it can be difficult to sift through this), or wearing robes with blended fabrics, which you’re probably doing right now.

    This doesn’t mean that the Bible is mistaken, or that the text is any less Holy, but it is to figure out what the text really means and how we interpret it. And we have to be careful that we aren’t just making adjustments due to our own cultural understanding, but that we are open to the Spirit that continually moves and a God that continues to act beyond and above the text of the Bible. Just as we are not slaves to the law, which surely brings death, neither are we slaves to Scripture, but rather servants of Christ. This isn’t to discount the law nor the scripture, for they are certainly integral to our faith and understanding, but it is to put CHRIST and GOD first, not the text.

  • Jon

    See, now this interpretation of scripture I can get behind, and I’m pretty sure I belong to one of those denominations which you in your own “humility,” “gentleness,” and “kindness” have dismissed. The thing is that there are far too many assumptions flying about regarding what it means to believe the scriptures to be “inerrant” vs. “literal,” and I think that is where the disconnect seems to be rooted. I believe Genesis, for example, to be inerrant, in that it is a story of the oral tradition that positions the creation of the world in God’s hands told in an oral literary tradition that made it possible for people to pass it through generations so that they understood the origins of the universe in terms of God’s work in it. I do not, however, believe that either the Genesis 1 story or the Genesis 2 story are literal. I believe that God created the universe and all that is in it, but I don’t think it’s essential to my faith in God that it had to occur in six literal days (which it of course doesn’t in Genesis 2, which provides no actual time table). The use of the week and the regularity of the text suggest that the Genesis 1 text utilized this construction as a memory cue, a pattern to help those telling the story and those hearing it to remember such an important and foundational story accurately. God also inspires a story that is told in a manner that human kind at the time could understood. It would be quite irresponsible of God to try and explain the origins of life taking billions of years (though a clue to the timelessness of God versus man’s understanding does exist in scripture) in a population of humans who barely understood the world beyond their small territory and life-span. There is a big difference there. My faith in God is not founded in the insistence that God created the world in six 24-hour days, but in the promise of God’s hand in creation that exists from the very origins of the universe, who existed even before the universe as we know it was formed.

  • Jon

    I do think that this original post is guilty of taking verses out of context to prove a particular agenda. Many do this, including a few responses to the original post…and as I posted above, sometimes the context that “refutes” the original post in reality supports it. On the same token, sometimes the context of the original post refutes it. So, we have to be careful in how we deal with scripture.

  • Trilemma

    That logic would make the commandments against stealing and adultery unnecessary. Rape is not always about desiring something. Many times the purpose of rape is to humiliate, to punish or to hurt someone. Sometimes, it’s about domination and not gratification.

  • JohnQuincyBlack

    He did say thst those who *live* by the sword…

    I am not talking about living by the sword. One can own a sword and not live by the sword.

  • ollie

    Nor will the eaters of swine and mice. Or liers. Or…, well you get the idea.

    Oh and the word homosexual isn’t supported by the original language.

  • ollie

    So Hitler was not to be opposed because he got his power from God?

    If you are correct we need to give the US land back to England.

  • Doug Tozier

    America would NOT look like this. Theocracies are oppressive because they demand conformity and they always make war against those who disagree with them. It would be ugly, not nice.

  • Kevin Harvey-Marose

    What the?

  • billwald

    There are very few if any denominations that define Christianity as the content of The Sermon On The Mount.

  • billwald

    google Christian reconstructionism

  • Andrea Fitzgerald


  • Judgeforyourself37

    We are not and never were a Christian nation! Our forefathers were Deists. They did not want a state religion, they were fleeing a state religion in England.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Oh, good grief, grow up.

  • Weary Bargearse Palmer

    Do you eat bacon and shellfish, wear clothing of mixed fibre. If you do I will see you in hell

  • David

    “…he simply noted that we should pay to Caesar whatever belongs to him.” Pay Caesar what belongs to him? So can you tell me what exactly belongs to him? Is it anything with his image on it? I assume you are referring to the “Render unto Caesar…” passage. That being the case then every dollar in our pockets should be rendered to “Caesar” because it bears the likeness of “Caesar”. As Dorothy Day so aptly put it – “If we rendered unto God all the things that belong to God, there would be nothing left for Caesar.” And I’ll add to it by saying that Jesus admonished US to help the poor, not arm Caesar to do it.

  • Charles Winter

    If America were a Christian nation, there would be no health care problem because we would all be Samaritans taking care of our neighbors.

    If America were a Christian nation, there would be no poverty because justice would reign throughout the land.

    Alas, we are a nation that worships Almighty Dollar.

  • Scandia99

    Substitute “Christian” with “moral” and you would see these problems you mention go away. Christians don’t always seem to do the right thing by humanity.

  • Scandia99

    Did you forget to take your medication this morning? You are sounding a bit off…

  • Doug Tozier

    I don’t read anything there that I would disagree with, so I don’t know if you are agreeing or disagreeing with my statement. If you google Dominionism you will find a whole other breed of Theocracy and I wonder if these two are really just brothers of the same mother. If the one believes the government has authority over moral law, then I see people like me being thrown off buildings and beaten in the town square. Then we are back in the Dark Ages like much of the Middle East. Maybe that is what some religious people want. We really don’t know until it is too late. I like freedom just the way our founding fathers established it in the Constitution. From my knowledge of the Bible, at least half of the Constitution would be burned, along with a good number of us unbelievers.

  • billwald

    I think two sides of the same coin. I ran across some OPC pelievers in WA and read a bunch of their stuff by Rushdoony.
    I think it is dangerous.

  • billwald

    No. Jesus never said or implied that.

  • Doug Tozier

    A lot of Christians I have known were not connected to any of those groups, but still held the belief that “God’s law” should be America’s law. “Shudder”…

  • Richard B

    A most thoughtful proposition indeed.

  • Colin Smith

    My neighbours may be great people, but I’d sooner have a good doctor backed up by a decent hospital service just in case.

  • Colin Smith

    Before anyone else feels like replying to this fuckwit, read this and decide what kind of Christian he is

  • Richard Rosser

    Advertising of products would needs be greatly curtailed since it promotes coveting and inducement to live on borrowed money. Usury costs might also end. Every Lord’s Day would be free of our own recreations and commerce.

  • Jerry Seaman

    If we were a Christian nation, there could be no Jews, Muslims, etc. Also, which denomination would we be?