No, John Piper, God Doesn’t Kill Babies Because Their Dad Looked At Porn

No, John Piper, God Doesn’t Kill Babies Because Their Dad Looked At Porn November 18, 2016
9am Plenary Wed 20 October 2010 Photo: Micah Chiang
Micah Chiang, Flickr Creative Commons

I’m all for charitable Christian disagreement between Christians of different expressions or traditions within Christianity. But Holey Moley, I’m starting to think that Calvinism probably shouldn’t be classified and grouped under the Christian umbrella.

I’ve also often wondered if John Piper really isn’t a Calvinist at all, but just trolling them to make their religion look so frighteningly horrific.

Case in point:

No, God doesn’t kill your children as a punishment for a parent struggling with porn. I mean, I can’t believe this even needs rebutting, but yes, this is actually something Piper recently said on a podcast.

On a recent episode of Ask Pastor John, a distraught father wrote in and asked about his wife’s recent miscarriage and his struggle with looking at pornography. Here’s what the man asked:

“Pastor John, did God cause, or would God cause, my wife to miscarry our child because I have a struggle with lust and pornography? I have a lot of guilt right now, and I don’t know how to think about God’s discipline and punishment for my sin. I’m very confused, please help.”

Piper’s answer was lengthy, and ultimately was, “I don’t know if God killed your baby because you looked at porn.” But the mere fact that Piper doesn’t know if his god would do something like this should be enough to reject his entire belief system.

While Piper claimed to not know for sure, he laid out the case that killing a baby because you looked at porn would not be outside of God’s character, who he claimed routinely kills people we love as a punishment to ourselves:

“May that discipline come in the form of harm, even death, to others that we love, as well as ourselves? And the answer is yes, it may…I would certainly say in my own life — now hear this carefully — I would certainly say in my own life, the most painful and humbling disciplining from the Lord has regularly been though the pain and suffering and sometimes death of those I love, rather than through any blows against my own body.”

Got that? The most painful type of punishment god dishes out is when he kills people you love. Piper also cited the views of Jonathan Edwards, and claimed that god will often punish a disobedient church by killing their pastor.

I mean, seriously? What type of god are we talking about here? This might be the angry volcano god who needs a virgin thrown in, but none of this describes Jesus.

Piper ultimately tells the grieving father that he just needs to stop wondering if god killed his kid over porn:

“So, what our friend must do in this confusion — he says, “I am confused.” Okay, so I am saying, what he must do in his confusion is stop fretting about whether his pornography was the direct cause of his miscarriage. He should stop fretting about that. He will never know for sure the answer to that question, short of some direct revelation. Whether he knew it was or wasn’t, the lesson remains the same…”

Piper reminds me of something I’ve long believed: the Calvinist doctrine of God is far closer to Islam than Christianity. In a Christian doctrine of God, God is restrained in what he can do– for example, he cannot lie, he cannot deny himself, etc. However, Islamic theology, it is believed Allah can do “whatever he wills” which is the same position of Calvinism– God can do whatever God wants, and we have no right to question the morality of any of these actions.

But this isn’t the traditional position of Christianity, and this is where Calvinism steps outside of our tradition and becomes closer to other religions.

Piper’s answer, as he has done on other questions such as genocide of entire people groups, reveals a fundamental flaw in Calvinism: that an all-loving God perfectly revealed in the life and character of Jesus can be the author of acts that would be unspeakably evil if done by any other agent who possessed morality and a conscience.

So, since Piper screwed up the question so badly, let me take a shot:

Grieving father: “Did God kill my baby because I struggle with lust and porn?”

Answer: Hell no. How totally depraved would someone have to be to kill an innocent baby over that? I mean, c’mon. That would be sick.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Etranger

    Considering God does or doesn’t do whatever man decides he wants to say God is responsible for, it is entirely likely god does kill babies because their father looks at porn. It certainly makes as much sense to me as god giving a healthy baby to parents who are devout christians and who do good deeds. Or God diverting a rainstorm so I can have a beautiful outdoor wedding because we all prayed he would. Etc., etc., etc.

  • seanchaiology

    Clearly the OT gave examples of both. In Exodus we see that God is a jealous god and will punish children for the sins of their parents, but in Ezekiel we learn that each individual is responsible for his/her own sin. However, the NT and Christ changes things and that should not be discounted when considering this matter. Furthermore, I personally think your examples are totally off base. What do you say about the parents who are devout and do good deeds but still have a miscarriage? Diverting a rainstorm? Do you really think this is on God’s list of priorities? This is high on your list of priorities when you pray? If you love your spouse, and you love Christ, then it really shouldn’t matter if it is sunny or rainy because that is not the point. If you got sunny weather, it was dumb luck in my opinion and you might think a little too highly of yourself that God made that happen just for you. I don’t mean to discount your beliefs, but we clearly have a different view on how God works.

  • JD

    Sigh….such bad theology on Piper’s part. The worst part is how damaging it is to this guilt-ridden husband and the overall Christian witness to the world.

    Wanted to edit since a dear friend that has gone through the pain of miscarriage pointed out to me the pain this also causes the wife. Mothers already have a tendency to blame themselves for the miscarriage, and need a husband to stand with them and tell them that that is a lie. Instead, he’s now not only unable to provide that support, but he is also likely adding to her guilt. What damage did Piper do to this marriage?!

  • Tim

    The god of Calvinism is not the God of the bible. Of this, I am convinced.
    Piper clearly missed the memo where God got on Israel’s case for sacrificing their children to Molech. It didn’t even occur to God to ask them to do this.

  • Etranger

    I was illustrating how absurd it is to think there is a god that is punishing or rewarding individuals. I would never pray for good weather on a wedding day. But I have certainly heard people say “oh thank god we had such nice weather” or “thank god our baby was born healthy” or “thank god we had a safe flight” or “thank god no one was hurt in that hurricane” or “god is punishing florida with hurricanes because there are gays”, etc. Take up the issue with the Christians who believe god has a hand in our world events lol.

  • seanchaiology

    Obviously I missed your sarcasm… My apologies

  • Etranger

    Actually it was good that you did. It reveals how common stupid statements about god’s role are! You thought I could actually believe what I wrote – precisely because so many do actually believe that. It is a scary world!

  • Tony Iannitelli

    Book of Job sure makes it sound like Piper’s closer to the truth than Corey on this one.

  • JD

    Only if the book of Job is taken in a way that it shouldn’t. Here’s a great sermon on the book of Job that may be helpful in at least understanding the other interpretation, which I find far more consistent with the nature of God as revealed through Christ: http://whchurch.org/blog/9716/twisted-scripture-the-book-of-job

  • Herm

    Conjecture was the authority that without; Jesus Christ would have lived a normal life of natural consequences.

    God is clear and consistent throughout the Bible with Their interventions that differ from the resulting consequences of action reaction.

    John Piper and most directing their interpretation of the Bible in place of an actual relationship with God, devoid of any need for conjecture, paint God as a cruel task master, nearly a cruel animal trainer.

    So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

    His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

    The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

    John 2:15-19

    What was the temple destroyed and raised again in three days?

    God in reality would have His own Son die on the cross, for His crucifier’s destructive spirit, leaving no room for the Spirit of truth (sin) rather than take their sons. King David was told, according to David’s law, that a son for a son “would” be imposed against David for his murder. There never was conjecture possible for what would the grief of a son for a son have served David or his people that would spawn Christ?

    Jesus in His zeal could have whipped everyone of us into obedience, maybe with the aid of four legions of angels, beginning with the money changers. Jesus submitted in the obedience of love for His heavenly Father and toward His carnal species to die for their sins.

    An addiction to pornography is not a carnal or spiritual sin but a symptom of carnal inadequacy. It can be healed but not by a whip only by empathy and compassion found in love for those struggling. All of God loves all us in Their image as potential children of God in Them not to remain a separate image of Them.

    This, in my zeal, is a call not to ever place the will of God into any form of theoretical conjecture. Go to God directly by asking, seeking and knocking from Them in ALL humility giving no authority to Man.

    Children of God are not taught by the whip but by the reciprocal will to love. This father knew that love, in spirit, to hurt so for the loss of his child before he even got to know him in carnal body. Our heavenly Father hurts for that lost child, the mother and the father without cause only love. Our heavenly Father lost One of His own prematurely with cause, us and our self centered conjecture.

  • seanchaiology

    Valid point!

  • Bones

    What makes you think the Book of Job is right.

  • dcpdx

    Which, strangely seems to be the opposite of what Job is about. Are you asserting that Job’s experiences are normative? The text is fairly clear that it is not. Further, the main argument of Job’s friends is that bad things were happening to him because he sinned. God rebukes them, right? So, how do you understand Job as aligning with Piper and sin & punishment?

  • Other than the other significant problems with the idea, how is God punishing you by making your loved ones suffer effective if there’s no way to know that’s why He’s doing it?

    I mean, the whole thing makes no sense. “God may be punishing you by causing your wife to miscarry, but you can’t fret about it. There’s no way to know.” Well, if there’s no way to know, that’s a moronic punishment. That’s almost even worse than the Caligula/God represented in the argument, but at least a being who punishes you by hurting your loved ones is intelligible, horrific as that may be. What Piper is postulating is a God who would punish you by hurting your loved ones – and you would never know if that’s what He was doing or why.

    Which would suggest a God who is not only into horrific punishments, He’s not even interested in your repentance. He just wants to get back at you, whether you are able to understand or respond to it or not.

    That’s not Calvinism. That’s, like, Stockholm Syndrome.

  • And furthermore, how is this supposed to be of any help to the guy who asked?

    “Did God miscarry my baby because I struggle with lust and porn?”

    “Who knows? Maybe. Anyway, hope that helps with your porn addiction.”

    Nothing like crippling shame to help someone shake a coping strategy.

  • JD

    Exactly. I know that there are many Christians that believe tattoos are sinful. According to Piper theology, if something bad happens to my children, it very well may be as a punishment for my tattoos.

    Piper is a great example of why I have started embracing open theism. It is just so much more compatible with the nature of God revealed through Christ.

  • Richard Lambert

    Well, isn’t that ‘kind of’ the reason that Bathsheba miscarried Davids and Her child?….Serious question. :(

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks for saying this. Piper’s response certainly seems off in this instance.

    Question for the group: How accurate is it to equate Piper’s view on this matter with Calvinism in general? I’m not a Calvinist (or at least don’t think I am), so I’m not asking this question in defense of any theology, just wondering about the relationship between Piper’s view and Calvinism. I realize Piper might describe himself as a Calvinist, but that doesn’t mean anything he says is “Calvinism.” Thoughts?

  • Philip when you cut to the chase I get a thrill!
    `€=-)

  • Blerg

    I think that’s a good question. I was in Calvinist churches for many years, and never heard anything like this. I did hear in a Wesleyan type church that children born with disabilities were a punishment from God for the sins of the parents. Which was shocking and horrifying.

  • this is my quote of the day!
    “most directing their interpretation of the Bible in place of an actual relationship with God, devoid of any need for conjecture, paint God as a cruel task master, nearly a cruel animal trainer.”

  • apparently yours is a scary world. Perhaps you’re scared because you don’t know what you don’t know!
    `€=-)

  • Etranger

    That didn’t make much sense…

  • otrotierra

    Piper’s god really needs to hear about the Gospel of Jesus.

  • otrotierra

    Indeed, Piper and his followers need to hear about Jesus.

  • Etranger

    He already has shame for something that probably is not shameful but for what has been preached to him.

  • Jaarontyler

    Great article! Listen, your question “What god are we talking ab here?” Is a good one, because, as you say (and I would agree) this sure doesn’t sound like Jesus, does it? But it would be foolish for us to, completely, dismiss the first half of the book. We CAN NOT forget or ignore where Jesus came from (this is where we start getting closer to Piper’s view of God). The God of the OT, a god who killed Pharaoh’s child due to his sin (along with ALL firstborn boys in the entirety of Egypt) [Exodus 12] In [2 Sam. 12] God kills David and Bathsheba’s child as a result of their sin. Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Piper, I think he’s confused, but where do you get the idea that God would never do such a thing?

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks for your response. This is helpful.

  • SamHamilton

    Good question. I also wonder if Piper’s initial response “We don’t know,” while possibly theologically accurate, isn’t the right response to a grieving father at that time. He’s responding more like a theologian and less like a friend or counselor.

  • Richard Lambert

    I think…for me personally, that if I found myself standing on the sidelines watching as the lives of my lover ones hit a tragedy like this…I don’t think I could being myself to conclude that it happened as a result or punishment for their sin…I mean, even if that was infect the case…I feel like, as a Christian, that should just mean I need to be there for them all the more, serving them and supporting them how ever I can as they seek to navigate through their time of chalenge…I think concluding that it’s because of their sin is actually completely unhelpful and condescending. :/

  • Etranger

    Oh I see maybe what you are saying. To clarify, I am scared precisely because I know what I know! I know these religious nuts (those who believe in god interceding to punish individuals) are all around me! It is terrifying…

  • Tony Iannitelli

    I raise Job for the fact that God killed the children of Job for purposes of His own. That He might elect to do so for testing/trials of Job, for punishment, and/or for any other purpose He so chooses. Doesn’t need our approval or agreement. We tend to assign ourselves fault, like the fellow asking Piper the question, but the true answer seems to be “maybe”.

  • davidt

    Calvin was rather aspergish pre Newtonian hyper reductive attempting to not be at the same time. Like do we really pay attention to a crackpot theololician (politician/theologian) that’s been dead 500 years that’s definably christian?

  • Jaarontyler

    SamHamilton and Richard Lambert. I would absolutely agree that there is a major lack of compassion within the realm of theology. I believe that today, we acknowledge a very slim difference between the roles of Theologian and Pastor. Holding the credentials and qualifications to speak on some of the most difficult equations in history, does not, unfortunately, make you dynamic, eloquent, or even compassionate. Theology is, ideally 90% intellectual and 10% emotional, and constantly working to lower that percentage of emotion to as low a number as possible, in order to gain the truest perspective/understanding. Sometimes when faced with a situation that demands compassion, we continue on the road to intellectual understanding, instead of, choosing to connect with love.

  • soter phile

    1) for all the smugness this article displays, the most revealing line is this: “the Calvinist doctrine of God is far closer to Islam than Christianity.”

    a) So, basically, now I can vilify & dismiss an entire segment of the body of Christ… regardless of how biblically based their claims are; I’ll dismiss them simply because I don’t like what they’re saying.

    b) Note well: I’m almost positive there’s a whole lot more Scripture in virtually anything Piper writes than virtually anything you’ve written (case in point: your above article versus the Piper one you cite). That fact alone doesn’t *guarantee* proper exegesis, but it should certainly humble any Christian to reconsider with whom you are actually arguing: John Piper… or the Word of God?

    2) Considering how broken our world is after the Fall & the many, many things the Bible says about the breadth & comprehensive effects of sin, why not be thankful Piper landed charitably on “I don’t know”? Sin is certainly that bad (think: the cross), yet God’s grace is that good. “I don’t know” seems much, much more faithful than “Hell, no!” – especially when you read a passage like 2 Sam.12:13-14, in which David’s child dies apparently directly due to David’s sin.

    If the objection is: such a God is “totally depraved”! Do you have a God who can contradict you on things that matter, or one who never does? If your God never disagrees with you… who is the real ‘god’ in that relationship? At the very least, we’re not talking about the biblical God.

    3) “God doesn’t kill babies because you sin…” If that sounds preposterous because of their ‘innocence’ (as you imply), what do you do with the cross & only truly innocent human being in history? After all, that’s the epicenter of the Christian faith. Seems like a lot that you dismiss out of hand in this article is really rather biblically integral.

  • soter phile

    If you actually read Piper’s article, he does not point him to shame but the grace of Jesus taking his sins for him. The “coping strategy” isn’t “scaring the Hell/porn out of you”, but having you fall in love with a God who loves so much he took the worst thing that could ever happen to you on himself. Basically: the love you’re looking for in porn is really found in him.

    That’s not shame. That’s the good news of the Gospel.

  • Jaarontyler

    Question for the group: In Chapter 32 of Exodus, we see Moses high atop Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, when he returns to find the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. Furious with them, Moses grinds the idol down to powder and forces them to drink it. But then Moses does something that I don’t remember ever hearing in Sunday school. Moses draws a line in the dirt and commands the people to cross the line (to his side) if they are with him (Moses) and God. The Levites stepped across to join him. Then Moses says, “THUS SAITH THE LORD, each of you draw the sword, go back and forth,through the camp, each man killing his brother and friend and neighbor”. 3,000 of them (Israelites who would not join them) were slaughtered on that day. CHRISTIANS: How do you serve a God who would command his followers to slaughter their own brothers and friends and families? For not joining them? These were Israelites, commanded by the “God of love” to kill other Israelites. Not to abandon them. Not to leave them for dead. To pick up a sword and gruesomely slaughter them. Can anyone explain this one to me? Btw. . . just verses before this we see God commanding them (the same people) NOT to kill. Interesting to anyone else?

  • soter phile

    “That’s not Calvinism. That’s, like, Stockholm Syndrome.”

    I can agree in this much: people who actually read large sections of Calvin (not just cherry-picked quotes) actually find him incredibly pastoral and entirely focus on the love of Christ. But caricatures are so much easier…

  • soter phile

    Again, I’d venture to say you didn’t read Piper’s article – but simply took Corey’s summary as ‘gospel.’ Unlike Corey, Piper gives the Gospel at the end as the culmination of his thoughts.

  • soter phile

    Seems no one here actually read Piper’s article…

  • soter phile

    Short version: the cross (tension of mercy & grace).
    *Every* sin deserves death (Rom.6:23).
    Yet, in Christ, we receive mercy (not what we deserve).
    Justice fulfilled. Mercy won.

    Bad News: we all deserve that death.
    Good News: He took my place.
    Christ claims the entire OT will not pass away and it all points to him (Jn.5:39-40; Lk.24:27,44; Mt.5:14-17; etc.).

    On the related question: is God a moral monster?
    shorter take:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-god-a-moral-monster/
    longer response:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7B5jokJsqk

  • otrotierra

    Where did you achieve your magical mind-reading powers? Or instead of an ability to read other people’s minds, maybe you just have a limited imaginary world you live in, all by yourself.

  • Many of us actually believe in God and His Word.

  • soter phile

    It’s not “mind-reading” to say you haven’t read Piper’s article when Piper’s article culminates in the Gospel and you are claiming he has yet to hear the Gospel.

  • Blerg

    You’re welcome. I’ve been mulling this over today; I don’t think this “punishment” thing is Calvinist or Wesleyan, or any other specific theology. I think it is a genuinely hateful thing to say, designed to hurt and to make the “sayer” feel superior, because they’ve not been punished by God. Thus, they must be “better” Christians.

    I was told once (by the pastor of the last Calvinistic church I attended) that if I just had enough faith, God would give me strength to endure my horrible marriage, that I had already endured for 14 years. For a long time, I was burdened by guilt because I never got that strength, and got a divorce. Did that mean I had no faith?

    I think that God does not inflict suffering upon us; it is the result of living in a sin-filled and imperfect world and making bad choices. I also think God cannot be pleased by those who would say He kills our babies or maims us, or sends floods and fires, all as punishment for some “sin”. I wish I knew the reason for suffering, but I am fairly certain it is not punishment from God.

  • Jaarontyler

    I appreciate your help! I, truly, don’t mean to sound like an ass, because this is a very big thorn in my side right now (has been for a while) and I really want to understand it. But perhaps it’s best if we respond to each other, not by referencing a video but, using our own words. When you simply reply with an ABC, “road to salvation”, text-book answer, it really gives me a headache. Listen, my issue is this: SPECIFICALLY, where does it say that the OT laws are nullified and no longer have to be followed? I understand the narrative of the cross and Jesus “filling that separation” between God and man, but even Christ said that he did not come to replace the law but to fulfill it. How do we go from that, to Christians today saying: “We no longer are bound by the OT law because of the cross (the ultimate sacrifice). Where is this concept spelled out, specifically? Not an idea, or a theme, but actual written text that says that the laws of the OT God are invalid for today’s Christian?

  • But the man is already in shame. That’s the point. Here is a man who genuinely thinks God may have killed his child because he looks at porn.

    Porn, or at least the habitual, addictive use of it (or anything) is a coping mechanism. It’s a drug. And if you’re a Christian, you’re already plenty ashamed of it, and that shame perpetuates and protects the behavior. When someone tells you that they can’t stop looking at porn and asks you if God killed their child because of it, in the name of Christ, you say, “Absolutely not. If anything, God wants you to be a healthy and whole individual because He loves you. He would never do something like this as retribution for the things you struggle with. He is on your side, and Jesus is the evidence of that. I am also on your side, I love you, and whatever dark thing you feel is lurking in your soul, we can talk about it and I will help you through it.”

    You don’t go, “Well, He might have. I don’t know – nobody can know. Maybe He is punishing you for porn. Hard to say. But the way out of His potentially active retribution for your behavior is to embrace Jesus Christ.”

    That is NOT the good news of the Gospel, nor is it love. It is unbiblical, hate and fear filled bullshit that praise God is losing adherents by the thousands.

  • Summers-lad

    I find the interaction between God and Moses here one of the most compelling stories of the Old Testament. On the mountain, God tells Moses that the people have sinned and God is going to destroy them, but Moses pleads for them and asks God to fulfil his promises. In this I believe God and Moses are changing places: God provokes Moses into expressing what is in God’s own heart and purposes, but God also takes the anger that he knows still lies within Moses and expresses it to him – which Moses rejects.
    Unfortunately, down with the people again, Moses forgets this and goes completely over the top in his fury – as God knew he would – even to the extent of saying that he is carrying out God’s command (the very thing he has asked God not to do).
    Looking at the chapter again as I write this, I have just noticed the postscript for the first time. Moses, back up the mountain and playing the innocent as he speaks to God again, God says to him, “I’ll take care of whose names are written in my book. You just get on with the job I gave you.” And then the brilliantly understated judgment on the whole thing: God sent a disease on the people because they had disobeyed. Not extermination. Not a massacre. Not violence. Just a disease.

  • To an extent, I agree with you. Calvin is often caricatured largely because of his followers. I’m not sure Calvin would be on board with what is commonly understood as Calvinism.

    Having said that, as someone who has read the Institutes several times and used bits from his commentaries in more than one sermon, I definitely wouldn’t say “the love of Christ” is Calvin’s signature focus. Not by a long shot. Both he and Arminius actually shared a great deal of assumptions that were far more Scholastic than biblical.

  • soter phile

    3 types of OT laws:
    1) ceremonial (cleansing, ritual, temple, etc.)
    2) judicial (ancient, theocratic state of Israel)
    3) moral (10 Commandments, etc.)

    1) ceremonial laws were fulfilled by what Christ did on the cross. the temple’s purpose is fulfilled. see Christ’s words on clean & unclean, or Acts 10 in regard to food & the like. it’s not a jettisoning of the OT, but a fulfillment of the purpose of the ceremonial laws.

    2) the judicial laws applied uniquely to OT Israel. they were the way in which the ancient nation-state was to be ruled – via God’s command. while it certainly reveals aspects of God’s character, it no longer applies as a manifesto for government. the goal served Redemptive History (i.e., the coming of the kingdom) – as found in Christ. note well how Christ responds when they try to make him king by force (Jn.5) or that his kingdom is not of this world (Jn.18), etc. And the Church is the NT Israel (Gal.3,6,etc.). So the judicial laws no longer apply.

    3) the moral law absolutely still applies. the entire argumentation of the Sermon on the Mount is not Jesus tossing it out, but ramping it up. For example: adultery is not merely the act, but even the thought. Same with murder. The goal of the moral law: to reveal God’s character – that we might live in community with Him.

    So – OT laws “invalid”? No. Fulfilled or abrogated? yes. As 2 Cor.1:20 says: all the promises of the OT are “yes” in Christ.

    But if you mean the standard, cheap, popularized “shellfish” argument (why don’t you follow that part of the OT)… I generally say: keep reading. (Acts 10 rather clearly answers the shellfish question.) Circumcision? Acts 15. Or clothing – read the epistles (1 Cor.9 – Christian liberty; Rom.14: strong & the weak; etc.). The NT epistles largely deal with these issues as Gentile & Jewish Christians lived alongside one another.

    SUM: no, the OT laws aren’t invalid. As Paul says, the Law was his “schoolmaster” (Gal.3:24) that led him to the Gospel. The Law reveals the character of God (absolutely just, yet also merciful) and our need for a Savior.

  • soter phile

    You have given a false dichotomy here. it’s not an either/or.

    a) i agree he is ashamed – and that the whole point of the Gospel is to free us from shame.

    b) but then you claim the place of God in saying what the effect of our sin is & is not – when the Scriptural evidence actually leaves the door open (note well: 2 Sam.12). It is *not* helpful to give answers we are not able to give.

    c) if God defines love (as the Bible claims), he also reveals how to give it – so, for example, did God suddenly stop loving David in 2 Sam.12? Even entertaining the question leads us where we need to go: namely, to God. no hate & fear involved until we twist it – unless of course by “fear” you mean the biblical version of awe & reverence.

    d) if people leave the faith by the thousands because we are leading them to the actual God of the Bible, that is a different matter. and while numbers do not justify, the evidence certainly points to an opposite conclusion than you imply:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/17/literal-interpretation-of-bible-helps-increase-church-attendance

  • soter phile

    if you want to be precise, then, Calvin’s focus was “unio mystica” – but if you don’t think union with Christ is about being drawn into the love of God, then that’s a debate over God’s goal in uniting us to himself, and not ultimately a debate with Calvin.

    as the most often (scholarly speaking) quoted passage of Calvin demonstrates: “Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our heats through the Holy Spirit.” (III:II:7) otherwise, what shall we regard as God’s benevolence toward us?

  • Summers-lad

    Excellent question. There is Romans 13:10: love is the fulfilment of the law. Or Galatians 5:14: for the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Or Matthew 22:40: The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments (love God and love your neighbour). But better than proof-texting is to look at the overall thrust of the New Testament: Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees’ legalism (although not their devotion), Paul’s insistence on grace giving us freedom from the Law, and freedom to do good. The whole of Galatians, and sizeable amounts of other letters, is about the necessity of holding to this freedom.

  • Yes, the Old Testament theological commentary on the fidelity of Israel’s king after a rape and a murder is exactly like this guy looking at porn. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Right, but the “promise freely given in Christ” was not Abraham’s promise, to Calvin. That would have been biblical. To Calvin, the “promise freely given in Christ” is that we will not go to Hell if we convert, which is not biblical.

  • Jaarontyler

    Excellent insight. I’ve never considered the “exchange” in that way. But for me, regardless of the game God played with Moses, he allowed Moses to command the killing of 3,000 of his “promised people” in the “name of the Lord”. Not once do we see God correct or rebuke Moses for this. It actually says, after the slaughter, that Moses told them they were now “ordained” at the cost of killing their own families/friends. Also, God’s response to this wasn’t quite as smooth as that. Moses asked for forgiveness for the people, (never, specifically, for himself), and God said, “all who sinned will be blotted out. . .”, so in other words “NO!” But there is nowhere in this text that leans toward God disapproving of this killing. *Also, if we accept the premise that in this story, Moses saying “Thus saith the Lord”, really wasn’t the Lord speaking, how on earth are we to distinguish between what is from God or what is coming from man?

  • Summers-lad

    This is a good and helpful answer. The dietary laws are clearly negated in the New Testament as you say. And I suspect that most Christians don’t take on the message of 1 Cor 9 and Rom 14 as fully as we should, so thank you for citing these. The circumcision argument represents the whole distinction between law and grace, which is of course prefigured in the Old Testament too.
    However I would say that scripture does not clearly give a tidy classification of laws into these three types. This is an interpretation, an analysis, and none the worse for that, but when both Jesus and Paul say that love is the fulfilment of the law (not just the moral law) are they looking to something deeper that was contained, for the OT Jews, in the ceremonial and judicial?
    I was once foolish enough to think that I had sussed out a good, intellectual answer to law and grace. (As a young adult, and proud of my understanding, I led a Bible study on it. Not many participated, and at least half the folk fell asleep. God taught me a lesson.) Now, my test would be whether something is within the grace of God (and I mean giving as well as receiving that grace).

  • Jaarontyler

    I’m familiar with the different categories of OT law. If you consider the Ten Commandments to be ‘Moral’, when do you think the ‘Moral section’ ends? In other words, we read the Ten Commandments in chapter 20 of Exodus, continually flowing right into chapter 21 (slavery) (restitution) and 22 (social). You do realize, this text wasn’t handed to man in clear cut sections, each w a disclaimer explaining the type of law and who must follow it etc. So how can we separate them? Where does God himself explain the separation of the statutes?

  • Summers-lad

    Good points. This tension runs through a lot of the Old Testament, so there are no easy answers. Reading all of the Bible in the knowledge of the message of Christ is one important approach. And in reply to your question, Exodus 32:14 says that God changed his mind and did not bring on the disaster. Another clue is that frequently we read “The Lord said to Moses” (e.g. 31:1, 31:12, 32:7, 32:33, 33:1) 32:27 doesn’t say this: the words are in Moses’ mouth, not God’s. Also, as you said, this follows closely on from the command not to kill.
    By the way, the insight I shared with you is one that came out of a Bible study I was part of many years ago, when four of us together came to this understanding. It was a powerful and memorable occasion.
    Thank you for testing me.

  • soter phile

    So you don’t see Jesus’ references to heaven and hell through the same lens? Hard to read John 8 (Children of Abraham vs. Children of the Devil) and not ultimately come to that conclusion.

  • soter phile

    As I said elsewhere in this section, the Sermon on the Mount teaches that point precisely.

  • soter phile

    I didn’t claim they were literarily separated by chapters or the like. I merely pointed to the NT demonstration of how the categories are impacted by the coming of Christ. Again, if by “where does God himself explain…” you mean “I don’t count the NT epistles”, then we are dealing with canonical authority, not the question of the final form & functionality of the Christian faith. So, do you consider Acts & the epistles authoritative? They certainly address these questions in practice.

  • Jaarontyler

    I appreciate your honesty. My issue is this: When it comes to THE law of THE Creator, the One who spoke into existence everything we see, touch, taste, smell, and hear, as well as, what we do not see, but think or imagine. All. Mighty. God. He who engineered plant, animal, and human reproduction, who designed the super-computer known as the human brain with all of it’s memory and imaginative capabilities. He who holds galaxies in the palm of His hand. All. Mighty. God. Gives us one book, and from this one book, He gives us Law (His requirement for our living). But does not clarify which laws we should regard as, merely, social for that time, or ceremonial, to be followed or considered “fulfilled” and not followed. So, while I do understand your point as to how we can try and make this whole thing fit, but no other piece of God’s handiwork, requires us to have to look into what other’s say about it or how others define it, in order, to personally understand it for ourselves? We cherry-pick laws and divide them into man-made categories. My proof: the avg Christian today, would claim the practice of homosexuality as “breaking the law of God”, but, are appalled by the notion of publicly stoning their children to death for disobedience. Both, two laws apart from each other, same chapter, same section. How do we carve those into different categories and (my main issue) why should WE have to clarify All-mighty God?

  • soter phile

    On the contrary, the cross makes clear that we all deserve that stoning. Thank God for his grace – but also, let us not “celebrate” what God has said deserves condemnation.

    But when you say: “But does not clarify which laws we should regard as, merely, social for that time, or ceremonial, to be followed or considered ‘fulfilled’ and not followed” – that requires dismissing not only the NT epistles, but even Jesus’ own teaching (clean & unclean, Sermon on the Mt, etc.). Jesus DID speak to these issues, even if the labels we now use came later.

    And in regard to the authority of Scripture: just a quick perusal of Jesus’ teaching makes clear he has an astonishingly high view of the OT (in comparison with human tradition, e.g. Mk.7). In other words, Jesus is discounting the Talmud, Mishnah, but he considers the OT – which many regard as merely “human documents” – the very word of God. If we, as Christians, believe he is God in the flesh… what other view of Scripture might we have?

  • I absolutely do. Jesus’ references to Gehenna and the imminent destruction of Jerusalem via the war in Rome versus the kingdom of God that would survive into the next age. That has nothing to do with the western legends of heaven and hell.

  • No, it teaches nothing like that.

    The story of David and the destiny of his offspring is not included in the post-exilic collation of Israel’s history traditions because it could be subtitled “An Example of How God Deals with Sin.” It is in there to demonstrate that the Solomonic administration is the continuation of God’s covenant with Israel rather than a disruption of it despite the apparent historical realities of David’s “legitimate” household falling apart and the land having it’s share of Davidic love children.

    This becomes a key issue in the Exile because, unlike previous kingly lines, the traditions of Israel present the Davidic line as having a guarantee of the throne in perpetuity that is more or less unconditional. So, even if David is terrible, his line still gets to keep the throne as a vindication of YHWH’s faithfulness to Israel’s covenant.

    This comes into very sharp focus when Gentiles actually rule over Israel. How can God be faithful to His covenant if a Gentile rules Israel? The theological answer for Israel is national disobedience, of which the king is corporate shorthand.

    It isn’t some morality fable to teach us that sometimes God punishes our porn by killing our kids.

    And the Sermon on the Mount teaches nothing like what you said. I have no idea how you can even come to that conclusion, but I’ll bet the first step in the chain is divorcing the Sermon on the Mount from Israel’s historical contingencies and making it some universal diorama of moral abstractions.

  • dcpdx

    While God did allow Job’s children to die for a reason/purpose beyond Job’s (and our) understanding, it was not for punishment. Again, Job’s friends were rebuked by God for wrongly accusing Job (32:3, and for misrepresenting God — see 42:7). If you are asserting that God killed Job’s children as punishment, then you need to show that from the text. God is proving to satan that Job is blameless and upright, and the death of Job’s kids is NOT for the sake of punishment (1:8-22).

    Basically, it appears inappropriate to point to Job in this context because it doesn’t seem to be accurate or apply. Willing to hear an argument to the contrary, but we should consider what the text says.

  • Bones

    That God is an idol.

  • Bones

    Mainly because a lot of it is legends and stories not factual events.

  • Bones

    That narrative was paul”s understanding.

    It’s not mine nor the gospel of mark”s.

  • Bones

    Well we’ve seen you lie and believe anything you read.

  • No where in Scripture does it separate OT law into these categories– that’s just something people made up. Furthermore, the OT law isn’t even written in a way where they are separated into clean categories. Instead, you find them all mixed in.

    This is why Paul said that if you claim one law still applies, you need to claim that all of them still apply. There are no categories where some still apply, and some don’t.

  • Bones

    Beat me to it, Ben.

  • Bones

    So the fact that married men could screw single women was a moral law.

    You obviously haven’t thought about this nor studied Judaism.

  • Jaarontyler

    Why does God need our interpretation? If the avg man picks up a book, said to be the literal word of God. And in that book reads the line, “Stone your children for disobedience”. The fact that that person, would have to read into the back of the book, to observe the understandings of others, to discover that, in fact, God does not mean what is said here in the front. Is laughable! My intention is not to say that “your beliefs” are laughable, I’ve believed exactly what you do now, and know where you’re coming from but I encourage you to step outside a bit to broaden your perspective. I really appreciate your time and have enjoyed the discussion!

  • Bones

    Rubbish it does.

    This is the precise form of anti-humanistic Christianity which needs to die.

    The cross was interpreted through a sacrificial culture that we know as frankly barbaric.

    God does not need blood sacrifices to forgive anything.

    Neither is God’s creation inherently evil and worthy of being killed.

  • Jaarontyler

    This made me smile:)

  • soter phile

    You said: “no, it teaches nothing like that.”
    “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt.5:28) That is EXACTLY what it teaches.

    You want to explain away Nathan’s proclamation against David’s sin as merely a post-exilic fabrication? That is not how Christ views the OT – nor how David responds (Ps.51). Of course God’s grace is larger than David’s mess – but that does not save him from experiencing the earthly consequences of his sins (Absolam, Adonijah, etc.). “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that would be theirs.” (Jnh.2:8) Certainly there are socio-political factors as well – but at no point do they detract from the primary problem God’s people have with him… namely, their sin.

    “It isn’t some morality fable…” Are you purposefully making a straw man? Again, this is a false dichotomy. And note well: this sort of shallow view of socio-political hope is what Jesus repudiated in the Pharisees and others. The Davidic Messiah comes to rescue them not merely from Rome, but from the enslavement within. To separate the judgment against David from his sexual sins as though somehow “that’s just not the main thing in view” requires ignoring the rest of the OT, as well as Jesus’ teaching on such matters. Even if you just look at the verse, Nathan’s proclamation isn’t focused on the royal lineage – but on David’s broken relationship with God (“you’ve shown utter contempt”). Shall we dodge the immediate context of the verse?

    Your final comments here (“…divorcing the SMT from Israel’s historic contingencies…”) hint at at tendency for “explaining away” the direct implications of the text. This is not an either/or between socio-political realities and moral teachings. Christ deals directly with BOTH – rather definitively. The only abstraction would be merely considering socio-political concerns apart from clear, didactic statements. Jesus saying (basically) “Lusting is adultery in the mind” doesn’t mean “hey, it’s not really a condemnation of lust; he was maneuvering against Herod and Rome.” That’s ludicrous.

  • Bones

    Jesus is flat out dissing the torah in mark 10 specifically that married men can screw single women and married women cannot divorce for any reason at all.

  • soter phile

    I said nothing of the Western legends of heaven & hell – though I’d note that response is anachronistic… especially since much of those “legends” are derived from the NT.

    I *DO* see them through the same lens – but come to the opposite conclusion. As I stated above, you seem to want to simplify all of Christ’s moral and theological teachings to socio-political references. It runs quickly to the heart of the faith. Do you also regard the resurrection as merely a socio-political tool? Later fabrication for political maneuvering? Or historical event?

  • Bones

    Well Paul was a pharisee heavily influenced by Greek philosophy.

  • soter phile

    Bones, if you wish to dismiss the Bible out of hand – so be it. But recognize that most Christians see it as the authoritative foundation. Saying “God does not need blood sacrifices…” begs the question. On what authority do you make such claims? The OT speaks loudly to the contrary – as well as Heb.9:22.

    I know of no Christian claiming God’s creation is inherently evil – but since the Fall, *all* of creation is under its effects. And Rom.3:10-20 (among many other passages) makes it rather clear that all of humanity deserves death apart from Christ.

    But again, it begs the question of authority.

  • Bones

    Matthew 5 is a rip off of mark 10.

    Jesus is actually having a dig at the torah where married men can have sex with single women. That was not adultery in Judaism.

    it had nothing to do with porn. It was figurative language.

  • soter phile

    Jesus says nothing about married men screwing single women in Mk.10. But note well: he does not dismiss the Law but presses the original design of Genesis.

  • Theresa Kast Gilman

    Well, yeah. Except that God DID take the life of a baby who was a consequence of David’s lust after Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband.

    There’s a difference in degree of sin here, to human eyes – but to God, sin is all just plain sin, right?

    So while I agree that it’s probable that you’re right, because we live in an age of grace (the New Covenant), I’d say the key takeaway for this man is, not to find out whether or not this happened, but to *find a way to STOP DOING the thing making him feel so guilty!* Duh.

    As one who’s been there, I can affirm that addiction is brutally hard to beat, but it can and must be done. Or else the guy *may* lose his marriage, and that WOULD be a consequence of his infidelity to his wife via pornography.

  • Jaarontyler

    Of course. When I ask a, seemingly, black and white question, they refer to Paul every time. Do they really believe All-mighty, Creator God would need translators to show us what he “really” meant? Plus, disagreeing with the “authority’ aspect of the NT, makes me unpopular and difficult to discuss anything.

  • soter phile

    As I said below, Jesus delineates the Torah from extra-canonical tradition.

  • soter phile

    If you read my comments elsewhere, you’ll note that I never made that claim (a single passage giving these categories). The NT clarifies how they are treated across the epistles. We may have added the labels later, but it is the NT church’s application & treatment of the law from which those labels are derived.

    As for your last claim about Paul, that’s preposterous. If that’s what he intended, why would he have given vice lists? If “none” apply, including the moral law, such things would be dismissed. No, he was not an anti-nomian.

    To your point, 1 Cor.9:19-23 demonstrates the case. He has “freedom” in Christ – but even if you just read the REST of that epistle, there is no way to interpret that “freedom” as you are claiming. 1 Cor.5’s “expel the immoral brother”, 1 Cor.6’s “shall I unite the body of Christ with a prostitute?” 1 Cor.7’s direct appeals to marriage as God designed… and yet 1 Cor.8: you are free to eat food sacrificed to idols, unless it causes a brother to stumble.

    Even just within that single epistle, we absolutely get categories where some still apply & some don’t.

  • soter phile

    Next you’ll be telling me that the Greek word “porneia” has no bearing, forget the fact that it’s the root word for pornography…

    “epithumia” (over-desire) here is not “figurative language” – especially considering what he says elsewhere… “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (Jn.8:34), right after “you shall know the truth & the truth shall set you free” (v.32). Jesus is not merely addressing *action* but even thought. That’s a repeatedly theme of the SMT: Christ is raising the bar beyond what the religious have shallowly made it. Otherwise the freedom Christ offers is merely an external freedom as well.

  • Theresa Kast Gilman

    I’ve read through your questions, and I understand that you’re being real and honest, and not looking for easy answers. I used to have this same struggle (I don’t mean that to sound condescending, just that I get it.) My response is predicated on the belief that the OT is as reliable as Jesus said it was, and that the NT is also truly God’ revelation to man about himself in the person of Jesus.

    God totally “meant” what He said in the Old Testament. Jesus clearly said so. I struggle with understanding some of that. BUT, Jesus also clearly said that he came to fulfill the law. He was the only human who could, because the rest of us are lawbreakers by our nature. Right? Think of it like Narnia. Because Aslan died in the place of the traitor Eustace, Eustace did not have to die. Aslan did not abrogate the law that condemns a traitor, but he did a greater thing.

    Hence, mercy triumphs over justice. Jesus brought mercy and grace, which is why it’s the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. If we try to live by fulfilling the Law, we are condemned by it, because to break one piece of it is to break the whole thing. If we instead trust that Jesus, being God, has in mercy forgiven sinners – which is different than saying, “hey don’t worry about it, sin doesn’t matter any more”; it means “what you did was so awful it deserves death, but I love you so deeply that I choose to forgive, even so” – then as Paul says, we are no longer bound by the law.

    There is NO LAW from the OT that applies to a person who chooses to trust Jesus to forgive him/her. Period!!! Any other statement is not consistent with the NT!

    Paul also tells us that, although *all things are lawful, not all things are wise.* That’s kind of important! But it has to do with, as he says, wisdom, and not with the OT Law. Learning to love even a little bit like Jesus does is long work, and one hopes to learn some wisdom along the way.

    Also, Jesus adjures us to obey the governing authorities, so we ARE bound by human laws. (The only exceptions would be in cases where human law directly opposes God’s stated will. Then we can disobey, but we will still suffer the civil consequences.)

    I hope this helps. Blessings!

  • tymartin

    Psalm 115:3, Romans 8 and 9…

  • Bones

    It is figurative language in the context of jesus’s conflict with the pharisees.

    The simple fact is married men screwing single women was not adultery in the torah and that was the interpretation of the time.

    Neither could women divorce for ANY reason even if their husband was adulterous.

    This was a comment on patriarchal and unequal structures which the torah itself brought about.

    Hence why Jesus used scripture to invalidate scripture.

    It has nothing to do with modern divorce, watching porn, or any other nonsensical interpretations outside of the context of first century Judaism.

  • Bones

    I get that too.

    People have to make ‘authorities’ so really the ultimate authority is our own mind.

    That includes those who have made the Pope, the bible, their pastor or imam as ‘authorities’.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The OT has a tendancy to ascribe every event to God, which I think we can overstate. In so far as David through his sins was separated from God so that his prayers for the child went unanswered we don’t know why some prayers are or are mot answered and why God ever allows a child to die. It is still a troubling story, though.

  • Theresa Kast Gilman

    That isn’t Calvinism, it’s just plain bad theology.

  • Theresa Kast Gilman

    She didn’t miscarry; the baby died. But yes, that was the reason.

  • Bones

    And it is the truth.

    Bob actually hates hilary more than you.

    If you want to come here spouting your lies and how you are so much more godly than us you’ll be called out for the hypocrites you are.

  • Bones

    Authority is all in your mind.

    That is your authority.

    Your authority is your own errant interpretation of the Bible.

    My authority is based on reason, study of context, history and the Bible.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Actually Moses asks God to blot Moses’ own name out f the book if God will not forgive the people, and God’s response is to say he will only blot those sin out (I.e. not Moses) and Moses may go back and lead the people who will not now be destroyed. You could look at it as Moses redeeming himself for his angry words (and claiming hid own instructions to kill as God’s) by offering his life for theirs instead of the violence he was committing previously.

  • Bones

    That’s because you don’t understand ancient Jewish culture and are reading it through modern puritanical eyes.

    Facts about ancient Judaism that relate to mark 10 from the torah

    Marrived men could have sex with singlsingle women and that was not adultery

    Women could not divorce men for ANY reason at all.

    Jesus is having a go at religious inequality. It has nothing to do wit morality.

    Go and actually study first century Judaism.

    It’s not that hard..

  • Iain Lovejoy

    In the introduction to the book of Job we ser him praying for his children in case they “curse God in their hearts”, the punishment for which is death. What we see in the death of Job’s children (who are all adults) is God no longer shielding them from the consequences of their own sin for Job’s sake.

  • Bones

    Yes and you were wrong.

  • You do not know not to be afraid. Fear is distracting and killing the good and numinous in your now now and making you paranoid and Reckless in my humble opinion!

    Here’s the song:
    “for what it’s worth”
    by Buffalo Springfield. this might help!
    https://g.co/kgs/feaEV6

  • Bones

    As I said you don’t hate Hilary as much as Bob who believes any old rubbish about anyone he hates….eg Hilary wants women to have late term abortions was his latest nonsense….

    And you have been caught speaking out of both sides of your mouth more than once…….

    But you’ll delete yourself pretty shortly…..

    And now you can witness the joys of a conservative Trump America…..

  • Etranger

    I have no clue where you are going with any of this. Typical right wing religious nut I assume :)

  • Etranger

    I have no idea what it means to “not know not to be afraid”. Any reasonable person is cautious while living life :)

  • Bones

    Context….context….context….

    ADULTERY ():

    “Sexual intercourse of a married woman with any man other than her husband. The crime can be committed only by and with a married woman; for the unlawful intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman is not technically Adultery in the Jewish law.

    “Although the common opinion of mankind is more inclined to condone the Adultery of the husband than that of the wife, modern law has ignored the distinction between the two crimes, and technically they are alike. But the ancient Jewish law, as well as other systems of law which grew out of a patriarchal state of society, does not recognize the husband’s infidelity to his marriage vows as a crime, and it was not until comparatively recent times that the woman was legally entitled to enforce her husband’s faithfulness, and was given the right to demand a bill of divorce for his sexual immorality (Isserles on “Eben ha-‘Ezer,” § 154, 1).”

    This is the ordeal of women accused of adultery….(Men had no such ordeal)

    As “the eye of the adulterer waiteth for twilight, saying, No eye shall see me” (Job, xxiv. 15), Adultery is a crime usually difficult of proof, and the Biblical code contained provision for the case of the woman who was suspected of Adultery by her husband. Moved by the spirit of jealousy, he brought her before the priest in the sanctuary, and she was there obliged to undergo the severe “ordeal of the bitter waters.” A full account of the details of this ordeal is given in Num. v. 11-31; these details may also be found amplified in the Mishnah. The suspected woman was taken to the local court by her husband and there his charge was made. The court assigned two doctors of the law to escort the parties to the Great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. The purpose of the hearing before the Sanhedrin was to evoke a confession. The Sanhedrin appealed to the woman and suggested various causes that might have induced her to go astray, and finally asked her to confess. If she admitted her crime, she was divorced from her husband at once and lost her property rights under her Ketubah.

    But if she denied it, she was taken to the East Gate of the Temple, in front of the Nicanor Gate, and there was placed in charge of a priest, who performed the ceremony mentioned in the Book of Numbers. He rent her garment so that her breast was exposed, and loosened her hair; she was draped in black; all ornaments were removed from her person, and a rope was tied around her chest. Thus publicly exposed (only her servants being prevented from seeing her), the jealousy-offering was placed in her hands. It was a humble offering of barley meal, without oil or incense upon it, the feed of beasts, typifying the meanness of the crime that she was supposed to have committed. The priest then placed some of the dust of the Tabernacle in an earthen vessel full of water, and charged her with the solemn oath of purgation (Num. v. 19-22). After this the priest wrote the oath on parchment, blotted it out with the water, which he caused her to drink, and the jealousy-offering was then offered upon the altar (Soṭah, i. 4-6; ii. 1-3).”

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/865-adultery

    Can A Woman Initiate Jewish Divorce Proceedings?

    The biblical text that is the basis for the laws of Jewish divorce provides that a marriage is dissolved where the husband “writes a bill of divorcement, hands it to [the wife], and sends her away from his house” (Deuteronomy 24:1).

    It is clear from this passage that a divorce is accomplished through specific acts of the husband. Neither wife nor beit din (Jewish court) is mentioned as a possible initiator of the divorce process.

    http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/can-a-woman-initiate-jewish-divorce-proceedings/

    Divorce in the Bible

    According to biblical law, a man is permitted to divorce his wife at will and send her away from his home. The second aspect highlights biblical women’s vulnerability: economic, physical, and psychological uprooting faced the woman who displeased her husband sufficiently to cause him to divorce her. She had no leverage to prevent or refuse the divorce. Neither could she divorce him.

    “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if she finds no favor in his eyes because of ervat davar (some fault or indecency) and he writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house–and she marries another man, and the latter… writes her a bill of divorce… or dies–then her former husband cannot marry her again because she has been defiled… ” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).

    http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/divorce-in-the-bible/

  • Black and white thinking is your failure to bring together the dichotomy both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism by many people. Apparently you are an individual who tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground). Sad! =(

  • reasonably cautious yes! Paranoid no!

  • Etranger

    Agreed. I gave indication of being paranoid lol.

  • Etranger

    I only responded to your practically incomprehensible comments to me. Make some sense and we can converse. I demonstrate no black and white thinking. If you think God punishes folks for porn by killing their baby, THAT is problematic. Me stating that those who believe that are scary is just a true observation. Certainly doesn’t mean I am guilty of extreme thinking !

  • The stages of recovery are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. In my humble opinion you are perseverating between denial and anger.

  • Bones

    So God aborted the baby because David did something wrong…

    That’s a familiar theme in the Old Testament eg Tamar and her unborn were to be burned alive and in Numbers 5 the priest gives a potion to kill the adulterous wife’s baby….

  • soter phile

    This is patently untrue. Virtually every major theological underpinning Paul has can be found on the lips of Christ. Not to mention, Christ’s incredibly high view of the authority of the OT is baldly on display in Mark (note well: the contrast between “human tradition” & the canonical OT… which modern historical-critical scholars would equally call “human tradition” but Christ sees as the Word of God). And that’s the same OT which Paul invokes in his hamartiology.

  • soter phile

    Note what I said about Mark 7 above.

  • Bones

    Have you ever considered that people who wrote the Bible had different beliefs about god???

    Sounds crazy right?

    Doesn’t fit in with our need for a systemic approach to scripture.

  • Etranger

    Lol

  • Etranger

    Pray tell, what am I recovering from? (This will be rich!)

  • Bones

    Lol

    How topical….

    This was in today’s news in New Zealand

    NZ ‘bishop’ Brian Tamaki says earthquake caused by sinners, homosexuals, murderers

    WHAT caused the deadly earthquake that ripped up roads, toppled buildings, caused landslides and killed two people on New Zealand’s South Island last week?

    Shifting tectonic plates? Nope.

    At least, not according to a New Zealand preacher Brian Tamaki.

    He reckons it was Mother Nature expressing her opinion about homosexuality. And it’s not the first time he’s come up with such a theory.

    Remember the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 that killed almost 200 people? Again, it was the gays, Tamaki says.

    “(The Book of) Leviticus says the earth convulses under the weight of certain human sin,” he told worshippers at his controversial Destiny Church on Sunday.

    “It says it spews itself up after a while. That’s natural disasters, because nature was never created to carry the bondage of our iniquity.

    http://www.news.com.au/world/pacific/nz-bishop-brian-tamaki-says-earthquake-caused-by-sinners-homosexuals-murderers/news-story/021a90571625130470ac908596946793

    See what gay people do to your country…..

  • soter phile

    I point out that Christ rejects the rabbinical teachings as extra-canonical and false, so you cite them for context? That fails to hear the argument. And Dt.24 is not encouraging divorce but demonstrating its brokenness. That would be like citing polygamy in Genesis and claiming it is being proscribed, even though the text clearly subverts the practice – every time it happens, terrible consequences follow.

  • soter phile

    Jesus is calling out first century Judaism. You are demonstrating the point. But it is preposterous to claim “it has nothing to do with morality” – even by your own admission that he’s having a go at religious inequality.

  • Bones

    This reminds me of Life of Brian…..

    Brian:

    Brothers, we should be struggling together…..

    Judean People’s Front and People’s Front of Judea:

    We are……(as they kill each other)

  • soter phile

    So basically, even by your completely subjective standards – I have equal authority to you… especially if I respond with reason, context, history and the Bible.

    The difference is the Bible is directly claiming “Author”-ity in claiming to be the Word of the ultimate Author. I know you have already dismissed that possibility by your argument, but recognize that the text itself repeatedly claims the direct opposite from your primary assumption in reading it.

  • Bones

    So can anyone give an instance outside of the Bible where God has killed someone?

  • soter phile

    You have no idea who I am. I spent my academic career among so-called “progressive” and “post”-Christians. Does that mean either one of us is necessarily right? “Step outside a bit to broaden your perspective” is a two-way street. After all, I’m clearly the fish out of water in this comment section. Do you actively seek conversation with your theological counterparts?

    As for interpretation, I’d point out Jesus own disciples didn’t “get it” until he opened their minds in Luke 24. Or, as Paul says in 1 Cor.2, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

  • Bones

    Well no…because you’re ignorant of the scholarship….and have placed your own interpretation as ‘authoritative’..

    The text is just words with no meaning…..

    It’s our interpretation which gives them meaning…and gives the holy book, the Pope, your favourite pastor/priest/imam authority…

    The Quran also claims to be the Word of God…that sort of circular logic might fool little kiddies…..

    And no, God hasn’t written anything.

    Humans have…….nearly all of whom know as much about God as anyone else.

  • Bones

    I can see your frustration….but you need to think about which group in the gospels was preoccupied with morality…..sadly Christians can’t see the wood for the trees.

  • soter phile

    As I said above, you are reading Jesus through the lens of those he is criticizing. The extra-canonical traditions read it that way – not Christ.

    To claim “modern” divorce, adultery in thought life (porn or otherwise), or any such other thing is not in view requires dancing around the clear implications not just of the SMT, but basically the entirety of the NT. You want to project first century Judaism onto Christ so you can dismiss his teachings as irrelevant today… which utterly misses the entire point of the existence of the Gospels – including the fact that Mark (which you appear to hold in the highest esteem of the Gospel accounts) was written to a Gentile audience, unaware of these traditions and needing repeated explanatory notes. If Mark didn’t feel the need to explain these things away to Gentiles, why would it be germane for us to do so?

  • soter phile

    I am not ignorant of the scholarship. I have a postgraduate degree in this field.

    “The text is just words with no meaning.”
    Ironically, you are applying an anachronistic grid to ancient literature. That understanding of literature (much less religious!) did not develop until the modern era.

    I’m not claiming the Bible’s self-authenticating nature “proves” anything to those outside the faith. But for Christians, it is definitive. If Jesus is God, if the resurrection really happened, all these other dominoes fall with it. If not, then yes, we’re idiots.

    As for “God hasn’t written anything…” that’s at least AS problematically circular as the logic you are criticizing. You are beginning by *assuming* a closed system, much less dictating how any possible deity might choose to self-reveal. That is a leap of faith in & of itself.

  • I reckon you’re not in recovery.

  • I didn’t say it was a “fabrication;” I said the reason it ends up in Israel’s corpus of canonical texts isn’t because it’s a generic morality fable as you would have it. The dangers of lust and whatnot.

    It is also not about “David’s broken relationship with God.” Talk about projecting modern evangelicalism back into the text. It is certainly about a broken covenant, but if David were not Israel’s king, we would never have that story in the Bible. The Old Testament is a political and religious history of Israel’s travails and relationship with her God. It is not about individuals and their existential spiritual crises.

    Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount – whoever “epithymesai” a woman. He’s not talking about walking along the beach and getting aroused because an attractive woman in a swimsuit walks by. It’s coveting a woman. You want to take her for your own. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not some random collection of moral teachings on various topics, it is a sharp critique of the Temple leadership who practice taking women and casually divorcing them hiding behind the Torah. You might recall the critique of casual divorce also in the Sermon. If you behave like Israel’s compromised leadership, then you will experience their judgement, which is the destruction of the Temple and the war against Rome. The whole Sermon is about this.

    The very notion that someone struggling with pornography is the same as someone taking a woman with their soldiers and killing her husband on the battlefield or a Sanhedrin taking a woman off the street, marrying her, having his way, and then divorcing her that same day is just beyond ridiculous and betrays a massive ignorance of the Bible’s world. This isn’t your fault; you inherited it from the Reformation.

  • Bones

    Since when is the Torah a ‘rabbinical teaching’?

    You are just being dishonest now.

    The torah is quite clear on divorce and adultery….married women were the issue because they were another man’s property hence why women couldn’t divorce and why married men having sex with single women wasn’t adultery…

    As for polygamy well God said he gave David his wives AND his concubines and would have given him more if he wanted….

    You obviously need to ague with Jews themselves who according to you, don’t know their own scripture…

    This is the problem when Christians bastardise scripture to make it fit in with their own worldview.

    Also see how the torah’s cleanliness codes were used to exclude members of the community such as the poor, sick, women and foreigners….

    eg Mark 5 – the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years would have been perpetually segregated because of the Leviticus purity code and an outcast from her society. The same went for the leper healed in Mark 1 (see (see Lev 13 :2-14:57) where Jesus violates the Mosaic Law. and sends the leper BACK to the priests as a witness against them.

  • Etranger

    Nothing to recover from

  • No, those legends are not derived from the NT; they are derived from Greek philosophy. The concepts are thoroughly Greek and precede the New Testament by centuries.

    The absolute closest you come to anything in ancient Jewish literature that has the concept of suffering after death in fire is the judgement pronounced on the tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes by the faithful sons in 4 Maccabees. Of course, according to you, being bossy is probably the moral equivalent of being a genocidal tyrant, so maybe it works out in your scheme.

    Jesus’ missions and teachings address the concerns, eschatologies, and historical contingencies of his day. They are intelligible to Israel under the dominion of a foreign power. They are about -those- concerns. “Where will my individual spirit go after I die?” is just not on the radar. It’s on YOUR radar, sure, and it was on the radar of the Greco-Roman theologians who tried to eliminate all Jewishness from the Bible in favor of their own philosophical concerns.

    The resurrection has meaning in the New Testament because it demonstrates that God accepts the martyrdom of His faithful son on behalf of His son’s disobedient nation. This is Jewish Eschatology 101. Faithful martyrs under tyrants prayed that YHWH would be moved by their sacrifice to take pity on Israel, forgive her sins, and save her from her oppressors. You really need to read through extra-canonical literature one of these days.

    Thus, the resurrection gives faithful Israel hope, because it demonstrates that God will be merciful to them, deliver them from their oppressors (e.g. the power structure over Israel, both Jewish and Roman), and resurrect the nation. This is precisely what Jesus communicated to Nicodemus.

    If you want to make all that a story about your personal spiritual destiny, welcome to it, but that’s certainly not the world of the actual text.

  • Bones

    No doubt your postgraduate degree was in some evangelical college.

    I’m well aware of how seminaries work and how you have to jump through hoops to get your degree.

    “Ironically, you are applying an anachronistic grid to ancient literature. That understanding of literature (much less religious!) did not develop until the modern era.”

    well no…This is basic comprehension and literature study…

    The Jews had a totally different understanding of events such as Adam and Eve and Sodom and Gomorrah which came to have totally different meanings in Christianity – usually to make them fit in with certain theologies.

    ” If Jesus is God, if the resurrection really happened, all these other dominoes fall with it. If not, then yes, we’re idiots.”

    Why?

    What do you do with Mark who had no resurrection story?

    It does not follow that if Jesus was resurrected therefore the gospel of John historically happened or that Noah actually built an ark…that’s plainly ridiculous.

    “As for “God hasn’t written anything…” that’s at least AS problematically circular as the logic you are criticizing. ”

    Well that’s simple….just show me something written by God – not humans….

    Let me know when you come up with that one…

  • Bones

    No I am reading the lens through first century Judaism….

    You are the one falsely equating modern social morality with a conflict over equality….

    And yes Mark is the primary source of the other Gospels….which was written in Palestine…..

    Hence why the theme throughout the whole Gospel of judgement and the destruction of the Temple.

    Why would the destruction of the temple be such a big deal to gentiles living in Rome?

    Or holiness codes?

    Or inequality in the torah?

    Let the reader understand.

    Wishful thinking there on Mark’s part.

  • Jaarontyler

    In looking back at this I now realize how that sounded. I’d like to apologize for the demeaning remark. It was intentional and extremely petty. I’m sorry, sincerely. I get so frustrated at times at, what seems like, oversimplifications. It gets tough when you think you see things that others don’t (I’m sure you know the feeling). It almost feels like you’re going crazy. But I too have spent a good part of my life in theological debate (only then as a “bible-believing Christian”) so I know better than to make such a shallow comment. I respect what you have to say and assure you a more compassionate discussion going forward.

  • Lol!
    `€=-)

  • soter phile

    It’s not just the Pharisees that were preoccupied with morality… why do you think Jesus was always angriest with them? No, you can’t look to Jesus to escape a moral code when his agenda is not merely to rescue us from our slavery to sin but to put his character in us.

  • Bones

    Jesus wasn’t angry with the pharisees because of their morality. It was because of how they used religon to exclude others and create an unfair and unequal society.

    We know who these pharisees were and what they believed.

    They were fundamentalist evangelical puritans of the Shammai school.

    See also John 8….Jesus says “neither do I condemn you” even BEFORE the woman does any act of repentance which we don’t even know she did.

    That’s in stark contrast to the Pharisees AND conservative Christianity.

  • Bones

    Where ya been Phil?

    I’ve missed ya.

  • Bones

    Maybe a hangover…..

  • soter phile

    You absolutely jettison Ps.51, then? Your reading here of an either/or instead of a both/and does not really leave any room for David’s own internal and personal crisis in his relationship with God that he lays out rather definitively there.

    As for coveting vs. lusting, you seem to have a rather narrow view of what the OT has in view. As Paul himself points out, the 10th commandment forced him to reckon with the *inward* nature of the law. Why read the rest of the commandments as purely outward?

    As for comparing lust with outright adultery or misogynist oppression – let’s be clear: i’m not disallowing the differences of quantitative sin (murder vs. hate, for instance; or the chain of sin in Jas.1, if you prefer), but it is clear that *any* sin has an equally qualitative and egregious problem: namely, the wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23). Or as Jesus put it, “anyone who sins is a slave to sin” (Jn.8:34).

    As one theologian has pointed out, whether you get killed by a spider bite (which leaves you potentially ‘pretty’) or mauled by a lion (which does not), you are still dead. ‘pretty dead’ or ‘ugly dead’ is still dead. And the Bible is rather clear about the nature of violence that sin is in our relationship to God. And that’s not a “modern evangelical” notion – that’s Gen.3… and pretty much all that follows until “behold, I make all things new.” What is ridiculous is to blame that on the Reformation. Remember, the cry of the liberals (because that’s what they were regarded as!) of the Reformation was “to the sources!”

    You seem to prefer a Jesus with mere socio-political reforms in mind, but virtually everything off his lips portends a kingdom so much more than that – one that transforms not just social institutions, but individuals as well.

  • soter phile

    Are you purposefully reading me in the shallowest sense possible? What do you think social injustice is if not immoral?

    Yes, Jesus called out the religious right of his day – as well as the secular Herodians. And his moral compass was evident in contrast both ends of the spectrum and all in between.

    Yes, no “act” of repentance from the woman… considering what Jesus teaches throughout his preaching, however, (along with his claim to divinity) we can only infer he knew her heart. But note well: he doesn’t say, “go and do whatever you want” – even though he’d run all those judgmental ‘moral majority’ types away. Again, he calls BOTH sides of the aisle out.

  • dcpdx

    what? no… that’s not even logical. just because they may have, doesn’t mean they did. there are no grounds to assume otherwise because the text is silent. to assert something based on silence is pretty sketch. further, your reference to v.5 misses the point — v.5 tells us about the righteousness of Job, not the potential sin of his kids.

    further, it is a stretch to assume that because of their sin (an unfounded presumption), God takes their lives. this, in and of itself, contradicts the message of Job — bad circumstances are not directly attributable to sin. Job’s friends accuse him of being unrighteous which results in misfortune (prior post gives references). to say that Job’s kids died because of their sin contradicts the point of the book. 1:8ff reveals that God gives satan free rein to establish the righteousness of Job, not the unrighteousness of his kids.

    i would point out that Job’s kids are adults in v. 5 (they have their own homes) so what happens to them subsequently, isn’t the result of them not being covered by dad because they are adults.

    it’s a tangent (and I would say, a wrong one) to use Job as a point about consequences and sin. Job is not the book to use, and you’d be better off with using some other texts. consider interacting with what Jesus has to say about sin and consequences in Luke 13:1-5.

  • Bones

    Lol, now you’re equating oppressive societal structures with personal morality eg Martin Luther King was a bad man because he had affairs…..Honestly Jesus wasn’t too concerned with what people did with their penises….as he was with how they treated and excluded others….

    The same goes with slavish devotion to orthodox theology as if Jesus really cared that people had correct theological beliefs.

    That’s all just complete bollocks which emerged later.

    “…..we can only infer he knew her heart…..”

    A pretty big inference which the writer could have avoided by saying the woman repented.

    No…This verse by itself refutes the whole Evangelical conservative Christian dogma and so the text is subjected to made up ‘inferences’ to fit it into the conservative worldview which changes the intention of the text so that if the woman died Jesus would condemn her….

    And the comment to “go and sin no more” AFTER he says he doesn’t condemn her actually shows that sin has nothing to do with God. That is the reverse of Evangelical theology which is God condemns you and your sin to judgement unless you repent. So the whole “sin separates us from God” mantra is a falsehood which has been foisted on humanity.

  • Bones

    Will God kill John Piper because USA elected Trump?

  • Bones

    Peter still didn’t get it……Nor James and the Jerusalem Church…..

    And every Christian thinks they are guided by the spirit no matter how crazy or dangerous their ideas…

  • Bones

    Mark 7 – Jesus declared all foods clean in direct contrast to the Torah…..(nope, not the Mishnah, nor the Talmud)…just as Jesus declared the leper clean…

  • Snooterpoot

    Children of God are not taught by the whip but by the reciprocal will to love.

    Herm, that really touched my heart.

  • Bones

    Who?

  • Bones

    Uhuh….

    Peter, Paul and the first Christians were Jews and worshipped as Jews….

    Later teaching was pretty specific….

    In the Epistle of Barnabas, written around 135 CE, this “replacement theology” is clearly stated. Referring to the Mosaic Covenant, Barnabas writes:
    “Indeed it is ours; for Moses had hardly received it when they (the Jews) forfeited it forever.” [3]

    The Apostolic Fathers continued issuing statements clearly divorcing Christianity from anything Jewish. The Mosaic Law, including the Festivals and the Sabbath, circumcision and Israel’s election by God, were all brushed away as things of the past. Also, in order to gain the acceptance of Rome, the now Gentile-dominated “Church” made it loud and clear that it had nothing in common with Judaism. In the Epistle of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, to the Magnesians in 115 CE, Christians were warned of the error of looking to Judaism:
    “To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity. The Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity….” [6]

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I was pointing out that in the book of Job his children are *not* killed for Job’s sins, as was suggested in the post I was replying to. Job 8:4, not me, suggests that Job’s children have been punished for their sins, and Job has earlier stated what sin Job feared they might have been committing (1:5).
    In 1:10, what “Satan” (actually according to most commentaries some kind of prosecuting angel) states is that God has put a protecting wall around Job and his household etc and it is this “wall” that is removed so that Job’s household is no longer protected for Job’s sake. If you read on in the book there are repeated references to the depredations of the “wicked” and resultant sufferings to which (following the initial heavenly dialogue) Job himself then falls prey.
    The Bible generally, by the way, is full of examples of righteous individuals for the sake of whom God spares others (some of the examples with Moses are referenced in the various discussions on this very blog).

  • Brandon Roberts

    this is hilariously stupid. yeah i’m pretty sure no being would kill innocents over porn

  • Simple answer: Moses was a prat.

  • Bones

    Nonsense….

    Paul never met Jesus.

    And it is quite clear from his writings that he was heavily influenced by the Grecan culture of his day.

    “Christ’s incredibly high view of the authority of the OT is baldly on display in Mark”

    That is demonstrably false….

    See Christ’s repudiation of the torah of:

    unclean foods, the purity code of Leviticus, male only initiated divorce, the inequality of relationships in marriage where married men don’t commit adultery with single women whereas married women commit adultery no matter who they screw…

    We could go on…..

    Heck if the Law was so good, take your wife and live under it.

    This is the problem with the cultic mindset.

  • Bones

    Yes…and you were wrong…..

  • Bones

    No wonder you love Calvin…

    You’d have loved Geneva….

  • Bones

    Piper is unheard of outside the US.

    That’s how irrelevant he is.

  • Bones

    When?…in your deleted posts which you delete to cover your tracks…

    The hypocrisy of conservatives is mind boggling…

    They don’t consider lying about others a sin.

  • Bones

    Just know that preachers like Piper and MacArthur ae unheard of outside the US.

    That’ s how irrelevant they are to biblical scholarship.

  • seanchaiology

    Actually I don’t think it sounds crazy at all. In fact, I believe it to be true to a certain extent.

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin:
    Piper reminds me of something I’ve long believed: the Calvinist doctrine of God is far closer to Islam than Christianity. In a Christian doctrine of God, God is restrained in what he can do– for example, he cannot lie, he cannot deny himself, etc. However, Islamic theology, it is believed Allah can do “whatever he wills” which is the same position of Calvinism– God can do whatever God wants, and we have no right to question the morality of any of these actions.
    But this isn’t the traditional position of Christianity, and this is where Calvinism steps outside of our tradition and becomes closer to other religions.
    Piper’s answer, as he has done on other questions such as genocide of entire people groups, reveals a fundamental flaw in Calvinism: that an all-loving God perfectly revealed in the life and character of Jesus can be the author of acts that would be unspeakably evil if done by any other agent who possessed morality and a conscience.

    Ronny to Benjamin:
    Just thinking, about how God wiped out all of the people of Sodom. Was that the end of them? No, it wasn’t. For in Ezekiel chapter 16, God tells us that the sins of Jerusalem, were much worse than the sins of the people of Sodom. And then God goes on to tell us, that God is going to restore and bless Sodom, just as God is going to restore and bless Jerusalem. :-) That right there, is a huge difference between God and us human beings. That is, we can’t hurt and or kill someone and then raise them from the dead and bless them. But God can and God will and that, for all people. :-)

  • Herm

    Thank you Snooterpoot. That honestly came from my heart not from me.

  • Psalm 51 was written as a song for corporate worship. It is not an entry in David’s private diary. He wrote it so that Israel could corporately sing the song together as a nation. The king’s fidelity is shorthand for the nation’s fidelity. This is the OT theological explanation behind why the -nation- suffers when the -king- is disobedient.

    Paul does not point out anything about the tenth commandment revealing the “inward” nature of the Law.

    Paul’s comments about the wages of sin are corporate comments about Israel’s experience under and outside the Law. The entire book of Romans is occupied with the problem of Gentile believers coming into the life of what was formerly Israel-owned religious territory. Paul isn’t making an abstract statement about the nature of anything anyone might possibly do wrong – he is contrasting life apart from the Law versus life under it. You might try reading Romans 5 before Romans 6.

    Similarly, Jesus comments in John 8 were not him sitting around spouting aphorisms about sin. They are in response to the unfaithful Israelite power structure that was plotting his death saying, “We are children of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone.” Seriously, you read the Bible the way people read fortune cookies. Like they’re statements that just exist in a vacuum as universal sayings.

    Genesis 3 is not about individual relationships to God; it is a corporate story which is included in Israel’s canon because it explains how Israel got to the point of being exiled. The whole story of being in an exalted position, breaking the covenant, and the -death penalty being exile from the land- is Israel’s proto-history and present experience at the time someone actually wrote Genesis 3 down.

    It is only later in church history when the theologian-philosophers of the west who know nothing about the Jewish world and want nothing to do with it or its theology or expectations make the Bible’s story a generic Star Wars version about good vs. evil and heaven and hell, but at least they were still reasonably corporate about it – it’s still a story about the people of God, just with Western philosophical concerns rather than historical Jewish ones being the conceptual drivers. We have the progress of Western philosophical concerns to thank for narrowing the entirety of the Jewish body of Scripture into, “Where will I go when I die?”

    The influence of these philosophical streams on the Reformation is painfully obvious. I mean, look at Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 2 (because the WCF doesn’t start with God or Jesus, of course, but the Bible). God is “alone the fountain of all being.” Or the Aquinian division of the Torah into ceremonial, civil, and moral. Or the statements about the way propositional truth works in the Bible. These are not things that actually come from the world of the Bible.

    Now, here’s the thing. If that’s the thing you get out of reading the Bible, that’s fine by me. The Bible speaks to many people in many different ways, and who am I to say that what someone gets about the Bible is wrong or whatever? But you need to recognize the activity for what it is. You don’t get to take the personal impact the Scriptures may have had on you and tell a hurting, grieving father that, sure, God very well may have killed your child because you look at porn.

  • Brother, I have just been snowed under with work, sickness, and enemies both foreign and domestic, but coming out of it. Thanks for asking!

  • Herm

    No, the USA will under the direction of Trump/Bannon/Pence/Flynn taking us back to the glory days of the 1930’s.

  • Herm

    tymartin,

    from your direction to Romans:9

    As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

    Romans 9:33
    If I understand your reasoning behind theses scriptural references you are causing people to stumble as does your interpretive theology. Please correct me if I am wrong but your heart is not clear to Us.

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.</blockquoteMatthew 18:6

    from your direction to Romans:8

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

    Romans 8:1-2

    Can you honestly say to yourself that you are in Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus is in you like the following quoted from the lips of Jesus?

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21

    from your direction to Romans:8

    What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans 8:31-39

    Are you in Christ by the Spirit of truth in Christ as a child of God to know that no religious intimidation of conjecture by mankind can separate us from the reciprocal love of God that is in Jesus our Lord and Brother?

    from your direction to Psalm 115:3

    Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

    Psalm 115:3

    This is what pleases God, both Jesus and our heavenly Father, seen one seen Them all:

    For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 12:50

    For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

    John 6:40

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Matthew 5:43-48

    It does not, never has, and never will please God to take the life of another. My God would prefer to give up the carnal life of Their child, which I am a little one, in the place of any child of mankind for the sins of their father, or even their personal sin to crucify another of God’s children.

    This is the prerequisite for becoming a child of God taught as a student in and of Jesus:

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:26-27

    Do you carry your cross in love reflecting your heavenly Father’s will that mankind might live? I do.

  • Herm

    Theresa, please, for the sake of communications here define “sin”.

  • Herm

    iain,

    David, as King of the Israelites, was subject to the Levitical law relative to his sin against Uriah the Hittite:

    … eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    Exodus 21:24-25

    … which was not God’s law ever, including the Decalogue, according to Christ in the Spirit of truth:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Matthew 5:38-48

    My heavenly Father has always been perfect and gives His Son for the life of another’s son from a sinning parent. It is not as troubling as is made out to be here. No more troubling than an innocent 3,000 people dying as collateral damage through the sins of others. Man is capable of that sin, Israelite or not, as reflected both ways in Levitical law. God is not as reflected in Christ. [Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40].

    There really is a true joy and peace that casts out all “troubling” when subject to the law of God administered by Jesus with all authority over heaven and on earth, today.

  • Sherlang

    I totally agree with you Dr. Corey. However, when I was talking about this to a friend, he brought up the story of David and Bathsheba and I did not know how to respond….as a matter of fact I’m not exactly sure how to respond with a lot of OT stories regarding this topic. Still something I wrestle with. While I think John Piper does have some valuable things to say, his hardcore Calvinism is rather repulsive

  • Ron McPherson

    Me as well ha

  • Bones

    Aaaah so you’re the new Jason Bourne.

    Keep it up bro

  • WayneMan

    Piper sits right up there with Mike Huckabee and Pat Robertson, who have made similar outrageous idiotic claims.

    The zealots probably thought Jim Jones had it right. OMG, what a bunch of scary people.

  • otrotierra

    #ThingsJesusNeverSaid

  • Gussie FinkNottle

    Not sure where you fall on scale of biblical inerrancy, so I hope this doesn’t offend. But there is a good chance that the baby in the David/Bathsheba story was sick and would have died anyway and they attributed it to their illicit activities after the fact. Under the circumstances it would have been quite natural for the parents to rack their brains for a causal “sin” that might have caused it and the make it part of the narrative that would have been written down long after the event itself.

  • It’s a fair question, and one that doesn’t have an easy answer. But here’s my approach: I believe Jesus is the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, and the exact representation of God. Thus, I believe that the only way to say what God is like is to say he is “exactly like Jesus”. In light of that, we are forced to view the OT through the lens of Jesus.

    When I do this, I see many actions in the OT that are attributed to God– actions that would be considered morally evil, such as genocide, killing babies, etc. Since I know what the exact representation of God looks like (Jesus) I must then confess that the actions attributed to God in these parts of the OT were not really actions God did. They were simply actions people *thought* God did, which makes sense for people in the Bronze Age.

    We can still confess that Scripture is inspired and useful, while also recognizing that before God came in the flesh, those before us were still trying to understand what he was really like, and they didn’t always hit the mark when they attributed certain actions or characteristics to him.

    Many will disagree with this hermeneutic, but I believe having a high Christology and doctrine of God demands we begin with Jesus and let him be the ultimate example of God’s nature and character.

  • RonnyTX

    Bones to Soter Phile:
    Nonsense….

    Paul never met Jesus.

    Ronny to Bones:
    Have to disagree with you on that, for the scriptures tell us in Acts chapter 9, that Jesus Christ did meet up with Saul/Paul. That being, when he converted/saved him.

    1-2 But Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the High Priest and begged him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way, whether men or women, he could bring them back to Jerusalem as prisoners.

    3-4 But on his journey, as he neared Damascus, a light from Heaven suddenly blazed around him, and he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice speaking to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

    5 “Who are you, Lord?” he asked.

    6 “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” was the reply. “But now stand up and go into the city and there you will be told what you must do.”

    7-9 His companions on the journey stood there speechless, for they had heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. There he remained sightless for three days, and during that time he had nothing either to eat or drink.

    God’s preparation for the converted Saul
    10 Now in Damascus there was a disciple by the name of Ananias. The Lord spoke to this man in a dream. calling him by his name. “I am here, Lord,” he replied.

    11-12 Then the Lord said to him, “Get up and go down to the street called Straight, and enquire at the house of Judas for a man named Saul from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying and he sees in his mind’s eye a man by the name of Ananias coming into the house, and placing his hands upon him to restore his sight.”

    13-14 But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard on all hands about this man and how much harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem! Why even now he holds powers from the chief priests to arrest all who call upon your name.”

    15-16 But the Lord said to him, “Go on your way, for this man is my chosen instrument to bear my name before the Gentiles and their kings, as well as to the sons of Israel. Indeed, I myself will show him what he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

    17 Then Ananias set out and went to the house, and there he laid his hands upon Saul, and said, “Saul, brother, the Lord has sent me—Jesus who appeared to you on your journey here—so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

    18-19a Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got to his feet and was baptised. Then he took some food and regained his strength.

    Saul’s conversion astounds the disciples
    19b-21 Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for some time. Without delay he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues declaring that he is the Son of God. All his hearers were staggered and kept saying, “Isn’t this the man who so bitterly persecuted those who called on the name in Jerusalem, and came down here with the sole object of taking back all such people as prisoners before the chief priests?”

    22 But Saul went on from strength to strength, reducing to confusion the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving beyond doubt that this man is Christ.

    The long revenge on the “renegade” begins
    23-25 After some time the Jews made a plot to kill Saul, but news of this came to his ears. Although in their murderous scheme the Jews watched the gates day and night for him, Saul’s disciples took him one night and let him down through an opening in the wall by lowering him in a basket.

    At Jerusalem Saul is suspect: Barnabas conciliates
    26-30 When Saul reached Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples. But they were all afraid of him, finding it impossible to believe that he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him by the hand and introduced him to the apostles, and explained to them how he had seen the Lord on his journey, and how the Lord had spoken to him. He further explained how Saul had spoken in Damascus with the utmost boldness in the name of Jesus. After that Saul joined with them in all their activities in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord. He used to talk and argue with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they made several attempts on his life. When the brothers realised this they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

    A time of peace
    31 The whole Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria now enjoyed a period of peace. It became established and as it went forward in reverence for the Lord and in the strengthening presence of the Holy spirit, continued to grow in numbers.” Acts 9:1,31

  • Bones

    Thanks for the bible lesson Ron, but paul’s ‘vision’ in no way constitutes a meeting with Jesus

    Neither does Jesus pass on any words of wisdom to Paul like he did with the Twelve (who still didn’t get it).

    It does suspiciously smell like an attempt to prove to the Twelve and others that Paul is one of them.

  • Bones

    Lol….the baby was sick and going to die anyway….

    Haven’t heard that one before….wasn’t really much of a punishment then…

  • Bones

    Well Jesus said the law wasn’t reliable so there’s that.

  • Bones

    I’m sure servetus appreciated calvins pastoral care.

  • Herm

    Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

    John 8:14-18

    Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

    “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

    John 8:19

    Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.

    John 8:42

    For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.

    John 12:49

    If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    John 14:7

    Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

    John 14:10

    Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:19-21

  • jekylldoc

    Plentiful in the Global South, actually. But not given such a megaphone in the “news media.”

  • Herm

    Would it help any if they understood that the Torah (or Pentateuch) which is the first five books of the Bible are considered by scholars written by Moses.

    Moses was born about 3,409 years ago according to Jewish history.

    The Jewish calendar has the creation in Genesis dated to about 5,777 years ago.

    The Fertile Crescent, known as the Cradle of Civilization, was first populated c.10,000 BCE when agriculture and the domestication of animals began in the region. This is in the Middle East as we know it today (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, beside the southeastern fringe of Turkey and the western fringes of Iran) and Moses was born 1391 BCE.

    Prior to the Fertile Crescent around 12,016 years ago mankind had been mostly hunter gatherers. Mankind, anatomically correct compared to today’s mankind, has been around, on this earth, for 200,000 years.

    The Genesis story, Adam and Eve, Cain (the farmer) and Able (the rancher), very much resemble when the agriculture and the domestication of animals began in the Fertile Crescent.

    Very short history lesson that studied authorities of mankind know today. The numbers aren’t specific but the contrast between the numbers is real. Moses didn’t lie as he knew Israelite and Egyptian history from his royal education. The world was still very much flat and all the heavens still revolved around earth (at the very center of God’s creation and focus). Do most Christians today know God from education at Man’s level of understanding or from a personal direct relationship with God?

    Even Paul, after his turnabout from Pharisee authority to Christian authority, shows signs of limitation by falling back to his trusty higher education of order of carnal worship of God who is spirit.

    How many today, throughout all of Man, are basing their certainty of statement and action that their “THE God/Allah/Deity says” only on their education from Man and not from God? How many really don’t know God any better than Caiaphas? How do we know how to discern which is purely God’s teaching and which is purely Man’s teaching?

    What did Jesus, as the Son of God/Man, actually save us from on the cross that He was placed upon, in the name of God, by the influence of the most educated of Man on the subject of God? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter, and Paul didn’t lie but they each still teach today a little different perspective of the truth. The truth of God has one perspective only even through Their inspired breath.

    Read the red letters then go to the mature authorities of God, our heavenly Father and Jesus who we know of by our education in scripture, to find the Truth each of us can live by according to our ability to understand. Jesus never once taught in conjecture or specific ritual as necessary to share in relationship with God in truth and love. Jesus taught nothing about having pulpits, crosses, alters, sacred physical tools of Eucharist, weddings, funerals or even Bibles in our sacred temples of stone. Jesus taught us all the Way to His example of how to love and be loved. Jesus taught us how to be students of the only Instructor of behavior and Teacher of life in God. This is in our Bible full of instruction of behavior and teaching of life contrasting Christ’s with Moses’.

    The Word lives, the temple raised in three days, fully accepting all final authority on earth and in heaven. We were not left orphans, without familial nurture, for our heavenly Father did give us an advocate as the Way to connect us in the Family of God bound by fully reciprocal love. We have a living Spirit of truth to fill us each and all as Jesus is filled and our heavenly Father is filled. The Holy Spirit is the spiritual facilitator for how we, today, can be children of God in each other and in our Father as our Father is in us. Jesus can educate us all, today, when we are filled (the same as that good old sacred cryptic word “baptized”) with the Dove as it was for Jesus at His baptism to be taught directly in our heavenly Father, separated from the scripture of Man.

    We can play theoretical games with the Bible all we want, we are free to do so in God’s image, but if we really believe that is all we have to live by we will die holding securely on to the straw of our childish intellectual discernment of only our truth (blaming that cryptic Moses all the way down) because we didn’t accept the salvation of God’s heart and mind. Start small with Jesus’ help and the Advocate’s counsel to learn to love first with all who are reciprocally inclined (our Lord God, neighbor and self) and then expand out to even love our enemies with all that our enemies will allow.

    Interesting to anyone else?

  • RonnyTX

    TYMartin:
    Psalm 115:3, Romans 8 and 9…

    Ronny to TYMartin:
    Good scripture for reading this morning, and here another favorite of mine. :-)

    “20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20,28

  • Robert Hunt

    I’m one who thinks Calvin propagated a dangerously misconceived understanding of God. It is noteworthy that he did’t work from the Bible to theology. He worked from what he saw as the logic of the apostles creed and then shoehorned in the Bible. More importantly, there are times when the God of Calvin, and for that matter Islam, seems attractive even as it is horrible. Because sometimes life is already so horrible and humans are so powerless that all that really matters is knowing that someone is in charge. Modern Western people have far more control over their own lives than anyone in Calvin’s time, or most people in the rest of the world. We’re happy to take on the burden of working out our own salvation. But that wasn’t and isn’t always the case. Sometimes living in and going to hell is okay as long as its part of a plan, not so much when its just bad luck. If we reject Calvin, we need some doctrine of divine providence to replace it, and one that doesn’t just depend on our good intentions.

  • Bones, how dare you project first century Judaism onto Jesus! Just because he was a first century Jew is no excuse!

  • Hey Jaarontyler,

    One aspect of thinking through this is keeping in mind that those stories are Israel’s theological reflection on her distant past. Moses didn’t keep a journal; they are formulating these stories about the history of their nation based on oral traditions, interpretations, and whatever they are going through in their present experience.

    So, when we read something like the book of Exodus, we need to keep in mind that this is a theological reflection back on Israel’s proto-history long after the fact, most likely around the time period of the Babylonian exile. That doesn’t mean portions of these stories weren’t around long beforehand; it just means the form in which we have them in the Bible wasn’t set down until way, way later in Israel’s experience.

    So, what you’re getting is a window into how Israel interpreted her relationship with God and her own history up to that point. We might ask the question, “Why would an author paint YHWH in this light?” Probably to draw a historical distinction between “faithful” Israel and “unfaithful” Israel, setting a precedent that Israelites who break covenant with YHWH are not considered truly Israel (a perspective Paul in the NT certainly has) and will not inherit the promises to the patriarchs. Why would they want to make this distinction? Probably because they happen to have been in exile in Babylon, and only a portion of them actually return to their homeland. If you’re truly YHWH’s people, how do you explain this?

    Well, one explanation is that the people who remain in Babylon simply aren’t faithful Israel.

  • Maura Hart

    so, god controls everyting, right? when in matthew 2 didn’t herod have a bunch of babies killed to hide jesus? god controls even herod, doesn’t that count if he is an omni potent god couldn’t he have e found some other way? and one assumes a bunch of babies died in sodom and also in the great flood, noah was not ordered to collect all the babies first, or to even pick up any floaters? so, rather than a time out, god killed some babies.

  • Herm

    DOCTRINE – noun –

    1. a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group.

    2. a stated principle of government policy, mainly in foreign or military affairs.

    Robert, did you, as a little child of your carnal parents, “…need some doctrine of divine providence…”?

  • Herm

    Ronny, would there be any disagreement if we all here knew Christ (the anointed one of God) even as little as did Paul?

    Are you saying Peter and James didn’t know Jesus as well as Paul? They disagreed with Paul because Paul’s presence before them, as the first body of authority for our carnal Christian church, did not follow with what they knew of Jesus in His carnal person before and after His death (Peter for three years and James as Jesus’ carnal brother).

    All three came around to work “more” harmoniously but never are they recorded as working as one harmonious authority in the name of Jesus Christ.

    How many today have met a little Christ and now firmly converted claim with authority they’ve got it all now because they met Christ? I only know Christ as much as I am capably growing to know Christ even assured that Christ is in me and I am in Christ. That is why I don’t presume to be an authority only a very little child of God. The Authority of God is available to all with or without the chronicled writings and presumptions of Man. It says so in the Bible, a chronicled writing and presumption of Man from Genesis to Revelations; Maccabees or not.

    Love you!

  • Gussie FinkNottle

    LOL? You must never have had a child die. Lucky you. It’s punishment enough and then some. You seem to have missed the point, though, which was that it WASN’T a tit-for-tat punishment from god but was instead a natural tragedy that was attributed to him later because the parents needed a coping mechanism.

  • RonnyTX

    Bones to Ronny:
    Thanks for the bible lesson Ron, but paul’s ‘vision’ in no way constitutes a meeting with Jesus

    Ronny to Bones:
    Have to disagree with you, on that.

    Bones to Ronny:
    Neither does Jesus pass on any words of wisdom to Paul like he did with the Twelve (who still didn’t get it).

    It does suspiciously smell like an attempt to prove to the Twelve and others that Paul is one of them.

    Ronny to Bones:
    Paul was one of them. That is, he was God chosen and God saved. :-) And one of the biggest things Paul learned and passed on, was that all Israel would be saved. :-) Indeed, that all people would be born of God, by way of Jesus Christ and the cross! :-)

    “25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved,[g] as it is written:
    “The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
    And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
    27 For this is My covenant with them,
    When I take away their sins.”[h]
    28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
    33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
    34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has become His counselor?”[i]
    35 “Or who has first given to Him
    And it shall be repaid to him?”[j]
    36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:27,36

  • Herm

    Excellent thinking out of the box while being compassionately empathetic to having a child of another die. It is possible that Nathan and Gad took it upon themselves to attribute the death of Amnon as God’s punishment for David’s murder of Uriah, or that was the prevailing thought among scholars at the time to be chronicled in 2 Samuel 12.

    If it was, although, a coping mechanism for David and Bathsheba the grief was multiplied as for both Uriah and Amnon, both innocent collateral damage, were connected in their guilt.

    How much then have we chronicled in all books of Deity founded, after the fact, on our guilt as our Deity’s punishment for our childish inabilities to cope? How many throughout recorded history have been influenced by Man’s past guilt rather than our Deity’s love today. A Deity we believe will stick this thing out no matter how immature in real life and death we are, kinda’ like our parents throughout the world did for us as very little fragile children unable to cope on our own?

    Bones did not laugh at the grief of David and Bathsheba, of that I am certain.

    As to your point it does no good to ruminate over whether David and Bathsheba were making God the scapegoat to cope with their sins that they could not take back in the old Testament, or our heavenly Father made Jesus the scapegoat for all our sins from which we cannot take back the natural consequences from either, with all the resulting grief. The only good that can begin to come from the Bible is realizing it is written with sincere cause to tell of each author’s relationship with God in testimonial witness; first, second or third hand.

    If we begin in everything to test doing to all others as we would have all others do to us then we can come, eventually, to He who summed up the law and prophets to just that … because it works. On this earth we can then grow in relationship with and in our Deity to the point where in all faith we bear the grief of all Man and God on our cross.

    I wonder if Jesus ever laughed out loud on this earth in intimate company for three years with His 12 at their childish valuations of life and death compared to His Father’s?

  • RonnyTX

    PhilL to Soter Phile:
    To an extent, I agree with you. Calvin is often caricatured largely because of his followers. I’m not sure Calvin would be on board with what is commonly understood as Calvinism.

    Ronny to Phil:
    Did Calvin believe the Jesus Christ created a hell of eternal torment? Didn’t he believe and teach, that God chose who would be saved and go to heaven and who would be damned and go to hell?

    PhilL to Soter Phile:
    Having said that, as someone who has read the Institutes several times and used bits from his commentaries in more than one sermon, I definitely wouldn’t say “the love of Christ” is Calvin’s signature focus. Not by a long shot. Both he and Arminius actually shared a great deal of assumptions that were far more Scholastic than biblical.

    Ronny to PhilL:
    I’m glad to hear you say that. For there are teachings of both Calvin and Arminius, that I don’t agree with now.

    BTW and this is just about as bad as it gets; but I have a nephew, who is a Calvinist Baptist preacher and he believes there are infants who die and go straight to hell! :-(

  • RonnyTX

    PhilL To Bones:
    Brother, I have just been snowed under with work, sickness, and enemies both foreign and domestic, but coming out of it. Thanks for asking!

    Ronny to PhilL:
    Glad to hear, that you’re coming out of it. :-)

  • Bones

    No.

    You’re making that up.

    The verse is quite specific that the child will die because of david”s behaviour.

  • Jaarontyler

    Thanks Phil. I’m right there with you in regard to context and back-drop for the book of Exodus. But to be honest with you, this seems irrelevant to me. Here is why: In my opinion (and I realize this could sound extremely ignorant), there is NO reason or explanation that can come to light that is capable of smoothing out the damage cast from Yahweh’s character throughout the OT.

    I was raised Southern Baptist and spent the first 30 years of my life in one of the biggest churches in the country. I have no anger or bitterness toward anyone but, simply, started challenging myself to look outside the box (as best I could). I remember hearing non-Christians make comments about God being evil or calling God a murderer, and I always thought “wow, they just don’t realize that it’s all because of man’s sinful will, NOT God.” But the more I studied the OT, the stories I found that I had never heard taught in church, were example after example of Yahweh, both, directly and indirectly place commands that most children can identify as evil and/or immoral.

    Summary: The last two years, I’ve diligently sought council from Professors, Theologians, Pastors, and church leaders to find an answer that could, somehow, explain why an All-loving, All-mighty, All-knowing, All-powerful God would give guidelines for how to treat your slaves, would command you to kill your children for disobedience, would order you to tie your own child to an alter and be willing to plunge a knife into his heart, in order, to prove your trust/priority to him. Last week, I spent an hour talking with a Professor who tried his hardest to explain to me why it’s OK to KILL your kids, if God so ordered it. So. . I’m aware of the symbolism, I understand the cultural differences, I understand that “God dealt with them differently in that period”, However, I cannot imagine (and I’ve quite an imagination) a time when I would physically throw rocks at my kids, until they die, for disobeying me. Or a time when it’s “right” to draw a sword and kill my own brother, neighbors, and friends for choosing not to follow my God.

    I believe the Creator, designed us to recognize, in general terms, the distinction between good and evil. If ANYONE else were to do or command or support and of these examples, we would, instantly, call it ‘evil’. Therefore, it is dishonest and deceptive for a god to wrap himself in (what he made us to see as) evil, and yet expect us to call him “good”. This is where I am. Not sure if it resonates with anyone else?

  • Yes, Calvin believed in what we think of as the traditional view of Hell. Calvin also believed that faith in Jesus was the only way to escape Hell. In those ways, his views were not much different than your regular evangelical.

    Calvin also believed in a very close connection between a created human being and God. He believed that as humans understood themselves better, they understood God better as well as vice-versa. He also had a strong doctrine of natural revelation – that we could understand God better as we understood the natural world around us. These thoughts would probably put him at odds with some evangelicals, but probably come from the fact that his background was in the humanities, not theology. The union of man with God that is inherent in his creation, disrupted by the fall, and the ultimate goal of God for humanity is a big thing for Calvin, and it is because of this union that Calvin loved prayer so much. What he wrote in the Institutes about prayer is, for the most part, both moving and challenging.

    Where things start to go sideways is that Calvin posited that God – in some sense that is inscrutable and unknowable – has ordained everything. Nothing occurs in history that is outside of God’s “decree.” Calvin wanted to protect the freedom of God, but he is also clear that this decree is inaccessible and unknowable (except through select revelation like prophecy) and therefore does not infringe on anyone’s will. We still go through life doing whatever we want. Calvin seemed to be under the impression that this doctrine of God’s sovereign decree would be a great comfort to people in a chaotic world.

    However, it creates a rather large theological problem. If people commit evil / reject God / end up in Hell, and you know God doesn’t want that, how do you square that with the idea of ordaining everything that comes to pass? On this point, you’ll find Calvin all over the map depending on what source you’re looking at. My personal belief is that he did not have this figured out in a satisfactory way, and so his writings on this issue tend to be heavily influenced by the specific context he is addressing. At times, he appears to cast it as an inscrutable mystery. At other times, he makes very direct statements that, frankly, sound terrible. At still other times, he makes terrible statements that he revises later in life.

    You see Calvin as grappling with a number of ideas that seem contradictory that he doesn’t seem able to resolve. Servetus is an example. Here, we have a man condemned to death by the heresy laws of Geneva. We have Calvin visiting Servetus every day pleading with him to change his statements, but Servetus will not and Calvin is complicit in his execution. Maybe I’m being too charitable, but when I see Calvin, I see a man deeply conflicted between having a heart for humanity and the inexorable steel cutting edges of his theological propositions that he personally feels are inescapable.

    Whatever Calvin’s personal struggles and ambiguities may have been, his disciples do not share these struggles and ambiguities, and when the Five Articles of the Remonstrance written by Arminius’ students are refuted by the Dutch National Synod in the Canons of Dordt (which we usually sum up today as the “Five Points of Calvinism”), they just lay the whole thing out in a manner that I might describe as, “Yes, God decides who goes to Hell and there’s nothing you can do about it. So what?” Granted, the whole creation of the Canons were as an argument in a theological controversy, and those are always way overbalanced and combative, but still. A country with that many windmills should not be so mean.

    So, there’s my take for what it’s worth. Some people think Calvin is a pastor’s theologian par excellence; some think he is a demon from Hell. I can kind of see it both ways.

  • Jaarontyler

    I appreciate your comment! But I’m in a place right now where I hold very little interest in “what Paul tells us”. While that phrase used to carry a certain amount of weight to me, it now just seems like a stretch to make the narrative fit. NOT ONE single question to core, fundamental points of who God is/defining salvation/defining heaven are clear and/or straightforward. They all require cultural meaning, commentary from others (who knew more?), symbolic/ceremonial meaning etc. NO WAY, that THE Creator, of all of this, would communicate with His creation in this way. I just cannot be intellectually honest and say that I believe that anymore.

  • RonnyTX

    RobertH:
    I’m one who thinks Calvin propagated a dangerously misconceived understanding of God. It is noteworthy that he did’t work from the Bible to theology. He worked from what he saw as the logic of the apostles creed and then shoehorned in the Bible. More importantly, there are times when the God of Calvin, and for that matter Islam, seems attractive even as it is horrible. Because sometimes life is already so horrible and humans are so powerless that all that really matters is knowing that someone is in charge. Modern Western people have far more control over their own lives than anyone in Calvin’s time, or most people in the rest of the world. We’re happy to take on the burden of working out our own salvation. But that wasn’t and isn’t always the case. Sometimes living in and going to hell is okay as long as its part of a plan, not so much when its just bad luck. If we reject Calvin, we need some doctrine of divine providence to replace it, and one that doesn’t just depend on our good intentions.

    Ronny to RobertH:
    I’m 61 years old and I was Calvinist in belief, until I was around 54 years old. Why did I believe that way? Because I was brought up in church from an infant and taught that way there. I was taught there, that God chose who would be saved and God chose who would be damned. The saved going to heaven and the damned going to a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment. The first deaths for me, in my family, came when I was 12 and around 16 years old. The first one, a much loved first cousin. The second one, a much loved Grandma. But they were both Christian, so as much as I mourned their passing, I was assured they had gone to heaven. Then at around 17teen years old, an uncle of mine died. One I was not around that much; but one who I was taught by my churches teaching, was likely in hell. :-( Later in life, it became hard to even go shopping, at the local Wal Mart. Why? Because I saw everyone from the very old to the newborn babies there and in my church, I was taught that the vast majority of the people I saw, were going to end up in hell! :-( Now if someone can believe that way, look at crowds of people and not have such bother them, then I simply believe, that persons heart, is pretty hard. :-(

    Now 21 years ago, God taught me to ask God to show me the truth of matters and do that as I read the scriptures. And that’s what I did 6 or 7 years ago, when I first heard of people who believed in universal salvation. That is, they believed that everyone would end up saved and in a right relationship with God the Father and that by way, of Jesus Christ and the cross. When I first heard of that, I wished it was true; but I thought it sounded too good to be true! (ha) But I read more on what these people had to say and the scriptures they used, to back up what they said and believed. And in this way, I came to see they were right. That is, that Jesus Christ is truly the Saviour of the whole world, everyone from Adam on down. :-) And there is coming a time, when God will show every last person their lost condition before God, show them their sin and bring them to repentance and take them on to faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for every last one of them, on the cross. Jesus Christ there, for all of us, taking all of our sins upon himself. For that is how much, that God the Father and Jesus Christ, loves us all. :-) A good webpage on this belief, is tentmaker.org. Plus, they have links there, to a few other good webpages, they have set up. Lots of good reading there, about the love, mercy and grace of God/Jesus Christ. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Sherlang:
    I totally agree with you Dr. Corey. However, when I was talking about this to a friend, he brought up the story of David and Bathsheba and I did not know how to respond….as a matter of fact I’m not exactly sure how to respond with a lot of OT stories regarding this topic. Still something I wrestle with. While I think John Piper does have some valuable things to say, his hardcore Calvinism is rather repulsive

    Ronny to Sherlang:
    Sherlang, I think the problem is, if any human being hurts and or kills some one, we can not restore that person, bring them back to life and bless them. Now we can’t do that; but God can and will. And that for every last person, from Adam on down. :-) And a real good link below, to an article titled, The Problem of Evil.

    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/TheProblemofEvil.html

  • Yeah, it does resonate, and I think maybe I wasn’t clear.

    When we read the OT, we are reading the authors’ interpretations and creative constructions of Israel’s ancient history. So, when we read a story where God commands killing every man, woman, and child in Canaan, we don’t want to mistake that for “what we know for a fact God actually said and did.” We’re seeing that event through someone’s eyes who wasn’t even there, looking back on these events and giving a theological interpretation of them.

    “Yes, we invaded Canaan and we killed everyone. Um. God wanted us to do that.”

    Leaving aside whether or not there was actually an invasion of Canaan by Israel, we can see that someone telling Israel’s story is going to have their own purposes, and this will affect the events they include, the events they leave out, and how they cast and interpret those events.

    Like, when we read primary sources from the American Revolution, we see dialogue that the author could not possibly have been present for, descriptions of the other side’s actions full of mercilessness and brutality contrasted with the valiant nobility of one’s own side, appeals to God and the will of Heaven who is clearly on the side the author favors, etc.

    That doesn’t mean that those accounts are totally fictional or worthless as history, but we know it is highly unlikely that one side was brutal and merciless and committed nothing but atrocities while the other side were valiant noble paladins who enjoyed the blessing of God and the protection of Heaven. But that’s how the accounts read.

    So, for me, it’s not a matter of God dealing differently with people at different times; it’s a matter of people at different times thinking of God differently and how those theological and national concerns affected what they wrote down and how they cast it.

    I mean, you could read the story of the Canaanite conquest and go, “Look how terrible God is. He ordered the killing of children.” Or you could read that story and go, “Wow. Those Israelites really came to hate the other inhabitants of the Levant. They thought it was God’s will that they wipe them out of existence.”

  • Jaarontyler

    OK I’m with you now, I clearly flew through that too quickly. I understand where you’re coming from, I think I veer off from your direction at the point where you said “That doesn’t mean that those accounts are totally fictional or worthless…” I’m not saying that they are, but, there’s a big difference (in my eyes) in a history book on the American Revolution and a book that claims to be THE word of the Creator (God). It’s not that I don’t understand the analogy, I just feel that when dealing with such an incredibly large claim, as being THE word of God, I would expect it be found at higher measure. How do you decipher between what “is” of value (from God) and what “is not”? If the book is seasoned with that much bias, why believe that the Creator would think that by sprinkling his words throughout, and hiding his intention within, these heavily slanted stories of Jewish history (of all things?) that THIS is the way he chooses to speak to us? I do respect your response, it may be the closest to a sound explanation I’ve heard yet.

  • Well, the book doesn’t claim to be the word of God. People claim that about the book.

  • Sorry, I hit “post” too soon. Yes, through the slanted stories of Jewish history, God speaks to us. Through nature. Through other people. As a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is probably the clearest speech of God to us, but I also have to recognize that even what I know about him from the Bible is strained through someone’s filter.

    But what I experience of him through the Spirit personally and among his followers who are genuinely trying to embody what Jesus embodied, I can also get more of an experience of what God is like as well.

    I guess the best way to say it is that there’s no experience of God or truth about God that isn’t “filtered” through the subjectivities of mankind, and that’s what we’ve got. And we can earnestly pursue that, recognize truth when we see it, and acknowledge that there are risks and weaknesses with the words we trade around. That’s why it’s a journey of faith incarnated and not a journey of greater propositional certitude.

  • Inerrancy of Scripture and the usual verbal plenary explanation that follows has a way of disguising the fact that the concept of God in the OT is very different from that presented by Christ and the disciples. If God inspired the whole Bible, and every word is, in some sense, His Words, then logically God routinely killed babies or Willed it so at the hands of His choosen people, for example during the Canaan conquest.

    In the OT God is seen as causing both Good and Evil, one of the side effects of early monotheism emerging out of polytheism. (Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6, Lam 3:38). Calamity was seen as God’s judgement for sin and even in Jesus’ time sickness, disease, death of children was still being attributed to the sins of their parents. (John 9:2)

    But the NT is very different. Jesus and the writers of the NT taught personal responsibility for sin and personal consequences for one’s own sins. In the OT God is more distant, more terrifying and constantly destroying Israel’s enemies, as well as large swaths of Israelites that displease Him in some fashion or another. That God would punish a parent for their sins by taking their child is OT 101. To the mind of the Israelite this must have made perfect sense.

    Jesus presented a Kingdom of God were enemies were to be loved, where our neighbors did not look like us or think like us, yet they were to be loved. In the OT there was no sanctity of life, certainly not of one’s enemies or their wives and children. In the NT all life is sacred, even our enemies.

    But John Piper seems to be missing this, mostly because he sees God as unchanged from the OT to the NT. While this may be true in an ontological sense, it is certainly not true theologically.

  • Interesting. Given the way Israel viewed calamity and the heavy guilt David and Bathsheba must have felt it would seem natural for both Nathan the prophet and the parents to draw the conclusion that this was just punishment for their sins. In a sense, punishing themselves further. This is not uncommon behaviour. Most of us, I believe, have wondered from time to time if God is not punishing us for this or that.

  • Bert

    Benjamin, thanks for your post and your replies here. Naive question – given the broad outline/perspective you describe here, what would the status be of saying something like there is a progression in understanding the nature of God historically, and the description of God’s plan for humanity, from the time of the Pentateuch through the Histories and the Prophets up into the new Covenant written on our hearts in Jesus Christ? On one level, I think it’s indisputable for a Christian (the new covenant is, in fact, a new covenant), but on another level (God’s doesn’t really need to change his plan midstream) It doesn’t quite feel right to me? I understand your description here refers to human understanding of God’s plan, but… Thanks and please forgive the poor formulation of my question!

  • dcpdx

    Thanks for the interaction.

    I would point out that 8:4 is an accusation by Bildad. 42:7 points out that God says that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar did not speak right of Him. Therefore, in context, the suggestion you make about the sin of Job’s kids being responsible for their own deaths is questionable.

    I don’t dispute that there are other texts that show consequences of sin, but Job is not the book to point to because it’s theme is the opposite of what you seem to assert. For the book to be internally consistent, it would not make sense to say Job’s circumstances are not the result of sin but for his kids, their circumstances are the result of their sin (a stretch because of silence and Bildad’s bad theology). The text doesn’t say that nor does that occur in any other part of the Bible. All this to say, we should leave Job out of this particular discussion.

  • Obscurely

    Here’s a link below to a deeper and more theological response to Piper … and a sample from the post to whet your appetite:

    “God has graced humans with creativity and passion and a longing for justice. If our theology silences these impulses—as I believe a theology of divine control does—it needs to be rejected, because it is allowing not good but evil to flourish under the guise of “God’s plan.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2016/11/god-is-not-in-control/?ref_widget=gr_popular&ref_blog=grails&ref_post=progressive%20christian

  • Jaarontyler

    I like your position and I tried to hold it, as well, when my belief began to shift. For me, if I submit that the God of the Bible is the All-powerful Creator, and Jesus of Nazareth was his Son ‘sent to die for the sins of the world’, I can’t escape the pestering question in my head that asks: “Can’t THE Creator do better?” If the Creator loved us and devised a plan to sacrifice his son for us, wouldn’t you think this type of story would be communicated better than placed in the back of a book, surrounded by slanted history, mythology, and misinterpretation?

  • He could definitely provide more clarity and certainty. He could just appear in a theophany and speak verbally to every individual, too, and His failure to do so is a pretty decent point in the Atheism column.

    At the same time, even during the episodes where God is portrayed as the most intrusive, the Bible shows these “God shows up in some unmistakable way that couldn’t possibly be interpreted as anything but a blatant theophany” moments as extremely, extremely rare and pivotal moments over the span of literally millennia. What is by far more common in both Testaments is that people look at events through the eyes of faith and perceive God in those events and derive truths about God from those events.

    Even when you have the “God said” events in the Old Testament, what would that have looked like? Does that mean that God visibly appeared and audibly voiced those specific words? Or does it mean something that was communicated through a unanimous decision, or the counsel of someone faithful and wise, or the silence of meditation, or a dream or vision, or just a strong conviction the “hearer” had?

    It seems that the God described in the Bible and, indeed, as people generally experience Him both in and out of Christianity, seems to value a relationship based on trust rather than irrefutable proof and inevitable propositions.

    I think at least one point where tension comes in is that, in the traditional evangelical story, the stakes are very high because we’ll go to Hell for eternity if we don’t believe the right things about God and Jesus. This is a story that I reject and would argue is actually very alien to the biblical writings.

    Instead, what I find as a consistent story through the biblical writings is God’s project to fill the world with people who bear His image, which manifests itself in a community that runs off of love, mercy, justice, compassion, and restoration in all spheres of life. Israel was meant to be this in the Old Testament.

    Atheists can find themselves on the right side of this project, and Christians can find themselves on the wrong side of this project. This seems to be analogous to the kinds of things Jesus described in his own day, where there were those who said “Lord, Lord,” but found themselves outside the kingdom, whereas there were those who said, “When did we ever do anything in your name?” and found themselves welcomed.

  • Olive

    I rather wish this poor guy had written to Dan Savage instead.

  • Jenny E

    I’m an American expat in southern China. The only protestant English-speaking church in our city is very much like John Piper, et al, despite being headed by Australian, Dutch, African, and Chinese (from Hong Kong) pastors. They have, from the pulpit, indicated that women often bear some responsibility in their own assault, and that churches whose pastors are accepting of the gay community may wind up in hell, en mass. We’ve started doing church on our own, because I can’t deal with going there anymore.

  • Ron McPherson

    So sad. It’s astonishing to me that people actually do this stuff in the name of Christianity. Reminds me of when the Pharisees brought the woman in adultery to Jesus for stoning. Nary a man in sight was brought for the same charge. Or when the Pharisees criticized Jesus for hanging around the sinners. It’s really shocking that people totally miss Jesus’ message but yet believe they’re actually following him.

  • Realist1234

    Whilst I disagree with Piper’s view, lets not forget that according to the apostle Peter, God struck down Ananias and his wife Sapphira because they dared to lie to Him over money collected for the early church members. Or do you think Peter was wrong?

    To those who reject some of God’s dealings with people in Old Testament times, I would remind you of Jesus’ apparent high view of that OT as God-inspired Scripture. He also claimed to be the God of the Old Testament (‘before Abraham was born, I Am’).

    If God is the author of life, can He not take it away in certain circumstances? I feel many of the arguments by Ben etc are a case of the creature telling the Creator what He can and cannot do.

  • Realist1234

    I think you mischaracterise the Old Testament, as well as Jesus in the New. eg ‘Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell’. Not what I would call ‘positive’ words from the Lord. Jesus’ words about loving one’s enemies was nothing new – God had already said it in the Old Testament to His people, but the Pharisees etc in Jesus’ day had perverted this. That is why He said, ‘You have heard that it was said…’. Not ‘it was written…’ Jesus was simply reminding the people of what God had already said centuries ago, and reinforced it.

  • Bones

    Jesus didn’t have a ‘high’ view of the old testament.

    The pharisees did.

    Why do you people talk such nonsense.

    As for ananias and sapphira, definitely a wives tale to get people too give to the church.

    can you tell me again how many people god has killed outside the biblical accounts?

    Like in the 20th century.

  • RonnyTX

    Realist1234:
    If God is the author of life, can He not take it away in certain circumstances? I feel many of the arguments by Ben etc are a case of the creature telling the Creator what He can and cannot do.

    Ronny to Realist1234:
    You’re right. God is the author of life and God can both give and take life; but the best news is, when all is wrapped up, said and done, God will have given every person eternal life and that by way of Jesus Christ and the cross. :-) Ah, what a day that will be! :-)

  • Realist1234

    Ronny – you know I do not agree with the last half of your sentence, but I wont get into a further discussion on that subject.

  • Tony Iannitelli

    OK, maybe Job is not exactly on point. How ’bout Achan? I guess my point is that there are lots of examples of punishment that go beyond the sinner and “bad things” that happen to “good people” as a result of an independent actor–all orchestrated by our God.

  • Kathy Ruth

    Piper believes in an abusive, angry God. Unfortunately, he won’t wake up until he comes face-to-face with God!

  • dcpdx

    Agreed. Achan would be a good example. Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  • toddh

    I read that post by Piper and actually thought it was pretty restrained by him. He’s previously advocated that God sent tornadoes to damage Lutheran churches and that God makes bridges fall and hurricanes destroy for punishing purposes. At least this time he was able to say “I don’t know.” Maybe it was because he was dealing with an actual person, instead of faceless people who perished, ostensibly by the hand of a punishing god.

    It seems to me that he takes a very flat view of scripture that considers the OT equal to the NT. It’s quite a literal hermeneutic that takes the punishing and destructive stories of God at face value. So he uses a lot of OT examples to describe how he thinks God acts today. I think there are a lot better, more Christian ways of thinking about where God is in the midst of that man’s, and other people’s pain.

  • Hey there Realist,

    Just for clarity, Jesus is not saying, “I am the God of the Old Testament” in John 8:58. He is saying that he is more prominent than Abraham and the one whose day Abraham longed to see. “Ego eimi” is not a name or the Greek equivalent of God’s self-revelation to Moses in the Exodus. It’s a way of saying, “I’m this person,” not “I am a self-existent eternal entity.”

    In any case, I don’t think anyone is questioning God’s “right” to give or take life, the question is on what basis someone would say that God might kill your child because you look at porn. Quite frankly, I’d think this would result in unparalleled genocide, but some people may see that differently.

  • Hey Sherlang,

    Sorry I’m a little late to this. I just saw your question and would like to throw something out there for your consideration.

    Why is the story of David, Bathsheba, and the aftermath included in the Old Testament? Is it because the Old Testament needed an example of the horrors of adultery or the consequences of it, so that one fit the bill?

    Presumably not. Not only would that be an odd purpose of 2 Samuel, but we also know people commit adultery, rape, and murder as David did and there does not seem to be a connection between people doing those things and whether or not their children live or die.

    The reason this story was written down long after the events they describe could have happened was because they tell us something about Israel’s political and religious history. David is king of Israel. His descendants claim the throne. God has made an unconditional promise that the Davidic dynasty will always rule Israel.

    In this story, we see the king flouting the rule of YHWH to indulge his own desires. The consequences to David -as an individual- seem slight, but the national and historical consequences are more prolific – this rebellion of David’s produces an heir, and in the narrative, anyway, God puts a stop to it. This child of David will not rule Israel. Solomon will.

    In this one story, we see the fate of the nation determined by the faithfulness (or lack thereof) of the king, we see the legitimizing of Solomon’s reign, and we see that even though God’s promises are everlasting, national sin can cause delays and lateral movements that can seriously hinder the delivery of those promises.

    These are all important themes to an Israel that has suffered the Babylonian exile.

    So, instead of seeing the story as a morality play intent on teaching you what happens to bad men who commit adultery, we might instead see it as a religious and political event in Israel’s history that the chroniclers thought important to keep alive in the national consciousness. David seems to agree, because he wrote a Psalm about it for their corporate worship.

  • Roger Morris

    The poor man’s baby died. The same man struggled with lust and watched porn. John Piper is an ignorant idiot caught up in irrational, superstitious and magical thinking. These are the facts and they are totally unrelated.

  • Realist1234

    Hi Phil

    You’ll be expecting this, but I humbly disagree with your understanding of the ‘I am’ quote. As I think we discussed previously, I am firmly convinced that Jesus believed Himself to be God incarnate, as did the writers of the New Testament. This quote from John’s Gospel is one of many I could use, and not just from John’s Gospel. To quote more of the passage, in response to the Pharisees’ question ‘Who do you think you are?’ Jesus replied, ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

    “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

    “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.’

    Jesus’ response to the Pharisees clearly means He did indeed see Abraham, because the Son existed then, approximately 2000 years previously. And not only that, He doesnt say ‘before Abraham was born, I ‘was’ ‘, but uses the present tense. To me this clearly means He always existed. Not just 2000 years previously, but always. And the only being that has always existed is God. And I do think He is referencing God’s words to Moses, but I accept I cannot prove that. But I find it telling that
    in response to a similar question to God by Moses, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

    God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”

    So in answer to basically the same question – who are you? – both Yahweh and Jesus answer ‘I am’. Interesting.

    And, given that here, once Jesus uttered these words, the Pharisees picked up stones ready to stone Him to death, and that later on in John he says the reason the Jews wanted to kill Jesus was because He was claiming equality with God, I have little doubt that is precisely what the Jewish crowd understood Jesus to be claiming about Himself when He spoke those words in response to their question.

    Regarding your 2nd point, as I said I disagree with Piper’s comments, I was referring to God’s actions in both Old and New Testaments, in specific circumstances, which I do not think we can simply dismiss. I would also make the point that we shouldnt forget ‘evil’s’ continued role in the world. It may be a defeated foe, but it is still a foe.

  • Ron McPherson

    Interesting

  • Ron McPherson

    Full disclosure: I have some Calvinist leanings but not ECT. At any rate, a prominent Calvinist minister was questioned by a mother who feared that her dead son was suffering in hell in spite of her prayers that he would be converted prior to his death. She was angry with God and asked the minister for help. Instead the minister chastised her in that she should dare not question God and should repent in sackcloth and ashes over it. I literally couldn’t believe such a lack of compassion in his response.

  • The interesting thing about your explanation is that you have the same understanding of Jesus’ words that the Pharisees had. They were the ones who thought he was talking about literally being alive before Abraham. Do you suppose Jesus was telling Nicodemus in John 3 that you had to literally be born again to enter the kingdom of God? Did Nicodemus have the right of it?

    For Abraham to rejoice to see Jesus’ day does not mean that Abraham rejoiced when he saw Jesus literally millennia before John’s Gospel. He rejoiced to see Jesus’ day, which was that day. The day Jesus was actually on Earth doing stuff. His activity in fulfillment of the OT promises given to Abraham. Abraham wasn’t rejoicing thousands of years earlier because he was excited to see Jesus.

    Jesus says “I am” a lot in the Gospel of John. You say “ego eimi” when you say that. If you ask Joe Greek if he’s 30 years old, he says, “Ego eimi.” He is not claiming divinity when he does that. That is how you say “I am” in Greek. Earlier in John’s Gospel, John the Baptist said “Ego eimi” when he said he wasn’t worthy to unlace the Messiah’s sandals. All four gospels have numerous occasions when all kinds of people say “ego eimi” in various situations and are not claiming to be YHWH. It’s not a name.

    What’s more is that, in John 10, Jesus specifically differentiates himself from God.

    The reason the pharisees are set to stone him isn’t for claiming divinity, but claiming he is greater than Abraham. That is obviously what they’re upset about, and that’s how the whole discussion gets started. Jesus’ relationship to Abraham. That’s the context for the whole passage.

    “I am” is just a really common phrase in Greek. If you’re going to see a claim to divinity every time it shows up, prepare to expand your pantheon considerably.

  • Good interesting, or like, “what the hell is wrong with you” interesting?

  • I can understand that. I was a pretty dyed in the wool Calvinist for about 20 years. I think there are some good insights that come from that school of thought, especially on what it means for God to be free and what it means to have free will. But, ultimately, I think they’re asking the wrong questions, and their attempts to answer those questions in a cogent way tends to be more off-putting than useful, imho.

  • Ron McPherson

    Lol!! Thought provoking interesting

  • Alexis

    You just said “hell no”…that must mean you don’t understand the meaning and severity of “hell”…or you don’t believe the orthodox view of hell…or you don’t care. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

    My real question – how do you understand and interpret Acts 5, 1 Corinthians 5, and Hebrews 12?

  • Alexis

    What makes you so sure? Just curious.

  • Alexis

    Where do you get that from?

  • Alexis

    How do you read 2 Samuel 12:13-14?

  • Alexis

    I’m also assuming you’re completely outraged by abortion. Is that correct?

  • Bones

    Hell no.

  • Bob Presnell

    To add to to this, Calvinism also believes that God knew everyone that was going to be saved or lost from the foundation of the earth! So God let’s people be born that are doomed to hell! What about this: John 3:15-17 (KJV)
    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. The word whosoever in the Greek translates this way in the Strong’s Greek Concordance: Greek Strong’s Number: 3956
    Greek Word: πᾶς
    Transliteration: pas
    Phonetic Pronunciation:pas
    Root: including all the forms of declension
    Cross Reference: TDNT – 5:886,795
    Part of Speech: adj
    Vine’s Words: All, Every, Everyone, Everything, Whole, Wholly, Wholesome

    Usage Notes:

    English Words used in KJV:
    all 748
    all things 170
    every 117
    all men 41
    whosoever 31
    everyone 28
    whole 12
    all manner of 11
    every man 11
    no + 9
    every thing 7
    any 7
    whatsoever 6
    whosoever + + 3
    always + 3
    daily + 2
    any thing 2
    no + 2
    not tr 7
    miscellaneous translations 26
    [Total Count: 1243]

    including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole :- all (manner of, means), alway (-s), any (one), × daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no (-thing), × thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.
    It is the program that God ordained from the foundation of the earth not individual peoples salvation! There is so much more in scripture to let us know that we have a choice to accept Christ or not. Yes, God does intervene at times into the human experience so He can bring about HIs divine plan but to say God might have had this man’s baby killed because he is struggling with porn? What about all the other things we struggle with? What about children born with diseases or birth defects? As Paul the apostle said: “We see through a glass darkly”. We don’t understand everything or even a small portion of God’s plan but He can and does sometimes, let us in on a few things and gives us what we need to know. We need to ask, seek and knock on the door but if we lived thousands of years we still would not know a speck of the knowledge that God has. We will understand it better by and by. Let us let love guide us and know that God’s love is the greatest thing we can own and the gift of Jesus Christ let’s us know the depth, width and height of the love of God!

  • Herm

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    Acts 4:31

    Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

    When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

    Acts 5:3-5

    About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

    “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

    Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

    At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

    Acts 5:7-11

    Realist1234 you wrote, “lets not forget that according to the apostle Peter, God struck down Ananias and his wife Sapphira because they dared to lie to Him over money collected for the early church members. Or do you think Peter was wrong?

    I think you were wrong to interpret, from any Bible translation, that “God struck down” Ananias and his wife. The most graphic is from the King James Version which said they gave up the ghost. The fact is they fell down and died. The fact is I would fall down and die this moment if I lied to the Holy Spirit who fills me without any help at all from God.

  • Realist1234

    It seems we are not going to agree on this, Phil.

  • Bones

    You mean like the purity codes in leviticus which kept people with long suffering diseases as outcasts from their own society eg lepers, the woman with 12 years of bleeding.

    Nah it’s funny how we leave those bits out

    how about you think before you write your memes.

    Hey the law is so good that most sane people would hate it and consider it immoral.

  • Well, the problem here is that you’re trying to refute using Jesus as a hermeneutical guide to understanding God on the following grounds:

    1 – YHWH killed people, including children, in the Old Testament for their sins.
    2 – The man Jesus Christ is also YHWH of the Old Testament.

    So, your basic argument is, however Israel understood YHWH at any given point in the Old Testament, we need to drop that same understanding on top of Jesus. It is Jesus who killed David’s child. It is Jesus who ordered the killing of every Canaanite infant. It is Jesus who buried Korah and his friends alive. It is Jesus who demanded that adulterers be stoned to death (until he had to face one, I guess). All of this is your line of reasoning.

    But this lacks any kind of sense or cohesion. You have a pre-existing theological commitment, and you have to make the Bible support it. You would never get these ideas from the actual Bible.

  • Realist1234

    I dont have a ‘pre-existing theological commitment’ – a nice way of saying Im biased!

    The ONLY reason I believe Jesus is God in the flesh is because of His own words and actions, and the views of the New Testament writers. I am not making the Bible ‘fit’ anything. It is the Biblical narrative that leads me to that conclusion.

    Ps your understanding of the ‘I am’ passage does not make sense of Jesus’ actual reply to the Pharisees :

    ‘If you ask Joe Greek if he’s 30 years old, he says, “Ego eimi.” But that isnt the equivalent of what Jesus said – “before Abraham was born, I am”. The meaning of the sentence is quite different. And He is saying alot more than simply that He was ‘greater’ than Abraham.

    You’ve said that I am biased in my view. I would ask why do you seem so reluctant to accept the divinity of Jesus?

  • Well, we’re talking about the most likely meaning of the John 8 passage. You can’t say, “I believe Jesus is God, therefore John 8 must be establishing that.” That’s what I’m talking about with reading the text through your pre-existing commitments.

    Whether or not Jesus is God or whether any particular passage establishes that or even sounds like that is another issue. What I’m saying is that, absent the existing belief that Jesus is God, neither you nor the original readers would interpret the John 8 passage as a declaration of divinity.

    Having said that, I do not buy for a minute that the biblical narrative is the ONLY reason you believe Jesus is God in the flesh – not for a second. That would be an astoundingly unlikely thing to happen, especially given the wide swaths of the early church that did not come to that conclusion at all.

    “Genesthai” does not mean “born,” it means “become.” If someone becomes tired, they “genesthai” tired. Could it be referring to Abraham’s literal birth? It could, I suppose. It’s theoretically possible that Jesus is picturing the man Abraham thousands of years earlier fist pumping about the pre-existent second person of the Trinity. I think that’s an -unlikely- reading of the passage, but sure, Jesus could possibly be saying that. He could possibly be saying that he was literally existing before Abraham was physically born, and once Abraham was physically born, Abraham got really excited about Jesus who would manifest in history thousands of years later.

    “Genesthai,” however, could just as easily be referring to Abraham becoming Israel’s patriarch, Abraham’s death, Abraham getting thirsty, or Abraham becoming important to Israel as their patriarch – something that would have happened much, much later than an actual Abraham walking around.

    When we look at the actual passage, the Pharisees have said they are not slaves to sin because they are descendants of Abraham – inheritors of the promise and the covenant. Jesus says they are not Abraham’s children (not literal, obviously – although I guess that’s how you think it ought to be read? that Jesus is saying they are not biological children of Abraham?) because they do not do the works of Abraham, which is to respond to God’s promises in faith. If they did this, they would rejoice at Jesus’ presence instead of trying to kill him.

    Instead of this, they doubt the Word of God and are trying to kill His Messiah, which is much more commensurate with being children of the devil (once again, a metaphor – I don’t see how you could read this as the pharisees being actually born biological children of the devil, but you can explain that).

    This is what happened five minutes before John 8:58. Jesus is contrasting the faith and works of Abraham and how he responded to God’s Word versus how the Pharisees respond despite claiming to be the inheritors of Abraham’s promise.

    Now we get into the area where the Pharisees assert they are correct – that Jesus is not a Word from God, but rather an enemy to Israel (Samaritan) who has an evil spirit. Ironically, this is where Jesus -differentiates- himself from God, “I do not seek my own glory, but there is one who does and He is the judge,” and says that the people who believe and follow him will not die, presumably in the imminent judgement on Israel’s doorstep with God being the judge.

    This is where the Pharisees, reading Jesus much like yourself, “win” the argument, because even Abraham died. Is Jesus greater than Abraham or the prophets? This is their core issue when we get to 8:58 – are you claiming to be greater than Abraham?

    Jesus points out that it is God who will vindicate him (another differentiation between Jesus and God), and Jesus knows him and follows him, but the Pharisees do not. Then we get to:

    “Abraham your ancestor rejoiced to see my day.”

    Now, it is -possible- that Jesus means this in a literal, biological sense as you would have it. That Abraham when he was alive was just thrilled about the second person of the Trinity. What I think is far more likely is, just as he has at every point leading up to this verse, he is using these concepts much more fluidly to illustrate who is connected to whom.

    Abraham did not see the fulfillment of the promise in his day, but he looked forward in faith to that day (as the author of Hebrews tells us). Jesus is the one who has brought the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise. Abraham began it by fathering those who would eventually become the nation of Israel, but Jesus is bringing it to completion by restoring Israel and, in his work, tearing down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile bringing together all who have faith in Israel’s God and ensuring their survival through the eschatological judgement of God the judge which will surely fall on those who are -biologically- descended from Abraham but do not share his faith or act on it as Abraham did.

    Jesus is the one who will do this. He is the one who will bring the promise to its fulfillment. And this is what he means when he says, “BEFORE Abraham {genesthai}, I am.” This was always God’s plan, and Jesus is bringing it to its fulfillment, and so, yes, he is in fact greater than Abraham, because Abraham was longing in faith to see this day.

    This claim enrages the Pharisees, obviously, and they try to stone him for blasphemy. You’ll note the charges that get circulated about Jesus. He speaks against Moses. He speaks against the Temple. He speaks against the Law. He speaks against our traditions. Nobody ever accuses him of claiming to be YHWH. They all accuse him of making himself a transcendant standard above and beyond these icons and staples of Jewish religion as venerated in Israel -at the actual time Jesus was alive.-

    Now, let’s look at your argument:

    In this exchange, Jesus uses the phrase “I AM,” which is a phrase YHWH also used to introduce Himself to Moses (not Abraham). Therefore, Jesus is claiming to be YHWH, and that’s why he is greater than Abraham.

    I’m sorry – this seems to me to make the context completely irrelevant and a highly unlikely thing that would come across to the hearers. No one would hear the phrase “ego eimi” and think of that as a claim to divinity. That’s just how you say “I am” in Greek.

  • Ben is pro-life.

  • I can’t speak for Ben, but I dealt with that passage ad nauseum in other comments.

  • Well, that’s not asking too much. Hey, Ben, do you have time to exegete every passage Alexis cares about so she can ignore you after you’re done?

  • Robert

    This is exactly why I will tell anyone who listens…”the Torah is a toxic document, as is the Koran.”
    Christianity went south when the idolatrous church fathers ixnayed Marcion of Sinope. The consciousness of the Calvinist is a product of the adulterous machination called Judeo-Christianity.
    Yes, Jesus was born a Jew and lived a perfect Jewish life —but—He did not die a Jew. He was cast out! He knew Sinai was devilish! I’m not talking about the lovely folks who call themselves Jewish. I’m talking about Rabbinical Judaism and it’s evil angelic roots! …Better known as “spiritual wickedness in high places…” (Eph 6:12)
    I know, I know, I’m a heretic. And I wear that badge proudly! If it wasn’t for the heretic, we’d all still be kissing Papa’s ring!!
    Christianity needs to be cleansed!!
    But that will never ever happen…

  • Realist1234

    ‘You can’t say “I believe Jesus is God, therefore John 8 must be establishing that”‘

    Yes youre right. I cant. But that isnt what Im saying. Im arguing the opposite – I believe Jesus is God because passages like John 8 have convinced me of that. I am not saying that the Greek ‘ego eimi’ does not mean ‘I am’ in normal Greek, but rather in the context in which Jesus says it, it can be understood to imply His divinity. To argue that ego eimi only ever means a simple I am and nothing else ignores the fact that the Greek Septuagint uses the same term when God tells Moses as to who He is.

    ‘”Genesthai” does not mean “born,” it means “become.”‘

    – Genesthai in the NT has been translated into different English words, depending on the context. So yes sometimes it has been translated ‘become’ but not always. And typically where it has been translated as ‘become’, there are nearly always further words following it, eg become fishers of men. So whilst it could have the sense of ‘becoming Israel’s patriarch’ etc, it could equally mean ‘comes into existence’. Given the context I would agree with the majority translations meaning ‘before Abraham came into existence’ or ‘before Abraham was born’. But even if you opt for the former sense, it still means that Jesus was declaring His pre-existence to Abraham becoming Israel’s patriarch. Whilst that, in and of itself, does not mean ‘divinity’, it certainly means more than a normal human being.

    I would ask you, Phil, if Jesus is not God, who precisely is He?

  • Ron McPherson

    “I think you mischaracterise the Old Testament, as well as Jesus in the New. eg ‘Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell’.Not what I would call ‘positive’ words from the Lord.”

    I see your point but it’s also odd how this verse kinda blows ECT views outta the water it seems but conservatives don’t like to stop it there with the judgments.

  • He is the Messiah.

  • Realist1234

    And who is the Messiah or Son of Man (per Daniel) or Son of God?

  • Those are all titles for the human being whom God will use to restore the fortunes of Israel and secure an everlasting kingdom.

  • Robert O. Robbins

    The discussion I am seeing here on this point I think seems somewhat confused. While it is true that the God of the OT is presented in a very judgmental way and the God of the NT is presented quite differently with the presentation of that entity being much more loving and forgiving, I believe the basic creative force of that one called “God” is in our concept of him not one of him having changed. Therefore God did not “change” between the OT and NT, instead our spiritual view of him did.
    It’s like a group of mountain climbers who always use the same route guides up a mountain who only knew one route up a treacherous path which careened over cliffs and up vertical slopes which would cause fear to settle and control even the most experienced of climbers. However, in time, another guide sets up a tour business and promises a much easier route up the mountain able to be climbed by even inexperienced climbers. This guide emphasized helping one another, being supportive of one another’s abilities and accepting the limitations of one another. In short he told them that in order to climb the mountain they had to love one another. This obviously became a better route to go up the mountain than that used before.
    The OT viewed God through eyes of fear, thinking that the only way to show respect to the Creator they had to overcome the world even if it meant violent activity. Yes, according to the OT records God told the Hebrews to do so, but I must point out that the Hebrews at that time viewed God and heard messages from him only through the spirit of fear (terror).
    The NT is, and always has been, considered “new” because through the testimony and evidence presented by Jesus, the Christ, we were then able to see God through a different spirit. One of acceptance, grace, justification and pure love. Out of love people found a new motivation for being obedient to their Creator’s will than the basic, animalistic drive to survive as seen in the OT. Through example by the life of Jesus his followers were able to see how following the most basic elements of the will of God could create a powerfully close relationship between them and the Creator.
    The fact that God is described quite differently between old and new testaments does not mean that God changed nor that the two different holy writs were describing different gods. On the contrary the life of Jesus, The Christ, was essentially for one basic purpose: to change our point of view of our creator from one of being a harsh, while loving, taskmaster to one of a loving father desiring of our obedience so he can guide us, his images, toward a beautiful kingdom only he can create.

  • Bones

    Can you point out where where God has killed anyone outside the bible?

    Spontaneous combustion perhaps?

    Inspiring 9/11, Hitler and ISIS?

  • “It seems to me that he takes a very flat view of scripture that considers the OT equal to the NT.” Exactly, this is one of the side-effects of Plenary inspiration. While a hyper Calvinist may understand the differences between the “covenants” the old covenant seems to always manage to sneak back into the Christian’s life.

  • I am going to agree with the Evangelical explanation on this one. I think the realization of who he was came gradually to Jesus as he prayed and read scripture from the time he was a boy (growing in wisdom and stature) Luke 2:52. Eventually he came to realize he was the messiah and that he had a special, pre-existent relationship with God. We can’t forget though, his humanity and the limitations that accompanied it. Did he have a “Christian” understanding of the Trinity? We just don’t know. That he knew what the Father required of him, and that his sacrifice would be necessary though is clear.

  • “I believe the basic creative force of that one called “God” is in our concept of him not one of him having changed. Therefore God did not “change” between the OT and NT, instead our spiritual view of him did.”

    The Bible presents us with a sort of evolution of theological thought on the ontology of God. It is not a static view of God that is consistent throughout Scripture. I agree with your thoughts here. The problem for Christians like Piper is the failure to see that evolution. To fail to understand that many times the writers of the OT books had an inadequate view of the nature of God. Christ brought a fresh vision of God.

  • Well, if I have left the impression that Jesus was basically a touchy-feely type of guy I opologize. Jesus could be plenty harsh, especially when dealing with religious hypocrisy. It is hard, however, to justify your statement about loving one’s enemies from an OT perspective as the opposite was the norm throughout most of the OT. Does God reach out to the Ninevites through Jonah? Certainly. There is within the Prophets God’s attempt to get through the thick skulls of the Israelites that He desired to bring all of the nations under His rule.

    It is, however, not just the Pharisees that misunderstand this, but it can be a modern misunderstanding among legalistic Christians as well. God can still be seen as harsh, quick to anger, ready to squash people like bugs. Part of the problem can come from a non critical use of Scriptures that reflect the misunderstandings of ancient Israel. It can result in a toxic form of Christianity, Frankenstein-ing together the old covenant with the new.

  • brittxo

    ….have you ever read the Bible??

  • Herm

    Realist1234, you wrote, “eg ‘Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell’. Not what I would call ‘positive’ words from the Lord.“.

    There are two words English words that would be synonymous with the word for fear in your Bible “phobeō” other than to be afraid of: awe and reverence. I have certainly heard many a christian claim God as “awesome” without too much hiding and cringing in fear.

    The understanding I have of Matthew 10:28 is much more in the vein of you can’t serve two masters so which One offers you most? Your carnal body will most certainly die, early or late, but your spiritual body (heart, soul, strength and mind) need not.

    I we can’t serve to love as is in Luke 10:27 and 22:37-39 we will not inherit eternal life. If this were any other way those who could not love at least that much would be bad seeds to us all forever. I see those words of Jesus pretty positive knowing if I live for eternity I live with only those who love as I know to love. If my soul dies I am glad now (I won’t know later because I will be dead with no awareness) because I would have been the exception to the rule and a forever irritant to everyone else. That law enforced pretty much guarantees heaven will be heavenly and not a living hell.

  • Herm

    How many Levites spoke for God the same as John Piper speaks for God today?

  • Herm

    ….explain!

  • Bones

    Have you?

  • Everett Kier Jr

    This is not only an uncharitable read it is the read of one who is simply not fair at all with the historic arguments. You can certainly disagree but to act with the condescending arrogance and biblical ignorance is sad and quite unbecoming of one who claims to be an expert or perhaps a scholar.

  • Herm

    Everett, could you enlighten us beyond casting dispersion? Perhaps, your studies and relationship with the Teacher are closer to the truth you seek to direct us to. Help us, please!

  • Herm

    Perhaps it is the cleansers who through usurped authority take it upon themselves to scrub the floor of religion who are the problem. Those who know spiritual is real, while having no personal knowledge of They of the Spirit, seem to want most to clean up the other juvenile authorities of mankind.

    Relax as a child of God trusting fully in the protection, providing and teaching of your divine family. We have our little chores in life, as we are nearly capable, but not the responsibility for life. We can represent our family best in going to our cross in love for our enemy but not by hitting our enemies over their head with our cross to cleanse this earth.

    Your heresy is with just cause but your proposed solution is not representative of our Lord God.

  • Felicia

    How do you understand and interpret Ezekiel 18? We can all pull out Bible passages to support our point of view but in a few places it says that the child will not die for the sins of the father.

  • Alexis

    That’s a good question. But it’s important, for everyone involved, to take the Bible as a whole. I’ll look into Ezekiel 18, but my original question has yet to be answered…and it’s also more than one passage. ;) So I understand the time it might be taking to answer it.

    But I do have a question for you, specifically, if you don’t mind. As I look into Ezekiel 18, would you be willing to tell me your understanding and interpretation of 2 Samuel 12:13-14?

  • Alexis

    I honestly don’t believe it’s too much to ask in light of what is true of Ben as made plain in his bio at the end of his posts. I just believe it’s important to have a thorough understanding of all of Scripture, and not just the parts that serve our purposes and various agendas. My intention is not to ignore, but simply to learn how Ben deals with those texts and better understand where he’s coming from.

    By the way, I’m a man.

    I sincerely hope you’re having a great day.

  • Alexis

    Hell is a real place…at least that’s what I understand from Scripture, maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t think it should be taken lightly? Idk, just me.

  • Alexis

    I’m interested in hearing Ben’s answer, if at all possible.

    Oh, cool. Would you mind summarizing your thoughts on this thread? Or at least pointing me in the right direction? Is there a way to link to your comments elsewhere?

  • Alexis

    In an attempt to find your treatment of 2 Samuel 12:13-14 (which I was still unable to), I obviously stumbled upon your other comments. I seem to have discovered that you do not believe Jesus is/was God…is that true?

  • Sorry about the gender confusion.

    Exegeting entire chapters takes a lot of work and time. Even exegeting a few verses takes a lot of work and time. While I agree with you that understanding all the biblical writings is important, it’s also not really fair to demand that someone go through all that time and effort to exegete three completely disparate chapters for what is essentially the purpose of explaining why those chapters don’t refute you.

    What would perhaps be more of a good faith effort would be if -you- presented an exegesis of those chapters detailing why Ben’s views are not permissible in light of that, and then Ben could respond if he felt the need to do so.

    I mean, this is basically like saying, “I could beat you up. Why don’t you take some time off from your job and fly out here and come to my house so I can prove it?”

  • I’m not completely sure how to do that. Does this work?

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/formerlyfundie/no_john_piper_god_doesn8217t_kill_babies_because_their_dad_looked_at_porn/#comment-3016963

    That’s the most recent version in a conversation with Sherlang. A bit further into the past, I talked about it with soter phile as well.

  • It’s not necessarily true. I’d call myself a Trinitarian by Default with Reservations.

    Basically, there are only about 2 to 4 passages that seem to make an arguable equation of Jesus and God, and all of them come from John’s writings. Further, the deity of Jesus does not really figure into any of the biblical significance of Jesus.

    I guess my answer would be, “Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter.”

  • Alexis

    Lol it’s really no problem. I’m used to it. It happens a lot, as I’m sure you could guess. Even the ministry I worked for messed it up a couple times haha. I genuinely appreciate your willingness to respond to me. I’m truly grateful for your thoughtful responses. However, i am still wanting to hear from Ben directly – if that’s still at all possible. If not, I completely understand. The truth is that he could simply say the same things you’ve said, just in his own words. Furthermore, your comment is not entirely accurate, because I’m simply wanting to know HIS perspective on those passages. I already know mine. I have personally wrestled with each text and arrived at my own conclusions (that sometimes God uses very difficult circumstances to discipline the children He loves). I’m truly wanting to learn. I already know we don’t agree on a great number of things (and I think it very unfair that he has such uncharitable views of Calvinists and leaves absolutely no room for disagreement)…but I am sincerely curious how he reconciles what he says in this article with what the Bible says in those chapters. They also aren’t ultimately or truly disparate, because the entire Bible is one comprehensive whole…together it all actually tells one dynamic story. If it helps, I’d more specifically care to hear his thoughts on Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, and Hebrews 12:4-11. The reason I mentioned the entire chapters is because I believe context matters. Even though it still happened, I didn’t want to be accused of taking passages of Scripture out of context, to manipulate them to say what I want them to say. I ask because I assume (maybe incorrectly or foolishly) that he’s already taken the time to study those passages before coming to his conclusions. I wasn’t necessarily wanting him to do new work to answer my question. I guess I was more simply asking him what his studies have shown regarding those passages. I apologize for the confusion.

  • Bones

    Hell is a bastardisation of the Jewish concept of Gehenna which was defined as judgement against Israel.
    The gospel writers understood that concept as being the destruction of the Temple in the 70CE. An incident which slaughtered and burned over a million Jews.

  • Herm
  • Food for Thought…

    What a terrible article and even more so some of the pathetic commentary that followed it… Goodness gracious people read and study your bibles better…

  • RonnyTX

    Realist1234 to Ronny:
    Ronny – you know I do not agree with the last half of your sentence, but I wont get into a further discussion on that subject.

    Ronny to Realist1234:
    Realist, you can see more why I believe that way now, on pages like tentmaker.org. And as I’ve said before, I used to believe in a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment; but I only believed that, because I was taught such, in the local church I grew up in. And I never got that teaching about hell, from God.

  • Bones

    Yeah you’re right.

    John piper is a knob.

  • otrotierra

    John Piper’s theology is indeed terrible, as Dr. Corey thoughtfully explained.

  • Bones

    I think it’s pretty arrogant to blame a baby’s death for watching porn or voting for Hilary or loving gays or whatever you’re pissed off with at the time.

  • Bones

    The real biblical concept of hell or gehenna was the judgement on Israel culminating in the destruction and burning of Jerusalem and the temple and over a million Jews slaughtered.

    Acts 5 is a wives tale aimed at those who are dishonest in giving. The sort of tale you’d hear from scammers like creflo dollar.
    1 corinthians 5 urges Christians not to have anything to do with slanders and greedy people. That’s basically us evangelicals right there.
    Hebrews 12 – which part? The part where the writer interprets hardship as discipline?

  • Herm

    Hey, help me out here. Take me through a few studies, would you, please?
    Okay if I consult my Teacher? It’s more than okay if you consult yours too.

  • RonnyTX

    Alexis to Bones:
    Hell is a real place…at least that’s what I understand from Scripture, maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t think it should be taken lightly? Idk, just me.

    Ronny to Alexis:
    Alexis, I used to believe in a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment; but I believed that, because I was taught such, in the church I grew up in and not because God/Jesus Christ taught me such. And when I was born of God, God gave me a love for all people and a desire that all people have the same type of relationship with God/Jesus Christ, as I then had. God gave me that; but the Calvinistic church I was in, taught me differently. Then later on in my life, God has simply been teaching me more, to follow God/Jesus Christ, and not some people, be they preachers or such like.
    A good webpage, with many articles about the falsity of hell, is tentmaker.org.

  • Snooterpoot

    How utterly condescending. People who don’t agree with you haven’t studied the Bible?

    SMH

  • Herm

    Are you reluctant to accept all children of God today, sisters and brothers of Christ Jesus, as divine?

  • Food for Thought…

    LOL! No… People who say things that are contrary to the obvious teachings in Scripture haven’t studied the Bible…. There indeed are some grey areas in Scripture but there are also things that are plainly black and white and the majority of the commentary that I read on here and the article as well speaks to the fact that the people making such remarks don’t even know the black and whites so the comment still stands…. And I am not concerned with whether people think it is condescending or not (God can deal with me if that is the case) I am concerned about standing up and defending Truth that commentary and this article proves plainly that they are devoid of knowing. Blessings!

  • Food for Thought…

    Well maybe if you had an ounce of humility in you we could do that but I’ll leave you alone in your liberal arrogance.

  • Food for Thought…

    You probably could list 5 things about the man’s theology. You probably just read this article and possibly a few other heretical blogs and now think you’re an expert. SMH…

  • Food for Thought…

    And he still knows the Bible far better than you and the writer of this article… That much is painfully clear.

  • Bones

    Farewell John Piper….

    The guy wouldn’t know his arse from his elbow….

    Love the way he and Grudem changed the text to make the female apostle Junia fit in with their ideology…

  • Herm

    arrogant – adjective – having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.
    synonyms: haughty, conceited, self-important, egotistic, full of oneself, superior; … More

    Mr. “Food for Thought”, you are one lazy arrogant fool. I am serious, very serious, share some of that “black and white” scripture with me, please. If you had a clue that God is real and in your midst you would be seriously searching. I am not here to convince you that you are wrong and blind but to point the real way to the only Word of God and the Spirit of truth you have apparently missed in your certainty of scripture. God will not deal with you until you are no more. That may be fine with you but others here really do wish to know God from within that your haughty nature impedes by your imposing your ignorant self-important authority on others, some who know better here and some who do not. If you are ready to learn from scripture how to find once and for all time the Teacher then I will help you get there as a little child of God.

  • I have listened to Piper’s sermons, watched interviews and read from his blogs. I was impressed when I first heard him and am aware of the awe in which people hold him as a Bible teacher. Yes, he knows his bible far better than I do and I respect his learning but over the years I have been struck by the unjustified certainty he has in what he teaches. I know where his response to this man comes from. He believes in a sovereign God who, because he is the author of all things, has the right to give and take life.

    He is justified in that belief by the scriptures but the mistake he makes is that he takes an underlying truth and applies it without moderation. The prophets say, “who are you, clay, to object to how God uses you”. There are other scriptures that say similar things. I presume he then takes examples such as David’s affair with Bathsheba and because it fits neatly with his sovereignty theology he has a biblical case for saying that God may well have caused the miscarriage.

    But nowhere in the NT can he find justification for what he says. And even if, in his own mind, he can justify his position what is he doing presenting that to a grieving father? Jesus questioned the entire teaching of the OT, not to deny it was God’s word but to challenge its interpretation. The disciples wondered whose sin had caused a man to be born blind and Jesus challenged the very root of the question.

    Yours and John Piper’s confidence in the scriptures has merit but is misplaced. It is more dangerous than obvious heresy because it has an appearance of authenticity. Its the error of the Pharisees where you strain gnats and swallow camels. Piper’s teaching bears the bitter fruit of arrogance and control – like the father who thinks of himself as strict but fair when he is really a bully and a control freak.

  • Dean

    A Calvinist unconcerned with coming across as condescending! How refreshing!

  • Food for Thought…

    Yawn…

  • Dean

    There’s nothing like an anti-Piper post to get under the skin of a Calvinist, I think you wouldn’t get more anger and vitriol if you were to impugn Jesus H. Christ himself. The problem with Piper is that he’s too smart for his own good, but not as smart as he thinks. He needs to be filter every biblical text through his Calvinist framework, and the more absurd the conclusion, the more convinced he is of its veracity, because after all, we are fallen creatures and we can’t rely on our own common sense. So basically, he would rather believe something as absurd as God killing babies (for any reason) or sending tornadoes to punish people for gay marriage because he thinks the Bible requires him to believe these kinds of crazy things rather than ask whether they actually make any sense (using logic, reason, tradition and the literal words of Jesus as recorded in the NT). I mean you can’t even take the literal words of Jesus for face value in Calvinism, you have to translate it through their Calvinists matrix. There are absolutely hints of Islam in Calvinism, they hate admitting it, but “submission” to the absolute sovereignty of God (or your pastor, or your husband, both of whom are the next closest thing) feels a lot lot Islam and pretty much nothing like Christianity.

  • Food for Thought…

    There’s the love and grace I knew you had in you… Such is the fruit of “salvation” yeah mate? LMBO!

  • Snooterpoot

    No. People say things that don’t conform to your interpretation of the Bible. It is arrogant beyond words to accuse people who disagree with you of not studying the Bible.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “There indeed are some grey areas in Scripture but there are also things that are plainly black and white”
    Yet, the amazing thing is it is still your interpretation as to which is which, and maintaining that those who don’t see the same black and white things as you “haven’t studied the Bible” is uncharitably poor witness at best and arrogance at worst.

    Pretending you’ve got the specific handle on “Truth” when it comes to others’ faiths is the height of hubris.

    But, y’know, you capped it all off with “Blessings!” so it’s clearly said with love. /sarcasm

  • Jeff Preuss

    After a quick scan of your comments, it appears you bring precious little to the conversation save assorted insults, so “I’ll leave you alone in your…arrogance.”

    Except, unlike you, I’ll keep my word. Blessings!

  • Food for Thought…

    Nice. After you yourself demonstrated that you are indeed a much more charitable witness than I am and oh so less arrogant. And I guess based on your logic no one can have a handle on Truth… To each is own right? Or perhaps it’s who really knows what truth is? Or I am sure you have some kind of explanation for it… And how thoughtful of you to cap off your comments with the same “blessings” to assure me that your comments are so much more filled with love than mine… Indeed so so thoughtful of you…. May be the most loving response I’ve read on this thread today…As we say here in Europe….Bravo!

  • Food for Thought…

    Muslims and Jehovah’s witnesses have their take on the Bible too…Are their interpretations valid too even though they spit in the face of orthodox Christian belief and the Gospel of Jesus? Not so much.

    Secondly, if you read my comment I didn’t say they didn’t study the Bible, I said they need to study the Bible better… And based on the comments I still 100% stand by that statement… Using basic healthy hermenuetical practice to study and interpret the Bible one would not come up with half of the things people are chiming in on and saying and secondly wouldn’t be coming up with interpretation that resonate more with the mindset of sola cultura rather than sola scriptura… I am sorry you feel that saying this is arrogant, but I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I retracted such a statement amidst such commentary… Take care.

  • Dean

    It’s not that no one can have a handle on Truth, I always find that argument odd coming from a Protestant Christian. It’s whether you have any authority over me in terms of what I should or shouldn’t believe. The answer is you don’t. All you have are arguments. Actually, I haven’t even seen any of those from you in this thread either. ;) But if you did, and they’re good, then people will agree with you. If they are not persuasive, then they will be rejected. Appealing to the authority of your interpretation of scripture, no matter how clear you think it is, doesn’t really do anything for most people, except maybe if you famous enough I guess, like Piper. Then you can just say anything you want and people will treat it like coming from the mouth of God.

    I guess I don’t even understand why you would even make this kind of assertion, isn’t it just begging the question? It’s just noise, people will just ignore it, so why bother with it?

  • Herm

    I would guess you don’t really care?!?! As far as food for thought is concerned you’re all empty calories. Good luck!

  • HelenaConstantine

    Where the hell did you get the idea that god can’t lie?

    Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:23
    Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets. 2 Chronicles 18:22

    Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people. Jeremiah 4:10

    O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived. Jeremiah 20:7

    And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet. Ezekiel 14:9

    For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:11

  • Snooterpoot

    So, you’ll be able to sleep knowing that your interpretation of the Bible, which has been reinterpreted countless times, is the only one that is correct and the rest of us are just ignorant?

    Sobeit. I guess my three years of study in a seminary based course called Education for Ministry doesn’t count with you.

  • Food for Thought…

    When did I say anything about your personal interpretation? My original comment was something general not all inclusive… I said specifically “some of the pathetic commentary” not all…

    Moreover could you at least afford me the courtesy of answering my previous question regarding Bible interpretation by Muslims, JW’s, Mormon’s an the like? It just seems like you think that it is wrong to hold onto the idea that there is a proper interpretation of Scripture and I am just trying to understand your logic here.

    And I am glad to hear that you have studied the Bible and hope you continue to do so. Rightfully dividing the Word of Truth is what we are all called to do. Cheers!

  • Snooterpoot

    I don’t think there is one specific interpretation of the Bible that is correct. Every denomination has its own. If it didn’t there wouldn’t be but one, would there?

    I don’t agree with the interpretations by the denominations you listed or with the Islamic interpretation of the Christian Bible. I do think that everyone who reads it does get something from it, but I also think that when we read and study the Bible we do that from the lens of our own biases. It’s human nature.

    Again, you seem to think that your interpretation is correct and others are wrong. Maybe we can agree on at least one verse.

    1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

  • Food for Thought…

    For the record brother I am not a huge Piper fan. But I do respect the man and his handle on the Scriptures more than I do the author of this blog for sure.

    And you are right when you say that I don’t have any authority over you or anyone else. But the Scriptures are authoritative and God has not made them all illusive and all subject to our own interpretations so that we are all sitting around wondering what is the Truth and what isn’t. Sure, there are nuances and difficult passages that are more subject to different interpretations… But God has given us His revelated Word through Scripture so that we can know Him and be reconciled to Him. So when it comes to things like Gospel Truth and things like Justification through faith alone, the doctrine of repentance and regeneration, etc… I don’t need anything more than the authority of the Scriptures themselves to proclaim them and yes to call others to them as well…. And if you are a believer in Christ… You do too.

    This idea that no one has authority to proclaim Truth from the Scriptures is very much a post-modern idea that tries to eliminate the idea of absolute Truth and any kind of authority that comes with it. And if that’s where you stand, that’s fine. But I would argue such thinking is not supported by Scripture but maybe that’s just me…. What do I know? Apparently I am just a disgruntled Piper fan/Calvinist according to most of the people dialogging with me on here… (Even though not a single person has even asked) Cheers mate!

  • Food for Thought…

    Of course I agree with the Scripture being quoted… It is rather black and white, no?

    And I agree with you about reading the Scripture with our own biasis and through the lens of both our generations and cultures that we reside in. That being said we must realize this and approach Bible interpretation by looking both at the original intent and context of the text and then how it has been interpreted throughout church history. If our interpretations fall way outside the lines of what has been interpreted from the texts then it is highly likely that we are being more influenced by our own contexts and lenses more than what God is actually speaking through His Word. Sure, there are bumps in the road throughout history (slavery is a good example) but for the most part this is a very proven method for Bible interpretation.

    I have to disagree with you that it is simply a free for all in terms of how we interpret it. God is a God of order not chaos. And He also is not a God of confusion and much of what He desires to be revealed in His Word is clear and is luminated by the Holy Spirit.

    You are wrong when you say that I am against all who don’t believe exactly as I do. I have friends that fall in the Pentecostal/Charismatic world, free will Baptists, and Calvinists alike… There are indeed many things we can disagree upon and still love one another. At the same time, there are things that are crystal clear and non-negotiable that we as Christians cannot disagree upon or leave for interpretation…. And in that is where there is no room for compromise on my part.

  • Herm

    Food for Thought you wrote, “God is a God of order not chaos. And He also is not a God of confusion and much of what He desires to be revealed in His Word is clear and is luminated by the Holy Spirit.

    This is chaos:

    Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

    Matthew 10:34-39

    This is chaos:

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

    And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:26-27

    This is the only Way to, in and with the Teacher:

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21

    You appear to be a theologian of your own personal common sense, your family and/or your church founded on theology but you do not appear to be a student of Christ. You live in your own head not in the Spirit of truth, the Word or the scriptures pointing to each. You have yet to share your studies from the Bible but tell everyone else how they are lacking in their biblical studies.

    Do you get away with Pharisaical authority often? Use scripture if you are going to criticize other’s interpretations of scripture, please. “Illuminated” by the fruit you offer here you do not see the Spirit of truth nor do you know him.

  • Bones

    Yeah cause historical Christianity has never been wrong about anything…apart from…everything.

    Try antisemitism as well.

  • Bones

    Chaos is Christianity.

    Each little pope thinking they have divine authority.

  • Thank you for the careful and thought out critique.

  • Oh no. Piper’s very popular among Reformed Christians in the Netherlands; I’m pretty sure my MIL loves him.

  • Bones

    Never heard of him over here. Just read about him on us blogs.

    There aren’t many reform types here unlike in the Dutch reformed church.

  • Snooterpoot

    Any time I hear Christians say that the Bible is crystal clear I know that people who are LGBT are about to get slammed.

    No, Food, that’s what you believe, and my beliefs are no less valid than yours.

    I think that we are done here. Each of us is firm in our beliefs and neither of our minds will be changed.

    Peace be with you.

  • Food, I am a day behind on the discussion, but it seems you’ve stirred a hornet’s nest. I’ve backed up through the discussion and am still unsure as to what we are arguing about. Are you defending Piper’s statement, or are you complaining that Ben’s article is unfair? What exactly is the “Truth” in which “there is no room for compromise?” I have to agree with your above statement as far as I can understand it, even as a Progressive.

    If you feel Ben’s article is unfair I can somewhat sympathize, as it is not entirely clear how he gets from Piper’s statement about porn-punishment to rejecting all of Calvinism. That would take a book or two, rather than a simple blog post.

    I grew up Pentecostal, and still consider myself to be one. Piper’s comment is not just typical of Calvinism, however. Toxic comments like that have permeated Arminian branches of Christendom as well. Calvinists do not have a corner on legalism.

    The take away from Ben’s article should be…Christians hold your leadership accountable. Be aware of teachers who preach a toxic form of theology. Consider whether a doctrine hurts others or brings healing and wholeness.

    I like Ben Corey, partly because he raises questions. I am not sure that claiming Calvinism needs to be jettisoned is a realistic suggestion. Perhaps it is hyperbole on his part. I do pray that Calvinists begin to rethink some of their beliefs that present God as less than moral.

  • Dean

    I appreciate the thoughtful response, I understand where you are coming from, I grew up in a conservative tradition as well. But here’s the thing, for a long time Christians did believe that someone had authority to proclaim the truth of scripture and impose that on others, he was called the Pope. So you can still opt for that if you like, but something tells me you don’t like that option.

    James White, who I’m sure you are familiar with, likes to say this thing about scripture that always makes me scratch my head, he likes to say that Christians must affirm the perspicuity of scripture. I’ve never understood what he is getting at when he says this and it sounds like you are saying something similar. My question is in what way is a story perspicuous? In what way is a poem perspicuous? In what way is a creation myth perspicuous? I don’t pick on Calvinists for the fun of it, but you guys sometimes say things that just make no sense. The reason that the Bible is so resilient, the reason it is able to speak to so many people in so many nations, cultures, time zones, time periods, across millennia, is precisely because people read their own stories into it. Yes, they read their own subjective stories into the Bible, you do that every day, we all do that. So what I see Calvinists doing is really something that undermines the power of the Bible in an effort to assert power over other believers, the kind of power the Reformers wrested from Rome, but that they themselves fell victim to in the end as well.

    Look, I’m not saying there is no objective Truth, what I’m saying is that the primary purpose of the Bible is not to convey a systematic theology or dogma, that’s always been religion’s job. The Bible is a collection of stories from people who had an encounter with God. The Church, through the Holy Spirit, found it useful to bring those stories together for our edification. We use those stories to understand who God is and how to worship and serve him and for guidance on how we should comport ourselves in this world. I just think the minute you use the Bible as a hammer against other people or fellow Christians, it loses it’s power. It’s not a weapon, it’s a gift, and you don’t impose gifts on people, you just give it to them, and it either benefits the recipient or it doesn’t. Am I saying it’s a free for all? Of course not, I affirm all the creeds. But it’s a discourse, and that is exactly in line with the tradition of those who wrote those books to begin with

    So if you want to reject post-modernity, that’s fine, I’m not asking you embrace it. But before you lecture me about that, maybe you need to take a second look and see whether a lot of your beliefs about what the Bible is and what it does is not rooted in modernity, something equally foreign to the writers of the Bible. The writers of the Bible were clearly not concerned with concepts like “inerrancy” or “historicity” or “Calvinism” or “systematic theology”. Do you really think Moses or whoever wrote Genesis was a supralapsarian or an infralapsarian?!? The concepts themselves are absurd and once you start thinking and writing about them you know you’re deep in the rabbit hole! These are products of modernity, they are absolutely not found in scripture or supported by scripture. This is primarily why I don’t like Calvinism, it’s because it has elevated a system over the actual text of the Bible and the traditions that we have inherited, and once you buy into that system, you need to read the Bible in conformity with that system, no matter how strained and ridiculous your conclusions might be. That is why this blog post resonated with me, because it reveals how far away systematic theology can take you from the heart of God. This is just one example, maybe a silly one, but there are many more.

  • Excellent! Thank you.

  • Scifigal777

    But apparently God didn’t have a problem with killing a baby as a result of adultery/rape (David and Bathsheba). God of the Bible is just as worse if not more worse than the god of Islam. He’s fine with genocide, rape, murder, stealing etc.

    Jesus and the NT isn’t much of an improvement. He’s fine with hurting/killing/eating animals (I’m an ethical vegan), slavery and beating people, verbal abuse, domestic abuse (no divorce except for adultery). There’s plenty of NT evidence that God is fine with killing people when they lie, of subordinating women, and in general, the Bible at best ignores LGBT people and at worst is against LGBT people. Not to mention passages that degrade and makes fun of people who are atheists or follow other religions and flat out lie about them. (Not that saying that all religions are true but plenty of intelligent logical people believe what they believe not because they’re suppressing the truth, but because that’s what they honestly believe.)

    I do enjoy Girard’s theory of the myth of redemptive violence and scapegoating, but it feels like trying to superimpose a belief on texts that they don’t support.

    I really want there to be a God, and really want that God to be good. I like the idea of God becoming human and becoming one of us. I want to believe there’s an afterlife, and I want to believe in a cosmic restorative justice. But I just don’t know how.

    (Ironically, I believe in non-violence and became a vegan because of Greg Boyd.)

  • Food for Thought…

    Yeah my original comment was more about the article being unfair and SOME of the comments that followed it. It was not ever intended to be a defense of Piper (although I still think the man has a brilliant mind for the Scriptures and should be treated with the same respect that some people on here seemingly accuse him of not having)

    I also spent the first 12 years or so of my Christian walk in the Pentecostal/Charismatic world and still hold heavily to a lot of those roots. But even though that is the case I have since drifted towards Reformed thinking in many ways… That being said, I am still nowhere near what many in this thread have accused me of being. I think the whole discussion between Calvinism and Arminianism is more of a mystery and an argument that will be in play until Christ returns and I am way ok with that.

    What I am not ok with is articles like this being written where the author is clearly in attack mode before he even wrote it and it serves as more of a rallying call for the troops than anything constructive… Followed by the troops trampling on the Scriptures to jump all over a guy together. This is easily proven by just looking how everyone on here is jumping all over me for simply saying that the article is terrible and so are SOME of the pathetic comments written on here and challenging THOSE particular people to study their Bibles better. But whatever, it is all good. It just proves my point to begin with in many ways.

    But I appreciated your approach and the way you talked to me from the get go so I responded to you. Much love bro!

  • Food for Thought…

    Clearly.

  • Bones

    A Calvinist parroting on about humility and arrogance….

    Oh the irony…..

  • Bones

    Farewell Food for Thought…..

  • Food for Thought…

    lol. Do you have anything original to bring to the table or do you just enjoy mocking John Piper?

    Anyways, enjoy your Christmas.

  • Food for Thought…

    Take a look at yourself before you assume I don’t care. Do you think your tone and posture with me was one that was inviting or loving? The funny thing is, is y’all are all slamming me because of my original comment which was general and never named any of you specifically for anything… You guys are all cool with one another because y’all agree with each other… But the moment someone comes on here with a little bit of a more conservative stance out come the labels and direct accusations. But it’s all good… At the least I hope and pray that you guys do more for the Kingdom than just comment on online blogs and things of the like. That will do more than any of all of this will. Peace bro.

  • Food for Thought…

    I am not 100% a Calvinist nor am I 100% an Arminianist. But thanks for assuming.

  • Bones

    No problem. You reformed types are all the same.

  • Bones

    Nah…now I’m mocking you….

    Have a great xmas.

    farewell john piper

  • Herm

    Food for Thought, this was very pointed:

    What a terrible article and even more so some of the pathetic commentary that followed it… Goodness gracious people read and study your bibles better

    This from me in response was an invitation to allow you to offer rebuttal from your Bible hoping you would help us study our Bibles better:

    Hey, help me out here. Take me through a few studies, would you, please?

    Okay if I consult my Teacher? It’s more than okay if you consult yours too.

    Instead of bringing out the Bible this was your off the cuff response:

    Well maybe if you had an ounce of humility in you we could do that but I’ll leave you alone in your liberal arrogance.

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    Acts 4:31

    Maybe, just maybe, if you were filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit you would see the error of your ways. Perhaps you would have noticed in your opening statement to this thread, contrary to “my original comment which was general and never named any of you specifically for anything“, in actuality you specifically named Dr. Benjamin L. Corey derogatorily without evidence.

    My Bro and Sis is Dr. Corey and all the children of God including the only begotten Son of God. If you want to speak your feelings and thoughts in this house prepare to back them up. Where is your Bible that points to the Word of God? By your fruit the Word is not in you.

    We do love you even when you make it brutally clear it is not reciprocal.

  • Herm

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

    Matthew 10:34-39

  • Summers-lad

    Ronny, I’m so glad you have been saved from your Calvinist beliefs!
    But one thing that struck me when I read Gregory Macdonald’s “The Evangelical Universalist” was that it could almost persuade me of Calvinism – not, obviously, the limited atonement teaching of Calvinism, which is abhorrent, but the emphasis on the sovereignty of God. A strong strand in the book is that if God wants everyone to be saved (e.g. 1 Timothy 2:4), then that will happen.

  • Summers-lad

    Jaarontyler, I’m sorry I’ve not had time to come back here for a bit. I can’t give you a definite answer (remember the story I told about when I thought I had it all sussed?) But my pointers would be along the lines of:
    1. In Christ we are freed from the Law – not freed to do whatever evil we like, but freed for righteousness. Therefore holding on to a legalistic approach (“some of these laws must still apply”) is to hold on to something short of the gospel. However, there are lots of obvious dangers in this, so it only makes any sense with:-
    2. God writes God’s law in our hearts (Hebrews 8:10), so aligning our desires with God’s. But obviously:-
    3. We still only see in part, and are prone to claiming “God says…” when he doesn’t, so perhaps we need to focus on faith being as much a journey of exploration with God as a following of rules. So to answer your main question, perhaps it’s more about exploration and relationship than legal or intellectual clarity, and God means it to be that way.
    I’m still not well practiced in this so these are pointers to me too. I would add that the law still works well as a kind of safety net against getting our lives all wrong, and that Jesus’s summary of the law as “Love God and love your neighbour as yourself” is pretty much key to everything else.
    I hope this helps.

  • Summers-lad

    “There is NO LAW from the OT that applies to a person who chooses to trust Jesus to forgive him/her. Period!!!” That’s too radical and uncomfortable for most of us, but I think you’re right, with the proviso that “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself” definitely applies.
    Btw, in your Narnia illustration, it was Edmund, not Eustace.

  • jkarov

    The god of the old Testament commanded the Israelites to murder women, children, and babies.

    I’ve yet to encounter any Christian or Jew that can justify 1 Samuel 15:3.

    Even in war, soldiers won’t kill civilian women, never mind a child or a baby

  • jkarov

    Apologies to Pilate, but what exactly is Truth?

    Should I fail to abide by your version of it, am I immediately condemned and damned to hell?

    Is your belief system the *only * one in the world that is valid, and are all other humans that exist now, or have existed , doomed forever to eternal punishment?

  • jkarov

    Please explain how a merciful and compassionate god can justify murdering women, children, and babies
    1 Samuel 15:3

    Please explain how taking virgins in war and raping them is evidence of a compassionate god
    Judges 21:10-24

    Please explain the condoning of slavery in the New Testament
    Ephesians 6:5

    Please explain how beating a slave to death is punishable, but beating them within an inch of death, is evidence of a compassionate god.
    Exodus 21:20

    Please explain how women being utterly subservient is evidence of anything but the misogyny and prejudice of a supremely bigoted Pharisee like Paul of Tarsus

    Ephesians 5:22.

  • Angelo Frontier

    I would simply ask you how is it that God doesn’t wipe us all out as people who have sinned against Him and violated His Holy law…. The fact that He allows any of us to live is mercy and compassion.

  • jkarov

    I notice you did not address, or answer any of the questions or points I raised.

    I notice that you simply resort to a threat of death for us humans. Even those of us who might dare to buy the old and new testament in the original languages, and study them in depth as I have done for many years.

    I lost 3/4 of my family in the 1940’s due the monstrosity of the holocaust, and am no stranger to death and destruction, but that was by the insanity of man, not an unseen god.

    What kind of response is this, if not one of ignoring the plain words of the very book you (apparently ) hold as sacred, immutable, and true in all times, for all people?

    I am a direct descendant of those long dead desert tribes of Israel.
    I have long studied our traditions and those of many other religions.

    If you are afraid to engage in discussion, but merely hold a threat of death by a vengeful god, how much influence will you have and what kind of witness are you?