The Serious Problems With Using Ecclesiastes 3 To Justify Christian Support of War & Violence

The Serious Problems With Using Ecclesiastes 3 To Justify Christian Support of War & Violence May 19, 2016

War or Peace

I’ve heard a lot of reasoning over the years regarding Christian support of things like war, violence, and gun slinging. I’ve seen the Bible bent into a giant pretzel, watched folks do theological gymnastics, and I’ve seen the teachings of Jesus on the matter outright dismissed– over, and over again.

thought I had addressed all of the counter arguments over the years, but a new one is emerging and being used more and more frequently: the use of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 to justify the Christian’s support of war and violence.

Even the casual Bible reader probably knows this passage well, as it became the hit song, Turn, Turn, Turn, by the Byrds, which is still an iconic song of the 60’s. The biblical passage (and the song) goes like this:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

So, here’s how this is starting to be used in Christian discussions about guns, war, and violence: When Christian A puts forth the nonviolent teachings of Jesus, Christian B retorts by posting this passage in reply. The inferred argument is, “Jesus couldn’t have really meant that, because Ecclesiastes says there’s a time to kill and a time for war.”

Let me quickly outline the serious problems with this argument:

First, it ignores Jesus! The act of rebutting Jesus using other passages of Scripture should be a major red flag in the mind of any believer. If Jesus is the living Word of God and the Wisdom of God, then we begin with what Jesus taught us. This is what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists– we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. When one rejects the face value teaching and example of Christ in favor of other passages or people in Scripture, it’s a good indication that such a person may like Jesus the Savior but not Jesus the Lord– and unfortunately, this thing is a package deal.

Second, it ignores the poetic nature of the passage. This passage became a hit song because it’s actually quite beautiful and insightful as a piece of literature. The author poetically describes the many seasons of life he has observed, and invites us into his inner thought process as he reflects on these deep questions. The result is certainly beautiful.

Finally, using this passage to trump Jesus falls flat, as it ignores things the author of Ecclesiastics totally got wrong. Because the poem describes the extremes that exist in life, there’s something in the passage that everyone will likely find disagreement with, and stuff that I believe a Christian should flat out reject as being wrong.

For example, when I first went to Bible college 20+ years ago, I tried to make the argument that we should be allowed to dance because the Bible says, “there’s a time to dance.” Of course, they rejected this argument and reminded me that even Satan knows Scripture and how to twist it. (But strangely when they got to the lines about hating, killing, and war, the passage all of a sudden became the “final authority for faith and Christian living.”)

But let’s look at a few more serious examples:

Do you really think there’s a time to hate? If Jesus commanded us to love God, love our neighbors, and love our enemies, I can’t think of anyone we’re allowed to hate. Thus, this passage cannot be read as a prescriptive command from God as to how to live, because according to Jesus, there’s not a time to hate.

Or, if one reads beyond the more famous lines of this passage, we find a few other things I hope we’d reject. In verse 12 he says that there’s, “nothing better than for people to be happy” and as a Christian I would categorically deny that our existence here on this earth has the highest goal of our own happiness. Surely, Jesus promised not happiness– but that the consequences of following him would great, including poverty, jail, and death.

In addition, the author states in verses 19-21 that humans have “no advantage” over animals and that he doesn’t know if the human spirit “rises upwards” or if the animal spirit “goes down to the earth.” I would hope that as Christians we’d reject such shoulder shrugging as to wether or not our fate after death is any better or different than an animal.

Finally, in that same set of verses, the author says that “everything is meaningless.” But do we really believe that life is meaningless? That it has no point? I certainly don’t see how “everything is meaningless” can fit within a Christian narrative– the opposite would be far more likely to be true.

Thus, to use Ecclesiastes 3 to justify the Christian supporting war and violence is one of the weakest arguments one could make. It completely ignores what Jesus said about things. It also completely ignores the context of the passage– someone poetically thinking about loud in the 3rd Century BCE as to whether or not life has meaning, and who wonders if we will share the same fate as animals. Finally, it ignores things the author simply got wrong about life– it’s not meaningless, and surely for the Christian, the highest goal of life isn’t the pursuit of personal happiness.

Can we please stop using this passage as an American Christian go-to passage to justify our support of war and violence? Because the passage doesn’t actually work that way.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • JD

    Thank you for this. I’ve also noticed the trend of this being the go-to for those wishing to rationalize violence.

  • Andrew

    “When we reject the face value teachings of Jesus it suggests that we like Jesus the savior not Jesus the lord”. Ok fair point, but a face value reading also suggests that we should cut out our own eyes for even a split second lustful thought (Matthew 5:28-29) and that we should sell all our possesions, right down to the clothes on our backs, and give the money to the poor (Matthew 19:21). Some things are obvious hyperbole, and while forgiveness is central to the gospel, turn the other cheek is obvious hyperbole.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for the lesson. I still struggle with the proper interpretation of the Old Testament so this post was very helpful.

    I’m wondering if you have written anything in the past that discusses the theme of violence in the Old Testament overall? I did an archive search but nothing came up.

    Thanks in advance Benjamin.

  • Matthew

    Why is turning the other cheek hyperbole but what Benjamin quotes is not?

  • Nimblewill

    You have heard it said…………………………?

  • Nimblewill

    I might agree with you if Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross? Turning the other cheek is not hyperbole. It’s Love.

  • Andrew

    What he is quoting is poetry. I thought that was established?

  • Andrew

    Jesus went to the cross to save us. And by the way you can love everybody without being a doormat.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    It’s amazing how many ‘literalists’ take, as you say, Dr. Ben, poetic passages, loving pastoral greetings (3 John, where the man merely says “Hey, dear folks! Hope this finds you well in everything!” and build an entire worldview from it…

    And, with Ecclesiastes, isn’t the author giving a very poetic observation on the human condition? … The Buddha, according to various sutras and suttas, said very much the same… was never a set of commands, but an enlightened observation.

    Yet, so many will take an observation on how things always seem to be (what’s old is new again), and work it around as though it’s some sort of mandate from God.

    Sad…

  • Paul Julian Gould

    ‘Qoholeth’ (Ecclesiastes), is, from my perspective, a very world-weary observation on how humans seem to have always been, as shown by that passage that inspired that lovely song

    Pete Seeger actually wrote the music and sang it from the stage years before the Byrds’ top list hit… Just sayin’ The dear man was decidedly not a ‘Christian,’ yet had no axe to grind with those who profess the path. I used to work for EWTN back in the late 80’s… We aired a program where the late, beloved Mr. Seeger was a guest… He said that really the only issue he has with the premise is that rather than ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ he believed ‘In the beginning was the Beat’ and proceeded to sing “We shall overcome” with a bit of soul… *smile*

    So many seem to spend so much time and effort, leaving little for more worthwhile pursuits, parsing every book in that ancient library, to pick out passages (justifying that as “it’s all God’s word anyway”… yes… I’ve actually heard that, verbatim, from those who claimed the usual clerical titles, however presumptiously), working it all around to either be a command (for other people, or if personal, to use against other people), some sort of promise that they can browbeat God with “But you promised!”, and use many passages ripped out and kludged together to use as an excuse for how poorly they treat their fellow creatures.

    Again, sad… and sorry for launching into a rant… I’ve got history going back to the late 70’s and early 80’s through early 90’s in the midst of some of the most vocal among the vibe. Still get the occasional verses (usually from Sha’ul of Tarsus… seldom from Rabbi Jesus… Still hurts at times)

  • I haven’t on the blog, but I do in my upcoming book, so I have been saving some of that content to be exclusively in the book. When it comes out though I’ll be blogging some bonus content at that time.

  • EmmettEldred

    I think your argument is right, but I think people who have the “inerrant word of God” disposition towards scripture might lose you when you make the argument by saying that the author of Ecclesiastes was wrong about some things. I agree with you, but I think we can also come to the conclusion that you’re making without saying that parts of scripture are wrong.

    This scripture says “everything has its season,” but isn’t a major theme of the transition from Old Testament to New the making of things news? Therefore, with the advent of Jesus comes the changing of seasons in this world. I think seasonal change is an apt analogy for the transformations Jesus brought to the world. Just as Jesus reveals who God has always really been and will always really be, so does the blooming of Spring reveal the beauty that has been within leafless trees all along, even if we couldn’t see it in winter.

    So if seasonal change is a theme of how Christ changes the world, that same seasonal progression should be brought to this passage, where we can see that while there was once a time for killing, Christ has brought about a time for healing, and while there was once a season of War, Christ has brought a season of peace.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Not the only passage that’s abused, my friend, but I do realize the good Doctor is speaking of only this one…

    Again, as stated, I’ve heard from the pulpit and radio program so often, “It’s all God’s word, anyway” and by that, assume the case is closed.

    Thought the Tanakh and New Testament were intended to teach… sad that they are used as weapons – many times lethal ones at that.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    And, no, as said elsewhere, I make no claim to being a ‘Christian.’ I am an unaffiliated (with the usual 4 paths), and non-Messianic pretty independent Jewish guy… I try to learn wisdom from any positive source, and, contrary to some of my heritage, I can appreciate Jesus as an enlightened rabbi… any other accretions really aren’t that important to me, as I believe I’ll be taught about what I’ve had mistaken, just not on this side of the veil.

    My preference is more for Jesus’ predecessor, R. Hillel, who put forth many of the same concepts, and the ‘RAMBAM,’ or, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, commonly called Maimonides.

    Just some intro for any who I’ve not had the pleasure of knowing. I dig this blog, and where Dr. Ben’s head and heart are at… we just seem to differ over terminology and sometimes emphasis… *gentle smile*

  • Matthew

    Thanks again Benjamin. I look forward to both the book and the subsequent blog posts.

  • Ron McPherson

    Well I am a Christian (Christ follower as I believe he is the risen son of God). And I for one am glad you’re here. Plenty of room at the table : )

  • Ron McPherson

    Speaking of books, my friend still hasn’t returned Undiluted that she borrowed. I had highlighted portions of my copy with notes and such. Guess I should have told her to buy her own. Would have helped both you and me ha

  • Ron McPherson

    Well his disciples and the early church apparently didn’t take the ‘turn the other cheek’ thing as hyperbole. Not saying I do a good job with it myself, but I think much of Americanized Christianity is a watered down version to make it easier on ourselves. Sad to say it, cause I’m as guilty as anyone I guess. But Jesus’ sayings were hard stuff and obeying them would distinguish us from the world.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Thank you, friend Ron (assuming a friendship between folks of goodwill… *smile*)

    I have great respect for honorable folks who follow whom I call the “Holy Carpenter.” I respect and honor his teachings, contrary to some who follow my path… I do understand at least a bit of the antipathy, as those that didn’t follow my grandfather David from Galicia (Poland/Ukraine) early in the century, have been fertilizing Polish topsoil for a couple of generations (Poland won the coin-toss… *smile*) I honor the faith and heritage of my adoptive father (at birth… I know no other earthly father), and that of his ancestors… As Pop was rather spiritually eclectic, but very private regarding such, but always encouraged me to explore… He would have liked me to have a Bar Mitzvah, but my black-Irish, Southern Baptist mother was sort of averse to that… May do so, in honor of my father and his family, but, as I’ll be not the healthiest 60 February next, I don’t think it would be wise to try for a couple of decades hence… *smile*

    I’m rather an explorer, never an atheist for deeply personal and unprovable reasons, and have found a comfortable chair in the faith of my fathers… just can’t abide dogmatism, and have only sympathy for those who believe they’ve got the whole thing figured out.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    When my time comes to speak for myself on the other side, I have no doubt I’ll be corrected and taught about whatever I’ve gotten wrong over here. As I do, above all else, try to abide by the Sh’ma:

    “Sh’ma, Yisroel
    Adonai Elohaynu
    Adonai Echod

    Baruch Shem K’vod
    Malch’utov
    L’Olam Va’Ared”

    “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God
    The Lord is One
    And you shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”

    And the “negatively” stated by R. Hillel “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor” and the positive counterpart by R. Jesus that you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (2 sides, same coin)… To even be interested to try to apply both is takes up more time than to have any left to heresy hunt and enforce compliance, as seems to be the desire of so many.

  • Yes, let’s build doctrinal positions out of poetic reflection.

    God CAN’T be a spirit, because He has nostrils. Ex. 15.

    I’d also like to see people make this argument apply statements in Ecclesiastes as absolutistic, timeless truths. Is all of life meaningless? Does the same destiny await us all? Is it pointless to leave an inheritance for your children?

  • At the end of the day, there’s still the fundamental matter that engaging in violent conflict reluctantly, as a matter of an absolute last resort done for the purposes of self-defense, is deeply different– in a black-versus-white sense– from the modern authoritarian right ideal of war as being an inherently glorious, enjoyable thing that strengthen’s one character such that nations must fight things preemptively, as a first resort or something like it.

    I say “authoritarian right” but I could substitute that with “most traditional / evangelical / fundamentalist Christianity” or such words, the meaning would be the same.

  • Ron McPherson

    Very much appreciate you sharing. Thanks friend

  • Thanks for the comment. I think the folks who hold to old school inerrancy are really the ones who have a difficulty on their hands. Is everything in life meaningless? To stick with the old idea of inerrancy, they would have to affirm that yes, life is completely meaningless, because the Bible says it quite plainly in this passage.

    Or, we can take an enlightened route, and realize this is a guy pondering life, and his opinion at that moment was that life was meaningless… and that he was mistaken, because it’s not.

  • It also presumes that the entire Christian view of nonviolent enemy love is built upon the phrase, “turn the other cheek” when it’s not. Take the phrase right out of the Bible and one can still build a robust theology of nonviolence.

  • Ecclesiastes is a lot like Job — you really can’t lift a small part out of it and expect to remain faithful to the Scripture. They’re sizable books, but you have to take the whole thing as a unit. It’s very much not Proverbs.

  • The context of “turn the other cheek” argues against it being hyperbole; it’s right after Jesus explicitly commands his followers to not resist an evil-doer, and is an explicit correction of “an eye for an eye.” It’s also immediately before a call to love your enemies. I see nothing there to suggest that it could/should be viewed as hyperbolic.

  • Andrew

    The thing about cutting out your eye comes right after a command to not commit adultery, is a correction of the traditional view of adultery, and is immediately before Jesus telling his followers that it is better to enter the kingdom with one eye then have their entire body caste into hell. So based on your logic we should consider it a literal command? Get thy face to a knife brother.

  • Andrew

    I can also see a lot in the Bible that makes just war sound quite reasonable.

  • Yes, it is very much a literal command. If my eye caused me to sin, I would need to remove it. Of course, it isn’t my eye that causes me to sin. My eye has no will of its own. If my hand caused me to sin, I would be required to remove it. But my hand has no free will. I guess I’ll just have to find the things that actually cause me to sin, and cut those out instead.

    In contrast, turning the other cheek is dependent upon… someone striking your cheek.

  • Andrew

    Actually you could not have looked with lust without the eye so it did in fact cause you to sin. So take the knife and carve away brother.

  • Dean

    Other desperate plays include using the “two-swords” passage to justify gun ownership and the cleansing of the temple to justify the use of violence, or Jesus’ warnings of eschatological judgment to justify war and torture. I think it was Mark Driscoll who wanted to use the Book of Revelation to prove that Jesus wasn’t a limp wristed pansy but a pride fighter who wants to make someone bleed. Really? You are going to go to Revelation to provide clarity on what Jesus Christ is like? I sometimes wonder if some of these pastors have people to proof their work. I often say that it is ironic that conservatives say it’s the liberals who contort scripture. This is what I’ve always said is the danger of inerrancy and biblical liberalism, I’ve made this point to people who adhere to that kind of hermenutic in the past, but they always seem to just shrug it off. My point is I actually think the idea that every passage in the Bible has equal weight and value gives you WIDER latitude to make the Bible say whatever you want, not LESS. There are 66 books in the Protestant Bible and they were written by a variety of people living in different times and places and with different agendas. You can pretty much pull any verse or idea out of context and make it say whatever you want and you can see conservative Christians do this all the time, particularly when it comes to Christian violence. One solution to this is to have a canon within a canon, you almost have no choice. Either you interpret scripture through the lens of Jesus Christ, his words, his life, his ministry, his death, his resurrection, or it really is a free for all. What’s funny is that this is exactly what Jesus tells us to do and it is exactly what Paul and the other NT writers do as well with the OT, but you get a lot of push from conservatives on this. I’m not saying you won’t still have points of ambiguity or dispute, but the universe of those becomes much smaller. It’s actually very difficult to look at Jesus and come up with strong arguments in favor of Christian violence, people can and do, but they are strained arguments, and I think that’s exactly the whole point.

  • That’s certainly the line one would take, if one were trying for a more poetic reading. It’s not a literal reading of the text, though. And it also sets a rather silly precedent; I also couldn’t have looked with lust if the woman weren’t there, so by your allegorical reading, I’m justified in violently removing the woman from the picture.

    Again, it’s just not a literal reading of what’s there.

  • SamHamilton

    Would it be possible to give us some examples of who is using this verse to justify violence? It would be interesting to hear their arguments first hand.

  • Dean

    If the use of violence is acceptable for a Christian in self-defense, why didn’t any of the apostles, or Paul for that matter, advocate that and why isn’t there any record of them, or the early church, rallying Christians to defend themselves against first century Jews and Romans who persecuted them? If there are, I would like to hear about it. What we see is a record of martyrdom in the early church. But let’s think about why that might be the case, Jesus and Paul and even John in the Book of Revelation talk about the end of the age coming soon. This theme shows up over and over again in the NT. If you thought the end of the world was coming within your lifetime, maybe even just around the corner, why would you even think to use violence to defend your life? Why did Jesus say those who lay down their lives will find it and those who cling to their lives will lose it? I’m not saying you can’t make case for the use of violence in self-defense in the Bible, but what I am saying is that there isn’t much of that in NT and I can’t find any of it from Jesus and if you thought about the context of when and where these people were writing, it’s not that clear why they would advocate for something like that. The world is literally about to end anyway, why would taint yourself by taking the life of another human being especially when you will be in paradise that same day while they would end up in hell?

  • SamHamilton

    I think you make a good point.

  • Ron McPherson

    Maybe from the Bible in general, especially OT, but would be hard pressed to find it coming specifically from the teachings of Jesus

  • SamHamilton

    I don’t think that because Jesus eschewed violence in that specific situation means that violence is everywhere and always unjust.

  • Andrew

    Well the entire Bible has generally been held to be the inspired word of God. And Jesus has pretty generally been held to be God.

  • Andrew

    What? Speak English please. Are you now saying those passages are literal or figurative.

  • I’m sorry, I thought I said it quite clearly. You are presenting a figurative reading, by assigning willpower to a body part that, speaking literally, has no will of its own.

    Incidentally? All of that so far has been English. I could have switched to Greek, or Hebrew, or some other language, but I chose to stay in English, because that was the language you were using. But if you’re having enough trouble with English that you can’t even recognize it, I’ll happily try something else for you. What would you prefer?

  • Ron McPherson

    Understood. But there’s no denying that the teachings of Jesus can at times appear to be dichotomous with other portions of Scripture. During those instances then, does it not make sense to interpret thru the lens of Jesus?

  • Andrew

    Oh I see, you still think that just because an object does not have free will it cannot be a cause. I’m afraid that’s not correct. Let me explain. I’ll try to go slow. Last week my little cousin was running in a field when he tripped on a rock and fell. Now did the rock just figuratively cause him to fall? No. Even though the rock has no freedom of its own, had it not been there, he WOULD NOT have fallen LITERALLY. Oh and I wouldn’t switch to another language if I were you. Given your inability to master English you probably would just confuse an actual Greek or Hebrew speaker even more. I don’t know where you went to school but I would get a refund. And then you can cut out your eye.

  • Your condescension is cute, but you argue against yourself with your own words: “he tripped on a rock and fell.” In English, we would call that an active verb, and he is the one acting. Funny, that. The rock didn’t cause him to trip, he did. Laying the blame on the rock is, indeed, assigning blame to a passive object. The cause of your cousin tripping was your cousin’s action; the rock was simply an object that facilitated the tripping. Much like your eye does not cause you to sin, but is merely an object which facilitates a sinful action.

    Or maybe I’m missing something, because you didn’t go slow enough. Care to try again? ;-)

  • Ron McPherson

    But didn’t the whole mishap occur because he CHOSE to do something (as in run). The rock wasn’t the true culprit. It didn’t seek him out and then purposely trip him. Rather, it was the placing of himself in that situation. Am I missing something?

  • Andrew

    Oh bless your heart, your attempts to dance around the fact that objects without free will can be causes are so precious! I don’t think I can go slower sorry.

  • Andrew

    So if a woman goes out to a bar, gets a little intoxicated, and has some guys take advantage then it’s her fault because she went out in the first place right?

  • Andrew

    Sorry I didn’t get the magical pair of Jesus glasses that makes the text say something else when I became a Christian.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Somehow, considering some who occasionally visit this blog, or follow certain commenters here, I expect there will be at least one that will come up with the equivalent of “Yeah, b.b.b.b.but the _______ do it with their book so they do it to.” (homonym fail expressly intended… *chuckle*)

    I’d hope most would be better than that, but, as sure as eggs is eggs, Ben does attract some colorful characters here.

  • Ron McPherson

    Uh no. If the lady fell over a bar stool however due to her intoxication then the bar stool wasn’t at fault, she was – for placing herself in that situation. Not sure how your analogy of one victimizing another is germane here unless you’re suggesting an inanimate object like a rock sought out its victim.

  • Ron McPherson

    “Sorry I didn’t get the magical pair of Jesus glasses that makes the text say something else when I became a Christian.”

    I have literally no idea which text you’re referring to here. I’m suggesting that Jesus literally meant it when he said to turn the other cheek. You’re arguing otherwise. So who here is trying to make “the text say something else?”

  • Andrew

    But there wouldn’t be a chance of her being taken advantage either if she didn’t put herself in that situation.

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok

  • RonnyTX

    You’re right Ron. Obeying Jesus Christ, would certainly distinguish us from the world. And I tend to think, that’s why so many people have some trouble, in taking Jesus Christ seriously. That is, because they see so many who say they are his followers, behaving not all that differently, from everyone else. And or they see some such people, going directly against what they know for themself, Jesus Christ said in scripture.

  • Andrew

    You mean like in Judges where God gives the Isrealites permission to fight violently against those who are oppressing them. I don’t think it contradicts Jesus ( it is after all self defense). But every time I’ve brought that up here I’m just told “read it through the lense of Jesus” as though it doesn’t really say what it says.

  • Ron McPherson

    I understand. But I can’t ignore a certain tension between those OT texts and Jesus’ clear teaching on love. Early Christians did not participate in violent retaliation. My point is that as Christians (Christ followers), we should endeavor to be as much like Christ as possible. I don’t see Jesus taking up arms against his enemies. It just goes counter to his entire earthly ministry. I’ve also said before that I don’t judge those who physically defend themselves. My point is that I find it difficult to do so while also claiming to follow the Saviors teachings.

    Peace

  • How do you not see “slaughter your enemies” and, “you have heard it said and eye for an eye, but I tell you do not respond with violence to an evildoer, love your enemies so that you can be children of your father in heaven who is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” are at complete odds with one another?

    Would you make the same argument about marriage? That while Jesus seems to indicate it’s between two people, the OT permits it as long as you don’t do certain things, like take your wife’s sister as a way to make your first wife jealous. Which is it– do we follow the OT, or do we follow Jesus? If the entire Bible is on equal footing, and all of it is equally true to the life of a believer, there’s no reason why I can’t take on a few more wives.

  • I don’t know of any serious theologian who would make this argument, but it happens a lot with “internet theologians.” When I post stuff about nonviolence I not infrequently get commenters who challenge my view with this verse. I think it’s the weakest of all their arguments, but it’s happening more and more for some reason.

  • Man, never lend someone my book. Insist that they buy a copy ;-)

  • Sure, but Jesus eschewed all violence, and the NT tells us that we are to follow in his footsteps as our example, even if it means suffering. We’re also told that the ultimate proof we are God’s children is that we live our lives like Jesus. So, I’m not seeing any room for harming our enemies in those two biblical imperatives.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Win-win in that case, and one still has one’s copy! *smile*

  • Ron McPherson

    HeeHee. I’m on the verge of ordering a half dozen. Think our small group will do a book study. Will be required reading

  • Art Bucher

    The U.S. has been in a state of war perpetually since 2001 , not to mention at war more often than not for its entire existence. I think it’s time for peace. It’s past time.

  • Lynn

    Ask the person quoting that there is a time for war, When is their time for peace. War is easy, horrible but easy peace takes work.
    Marriages last on working for peace.

  • I’m choosing to believe that the rock actively preyed upon Andrew’s poor cousin. Andrew’s cousin was probably lucky to escape with his life. Start warning the neighborhood watch to keep an eye out for predatory rocks.

  • Lynn

    I look at his feeling that life is meaningless as a part of his life and a time he is going through respecting his feelings of the time and hoping that he will see hope again. We all have our ups and downs.
    When reading the Bible I saw contradictions because it is a set of stories of our relationship to and with nature, God, and each other.
    To me the poem is beautiful and valid for the author at that time but not to be used as an excuse to kill, hate, or wage war.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Rock solid biblical reasoning and exegesis of the text and adjudication of the theological/ethical arguments for war versus non-violence for followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks for upholding him and his teaching. Keep on keepin on!

  • Paul Julian Gould

    In my better moments, I like to think that my interview won’t be perfect, as neither has my life been. But, as I do make the effort and do my damndest (you should pardon the expression) to help my fellow creatures, whether skin, fur, feathers, scales, shell…. as best I’m able. I tend to think of the next step as a classroom… I look forward to bveing taught that in which I differed (to use the statement from al-Qu’ran).

    No fear, no ‘gottas’ no anal insistence on having the entire Lego set lined up perfectly… (that’s for my 2-year old grandson… kind of a weird little dude, to be honest… LOL),

    The insistence on some sort of burning hell kinda pisses me off… What’s the point? Much preferable to have that transcendent curriculum, as I anticipate such to be.

    Just my opinion; others’ mileage may vary…

  • EmmettEldred

    Yes, definitely. The real problem is with their view of scripture, not your argument. The view of biblical inerrancy certainly is unenlightened because it is factually impossible considering the many contradictions between different scriptural works, it ignores the original human authorship of scripture, it ignores the ways that humans have edited and curated scripture over time, and it strips scripture of much of its mystery, beauty, and poetry.

    My real point is that people who believe that scripture is inerrant will likely (and sadly) not be persuaded by your strong argument, because one of the assumptions of the argument is that scripture is not inerrant. Since they don’t share that assumption, they will disregard the conclusion. One of the things I like about your blog, podcast, and general writing is that you are helping Christians see why the view of biblical inerrancy is not coherent. But it is sad that Christians who do believe in the inerrancy of scripture wont be persuaded by your point until they accept your overarching disposition towards scripture.

    Rather, even people who believe that scripture is inerrant should still be able to agree with your point on Ecclesiastes 3. And I think that is an important goal, since so much American support for guns and militarism come from Christians, many of whom believe in inerrant scripture. As you say in your article, Jesus is the living word of God, so Christians who believe scripture is inerrant have no choice but to take Jesus seriously when he says to love even our enemies and not resist evildoers. And such a view would require them to reject the interpretation of Ecclesiastes 3 that you are refuting.

    I’m glad you use your platform to convince Christians that biblical inerrancy is not coherent. I just think that your point about guns and war most needs to be heard by conservative Christians who believe in inerrant scripture. And if they’ll only accept arguments that don’t challenge inerrancy, that seems a worthy argument to attempt.

  • Bones

    Wasn’t Pete Seeger the antichrist?

  • Bones

    I love you bro

  • Bones

    Good to see Jesus’s predecessor, the great Rabbi Hillel acknowledged.

  • Ron McPherson

    LOLOLOL!!!!

  • If your small group does it, let me know. I offer a free Skype session and Q & A for small groups & book clubs.

  • Nimblewill

    Neither do I but he definitely turned the other cheek by going to the cross.

  • Andrew

    Well I don’t see any contradiction, but your’s is a fair position. I thank you for at least having some respect for others who hold to my position. It’s quite a different message then I get from most other people around here.

  • Andrew

    The fact that you can’t understand that many people engage in violence without malicious intent is not my problem, and it doesn’t change what Jesus taught.

    There are plenty of people who hate their enemies without every raising a finger against them. I carried some pretty serious grudges for years before I found Jesus. I never in any way physically harmed the people that I hated, but I still hated them with a passion that scares me now that I look back on it. Tell me, do you think Jesus would have been ok with that just because I never got physical with them?

    I’m probably not going to feel hatred towards someone that attacks me, odds are I won’t even know them, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to defend myself, or someone else who needs protection, violently if necessary. And you know what, Jesus is not going to freak out over it. So no violent self defense is not at odds with the teachings of Jesus. If you can’t feel love for your enemies even while taking unfortunate steps to defend yourself and your loved ones from them, then that’s your problem. Although I really find it hard to believe that a guy who supposedly has a doctorate really can’t comphrend the difference between self defense and an armed vendetta.

    Don’t even try to bring marriage into this either. I’ve read your blog enough to know you hardly have a high view of marriage. In fact I have seen several examples where you just blantanly disregard what seems to be pretty clear teachings of Jesus. I guess his teachings are just to hard for you, and Anabaptism is a watered down version of Christianity that helps make it easier for you.

    “do we follow the OT, or do we follow Jesus?”
    You tell me. Your the one who claims to be following Jesus. He seemed to have a pretty high opinion of the Old Testament. So did the “early christians” that you generically drop in to almost every arguement as some kind of trump card. That was all the scripture that they had for a while.
    I think the first thing I ever said on this blog was that you’re a hypocrite Corey. So far I have still been given nothing that changes my mind. If I had to pick out a figure from the Gospels that you remind me off it would not be Jesus. I think the pharisee that goes into the temple and says “Oh God, I am glad that you did not make me like other men. I am glad that I do your will and am not like that sinful tax collecter” would be much more appropriate in describing you.

  • Bones

    The Israelites were invading/had invaded Canaan.

    In what sense is that self defence?

    IT’s pretty irrelevant anyhow because none of that actually happened.

  • Realist1234

    Indeed, He is simply saying we are not to take personal vengeance against another individual who has harmed us, and is reminding His hearers of leviticus 18:19 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am the LORD.’ By ‘going the extra mile’ we will in fact bring shame on that individual. ‘An eye for an eye’ etc was laid down at a specific time, and was effectively used in a law court setting, not for personal vengeance. And of course, even in Jesus’ day, typically victims were compensated with money from the aggressor, not physical mutilation. However, ‘pluck out your eye’ in the context of sin is not to be taken literally, otherwise just about all of Jesus’ disciples would have been blind with no hands! He is simply saying, if you find yourself becoming lustful when looking at a person sexually, you should avert your eyes or physically remove yourself from the situation so that you no longer see that person to be able to lust over. If Christians today followed that advice, there would be many fewer cases of adultery and divorce. For men especially it would seem visual stimuli is the main trigger for sexual responsiveness.

  • Bones

    Yeah the Israelites did really well out of just war…..eg the destruction of Jerusalem…..twice……and exile……..

    They were only like occupied by at least 5 different countries over at least half a millennia.

    And reading the biblical accounts, it’s not entirely different to ISIS marauding across the Middle East but that depends which account you read.

    Just war…. has been used to justify killing others particularly other Christians……in the name of God and, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder eg Japan argued it had legitimate reasons for preemptive actions at Pearl Harbor.

  • Ron McPherson

    Wow that’s awesome. We’ll definitely do it. Will keep you posted on when we start. Very much appreciated!!

  • Realist1234

    It would seem obvious to me that we are not to take Ecclesiastes literally, that it simply reflects one man’s view of life at a particular time in his – it is not as if we have ‘And the Lord said…’. ‘The Teacher’ seems to be a rather depressed old man (I sometimes feel like that, though Im not that old! Life does truly seem to be meaningless at times). But I still think that war can be justified in certain circumstances regardless of this passage. The late John Stott moved from pacifism to an acceptance of the so-called ‘just war theory’. Here is a link outlining his change of mind: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2013/09/12/why-john-stott-changed-his-mind-on-pacifism/

    A more detailed view can be read in Stott’s book ‘Issues Facing Christians Today (updated)’.

    But I respect Ben’s position on the subject, particularly given his own direct personal experience of war, of which I have none.

  • Your comment about what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists ignores the context of the situation. Without the bible you would have no idea what Jesus did or did not do when He was on this earth as a human. Under what authority do you take Jesus out of context from the old and new testaments to arrive at your conclusions? It is up to you to explain all of the versus in the bible and show how they work together seamlessly not pick and choose to make a point.

    The author you refer to in Ecclesiastes is Solomon who God gave wisdom to as a gift, Now you expect readers to believe that Solomon did not understand what he wrote because it disagrees with what you believe about Jesus?

  • SamHamilton

    Yes, that’s for sure.

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks. I definitely agree it’s weak to rely on this verse as a justification for war or violence.

  • How did early Christians understand Jesus without a Bible?

    Also, Ben is illustrating the problem with using Ecclesiastes as an instructional text. Ecclesiastes also says -several times- that life and everything in it is meaningless because everyone ends up in the grave. Do you think that’s accurate as an instruction about all of life life? Or do you think it’s a hyperbolic reflection on a particular aspect of our experience?

  • That’s why they call him Hillel Cool J.

  • A policy that has served me pretty well is that I don’t lend books. I either give you my book, or I don’t. If you give it back to me, great, but I’m just going to assume it’s my gift to you. I have bought my fair share of books just so I could “lend” them to someone without handing over my copy with all my notes and stuff in it.

    I also don’t lend money, similar reasons. I either give you money, or I don’t. Too much stress expecting to be paid back.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Dig that crazy Rabbi Rap! *chuckle*

  • I did not know this. That’s great! I wish you did the same thing for forwarded blog articles.

  • New road sign: WATCH OUT FOR FALLING ROCKS, THE BASTARDS!

  • Unfortunately, the apostles did all the time what you insist should never be done – appropriate OT passages that never had anything to do with Jesus in their original context to give meaning to Jesus’ ministry (cf. nearly every citation in Matthew).

    The living logos of God which was Jesus Christ was their primary reference point for God’s revelation. So, when Jesus tells an oppressed Israel to combat their oppressors by returning evil for good, nobody stands up and goes, “Uh, well, in Judges, God told Israel to fight, so I kind of think you’re full of crap on this one.”

  • Ron McPherson

    You’d think I’d learn by now. Not the first time

  • Ron McPherson

    Another thing it will do is allow me to ‘name drop’ as in “I was talking with Ben Corey the other day and he mentioned…”

  • RonnyTX

    Yes, God gave Solomon much wisdom; but then that doesn’t mean, he knew everything and got everything right. I mean, no man has done that, when he ends up with 1,000 wives and concubines! For that was an extremely foolish thing he did, in having that many women.

  • Paul Schlitz

    I like the term “selective literalists” rather than Biblicists. The selective literalists are always with us. I was told in my remote youth by the august HIS magazine of InterVarsity that there was a just war theory that was contained in the Bible. Of course no such just war theory exists in the Bible. The church generally disapproved of warfare until the Crusades when it was suddenly used to justify invading the Holy Land.

    My own theory is that the Christians that wish fight a war have no other choice but to enlist. If they aren’t willing to sacrifice their own necks then their faith is in vain. That happened a lot during the Bush led fiasco invading Iraq. Lots of selective literalists full of praise and worship music thought invading Iraq was a fine idea but very few put their money where their mouth was. After a while there was so little enthusiasm for fighting in Iraq that the armed forces had their worst recruitment year in 2005 since 1967. They had to give out 20K signing bonuses and opened the recruitment pool to heretofore undesirable elements of society ( i.e. white supremacists, high school dropouts and kids with criminal records) just to replenish their recruitment drive to fight in Iraq.

  • S L W

    Just wanted to share about a documentary called “Armor of Light” that aired on PBS a couple of weeks ago which is available online. There was also a panel discussion called “Faith and Guns” that was very good concerning the topic of Christians and violence. It is done very well and really struggles through the topic of how we should respond as Christians to violence.

  • Bones

    Solomon didn’t write Ecclesiastes.

    It was most probably written by a sadduccee.

  • Artistree

    I lend money without expecting anything in return because Jesus told me to do that in the Gospels. I “lent” a guy $400. a few months ago knowing he would probably never pay me back….so far now payback, even though he told me he would pay me back “next month”. That’s not a problem because true Christians operate in an economy of gifting. Yes, I will ask the guy how he’s doing with paying me back….maybe I’ll request that he go to church with me for a month as a “payback”.

  • Artistree

    Buy 10 “Undiluted” books and give them out for free to those who you think will read it. In my Art gallery, I have a painting of St. Francis and the Sultan… beneath the painting I have a stack of books on the “Threefold Way of St. Francis” which are FREE for the taking. Three years later I have given wisdom to nearly a hundred people out of my own pocket because that is what Christ calls me to do.

  • Artistree

    That’s NOT what Jesus would do. ; )

  • Jeanne Fox

    :-)

  • Rabbinic tradition attributes Ecclesiastes to Solomon, but all textual evidence points to a different author. But even if we go with tradition, it attributes the book to Solomon near to the end of his life – after he’s been led astray by his many wives. That’s explicitly in the Scriptures, btw: wise Solomon’s heart turned away from God and to gods like Ashtoreth of the Sidonians. So, yeah, you should question some of the things that wise Solomon had to say, particularly in his older years.

  • Early Christians were previously Jews and had the Old Testament. The Apostles letters were circulated among the early Christian churches that formed so they had access to various books of the bible while it was being written. Paul’s letters are are a good example. Perhaps Ben missed some of these?

    Solomon is exquisitely correct when he says that accomplishments in physical life are meaningless in the context of salvation. All of Solomon’s contemporaries are in the grave today awaiting the Resurrection. Their spirit is with God awaiting that momentous event when they will live again and have a chance at salvation. Until then no one remembers them or what they did.

  • Yes, Solomon multiplied wives against God’s command and they did lead him astray and he allowed the building of temples for the worship of their gods, etc. He realized later in life what he had done and repented of it which is why he is reflecting on his life in Ecclesiastes. Put yourself in his place as the most powerful and rich king in the world. Why would his personal sins affect his preaching? If what he said was wrong it would not be in the bible. It would be in silly blogs like the one Ben wrote.

  • “He realized later in life what he had done and repented of it”
    Could I get some Scriptural support for that one, please? Outside of Ecclesiastes, since as I said there’s no Scriptural evidence that it was written by Solomon. All we have, according to the Scriptures, is that it was written by someone who identifies as “son of David” (which in the Bible means descendant, not necessarily direct son) and who was “king in Jerusalem” (there were twenty kings of the House of David in Jerusalem after Solomon and before the Babylonian exile).

    “If what he said was wrong it would not be in the bible.”
    Interesting theory. By that logic, then, would it be fair to say that Job’s friends were right in what they said to him? Or is it perhaps the case that some things in the Bible are wrong, because we’re still able to learn from them?

    Indeed, the author of Ecclesiastes contradicts himself. It’s kind of an important point of the book. He’s “thinking out loud” through the entire book and disagrees with himself as he struggles to understand God. It’s therefore impossible for the entire book to be right. Which was a major point of Ben’s “silly blog” post; you can’t take a passage from Ecclesiastes out of context like that, or you could very well get it entirely wrong.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is a very clear indication that Solomon repented and went back to his first love. Fussing about whether Solomon was the author is simply trying to minimize the importance of the book. See comment from Bones below.

    As i remember Job’s friends were incorrect in their assessment of Him and this was fully explained.So no what you said is not fair.

    Ben’s points are simple. Anything in the bible that does not agree with his understanding is incorrect or not relevant. Whether or not you feel Solomon contradicts himself is not the point. All scripture is God breathed and it is up to us to understand it not dismiss what we do not understand.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is a very clear indication that Solomon repented and went back to his first love. Fussing about whether Solomon was the author is simply trying to minimize the importance of the book.

    Not at all; a great deal of your point hinges on Solomon being the author. Your argument was “Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes and God gave Solomon wisdom, therefore nothing in this book can be wrong.” With that argument, “fussing” about the authorship actually matters quite a bit. So I’ll ask again: could you provide Scriptural support for Solomon being the author?

    EDIT: Forgive me, I got distracted and forgot what I wanted Scriptural evidence for. Could I please have Scriptural evidence outside of Ecclesiastes for Solomon turning his heart back to God? (And, incidentally, since Ecclesiastes is your primary evidence here, that’s reason #2 why the question of the book’s authorship is more than just “fussing”)

    EDIT2: The reason I’ve continued to ask for Scriptural evidence is because you struck me as a “sola scriptura” sort of person, but it occurs to me that you’ve never actually labeled yourself as such. So if I misread you, then I apologize again.

    As i remember Job’s friends were incorrect in their assessment of Him and this was fully explained.

    Which was entirely my point. The author of Ecclesiastes is also incorrect (in the beginning of the book, from which Ben takes his quote), and this is fully explained as the author continues to argue with himself. In reading the entirety of Ecclesiastes, we witness the author struggling with trying to understand life and God, and he comes out of this struggle with a different understanding than he had when he went in.

    All scripture is God breathed and it is up to us to understand it not dismiss what we do not understand.

    Which is not something I disagree with in the least. But part of understanding it is recognizing how it fits into the entirety of Scripture, rather than lifting single verses and small passages out of context and then claiming them to mean something that is not supported by the actual, God-breathed witness of the Bible. That is Ben’s point, and my point, and it appears to have gone right over your head both times. For which I apologize; I will try to be clearer next time.

  • None of my point hinges on Solomon being the author.
    You can read, and already have who Rabbis feel authored Ecclesiastes. However, the book was accepted and canonized as part of the Old Testament. All scripture is profitable for instruction. It is a well documented tactic to denigrate the parts of the bible that don’t agree with one’s personal opinions. It’s like claiming that Paul wrote Hebrews to a Gospel of Grace minister. Ben has said many times, just in these blogs, he does not believe in the Old Testament as written. So he really doesn’t believe in the book of Ecclesiastes as written in any event.

    Whether Solomon repented or not is also immaterial to the words in Ecclesiastes. I read it as he did. Most of of us who are older finally understand what we have done in our lives that was wrong. The ability to understand that we were wrong stems from the fact that we have correct beliefs. In Solomon’s case, he died and is in the ground just like everyone else who is awaiting the Resurrection. I don’t agree with your conclusion that at the end of the book came out with a different understanding of God at all. That, in any event, has nothing to do with the words Ben doesn’t like.

    I believe it is Ben who postulates a straw man who uses the words in question to justify violence. I say Ben has to explain what those words mean and why they do not supported a time for violence. Nothing I have read from Ben does that. He simply defines Jesus’ behavior as pacifistic and then go around trying to disprove anything that disagrees with his definition of pacifism.

    Do you not realize that this Jesus, as the Word of God, destroyed the first age of a billion plus people saving only eight? Not a good start for a pacifist Jesus.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Dr. Benjamin L. Corey:

    Thank you for your article. However I am a little confused. Are you claiming that an innocent Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve does not have a right to defend himself or herself against an armed aggressor threatening life and limb? Or a father does not have the right to defend his child from a violent sexual predator? Perhaps you could clarify Our Lord’s teachings on this matter? Thank you.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • EVENTUALLY the early churches circulated letters, yes. But, for instance, the church described in Acts had exactly zero New Testament documents, and Gentile converts wouldn’t even have had exposure to the Old Testament. They understood Jesus by the Spirit-filled embodiment of people transformed by him.

    “Context of salvation” is a completely meaningless phrase, especially to Solomon. But that aside, if you admit that the perspective in Ecclesiastes is limited to their historical place in the history of redemption, doesn’t that pretty much prove Ben’s point – that you can’t use a statement from Ecclesiastes to establish a New Testament ethic?

  • Ron McPherson

    Phil,
    Why must you continuously derail these discussions with facts? HeeHee

  • Not eventually. The Apostles visited the early Churches in person and dealt with the congregations. These churches grew until they were forced to flee to avoid persecution and were replaced by the counterfeit Catholic church that exists today and falsely claims lineage from the Apostle Peter.

    Remember what God did to Ananias and Sapphira for lying about the proceeds from a land sale – they died on the spot. So much for understanding Jesus by contact with the Apostles.

    There is no redemption before Jesus except for a few people selected by God to be examples for us.

    There is no New Testament ethic. Both testaments must be read together and cannot be understood independently.

  • I don’t even know how to start correcting all the errors in what you just said.

    “Not eventually. The Apostles visited the early Churches in person and dealt with the congregations. ”

    Ok, you seem to have forgotten your original argument. Your point was that nobody can know Jesus apart from the Bible. When confronted with the obvious fact that the Bible did not exist for quite some time, especially the New Testament part of it, you said the early churches had the writings. When confronted with the obvious fact that the early churches did not have writings for decades after their formation, you said the apostles visited the early churches – apparently in some omnipresent manner such that a church never had to get along without an apostle there to steer them.

    This undermines your original point. You are actually proving that the early church somehow managed to encounter and be shaped by Jesus through the presence of the Spirit in the absence of writings. I appreciate you proving my point for me, but it’s the exact opposite of what you said originally.

    “These churches grew until they were forced to flee to avoid persecution and were replaced by the counterfeit Catholic church that exists today and falsely claims lineage from the Apostle Peter.”

    This bit of hate filled prejudice has nothing to do with our discussion. It’s just the thing I would expect to come from a moronic Protestant who has no lineage to any apostle and just makes up whatever they want to believe (see how that works?).

    Point being: you’d do better to stick to the issues rather than use them as a forum to expose how little you know about church history and how much hatred you have for Christians. Keep that stuff to yourself. Please.

    “Remember what God did to Ananias and Sapphira for lying about the proceeds from a land sale – they died on the spot. So much for understanding Jesus by contact with the Apostles.”

    That’s right. Two people sinned. That obviously proves nobody in the early church knew Jesus. It’s like Luke records in Acts, “And they gathered daily, lamenting that there was no Bible so all of them floundered without knowledge and could not truly know the risen Lord.”

    “There is no redemption before Jesus except for a few people selected by God to be examples for us.”

    Define redemption. Please use a definition that would be intelligible to the original audience.

    “There is no New Testament ethic.”

    I’ll let Jesus know. He’ll be greatly surprised to learn that he contributed no ethical teachings. Of course, he didn’t have a Bible, so he probably didn’t understand himself.

    “Both testaments must be read together and cannot be understood independently.”

    And yet, it’s funny how God expected Israel to understand the Old Testament. Kind of unfair, isn’t it? To expect them to understand and obey the revelation they were given in the Old Testament even though this is completely impossible until the formation of the New Testament several centuries after Jesus?

  • Realist1234

    Billion plus? I assume you assume the account of the flood was literally world-wide? There is good evidence it was a local flood which, as 2 Peter 3:5-6 states “… through which the world ‘at that time’ was destroyed, being flooded with water.” But thats another debate!

  • You don’t have the gravitas to correct because you are limited in what you understand. Hang in there and you will grow in understanding.

    The early church was formed by the Apostles who traveled to them and ministered to them and wrote the letters to them that became scripture.

    Unfortunately for our Protestant brothers they owe their beginnings to the same counterfeit Catholic church and so their changes like salvation by grace without works is also counterfeit. Hate filled prejudice? Really. Because you don’t understand church history your comment is ignorant.

    Redemption was purchased by the blood sacrifice of Jesus and among other things allows us to have a direct relationship with the Father if we accept Jesus as our savior. Those born before the death of Christ did not have that opportunity and upon resurrection will only then have an opportunity to accept Jesus and his sacrifice. They cannot be resurrected as spirit beings because of that fact.

    Phil, you were doing so good prior. Now you sound like the others on this site who when frustrated lash out. There were others preaching errors during the time of Christ and he told the Apostles to leave them alone not hurl invectives at them.

  • There were two floods recorded. The angels lived on this world first and they had “sanctuaries.” That flood resulted in the condition of the earth as described in the first verse of Genesis. After some time God renewed the face of the earth for mankind as recorded in Genesis. The second flood occurred in the time of Noah as all flesh had been corrupted. There is ample proof that this flood was worldwide: in the records of countries all over the world, in the fossils and crust of the earth, etc. The reason that some people deny the flood was worldwide is simply to cast doubt on the veracity of the Old Testament.

  • I’m sorry you think I’m light on gravitas. I’ll try to be more solemn. Obviously, the graver a person is, the more likely they are to be correct.

    “The early church was formed by the Apostles who traveled to them and ministered to them and wrote the letters to them that became scripture.”

    Yes, and that process took decades. There is a good stretch of time when the early church has no Bible or writings-that-will-become-the-Bible. Even when the letters are sent around, not every church has all the letters. There are no printing presses. Churches do not have a large collection of apostolic writings. What they do have is the -living- word.

    Worshiping the Bible as God’s fullest and most perfect expression of divine revelation is something that comes later in the Christian tradition.

    “[nonsensical comment about Protestants and Catholics snipped]”

    Ok, since you know church history and I do not, could you point out which of Luther’s 95 Theses asserts that the Catholic Church teaches that people earn their way into heaven by good works, -or- the Thesis where he asserts that salvation is by faith alone. You obviously know your history, so I assume this will take like ten seconds.

    I mean, this is the biggest theological issue of the Reformation, right? Because -everyone- knows the Catholic church teaches we earn our way into heaven by good works, right? So, it should be very easy for you to substantiate that claim.

    -Or- it could be that you are parroting complete BS that your pastor fed you and is reinforced by evangelicals who have never read a bit of Catholic theology in their lives. To which, I would offer again, hate-filled prejudice.

    “Redemption was purchased by the blood sacrifice of Jesus and among other things allows us to have a direct relationship with the Father if we accept Jesus as our savior. ”

    You didn’t tell me what redemption is. You told me what you believed had to happen to get it, and you told me what you think it lets us do. What is it?

    Also, can you direct me to the passage in the Bible where it tells people to accept Jesus as their Savior?

    “They cannot be resurrected as spirit beings because of that fact.”

    Spirit beings? Dude, you legitimately say the weirdest things. Wait, that didn’t have a lot of gravitas. Let me try again.

    Sir, some of your comments contain some of the most fantastic foreign concepts such that one does not even know how the reason could possibly apprehend their content.

    Gravitas. Nailed it.

    “Phil, you were doing so good prior.”

    Yeah, those were the days.

    “Now you sound like the others on this site who when frustrated lash out.”

    Perhaps. You are an idolater who worships a false god and you are trying to make it look like Christianity, and as a Christian myself, it does get my dander up because obviously I care about actual Christianity, and there are people who are not Christians who will read your comments and assume that your terminally incoherent sociopathy is Christian doctrine. So, I’m really more frustrated for their sake.

    Any Christian knows your gospel is false, but people in general are not going to realize that, so I feel like I have a sense of responsibility to point out that A) you have no idea what you’re talking about, and B) what you describe has nothing to do with the true worship of Yahweh. At best, what you represent is a cult, which is fine – there’s a lot of money and fun involved in cults – I just don’t want anyone to hear you and think you’re representing actual Christian faith.

  • Ron McPherson

    Well, there you go again.

  • Ron McPherson

    So God declared Abraham righteous. Was he not born before the cross?

  • Yes he was. And because of his faith, by not withholding his precious son, it was accounted to him as righteousness. So when Abraham is resurrected in the first resurrection he will be resurrected as a spirit being and not have to go through a physical life again. We are told of only a few who are in this category prior to Christ. Even so, in this era after Christ, many are called but few are chosen.

  • Ron McPherson

    “And because of his faith, by not withholding his precious son, it was accounted to him as righteousness.”

    Well, technically he was declared righteous before the event you reference (actually before Isaac was even born), but nevertheless, that’s beside the point I suppose. At any rate, I’m curious as to what passage(s) you’re referring such that “only a few who are in this category prior to Christ.” Hebrews 11 certainly speaks to OT heroes of the faith, but I see nothing there restricted to only those few so I’m assuming it’s not that one.

    Earlier you wrote, “Those born before the death of Christ did not have that opportunity and upon resurrection will only then have an opportunity to accept Jesus and his sacrifice.” Is there biblical support for this? Do the scriptures say how long they will be given this “opportunity to accept Jesus and his sacrifice?” Are they given a certain window of opportunity like a few days, or will it be a few years, or must it be instantaneous? Have they been consciously mulling this decision over in the grave for a couple thousand years or will they be expected to make this decision instantaneously without knowing about Jesus or his ministry? Would be helpful if you could point me to the passages.

  • The vast majority of all humans who have died have either not had the chance to know Jesus or have been called and not followed through. They will all be resurrected to another physical life at the great White Throne resurrection and have a full life to learn about God and accept His ways as their minds will be open to receive and understand the information. Most will accept Jesus and come to the Father and receive eternal life. Those who reject Jesus will be subject to the second resurrection – a resurrection to death – and they will be no more. In the grave the dead know not anything. Their spirit is with God in heaven for safe keeping but not as a spirit being.

  • I used gravitas in the sense that you don’t have enough knowledge to hold your end of this biblical debate.

    But you say you know Catholic theology so let’s see if that is more your area. Catholicism teaches commandment keeping. Protestantism teaches that the commandments have been nailed to the cross. Jesus has said numerous times in many ways those who love me keep my commandments. Sounds good for the Catholics but when we examine their practice we find they do not keep all ten commandments. They do not teach nor keep the Second commandment. Although the second commandment is in the Douay version of their bible it has been omitted from their catechism and not taught. Anyone seeking to be a catholic must study the catechism. I received my first catechism in 1957 and I always believed I knew the ten commandments. I re-checked a few years ago and nothing changed it was still missing. Talk about brainwashing…

    Here is your opportunity. If the second commandment is not taught and certainly not observed by Catholics worldwide then some Pope had to specifically change that and drop the second commandment. Which Pope did that? What papal missive explains that change?
    Why is it still in their bible as it is in all bibles but not in the catechisms?

    Finally, this is a site where people go to comment on Ben’s posts. To decide that my comments are dangerous puts you in a position of censorship. Where did you get that authority? In general your comments about me are not the least bit Christian and you would never say them to my face.

    Waiting for your answer on Catholics and the Second Commandment. And if anyone else is reading this except Phil please do not as it offends Phil to know other people have beliefs are different from his.

  • “I used gravitas in the sense that you don’t have enough knowledge to hold your end of this biblical debate.”

    But that’s not what the word gravitas means. There is no sense in which gravitas means knowledge. It is a demeanor of seriousness and somberness. Gravity, if you will. You should use words that you know.

    “But you say you know Catholic theology so let’s see if that is more your area.”

    I actually said nothing of the sort. You accused me of not knowing church history and established this by stating that the Catholic Church was a counterfeit compared to Protestant churches because Protestant churches taught salvation by grace alone. I asked you to prove that contention, which you appear to have already given up on.

    You also appear to have given up on what “redemption” means (you can find it in the same dictionaries as “gravitas,” if that helps), but I’m ok with that because I have a feeling your explanation will involve “spirit beings” and I’m so done with X-Files.

    “Catholicism teaches commandment keeping. Protestantism teaches that the commandments have been nailed to the cross.”

    Please cite sources proving this.

    While you’re looking those up, allow me to quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith – one of the earlier (although not the only) Reformation confessions of faith. It also has two catechisms in it. Did you know the Protestant church used catechisms heavily? You must, since you know church history better than I do.

    Nevertheless, let’s take a look at this document and see if the Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross, whatever that means.

    In Chapter XIX Section II, it says that the moral law given to Adam continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness and was given in the Ten Commandments. In Section V, it says the moral law forever binds us all. In Section VI, it says, “Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requires to be done.”

    If we look in both the Shorter and Larger Catechisms, they have very detailed questions and answers on what is forbidden and what is commanded in each of the Ten Commandments.

    Well, maybe that’s just the British and Scotch Reformers. Maybe they didn’t get the memo about grace and works. Let’s check the Dutch Protestant Reformers:

    “Q. What is God’s law?

    A. God spoke all these words: THE FIRST COMMANDMENT “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;”

    – Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 34

    And they proceed to quote all Ten Commandments followed by questions and answers on what each one requires. And it’s in a catechism, too. Boy, if I weren’t so ignorant about church history, I might draw the conclusion that Protestants teach obedience to the Ten Commandments and use catechisms.

    Huh, probably another fluke. How about the Swiss Reformers?

    ” the pastors of the churches act most wisely when they early and carefully catechize the youth, laying the first grounds of faith, and faithfully teaching the rudiments of our religion by expounding the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the doctrine of the sacraments” – Helvetic Confesison, Chapter XXV

    Well, ok, even if every other Protestant in church history used catechisms and taught obedience to the Ten Commandments, surely Martin Luther’s OWN confession speaks against this.

    “Our teachers are falsely accused of forbidding Good Works. For their published writings on the Ten Commandments, and others of like import, bear witness that they have taught to good purpose concerning all estates and duties of life, as to what estates of life and what works in every calling be pleasing to God.” – Ausburg Confession, Article XX

    Hmm. Well, surely the father of the Protestant Reformation would never use a catechism to train people to obey the Ten Commandments.

    “The Ten Commandments – As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.” – Luther’s Shorter Catechism, Section I.

    And this is followed by Q&A on each of the ten commandments and ends with:

    “What Does God Say of All These Commandments?

    He says thus (Exod. 20:5f): I the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    God threatens to punish all that transgress these commandments. Therefore we should dread His wrath and not act contrary to these commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these commandments. Therefore we should also love and trust in Him, and gladly do [zealously and diligently order our whole life] according to His commandments.”

    I’m sure you have an explanation for all this.

    The Catholic Church does address the second commandment in their catechism.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a2.htm

    Perhaps you are reacting to the fact that they identify the second commandment as using the Lord’s name in vain instead of graven images.

    I wonder what Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, says about this in his own teaching on the second commandment:

    “The Second Commandment.

    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” – Luther’s Shorter Catechism, Section I

    Wow. The first Protestant really sucked at being Protestant, didn’t he?

    Well, where did these godless Catholics get their commandment numbering?

    “The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by Augustine, which has become traditional in the Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confession. The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities.” (CCC 2066).

    Wow. If I weren’t so ignorant about church history, I’d get the idea that both Catholics and Protestants used catechisms and taught the Ten Commandments with them. None of those guys said anything about nailing the commandments to the cross.

    Since I am woefully ignorant of such things, however, I would very much like for you to explain this data in light of your contentions about the “counterfeit” Catholic church and the true Protestant church.

    “Finally, this is a site where people go to comment on Ben’s posts. To decide that my comments are dangerous puts you in a position of censorship. ”

    First of all, I’m a moderator, here, so if I wanted to censor your comments, I could easily do so. The fact that I do not should serve as ample evidence that I do not censor due to disagreement. I do not think your comments are dangerous because they are staggeringly misinformed. You are about as dangerous as an assassin who holds his gun by the barrel. Your comments are only dangerous to people who lack the same knowledge that you lack, of which there are some.

    “In general your comments about me are not the least bit Christian and you would never say them to my face.”

    I would absolutely say them to your face without hesitation. Your beliefs aren’t bad because they’re “different from mine,” they’re bad because they’re moronic nonsense and you are trying to pass them off as “true Christianity,” specifically in contrast to “false Christianities” like the entirety of Roman Catholicism, anyone who believes the Old Testament is actually intelligible on its own, anyone who reads non-KJV translations or dares to correct it from the original languages, anyone who isn’t running transgenders out of restrooms, anyone who doesn’t believe in a literal Hell, and quite frankly, by your lights, the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history including Jesus himself, ironically.

    Yes, I think that is a gross misrepresentation on your part. A Muslim who loves God with all his heart and is working to establish peace, justice, and compassion in the world dispensing healing and forgiveness is far, far closer to the Kingdom of God than you.

  • Realist1234

    ‘The reason that some people deny the flood was worldwide is simply to cast doubt on the veracity of the Old Testament.’ – thats simply not true. Have a read at this link:
    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/localflood.html

  • Bones

    Yeah because the Tower of Babel is a true story…….

    And BTW if God cursed the snake by making it slither on the ground then how the hell was it moving before…..

    And the pain and complications of childbirth as a curse from God…….

    Nah……

  • Ron McPherson

    “They will all be resurrected…and have a full life to learn about God and accept His ways as their minds will be open to receive and understand the information.”

    Still waiting on the biblical reference.

  • A long article. His opening paragraph cites psalm 104 which says the waters covered the mountains. “You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.” So I am not sure what the rest of the article proves.

  • If you are asking why I said most are going to be resurrected to a physical life Rev. 20 and Ezek. 37 is a good start.

    Revelation 20:5King James Version (KJV)

    5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection

    Ezekiel 37:6King James Version (KJV)

    6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

    King James Version (KJV

  • Wow. You are a moderator of this site. Incredible. You don’t have the temperament for that position do you?

    Any catholic knows the ten commandments by heart and the second commandment is not part of their memory because it wasn’t taught. You should expand your circle of friends a bit Phil.

    Protestantism comes from Catholicism not the other way around. If Catholicism is wrong so is Protestantism and all the churches that have flowed from them. Progressive Christian by itself as a label an affront to God as it implies that Jesus was wrong and needed men to interpret and correct his teachings.

    And i find your rant above most enlightening. You are certainly not interested in The Kingdom of God unless it matches your misunderstood version. People who cannot understand that not everyone agrees with their positions are dangerous. I find you a bit irrational to say the least.

  • I find this accusation amusing, since it’s actually protestant traditions which were founded upon the idea of “sola scriptura” while the Roman Catholic church places church tradition (aka, “needing men to interpret and correct his teachings” to use your words), on equal footing as the authority of scripture itself. Furthermore, it’s actually the Roman Catholic church that taught for 1500 years that the average person was unable to read scripture for themselves, and burned alive anyone who attempted to translate the Bible into common languages. Or even in the case of John Wycliffe, they dug up his body and “executed” him by fire for having the audacity to reject the need for “men to interpret and correct”.

    So, if the idea of rejecting man’s authority and clinging to the authority of Scripture is something you value, you might want to leave the Roman Catholic church, because you’re in the wrong sect of Christianity.

  • Bones

    Honestly you people believe this nonsense.

    The angels must have taken off on their unicorns.

    I tire of Christians making up fantasy and thinking it is fact.

    It isn’t.

  • Ah Bones is back. At least you address me as a Christian. And you called my statement a fantasy not moronic. Do you believe in Angels good or bad?

  • “Wow. You are a moderator of this site. Incredible. You don’t have the temperament for that position do you?”

    Possibly. In my defense, there’s only a very small segment of people who really get me going.

    “Any catholic knows the ten commandments by heart and the second commandment is not part of their memory because it wasn’t taught.”

    Well, which is it? Do they know the Ten Commandments by heart or do they not know the second commandment? And obviously the second commandment is taught. I just showed you where it’s found in the Catechism. There are probably Catholics who don’t know the second commandment, just as there are lots of all kinds of Christians who don’t know the second commandment. But it is quite clearly in their teachings; I just showed you.

    You claimed that Protestants taught that the Ten Commandments are “nailed to the cross” whatever that means, and I showed you a deluge of historical evidence that Protestants actually taught the validity of the Ten Commandments in precisely the same vein as Roman Catholics. You were, in fact, dead wrong about what Protestants teach, just as you are wrong about what Catholics teach as the evidence clearly proves.

    Yet, this doesn’t faze you in the least.

    This is why discussions with you are so intrinsically frustrating. It’s not that you disagree – it’s that you make wildly unfounded claims you have absolutely no proof for whatsoever, and when the evidence proves you wrong, you just keep saying it as if the combination of repetition and the massive amounts of paint you must be huffing are enough to establish the things in your brain as objective truth.

    You are this way about church history, what Christians believe, passages about OT kings having a secret hidden meaning about Satan, the invalidity of literally every Christian sect but your own, and some weird diatribe about some of the OT saints being resurrected as “spirit beings” while others are reincarnated so they can hear about Jesus. Even though there is precisely zero that establishes any of your positions as even remotely factual, and even though it is ridiculously easy to marshal a mountain of evidence to the contrary, you just keep stating your views as truth as though nothing had ever happened, and you occasionally complain about how bent out of shape all these other heretics seem to be getting.

    I want to be very clear here – it’s not that you disagree, it’s that you make up crazy stuff and stick to it no matter how false it can clearly be demonstrated to be.

    The evidence shows that Catholicism teaches the Second Commandment. The evidence shows Protestants teach the validity of the Second Commandment. The evidence shows that when Ezekiel says “king of Tyre,” he probably means the king of Tyre.

    On your side, you have zero – zilch – nada. You can’t muster up the slightest bit of proof for anything you say. But that doesn’t seem to trouble you in the least.

    “People who cannot understand that not everyone agrees with their positions are dangerous.”

    That is an interesting statement coming from someone who just declared all of Catholicism and Protestantism to be wrong. How about the Eastern Orthodox? Should we make this a clean sweep or what? Are they all heretics as well? Is there anyone besides you who is not fundamentally in error, and how would you establish that?

  • Ron McPherson

    Appreciate the reference but connecting the Rev judgment passage to the Ezekiel restoration passage pertaining to national Israel, and thereby asserting that the resurrected will “have a full life to learn about God,”….hmm, seems like a stretch there

  • The question is what happens to people when they die?

    Catholics believe in heaven and hell and perhaps purgatory. If you believe that you will go to heaven on your death then your belief differs from what Jesus said on the matter. If you go to a Catholic funeral you will hear about the dry bones resurrection in Ezekiel. You may ask why you need to be resurrected if you are already with God in heaven as a spirit being?

    The answers to these questions and to your connection is to be found in The Plan of God for Man. As I recall that book is about hundred pages long. Difficult to summarize it in two scriptures.

  • Ron McPherson

    Are you referring to Dake’s God’s Plan for Man?

  • Phil,

    As a moderator you should have the ability to communicate effectively. The subject is the Old Testament and Ben’s position that it is not to be taken literally. I disagree and your responses are out of line.

    You persist in pettiness because you cannot accept criticism. I did not criticize you with my comment about gravitas. I chose Gravitas: as in “you don’t have the substance to debate the bible with me.” Just a fact not a criticism. For the record:

    Gravitas: Meaning and Definition
    Gravitas (noun) means seriousness, solemnity or dignity.
    In usage, gravitas refers to a person whose actions, behavior or personality exudes decorum or sobriety.

    The word can also be used to describe the substance or weightiness of something.

    Second, per Tim Staples:

    “Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers

    There are five key points to be made concerning this common misunderstanding (i,e, Second Commandment) among Protestants as well as many quasi-Christian sects.

    1. Exodus 20:4 is part of the first commandment that begins in verse 3 and stretches through part of verse five:

    You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

    Verses 3 and 5 make clear that this commandment is not simply condemning making statues; It is condemning making gods that you bow down to or serve. In a word, this first commandment forbids idolatry, i.e., the worship of anything or anyone other than God. The Catholic Church condemns this as well.”

    So the Catholic church acknowledges the words but does not accept their meaning and does not teach them..

    You can find the correct second commandment in almost any text about the commandments. Even the ISIS Muslims know this and that is why they destroy all the statues and symbols they can find.

    “ISIS extremists descended on Hatra, a 2,000-year-old city and UNESCO World Heritage site that is 68 miles from the ISIS-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

    Slick video footage produced by the media-savvy regime shows militants hammering away at priceless statues and shrines, wiping away artefacts that have survived two millennia because it does not conform to their unyielding and narrow interpretation of Islam.”

    And I state again the actual second commandment from the bible is not in the Catholic catechisms and never has been.

    i am not interested in Protestantism as regards commandment keeping per se. But they have distorted the concept of Grace by embracing the epistles of Paul over all other biblical books. Luther died 470 years ago. He wouldn’t recognize his church today.

    “..let us look at a few quotes showing that some do teach that one or more of the commandments have been nailed to the cross.

    The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross (The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross. By William A Worley. Published by the Author?, 1959).

    The Ten Commandments were given to the Jews; and when Christ came and died they were all nailed to the cross (The marked Bible By Charles Lindsay Taylor. Published by Pacific Press, 1922. Original from the University of California. Digitized Nov 30, 2007, p. 53).

    The keeping of the Sabbath as commanded on the tables of stone was nailed to the cross…The Sabbath of the ten commandments had its mission (The Gospel Day: Or, the Light of Christianity By Charles Ebert Orr Published by Gospel Trumpet, 1904 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jul 18, 2006, pp. 336-337).

    Your later paragraphs are filled with “soaring rhetoric” and contain things i have neither said nor intimated. You surely know that there are thousands of religions that call themselves christian and all differ in some respects or they would not be separate.

    And I want to put on the record that Muslims do not accept Jesus as God and so they are not close to the Kingdom. Even though this offends you because you cannot fathom as God that means what he says and will not treat everyone the same it is nonetheless scriptural. I have posed the scriptures from 1 John below although I already know you will not accept them because you are blinded by the God of this world.

    1 John 4King James Version (KJV)

    4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

    3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

    Anyone who would say what you said about me is seriously off track and should not be monitoring anything:

    “I care about actual Christianity, and there are people who are not Christians who will read your comments and assume that your terminally incoherent sociopathy is Christian doctrine.”

    Who is the incoherent sociopath in this chain?

  • No, I don’t know who Dake is? The Plan of God for man ties everything together from the beginning of the universe to the judgment of the fallen angels and Satan at the end of the 1000 year period and our ultimate destiny.

  • So, by quoting the definition of gravitas which contains nothing about “having adequate knowledge,” you acknowledge that you were wrong about what that word means, correct? Or is this another one of those weird dissonance issues where a definition that contradicts you somehow means you were right all along?

    I don’t really care too much about the appropriate use of the word “gravitas,” personally. I just harp on it because it’s so exemplary of how you approach truth in general.

    For instance, here you quoted Tim Staples at Catholic Answers were he quite clearly answers your objections about the second commandment and ends with, “The Catholic Church condemns this as well.”

    And your bizarre, otherworldly response is that somehow this proves that Catholics don’t teach the second commandment. You JUST QUOTED a prominent Catholic apologist that summed up the Catholic church’s position on the issue – a position you repeatedly claim they do not have.

    By contrast, to prove your point about “what Protestants teach,” you cited three random nobodies who happen to be Protestant maybe, all of which coming from the 1900s and following, one of which is a biography and not at all a doctrinal work. I cited the ecumenical confessions of four different branches of the Reformation including Martin Luther, himself that have spanned five centuries of Protestant thought. I do commend you for looking up actual sources, because I’m sure that was hard, but do you see how disproportionately out of step with reality your comments are? Just because you heard it from some wingnut does not make it representative of either the truth or a movement.

    My “soaring rhetoric” pointed out exactly what you said. You said that Roman Catholicism is not a true church. You said that Protestantism, coming as it does from Catholicism, perpetuates their errors. If you did not mean to say the vast majority of Christians historically and worldwide are false believers, then you should not have said that or at least clarified rather than accusing me of… restating your claims, I guess.

    I return to my question – and you are extremely bad about actually answering questions so far – what Christians besides yourself do you consider true, and on what basis would you establish that?

    As for your verse about Muslims, first of all, the KJV is one of the most inaccurate translations available. But let’s leave that aside. the passage you quoted says nothing about confessing that Jesus is God. It says confessing that Jesus has come in the flesh. So, that might rule out mythicists, but it doesn’t rule out Arians.

    Speaking of Arians, Arianism was a very popular view until the fourth century when Constantine the Emperor declared it heresy at the point of a sword. Were all those people not true Christians, either? I’m sure Eusebius would be interested to hear “Bob Shiloh’s” thought provoking discourse on why he wasn’t a true Christian.

    Unfortunately, instead of acknowledging that you are an expert in reading things in the Bible that aren’t there, somehow, in your brain, this all proves your point. And that’s just sad. The closest you came to establishing anything you said was drawing on a couple of guys nobody has ever referred to for anything, one of whom wasn’t even trying to write anything theological. The rest of the things you cited -flatly contradict- your point, but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter to you.

    Well, best of luck. I’m sure you’re great fun at meetings.

    “We have to do something because sales are down.”

    “Um, actually our quarterly report shows a 15% increase in sales.”

    “So, as you can see, sales are down. Everybody who really knows what’s going on knows this. What are we going to do about it?”

  • Ron McPherson

    Who wrote it?

  • Realist1234

    You’ve assumed that that verse refers to Noah’s flood. It doesnt. Read in its context, it is clearly referencing the original creation story, not Noah’s flood. Which is the point the author of the article is making, if you read on.

  • Ron McPherson

    Fade into Rod Serling holding a cigarette,

    “Phil Ledgerwood, an unassuming, mild mannered forum moderator, quietly goes about his unenviable task of trying to keep things factual. But then what Mr.Ledgerwood does not know is that he is about to step into a web that no man can rightly untangle. You see, Mr. Ledgerwood has entered into a dimension engulfed in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. For Mr.Ledgerwood has just entered…the Twilight Zone…”
    Break for commercial

  • I wish I had time to explore his article but I don’t.
    I will say that proving the flood was or was not worldwide bible is problematic. It’s like the young earth creationists trying to prove the earth is only 6000 years old. At some point science has to agree with the bible. We know for sure that the earth is over 500 million years old so the young creationists are wrong. The age of man is the 6000 year period but the earth is much older. When geologists finally prove the flood of Noah was worldwide then the bible interpretation must agree.

  • To say the KJV is one of the most inaccurate translations shows you are biblical limited. It is the best translation available. But you only say that because you don’t believe God will exclude people who refuse to believe Jesus was God in the flesh. You’d rather continue to debate definitions of words which you can’t understand. It has never occurred to you that God does have a plan to save most everyone because you have him tied to your non-biblical beliefs.

    That aside, I still am curious why you think it is appropriate to call me names because you can’t deal with what I say. That is a mark of your immaturity.

    Some day it will dawn on you that you cannot continue to use the bible as a foil for your progressive ideas because it does not support them.

  • No, it is horrid. We can easily find translations in the KJV that were adoptions of later scribal errors. For instance, Erasmus did not have a Greek manuscript for the last six verses of Revelation, so he extrapolated them from the Vulgate. In another instance, 1 John 5:7-8, the KJV translates that three that bear witness as the “Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit” despite the fact that no manuscript Greek or otherwise prior to the publication of the KJV says that. All prior translations and manuscripts say “Spirit, water, and blood.” The earliest manuscript we have in Greek that supports the KJV formula is from the sixteenth century, contra every other single manuscript that preceded it.

    The KJV also includes texts that we now know are fabrications, such as the longer ending of Mark, the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53ff, and calling Jesus “God” in 1 Timothy 3:16. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. All of those things are later editions. I could go on if you like.

    Now, what is your evidence for proving the KJV is actually the best translation available? How is it that what was basically one-man show that had very limited access to original texts and indisputably included things that are not in the original texts a better translation than translations produced by teams of scholars with a much wider variety of source material available to them? I mean, I don’t want to be “biblical limited.”

    “That aside, I still am curious why you think it is appropriate to call me names because you can’t deal with what I say. That is a mark of your immaturity.”

    This is that otherworldly dissonance thing I was talking about. I destroyed your arguments. In fact, YOU destroyed a couple of your arguments (thank you, btw). You have proven completely overwhelmed by actual evidence and have none of your own. This is not “calling you names.”

    “Some day it will dawn on you that you cannot continue to use the bible as a foil for your progressive ideas because it does not support them.”

    Some day it will dawn on you that the actual Bible is more important than the Bible you have invented in your head.

  • Bones

    Angelos= messengers

    Why does God need angels?

    And why would divine messengers be living on Earth….

    It defies reality. You may as well say aliens were here first like in Prometheus.

    And no there aren’t any demons either.

    Movies like 6th Day aren’t real or that Michael Landon show.
    If we do have guardian angels I want mine sacked.

    The fantasy was your comment that angels lived on the earth.

    That people have made whole worldviews (eg Frank Peretti and yourself) based on obscure biblical references isn’t really surprising.

  • Noah

    The rock didn’t cause him to trip. It’s quite simple. His lack of whatever caused him to trip. The rock didn’t do anything. We don’t blame rocks when people throw them at windows. It’s what controlled the rock. The free will thing.

    My eyes can’t cause me to sin. It’s not literal.

    So no, it’s not a woman’s fault who is attacked by someone else. She had no control over the attack.

    There is a chance of being attacked wherever one is. But they aren’t the one causing the attack. They don’t have control over that. They can avoid situations where they would be more likely to be attacked, yes. That’s part of free will.

    Had the rock not been there? It’s a rock. It doesn’t move. He put himself in that position. And we don’t know if he would have fallen or not if the rock wasn’t there. He might have tripped over his own feet.

    So be consistent, if he did, it’s the foot’s fault. It should be cut off to avoid that in the future.