When Being Anti-LGBTQ is More Important Than Being the Church

When Being Anti-LGBTQ is More Important Than Being the Church December 1, 2015

door lock

Theological questions on LGBTQ issues is one of the areas where much of the Church has some serious wrestling to do.

Beyond wrestling with some of the outstanding scholarly work being done (see for instance, NT scholar JRD Kirk) the main question much of the Church must contend with is that of functionality: What does the church do? Why does the church exist?

It is my contention that the Church established by Jesus exists to be a healing agent within cultures, that it exists to be a force which removes barriers to God, and that it is to be a place of worship for all people (Mark 11:17). In this regard, many churches must seriously consider both their theological positions (what we believe) and their missiological posture (what we do) toward LGBTQ image-bearers who are being systematically excluded from the Church. In fact, I think many churches need to actually sit down and answer the following question:

“Is it more important for us to have an anti-LGBTQ posture, or is it more important for us to be the Church?”

 About a year ago I had an experience that reminded me far too many churches are choosing to embrace a hard-line anti-LGBTQ posture– even when such a posture results in them ceasing to be the Church. (Just as a clarification, I don’t think those who still hold non-affirming theology automatically cease to be the church. See Preston Sprinkle for someone who doesn’t hold affirming theology but, in my observation, maintains a loving and nonjudgemental posture.)

At any rate, let me tell you the story and what I’ve learned:

I had been working with a church of refugees from Congo and Angola, and my role/goal was to help the pastor develop leadership from within the congregation so that they would have a self-sustaining structure. We met weekly in the basement of a local church because they simply could not afford their own building, and eventually the hard financial times caught up with the head pastor.

One day I unexpectedly found us having a conversation at my kitchen table where he told me, “I don’t have any money and I have to take another job. I’ve been offered a position in a different part of the country, and I’m leaving in two weeks. I’ll need you to take over the church.”

As much as I loved every last one of them, I gently pushed back and told him that I didn’t think it was right for me– a white guy from America– to be the one teaching and leading a congregation of African refugees. The church needed indigenous leadership, I argued. However, he didn’t feel that such structure existed yet, and that if I said no, the church would just close. I reluctantly agreed to take over with the understanding that I was going to immediately begin training people within the congregation to take over as soon as possible.

As a formality, he wanted to introduce me to the pastor whose church basement we met in (I didn’t know him/had never met him), and he set up a breakfast meeting for a few days later. As I sat down in the Denny’s booth and added cream to my coffee, the first words out of his mouth made me realize that the whole meeting was doomed from the beginning:

“I know who you are. I’ve read your blog. I need you to tell me about your position on homosexuality.” he said.

Ugh. I couldn’t believe the conversation was starting this way.

I tried to be gentle and diplomatic in my reply, not wanting to do anything to unintentionally harm the refugees. Knowing from reading his bio online that he didn’t have a theological education (strangely, we have a lot of pastors in Maine who have never been to seminary) I pointed to the fact that there is some great scholarship on the issue he should check out. He told me that someone once gave him pamphlets on homosexuality and the Bible and that he found the arguments unconvincing, so there was that. I even explained that I too had my doubts on how to approach some of those verses, but that I knew at a minimum I would not condemn LGBTQ people, and that I believe they must be included in the church.

Instead of the theology of it all, he seemed most stressed out by the idea that I’d perform a gay wedding in his church. I couldn’t figure out why this was even on his radar– the congregation was a conservative, Congolese Pentecostal church. If you’ve seen the documentary God Loves Uganda, you’d know that (due to Western influence) many African Christians are anti-LGBTQ to an absolute extreme, and this particular church was definitely not affirming. I explained that since the church itself was not affirming (and that I did not hold an ordination which allowed me to perform an LGBTQ wedding), the idea of an LGBTQ wedding was inconceivable. Thus, the whole thing was a non-issue– at least from my standpoint.

I was there to help them develop their own leadership and to love them– and that was all.

As the conversation ended however, it quickly became clear that my refusal to denounce LGBTQ individuals was a critical issue for him– and that having an anti-LGBTQ posture was actually more important than being the Church.

“I’d be a shame for the refugees to not have a place to meet because of you.” he said.

Ugh. My heart sunk when he said that. How hateful can a person get, that they’d kick out a bunch of poor refugees because the one person directly helping them thinks that LGBTQ people should have a seat at God’s table as well?

I have loved the refugee community, and the idea that they could be refugees once again on my account was actually heartbreaking. I didn’t even know what to say, so the meeting ended with the pastor looking across the table and saying, “you do what you’ve got to do, and I’ll do what I have to do.”

Ending with such a threat was bad news for the refugees, and the Congolese pastor knew it too. Even though he needed the money, he turned down the job offer and stayed at the church– a move that I thought would at least save the day for the congregation, though it came at a high price to himself.

Sadly, it didn’t save anything. Just a few weeks later we had a funeral for a young pregnant woman who was killed when her former boyfriend purposely ran her over with his car. Instead of relegating the African congregation to the basement where we were normally forced to meet, we were allowed to have the funeral in the sanctuary where the white congregation met. However, just a short time after the funeral we got what I had hoped to avoid: an eviction notice. We were told we were being kicked out because we had forgotten to plug their microphone back in, but I knew what it was really about.

It was about the choice to be anti-LGBTQ instead of making the choice to be the Church.

The chief irony however, is that the refugee congregation was able to find new space right away– at a Methodist church who would only agree to share their space if the church welcomed LGBTQ persons. On that day I smiled as I thought about the words of Joseph to his brothers: “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.”

As time and space has come between me and that situation (which definitely triggered my church trauma), I am reminded that the lesson learned is so much bigger than this individual story– because all churches are being faced with this choice. Some are choosing to be the Church, and some are choosing to embrace an anti-LGBTQ posture.

You see, the Church Jesus established is to be a house of worship for all people, and that includes LGBTQ individuals. The Church exists to be a safe place, a place where people can come and connect with God, and a place where people can find love and healing from the wounds of this world– and that too, includes LGBTQ individuals. The moment they’re excluded, ostracized, or shunned instead of being embraced and loved, is the moment such a body ceases to be the Church.

So, regardless of one’s individual theology relating to LGBTQ, we’re faced with some pressing questions:

Do we want to stand against people made in the image of God, or will we include and love them?

Do we want to be a place of healing for some people, or a place of healing for all people?

Do we want to be anti-LGBTQ, or do we want to be the Church?

Me? I choose to be the Church, and I do so without apology.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I suspect the anti-LGBTQ stance within American Christianity is a product of the same forces that lead people who’ve never finished seminary to feel “led” to lead a congregation and be their pastor.

  • Brian Hager

    “’I’d be a shame for the refugees to not have a place to meet because of you.’ he said.” These are not the words of Jesus.

  • The World Vision fiasco was my last straw for holding any identification with the label “evangelical” – it was already debatable depending on whose definition you used. Over 10,000 children were dumped in a day because it was more important to make an anti-LGBTQ statement than it was to love children in desperate need. Even here in Canada, they took a big hit, even though World Vision Canada has not discriminated by sexual orientation on its staff for years before that. I couldn’t imagine what it would look like to write our sponsor children and explain why we were suddenly no longer providing them with food, clothing, and education. Yet so many others made that decision instantly. It still boggles my mind.

    I know lots of non-affirming Christians who treat LGBTQ people with respect and love – not lip service “love the sinner, hate the sin” but genuinely treating them well. And I know lots of affirming Christians who treat non-affirming Christians with respect and love. It’s not really that hard when you’re not caught up in the rhetoric.

  • Paul

    Beautifully written. I love how your articles are so balanced, respecting the views of both sides.

  • ashpenaz

    I am an asexual. Once again, my letter has been excluded from the alphabet soup. Because asexuals don’t base their identity on sexual orientation, they are often excluded from the queer community. Asexuals don’t base their identity on who they want to have sex with; we base our identity on who we want to build intimate relationships with. Same-sex marriage is an issue for people who are having sex with each other. If your relationship doesn’t include sex, it falls lower on the relationship hierarchy. I hope that further posts on this blog will be aware of asexual’s search for visibility in a queer community which keeps them silent and invisible

    http://www.asexuality.org/home/

  • Herm

    Call me Serena Rene Christianson. I love my Christian neighbor, who shows me mercy, as much as I love myself. I love my creator Lord God, who loved me first and most to give me Their image (spiritually male and female as one), with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. What more must I do to live in Christ’s church with Christ’s church alive in me eternally?

    Thank you Ben for sharing your love!

  • Your reference to ‘American Christianity’ is appropriate. American or Americanized Christianity is an odd kettle of toxic stew. It is truly amazing how far from the early Christian church this clutch has wandered.

  • Herm

    You are no less or more queer than me. Because of your asexuality you will never be excluded from my community. Everyone within my community is different sexually, in gender, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually which allows us all and each to be loved equally. Each of us has something different of value to share constructively and productively for the whole of our community. We are bound in community by love for each regardless of outside petty labels. Welcome! Love you!

  • Ruthitchka

    I think about that World Vision thing often myself. I thought they were very brave at first, but I guess the majority (?) of their U.S. supporters, or maybe just some very large donors that World Vision depended on, threatened to withdraw their financial support, and maybe that was what caused the organization to do an about-face.

    I don’t know many more details about this story, Ryan Robinson. Why were over 10,000 children “dumped in a day”? Were these children of gay parents in various countries around the world? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  • World Vision updated its hiring policy to not require their staff abstain from same-sex relationships. It made a lot of a sense for a simple reason: they are supported by a lot of churches, some affirming and some not. To force a non-affirming stance cuts out a lot of possible staff who are in good standing with their church. They decided they didn’t want to be more strict on their staff than the local church where those staff are actually involved in discipleship. They actually updated the policy a few weeks before the new broke, but some disgruntled employee was going to make a big deal out of it so the media (forget which outlet it was now) offered World Vision the chance to make a statement, which they did.

    A lot of big-name evangelical/fundamentalist leaders immediately riled up their followers and told them to boycott. Over 10,000 sponsorships were cancelled within 24 hours. They didn’t just threaten – that’s the count who withdrew immediately. Essentially 10,000+ children were sentenced to die because there was a slim chance that a gay person would translate your letter or process your donation.

    And yes, that was why World Vision USA reversed the stance and is now back to requiring staff abstain from participating from same-sex relationships. The amount of money lost would have seriously harmed their ministry, and unlike the boycotters, they ultimately decided that the children mattered more than a morality statement. It felt like a big betrayal to a lot of LGBTQ Christians, but what choice did they really have but to give in to the mob?

  • ashpenaz

    I think queer works better than the gay/straight binary. When I was growing up, because I had strong feelings about men, I was told that I wanted to have sex with men. It wasn’t until asexuality began to be discussed a few years ago that I learned that strong feelings don’t mean sex necessarily–my feelings were queerplatonic. I wish I’d had the vocabulary early on to articulate who I am–I tried to get the gay label to fit me, but gay is not my story. I’m a cisgender asexual. It’s a niche part of the rainbow, but it’s mine! :)

  • Herm

    The adjective for “queer” still only means different, odd, strange, unusual, funny, peculiar, curious, bizarre, weird, uncanny, freakish, eerie, unnatural. Seems like the word is purely defining others. In everything do to others as you would have others do to you seems to apply here to everyone other than me, and of course you. :-)

  • Sherlang

    I agree mostly with this article. I guess my question is this: If you feel homosexuality is a sin, what is the best approach to lovingly talk to people about their sins? I want the church to call me out on my sins and help me grow, like an iron sharpens iron sort of deal. I don’t want them to just pat me on the head and tell me I’m doing great. I think love is active, not passive

  • Nathan Aldana

    Yeah. “nice congregation you got here, it’d be a shame if anything happened to it” isnt the words of anyone with good intentions, its the words of someone gleefully holding a metaphorical gun to your head.

  • Ruthitchka

    I certainly can’t be angry with World Vision for choosing the kids! Thanks so much for the full explanation. I hadn’t heard the details before.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yeah, in that battle, I get why WV chose to renege on their affirming stance, since it was clear even allowing LGBT to work for them was enough of a sticking point for people to completely stop charitable donations. Still, it sucks to be part of the group left out.

    I would always favor children in need being fed over my being allowed to work at the charity doing the feeding.

    It shouldn’t be an either/or situation, however.

  • Replace the question with anything else you believe is a sin and you probably can come to an answer pretty quickly. Suppose I struggle with greed and gluttony, two big ones in North America. I probably would want the people who I know and trust to ask “do you think this is healthy? do you think this is what following Jesus looks like?” And you can sit down and have a conversation about it. Maybe that conversation reveals that the person challenging me is way off base out of not knowing something about me or a simple disagreement. Maybe that’s a humble realization from me that he/she is right and we can work on how to look more like Jesus together. Probably somewhere in between most of the time.

    What would be completely different is if a stranger saw me getting the supersized soda at McDonald’s and started screaming at me that I’m going to Hell for my gluttony. That’s the way many Christians treat LGBTQ people: instant hatred and condemnation, no relationship, no gentleness, no love.

    So yeah, I would say that the basic starting points are something like:
    1. Existing meaningful relationship that allows for those kinds of conversations
    2. Attitude of discerning together as equals how best to follow Jesus

    When the attitude is to “confront people on their sins” I’d say you’re not off to a great start. Come alongside and discern together, rather than confront on why you’re right and they’re wrong.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I think calling it “confronting” someone about their homosexuality sets it off on the wrong foot, and unnecessarily makes it into a battle.

  • Every now and then, I’m reminded of a not-so-fun little thought experiment. You begin by thinking of an issue that you feel strongly about, and for which you support your stance with Scripture — any issue, so long as it fits those two criteria. Then, you imagine that a new Bible translation has come out. This new translation uses recently-discovered manuscripts and is the most accurate translation of the Bible to exist since the Bible first began being translated from the original languages. You have the opportunity to read this new translation, and those verses which you had used to support your stance on the previously mentioned issue are different. Not only do they no longer support your stance, some actually support the exact opposite position. How do you respond?

    Most people, I think, would say that they would pursue God’s will above all. Most people, I think, are lying. And I might need to count myself among them.

    I was reminded of this thought experiment from the moment I read the title of this entry.

  • There’s a part of me that cringes when people with no theological training act like experts on Scripture. And there’s another part of me that cringes at that feeling of elitism. Wasn’t that a whole big part of the Reformation, putting the Scriptures into the hands of the people so they could read them for themselves? But at the same time, in what other field do we have that same feeling of “everyone’s opinions are equally valid”? If we’re talking astrophysics, and there’s a disagreement between Stephen Hawking and Sam the guitar salesman, you can easily guess who most people will be siding with.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yes, but I think the key difference is something which is a science, with clearly quantifiable data (okay, well, maybe not some of astrophysics…) and the other is religion, with highly-subjective interpretation key to understanding.

    Sam the guitar salesman is ultimately responsible for what decisions or sins may affect his own pull into heaven, but has absolutely no decisive power over the gravitational pull of heavenly bodies. ;)

  • That’s true, except that Sam the guitar salesman’s actions in the name of his religion can have a quantifiable effect on others, which then has a quantifiable effect on how people view that religion. I’d say that’s a decent enough reason for making sure that Sam knows what he’s talking about.

    But I’m not going to lie, a big part of it is just the fact that I’m uncomfortable with people acting like expertise in this field essentially counts for nothing. Stanley Hauerwas is wrong because I disagree with his conclusions, who cares how thoroughly and prayerfully he’s researched the Scriptures in order to reach those thoughts? That’s an attitude that bugs me.

    Perhaps there’s a sweet spot in between the extreme elitism that kicked off the Reformation and the “me and my Bible have the whole Truth” attitude that I feel many American Christians have reached.

  • Sherlang

    Haha yeah I agree with that. I just appreciate when people are blunt and up front with me and I need to be careful not to project that desire for myself onto other people.

  • Sherlang

    Thank you for such a gracious and intelligent response. And yes I should have used a better word than confront

  • I’d invite you to reframe the question (and take the homosexuality part out of it, since orientation isn’t the theological debate). Our role isn’t to convict people of sin (that’s the Holy Spirit’s job and she doesn’t need help) but we are, as small faith communities who are in deep personal and communal relationships with one another, invited to help each other apply biblical truth to each other’s lives.

    As Greg Boyd argues in his book, Repenting of Religion, the only way to help someone apply biblical truth to their lives is by being on the “inside of their story.”

    So, if you are in close community with other believers (like a small group) and are on the inside of someone’s story (they are emotionally intimate relationships), by all means, help them apply biblical truth to their lives.

    Apart from those factors, any attempt would likely be unintentionally harmful and unloving.

  • Guy Norred

    You might be surprised how many people think they can trump decades of study in architecture as well.

  • Apologies for going off topic, but “gluttony” is not a sin. It’s definitely not beneficial, but it’s not listed in the Bible as a sin that I’m aware of. Several recommendations against it, but not a sin. Also, you cannot tell if someone is gluttonous just by what their body looks like. If your metabolism is broken, you can’t keep weight off no matter how hard you try.

  • You sound like a lovely person. :)

  • Sad thing is, most of those who dropped their sponsorships didn’t come back.

  • seashell

    I do the thought thing with politics. What if someone could absolutely prove that tax cuts, no safety net or welfare benefits including SS and Medicare, no unions and unfettered capitalism would improve the situations of everyone in the US or even the world. Would I change my economic and political posture? I would have to see and believe the proof, but if satisfied, then my answer is yes, my posture would change. I tried it on a few friends with the same results.

    But I can’t imagine you or Ben and others in this forum accepting a Bible that says LGBTQ are sinners and sin in their practices and should be shunned. And I don’t think conservative Christians would change much if it was the other way either.

    Yes or no or gray?

  • Jeff Preuss

    But, being blunt and up front about something that is the subject of much theological debate, a part of some people that is apparently innate, runs the very real risk of ignoring the care that a Christian in this position is supposed to show. You end up seeming more concerned with being right about the law than righteous in application of the commandment to love one another.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Sure, sure, sure, but I think the extension of my point is that Sam the salesman can act as authority inasmuch as it affects HIS life, yet not necessarily speak as authority for others. Which is why I bristle with those who claim literal inerrancy to speak over my “sins” as if I’ve not studied/researched/prayed at all.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “since orientation isn’t the theological debate”
    Well, it is to some people…I’ve had enough people say to me that just being gay means I’m forever spiritually damned, no matter what I do with my orientation.

    But, then, I should probably stop reading Charisma comments sections…

  • Gray, trending towards “you’re probably right if I’m being totally honest.” The “you’re right” is in large part because I’ve already spent so much time and effort researching and studying and growing, and that’s what led me to where I am today, so I’d be suspicious of this new Bible, even though according to the rules of the hypothetical as I laid them out this new Bible is the most accurate one out there.

    But the gray is in there as well, because I can remember back to when I still believed that homosexuality might be sinful, and even in those days, my attitude was rather similar to what it is now. I thought it was sinful, but in no way any worse than any sins I was guilty of, so who was I to be so condemning of people who simply sinned differently than me? And didn’t Jesus come for the sake of sinners, not the so-called righteous?

    And now I feel like I’m starting to get more stream-of-conscious and less coherent. Am I making sense? Is my trajectory apparent, or does it look like I’m spinning my wheels and going nowhere?

  • Jeff Preuss

    There are quite a few recommendations from the Bible that have been elevated to doctrinal points about sin as of late. :)

  • Gotcha. I think part of the reason why I feel compelled to push back against what you’re saying is because I feel like most or all of the people who you’re talking about are people that I would put into the “uneducated pretend experts” camp. Which is maybe not a smart move on my part, since some of them do indeed have theological training. Just that ugly elitism of mine rearing its head again :-P

  • Jeff Preuss

    God snob. :P

  • seashell

    Just look at the non-political geniuses running for the GOP nomination. It’s the other profession, President of the US, that thinks you don’t have to know anything to do the job, other than pastoring.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Frankly, I’m just mad you didn’t riff on my comparison of Heaven’s pull and the pull of heavenly bodies. I was proud of that.

  • Come to think of it, there’s quite a few people who insist that the experts are wrong when it comes to global warming. The anti-intellectualism runs deeper than I was willing to admit while I was focusing my gaze on theology.

  • It was too good to riff off of. A beautiful cinnamon roll, too good for this world, too pure.

  • seashell

    Your trajectory is pretty straight (in the normal sense of the word) I think. :-) Perhaps the grey part is that both of us know deep down that neither hypothetical is possible?

    But I also know that deep down my inner soul cannot go against my ideas of justice and fairness for everyone, even if somebody could convince me that I’ll be going to whatever hell is supposed to be. And I couldn’t believe in a God that wanted me to go against justice and fairness. How can anyone?

  • Yeah– some people are still having that debate, true. But I think they are quickly becoming the minority. I don’t know of any serious theological thinker/scholar who is dealing with that question though.

  • Sherlang

    All i said was I appreciate bluntness when people talk to me and I need to not think other people want that too. I agree with you

  • Sherlang

    That’s a great way to think about it. You focus first on loving and building a relationship with someone, and then you can really dive into spiritual things and helping each other out when you understand each others’ stories

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oh, they’ll tell you they’re quite serious. :)

  • Jeff Preuss

    Understood! :)

  • Sherlang

    Thanks for your great points!

  • Lana

    great post, thanks. When I lived overseas, I found the rules even more strict than in the states. One of my friends (local) was kicked off the worship team by her paster (also local) after two insidents. (1) someone in the church saw a lottery ticket in her purse where she worked in the park; a customer/friend had accidently dropped the ticket and she had picked it up. (2) some church person found a bottle of wine in her fridge; it belonged to her brother-in-law, not here, who had been told to drink it before bed by his doctor.
    And she was kicked off the worship team, with no explanation, and only found out by the grape vine. Intense.

  • seashell

    We might find history in the global warming camp, also. And much of economics occupies its own dump. Geesh.

  • Herm

    Have you considered that having a Dove to connect you to the Father’s exhaustive library can overcome 30 years of the carpentry trade school to enable a three year ministry with influence for at least another 1,982 years? Other than Saul/Paul, can you name another scholar, from the comparatively uneducated Jesus’ era, of ministry on earth, who has had such a lasting effect on mankind as has He? I love my theological training but it is not nearly as of value as His teaching in the Spirit. There’s a Dove available for each of us to be whelmed by. Love you and your honesty with your self.

  • The more charitable side of me thinks that maybe the LGBT test is shorthand for, “Do you believe the Bible?” From their perspective, obviously. Evangelicalism is prone to these litmus tests (literal six-day creation comes to mind). It’s how we separate us from the “liberals.” Yes, that is my charitable interpretation.

    The problem with the LGBT litmus test, however, is that it has a very real impact culturally on the lives of people who have done nothing to deserve the animosity it produces. My uncharitable interpretation is that treating LGBT people as Christians or even regular human beings is just a bridge too far for many people.

  • яовэят ёскэят

    I don’t think that’s particularly charitable, but rather accurate. Morality can either be based on “Do whatever you are commanded” or on “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. LGBT issues have become a common shorthand for telling whether obedience to a book from thousands of years ago, or doing what is right for other people, is your first priority. It is ironic that one of the major characters in the book tells you to put doing what is right for other people first, and that those who call themselves fans of that character are especially likely to disobey that particular commandment of his, to show how much they will obey older commandments. The flip side is that for millenials, also, LGBT issues are also a common shorthand: “oh, it’s THAT kind of church, huh?”

  • яовэят ёскэят

    Your political thought-experiment starts from the moral premise that what is good for people is good; it would create gray areas if the system proposed was better for most people but worse for some, but with the hypothetical that it would be better for everyone, you consider the question solved. Consider however that there are Ayn Randians who, confronted with the hypothetical of an absolute proof that steeply progressive taxes funding wealth transfers to the poor would result in everyone including the rich being better off, would still say that this was wrong, because their absolutes are more important to them than people.
    Do you accept the Bible on the basis that you think its overall thrust is to do what is good for people? Do you rationalize any cruelties it contains because people back in Biblical times were imperfect and were just doing the best they knew how? What if it turns out the Bible really does command you to hurt other people? Would that make you think the Bible is wrong, or would it make you think that hurting others is your duty?

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    -offers comfort-

    It can be so hard to stop reading the comment section! So hard!

  • Matthew

    So … are we to simply say that only those with theological degrees and scholarly training are in the best position to interpret Scripture?

    This point has bothered me a bit about this blog sometimes. It seems that Benjamin, as well as some of his readers, tend to stress that scholarly credentials are the end all be all of biblical hermeneutics. I sometimes get the feeling that some of you are silently laughing at those who claim to know what the Bible teaches and exhorts but who have no formal theological training. Maybe I´m being too sensitive or possibly simply misunderstanding some of you?

    Personally, I have attended seminary at the graduate level and passed one course (among others) in biblical Greek. Admittedly I didn´t graduate from the program. I did learn, however, that knowing the ancient languages of biblical Hebrew and Greek even inside and out is not the silver bullet of biblical interpretation — context is still king and one man´s context is another man´s context, is another man´s context, etc. Also, there are so many good works out there from so many skilled theologians that even the most novice person is without excuse.

    That said, with or without advanced scholarly training, we should all be approaching the topic of biblical study from a communal perspective — listening to one another, teaching one another, loving one another, fundies and progressives alike.

    As much as I value learning at a higher level, Jesus seems to have started his earthly ministry with fishermen (Andrew and Simon Peter specifically) who I assume knew nothing of theology as we understand it in the 21st century. We need to keep that in mind, for it may save us from sinking deep into elitism.

  • I try not to be prejudiced against hard-line “Christianity”.

    I fail much of the time, though fortunately I know enough Christians to realise “they’re not all like that”.

    No, but the politically active ones are, pretty much universally with very few exceptions.

    The ones who are anti-GLBTQ are also anti-GLBTQI. Just as much. Not much difference. Those people born Intersex, with bodies neither wholly male nor female, get just as much crap from these people as GLBTQs. If there’s any difference, it’s that Intersex people get treated worse.

    It has nothing to do with “behaviour” or “sin”. It’s that they’re icky. They make these anti-GLBTQ people feel uncomfortable. So in order to see themselves as being Righteous, it is necessary that they believe that Intersex people are Evil in some way, even if they can’t say exactly why that is. Ask them, and they’ll talk about “gayism” and a “homosexual agenda”, though exactly what the connection is between same-sex attraction and Intersex is, they refuse to say. They just know they’re evil perverted pedophiles in revolt against God and destined for Hell, the sooner the better, and all too many take concrete steps to hasten the process.

    My own philosophy is “Be Kind”. Matthew 22:39-40. 1 Corinthians 13.

    They don’t make it easy. I know I should cut them slack, none are perfect, but Jeez Louise it gets a bit much when Churches band together just to be cruel to those whose existence they find disquieting, and do so with such unctuous sanctimony, in a conspicuous display of piety that brings the money rolling in.

    Which wouldn’t matter, except the laws these people pass kill. Literally. And they take an unholy joy in that.

    It takes a better person than I to swallow that and say “they’re human too… I have my own faults..” and do so with a smile. I can say it, I can believe it, I can act on it, but the smile of genuine goodwill…. no. It’s a duty to me, not the pleasure of charity that it should be. I’m so far from being the kind of person I want to be, but no matter. I’m working on it.

    Anyway, until you realise that mere theological argument won’t reach them, their views aren’t based on anything more than their own discomfort, you’ll be constantly disappointed when exegesis and logic don’t work.

  • Matthew

    I´m wondering if a Roman Catholic reader might be able to shed some light on this sensitive subject.

    From what I have read, I know that the Roman Catholic Church (for now at least) views homosexuality as morally evil. That said, the RCC doesn´t seem to catch as much flack as the conservative evangelicals do with regard to this topic. Has the RCC found a way to be compassionate to LGBT individuals in it´s theological understanding and outreach in ways conservative evangelicals have not? If so, what can conservative evangelicals glean from this understanding?

  • Matthew

    Jesus associated with many sinners. Do you think all of them turned completely away from their sinfulness?

  • Let me try to answer with another train of thought.

    My sister works in early childhood education, and most of her own education was in the realm of developmental psychology. And one of the big questions in developmental psychology is: nature or nurture? For an exceptionally long period of time, the accepted answer was: nurture. Totally nurture. You were a blank slate, your personality was 100% determined by how your parents raised you, with no possible influence from your genetics. There were some dissenting opinions, who said it was a combination of both, but since that was the extreme end of the discussion in favor of nature, the mid-point that everyone assumed was correct was “almost entirely nurture.”

    Until one researcher came along who insisted that nurture had no impact. Your entire personality was dependent on innate, heritable qualities. Now, I don’t know whether this researcher truly believed that nurture was a complete load of bull, but he had a compelling argument to support his stance. And more importantly, he moved the extreme end of the debate, which moved the midpoint. With credible arguments to be made for nature alone and credible arguments to be made for nurture alone, the consensus began to consider that they might both be important.

    In American Christianity, the discourse seems to be dominated by “every person’s theological opinion is equally valid,” with the other extreme being “but education is good, too.” I see a great many parallels there with the nature/nurture debate.

    But having said that, I do feel like theological education is important. The people who have trained to interpret the Scriptures are indeed in a better position to interpret it. That is not to say that no other person can interpret Scripture, but you have to be willing to see when and how an uninformed interpretation might be lacking. Jesus started his earthly ministry with fishermen, but he also taught them. Constantly. He didn’t simply tell them that their understanding of Scripture was already perfect, he challenged them to learn and to grow. And he even got frustrated with them a time or two, when they got overly-confident about having it all figured out.

    And that’s why I push back when people without the slightest bit of theological training claim to have it all figured out. (And why I get annoyed with academics who have that same attitude, incidentally)

  • I mean, that carpenter also had the benefit of being God, which makes it a not-totally-fair comparison.

  • Herm

    Eva, I do love you and you are right, it is my obligation, to relieve you of the heavy weight you carry, to tell you that you are wrong, possibly self- righteous, even.

    Only the Dove told Jesus where to go and when to leave, not the pope. If you knew the Holy Spirit you would be carrying a much lighter load, Jesus’ load, the cross.

  • Matthew

    Would you agree that if Jesus was able to teach his disciples without granting degrees and certificates, that we might be able to teach each other in the same way as the Holy Spirit leads and guides?

    I guess my point is I see your points, and they are good ones, but I suppose every Christian is capable of good theology even if they have not attended seminary, received a degree or been granted ordination. They just have to read, and more importantly listen.

  • Herm

    Not as unfair as we might think at first. There is no school of theology in heaven, Jesus is the I am and knows himself. There is no school of carpentry in heaven for heaven is spirit. Jesus knew how to think and teach in the temple at age twelve and beyond that we see no history of His being God until age thirty in the entire Bible, only after the Dove appeared to stay … after that observation His Father in Heaven, heard on Earth, expressed His pride. What are the little children of God, Jesus’ little brothers and sisters, today, after the Dove appears to stay, chopped liver? Can they too hear their Father express His pride?

    Yes Jesus was at the beginning but He didn’t apply any of those credentials in His ministry, according to the Bible, only John did after the crucifixion. We would think, wouldn’t we, that such during His ministry would be news to chronicle? Did He not say that His disciples could do even more than He exhibited with just the faith of a mustard seed?

    How are we known as His siblings if not by comparison of our fruit to His? Is that a fair comparison or did I childishly screw up yet once again? This could have been related incorrectly as I typed without any research except what is in my heart and mind.

    Always love you and your ministry! Thanks!

  • I believe you and I are arguing different aspects of the same point, because I too believe that every Christian is capable of good theology, when they remain receptive to the teaching of others. My intention is to argue against those who claim to not need others, because they’ve already got everything they need with their personal thoughts from their preferred Bible translation.

    It’s like we’ve built a little snow fort in the middle of a snowy field, to defend from snowball attacks coming from two different directions. We’re in the same fort, and our defenses are back-to-back, even if they’re pointed opposite ways.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I don’t know if this is the proper place to ask this question or not, but I’ll give it a shot.

    I grew up going to a United Methodist Church. Eventually I came to learn that the official UMC position on homosexuality is that it’s “incompatible with Christian teaching” and that United Methodists both officially oppose same-sex marriage, both within the church and in civil law. Following this (and years after leaving the church), I came to learn that there are Methodists who in fact believe that there’s nothing wrong with being LGBT and actually do support marriage equality.

    So here’s what I don’t get, and what nobody has been able to answer to my satisfaction: How can one call themselves by the label “Methodist” (or any other anti-LGBT denomination) when they don’t actually believe what that label requires them to believe? If you are saying that your church’s official teachings are wrong, then why should you want to be a part of it? To me, it’s like calling yourself a “free-market Communist”. It’s inherently contradictory. Why support a doctrine that you believe to be wrong?

  • Nick Winters

    I think part of the issue has been that our society has not really adequately addressed the issue that romantic attraction and sexual attraction are not necessarily linked. And the terminology in popular use certainly isn’t at all sufficient to make those kind of nuanced distinctions. I agree with you that Gay/Straight just doesn’t cut it.

  • Matthew

    I think I would attempt to find out the deeper reasons behind the drug addiction. I am also of the opinion that if the user never gives up the drugs, but cries out to his or her Lord, that Jesus will not turn them away.

    I once heard a story about a man who was close to a drug addict. The drug addict sincerely believed in Jesus, but was unable to kick the habit. The storyteller said that he believed Jesus was with this drug addict until his dying day. I too believe this as well, and not only until his dying day but also for an eternity in paradise.

    I hear what you are saying about sin and its propensity for corruption and death. I also agree that we should attempt to lead pure, ethical lives as Christians, but I also know that every last one of us struggles with this. Are you without sin in this very moment? Is there nothing in this life that you continue to struggle with daily? If you are without sin and if you struggle with nothing sinful on a daily basis, then I suppose you are in a position to cast the first stone. If not, then a large dose of grace, compassion, and yes even acceptance is in order.

    Personally I feel like we fly off the tracks when we turn the Gospel into sin management. I have said it before on this blog … the heart of the Gospel is not about sin management, ethics, and morality. It is rather about something being done for humanity that humanity could in no way do for itself.

    Finally … I don´t think you addressed my initial question. I´m wondering why if both the Roman Catholic Church and the conservative evangelicals have the same views on homosexuality, why does it seem to me that there is more criticism of the conservative evangelicals than the Catholics in their dealings with the LGBT community?

  • Because while that’s the official stance of the United Methodist Church, it’s not the defining characteristic of what makes one a Methodist. Rather, it’s one of the stances that the people called Methodists are fully able to change according to the rules of the Methodist system, and those Methodists who support marriage equality have indeed been working towards changing it at every opportunity.

    It’s less like calling yourself a “free-market Communist” and more like calling yourself an “anti-war American.” War is a big part of America’s public face, but it’s not a defining characteristic, and it’s a characteristic that can be changed. An anti-war American might choose to stop being American, or might choose to stay American and work to remove war from America’s identity.

  • Matthew

    Got it now. Agreed.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I’ve heard that comparison before, but it doesn’t make sense to me. There’s no book or document saying “This is what you must believe in order to be an American”. Anybody born in this country, born to an American parent or naturalized is a citizen.

    But on the other hand, the United Methodist Church does have a book that says “This is what we believe”; it’s called the Book of Discipline, and the anti-homosexuality stuff is right in there in black and white. Nobody’s ever shown to me where it’s written that anything in there is an option. Being a citizen of this country is not remotely similar to being a member of a religion.

  • What I mean to say, Herm, is that Jesus Christ was and is God, and so Christ being “uneducated” is not an excuse for we who follow Him to stagnate. We all must take up His yoke and learn from Him. My ire is not directed towards those who earnestly seek to follow, learn, and grow closer to God, but rather towards those who believe that they have been anointed by that Dove and therefore that their work is done. The apostles didn’t have formal education, but they were educated at the feet of Jesus, in person, and even then Jesus became frustrated when they became convinced that they had learned it all. And so I, too, get frustrated when followers of Christ act as though they’ve reached ultimate understanding, and in my personal experience it tends to be not the educated but rather the anti-education who present themselves in such a posture. There are exceptions, I’m sure, but the scholars I see are regularly characterized by an attitude of “I’m only wise because I know how little I know.”

  • Yes, but the Discipline isn’t written in stone. It’s not Scripture. It gets edited. Regularly. It’s there in black and white now, but after the 2016 General Conference it might not be. And that’s why the comparison works: a citizen of the United States can, through voting, change US policies and even the Constitution. A Methodist, through the systems within the church, can change the Discipline.

  • gimpi1

    Also, think of the people denying the reality of biological evolution, against massive evidence. Those denying the age of the earth, and insisting on the reality of a Great Flood rather than ages of geologic processes to explain its configuration. Those insisting on the “dangers” of vaccinations.

    We have a wide, deep stripe of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. and it’s getting wider and deeper all time.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Yes, but again, one is a matter of law and policy, the other is a statement of belief. By identifying with a particular religion, you are professing that you hold the beliefs of that religion. There’s a word for people who profess to hold beliefs that they don’t actually hold, and it’s not something that I want to be.

    If I were considering joining a church, I would want to know what its members are required to believe. If I found something I didn’t believe in, then I wouldn’t join that church. If that church’s preacher told me that he/she didn’t share those beliefs as well, that would make me even less likely to want to be part of that church. After all, if even the preacher believes their own church is wrong, then why support it?

  • Herm

    Eva, you would have to be the a sister of Christ before I could be your brother in Christ. You would have to be whelmed by the Spirit of truth to be a little child of God today. Perhaps, you did not notice that I reflected everything you wrote back toward you in the spirit you exhibited.

    You wrote to Matthew:

    “Love is the most important thing – telling someone when they are wrong.”

    In the Spirit of love I am telling you that you are wrong. If you cannot abandon the despicable cultural ties of your carnal youth to become a little child student of Jesus today you are not connected to any more than your church of theoretical relationship, not the real thing. I have shared this with you before but please read and digest the import of Matthew 14:25-34 with verses 26, and 27 the prerequisite to entering the school of the Rabbi.

    The only way one can sin is to not be in Jesus and Jesus not in them, heart and mind connected as one by the whelming (baptism) of the Holy Spirit. The only connection, by your fruit, appears to be to your brand of theology separate from a one in one relationship with the only Teacher and Instructor to His little brothers and sisters, His students (disciples), on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus has full authority and wields it perfectly as allowed through the hearts, souls, strengths and minds of those who love Him as the only Lord God today. No organized religion wielding theory on earth has been delegated His authority, most especially notable the powerfully influential church/nation of Constantine.

    Eva, to learn to love is first to learn to accept love for yourself graced freely from God. You can love your merciful neighbor only as much as you can love yourself. God loves us first and most in a way that we can never earn, particularly so as only little children, but only accept. God serves Their little children that in they may know how to serve others. So, in everything do to others as you would have others do to you. Love you, truly!

  • gimpi1

    It may help to remember how, not too long ago, the same congregations were actively enthusiastic about segregation. They claimed the same sort of Biblical mandate on racial separation. Now, few would admit it, and some of the congregations that were the loudest about the divine-mandate for white supremacy are now trying to claim credit for the civil rights movement, based on the actions of entirely different denominations that they bitterly opposed at the time.

    This too shall pass. And, in 20 or 30 years, the Baptists will be trying to claim credit for the marriage-equity movement, since it lets gay people form monogamous, moral unions.

  • Fine, if you’re getting hung up on the analogy, let’s switch. The Boy Scouts. For a long time, their official stance was that homosexuality was unnatural, and therefore that gay boys and men had no place in the Boy Scouts. This was their official policy, and anyone involved in the BSA was “professing to hold that belief.” That belief is no longer the official Boy Scout stance. What happened? Those “something I don’t want to be” happened.

    I’m not telling you to become a Methodist. You asked a question, and I answered it. But it’s starting to seem like you didn’t actually want an answer to that question. I apologize if that’s unfair, but more and more it’s sounding like you just wanted to complain that the Methodists need to change while also complaining about the people who are actually working towards that change.

    Edited to quickly note also that, as I said earlier, while this is the official stance it is not a defining belief. So, your language of “required to believe” is misplaced. No Methodist pastor, were you to ask them what you are required to believe in order to be Methodist, would include this. No Methodist bishop would include it.

  • It’s a long and unwieldy acronym, that often gets shortened by chopping the tail off. Which truly is unfair to you, and to intersex people. There are a whole lot of areas where we still need to grow.

  • Herm

    It took me until I was 50 before I formally came to God as a little child. For half a century I spoke with God even as an authority to my Christian churches. When critically and directly asked I would bare my soul and respond with, “I don’t give a damn about heaven or hell for they are well beyond my pay grade. I care only about doing better today than I did yesterday to be constructive and productive for all”.

    When I became a little ignorant child of God, in God and God in me, I then grew to desire most to do the best I can for those I can influence to realize eternity is only of value if it will take that long to learn it all with a Teacher having the time to spend all the way. This is what Jesus offers, never before so in the history of Man, to all who can come only as little children, wisely knowing every day more how little they know. Jesus picked up His cross only on the faith that His Father was right. We have been graced the opportunity to do the same.

    All that Jesus commanded nearly 2,000 years ago works constructively and productively for all us little children on earth. In that I have full faith. That Jesus is in actively in charge for all constructively and productively today I know by His fruit shared with me and the fruit of His that has come from me.

    Snommelp, not meant as flattery, I do truly believe you know the same. It really is fun to play to learn in this school yard of earth when faithfully partnered in God’s advocate. His yoke is light!

    We are blessed!

  • PremiumOsmium

    No, it’s just that every time I ask the question I get the same analogies and non-responses instead of a direct answer. For me, the question is perfectly simple: Why be part of a religion if you don’t share all of its beliefs? There’s got to be a clear and simple answer to that question, but nobody seems to want to tell me what it is.

  • seashell

    Now that I think about it, you’re right. Not only the Randians but the conservative Christians who believe people fail because they haven’t found God or something and don’t want the government to help with that.

    As for the rest of your questions, I’m not a Christian but have long been an apatheist in good standing. Anything I know about the Bible comes from this forum and I’m tempted to say that should I ever change my mind, I would go with love everybody as the greatest commandment. I try to do that anyway.

  • People use analogies when it seems like the other person has failed to grasp the clear and simple answer. I jumped the gun a bit, but it seemed like a fair jump based on how you first presented the question. The clear and simple answer is exactly as I said in the beginning (and as I repeated in an edit, which I believe I started typing after you came to the page; apologies for that). This is not a defining belief. It is not a requirement for someone to believe this in order to call themselves Methodist.

    Which is also why I pointed out that the Discipline is not Scripture. It is a collection of stances and beliefs based on our best understanding of God’s will at the time that it is compiled. If/when we come to a better understanding of God’s will, the Discipline must change.

    It is the official stance, but it is a stance that occupies a space that is open for dissent, discussion, and change. And if you believe the defining beliefs, and feel that other stances such as this one are both untrue and harmful, then your options are either to leave in spite of agreeing with the defining beliefs, or to stay and change the harmful stance. Some choose option A. I choose option B.

  • seashell

    When I say I love someone – I do. It becomes meaningless if you tell everyone.

    My own experience is the opposite. Love isn’t a zero sum game where someone loses if someone else gains. Instead, love begets love. The more love offered, the more love that comes back.

  • Guy Norred

    For what it is worth, I don’t think I have to agree with everything anyone believes in order to be in relationship with them. I also suspect that if I decided I had to vet all official stances of any religious organization before becoming a part of it, I would be left having to start the Church of Guy–then tomorrow God would lead me to a new understanding of something and I would have to leave my own church. In the end, isn’t that what the church is supposed to be about–our individual and growing relationships with God and how we together support each other in these? In full disclosure, I grew up United Methodist myself. My father actually left the UMC pastorate partially because of the loosening of that stance on homosexuality–happily, before he died, his heart was changing. In any event, it wasn’t the church sending me away but God leading me to TEC that has found me where I am now. Do I find myself fully convinced of everything that TEC espouses? No. Am I at peace in this? Yes. If I find God leading me elsewhere, will I follow? I hope so.

  • Guy Norred

    Sounds like the Gospel to me. :-)

    (or at least a large portion of it)

  • PremiumOsmium

    OK, so you say that accepting the doctrines of the General Conference as expressed in the Book of Discipline is not a defining characteristic of what it means to be a United Methodist. You’re the first person I know of who’s actually said that. But is there a document or doctrine or ruling that expressly says that? I’m not trying to be obtuse here, but to return to your earlier analogy, that sounds like saying that just because the Constitution, the statues and the courts say that something is law, doesn’t mean that it’s law.

    And the Book of Discipline may not be Scripture, but we all know what Scripture says about homosexuals, and it’s not good. I don’t claim either of them to be authoritative in my life, fortunately.

  • Guy Norred

    And to quote a Catholic, “You only love God as much as the person you love the least.” Dorothy Day

  • PremiumOsmium

    Certainly you don’t have to agree with everything another person believes in order to be in a relationship with them. I’d never suggest otherwise.

    My point here is joining a religion that says, “In order to be one of us, this is what you must believe,” without actually believing what you are required to, is not something that I would do, and I don’t understand why other people would. Maybe it’s because they’re forced to, or they like the social advantages of membership, or something?

  • Guy Norred

    I do believe there is a great deal of truth in what you say–I also think that for many, their faith lies in the bundle of rules they have found concocted and not in God. They fear so much that if any aspect is questioned, it all falls apart and they are left with nothing. Sad, really. It doesn’t make it any easier to be their victim of course. In any event, keep trying to be the kind of person you want to be.

  • Guy Norred

    That need for rules—comes down to fear–and to be frank, misplaced faith.

  • Ficino

    There are congregations, both Christian and Jewish, where same-sex couples, incl. those married with children, are welcome. A congregation that tells the couple that their relationship is sin, and that they should divorce or the equivalent and live the rests of their lives as single and celibate, isn’t going to convince LGBT people that the “love” in that congregation is real.

    Answers that amount to “our love is real, the problem is that you love sin” are not going to convince.

  • As you yourself said earlier, you can be an American without believing everything in the Constitution is right. That’s why we wind up with Amendments. Same with the Discipline. If it was required to accept those stances (not doctrines, that’s too strong a word for what this is) unquestioningly, the Discipline would never change. It changes every time the General Conference meets. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large ways. That would be an impossibility if it was required of Methodists to totally accept the Discipline.

    Though to more thoroughly answer your question, the “document, doctrine, or ruling that expressly says that” is the Book of Discipline itself. From the Episcopal Greetings, before even the table of contents: “we do not see the Discipline as sacrosanct or infallible.” The greetings say a good bit more, but it distills down to exactly what I said before. The Discipline is based upon our best understanding of how to follow God’s will at the time that it is compiled. If and when that understanding changes, so too must the Discipline. Logic dictates that this cannot happen if the Discipline is required to be accepted without question.

    And you must be new around here, if you think that what “we all know” about what Scripture says about homosexuality is the end of the discussion. It’s a huge debate within the Church about what those texts truly mean, in spite of what certain vocal individuals say.

  • PremiumOsmium

    When I went to church, I was repeatedly told that it wasn’t my place to question the church’s authority and that as a good Christian, I had no choice but to submit and obey, so maybe your whole idea that doctrine shouldn’t be accepted without question must have been something they keep secret.

    But on another note, as an outsider, the debate that I see is between traditionalists who believe that the Bible’s unequivocally clear anti-homosexual passages should be taken at face value, and progressives who wish it said otherwise, so they “interpret” it to mean what they want it to mean. Nobody in the church is willing to stand up and say, “Moses got it wrong. Paul got it wrong.” Just like nobody in the church is saying that the Bible was also wrong about slavery, or the divine right of kings, or human rights in general.

  • Well then, by your own logic, I’d argue that the person who told you those things disagrees with certain core principles of Methodism and should have renounced their ties to the denomination.

    And as an insider looking outside, I’d say that it looks like you may have internalized the rhetoric of those “traditionalists” too much. Those of us who don’t think it says those things truly don’t believe it says that. It’s not a question of “interpreting” it to mean what we want it to mean. It’s what we truly believe it means. Sorry if that makes things a little less clean for you, but it’s the simple truth, clearly stated. However, you will I’m sure be happy to know that there are indeed some people who stand up and say “Moses got it wrong. Paul got it wrong.” I’m actually a little surprised you haven’t run into them more often, I seem to find them everywhere.

    EDIT: Also, could you please stop using the word doctrine when that’s not the word I’m using? Doctrines are a different kind of thing, and it’s an important distinction.

  • PremiumOsmium

    “Well then, by your own logic, I’d argue that the person who told you those things disagrees with certain core principles of Methodism and should have renounced their ties to the denomination.”

    If you say so. But they were pastors and Sunday School teachers and nobody ever told me they were wrong while I went to that church.

    And if you truly don’t believe that Leviticus 20:13 explicitly commands the killing of men who engage in homosexual activity, then I don’t know what you believe it actually says.

    I actually have met plenty of people who will openly state that the Bible got a lot of things wrong. I bet you can guess what they have in common.

  • Herm

    He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28

    I know that I may be blind (I can’t see what I can’t see) but I cannot see in this scripture any reference to denomination, sexuality if in love, or carnal addiction as a stipulation by God that I might live eternally inherited as a child of God.

    Thanks Matthew!

  • As far as this particular discussion is concerned, is it relevant whether you were told at the time that they were wrong? They were. I’ve given you the evidence, and according to the stance that you first presented, based on that evidence, those people are the ones that you should argue need to renounce their Methodism, not affirming Methodists. That’s what I was saying.

    And I’m back to my previous assessment: it doesn’t seem like you’re particularly interested in hearing what affirming Christians believe, or how we came to those beliefs. You just want to tell us that our belief isn’t Biblical, and that we should renounce our Christian faith. That being the case, I really see no point in continuing this discussion. It’s not going to be productive for either of us. I hope you have a pleasant day.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Actually, what I was going to say was that it seems that you’ve already renounced many of the core beliefs of Christianity, and that’s a good thing! I just hope that more people come to openly acknowledge that what they already believe is incompatible with the Bible and Christian teaching.
    If you admit that the Bible is not historically accurate, that it’s not an authoritative source of morality, and disagree with centuries of Christian doctrine and teaching, then great! So do I, and so does every other atheist that I know of!

  • Herm

    ray, in order to be baptized in and by the Methodist church to become an active member you must take a vow that you truly believe in their Christian roots: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/our-christian-roots

    Within their statement of roots it states:

    The Holy Spirit is God’s present activity in our midst. When we sense God’s leading, God’s challenge, or God’s support or comfort, it’s the Holy Spirit at work

    All other tenets other than the statement of basics are available to change under the lead of the Holy Spirit. In fact every organized and labeled fellowship in the name of Christ is constantly changing because none truly believe they got it all right.

    Jesus took His Father’s house pretty seriously but even as a birth rite Jew He worshiped His Father in a spiritual temple. He still was considered an official member of the Jewish religion and was in fellowship accordingly. He clearly, according to the Bible, did not live according to all the rules of His church. The example being where He gleaned food on the Sabbath which was subject to the death penalty; no less death inflicted under “God’s” rule than homosexuality.

    Most church theologians know this and make membership to be founded only on the basic tenets. The same basic tenets each new United States of America citizen must take an oath to. Never was slavery or the women’s vote in the oath of citizenship as a basic tenet.

    I my own experience I have been led by God to fellowship in Jesus’ name as a member when the institution and I had reciprocal lessons to learn from each other. Both the organization of fellowship and I had changed for the better because of our relationship under one name by the time I was called away.

    That’s the mechanics I know which only work for the good of all when led by God. There is, although, enough more for me to learn to know that will take a minimum of one eternity to its end. I intend to be growing for that long and growing means to be changing. The basic of my oath to Christ Jesus is that I love with full trust in the Spirit of truth to lead in the Way.

    Is this any different an explanation of how a church can state homosexuality is a sin (usually forgetting punishable by death just like working on the Sabbath) and still have homosexual members? I leave the rest up to you to understand why I would associate one sin with another.

    I do love that you would dare to “give it a shot”.

  • Paul Schlitz

    What a great story. Being kicked out for an unplugged microphone. Ben Corey is the Ebenezer Elliot of our times

  • Paul Schlitz

    I’m sorry I got my Ebenezer’s confused. Ebenezer Jones, is the illusion, not Ebenezer Elliot

  • Jeff Preuss

    >>Nobody
    in the church is willing to stand up and say, “Moses got it wrong. Paul
    got it wrong.” Just like nobody in the church is saying that the Bible
    was also wrong about slavery, or the divine right of kings, or human
    rights in general.<<

    Really? I've seen plenty of people say these things about slavery, the divine right of kings, etc. Maybe still being part of the Church makes me more privy to those conversations, but they happen often.

    As for the anti-homosexual passages, most progressives try to understand the Scriptures related to the context of the time in which they were written, instead of simply taking the Bible at face value, especially because with thousands of printed versions of the Bible out there, "face value" means something different to everyone. Progressives usually try to do that with every topic, not just homosexuality. It's hard to take a verse against homosexuals completely at face value, when other translations of the same verse don't even have that word.

    If you go simply by the existence of the word 'sodomite' to mean homosexual – there are some other translations (and NOT recent progressive versions) that replace that word with whoremonger or 'cult prostitute.' So, if I take that version at face value, I am not supposed to be a cult prostitute. Great! I'm covered then.

  • PremiumOsmium

    “Really? I’ve seen plenty of people say these things about slavery, the divine right of kings, etc. Maybe still being part of the Church makes me more privy to those conversations, but they happen often.”
    If you say so. I’m not part of the private conversations that Christians are having behind closed doors. What I do see are the voices that speak for Christianity in this country on major TV and radio stations, the internet and other mass media, and the 30+ years of virtual silence from Progressive Christians. When a xenophobic, sexist, racist, militarist like Donald Trump becomes the darling poster boy for Christianity in this country, what can I say to that?

  • Herm

    … so does every disciple of Christ, the only Teacher and Instructor, that I know of! The Bible is historically accurate as a testament to the relationship of Man and God as more of an expose than a statement of fact. All that is written within was subject to the author’s sincere bias even when in actual relationship with God. So it is with my childish writing in relationship with God.

    Every myth or long lasting tale of mankind has been generated by some fact. The story in the book of Genesis probably began with witnesses of mankind demonstrably changing, not necessarily from the knowledge of good and evil, 9k years ago in the Fertile Crescent, by a new knowledge of farming and ranching allowing cities where the previous hunter/gatherers could not. By the time the fireside fable was penned it reflected more where the author was in his/her relationship with God than the actual historical facts long before the author’s time.

    The chronicling of Jesus Christ is still subject to the times of the authors. This in no way discounts some really new concepts not previously considered. Though the Son of God had already been a concept in other beliefs of divinity becoming sisters and brothers of the Son of God/Son of Man had not. The really big one is the most illogical solution ever that works to end an otherwise endless cycle of retribution by way of setting down one’s sword to be free to pick up their cross. Loving one’s enemy still hasn’t really caught on even with religiously devoted professing Christians.

    All I ever ask of my fellows on earth is that they try to do better today for the whole than they did yesterday. I do not ever intend to intimidate with any concept of hell and damnation for I am convinced there is a final death of knowing nothing anonymously. I can find no better rule to live by than in everything do to others as you would have others do to you but that wasn’t new to Jesus, just one of His commands to sum up the law and the prophets.

    What I personally live by has Jesus’ direct promise to me that when I love my Lord God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with all my mind and that I love my merciful neighbor exactly as much as I love myself I will surely live to learn infinitely more eternally.

    I know that God is alive, well and actively nurturing me as a very little child. I know that God has the unfathomable (to me) patience to wait eons after the “big bang” before, on this earth at least, breathing an image of Them into the carnally evolved species of mankind. You may not have any inquisitive sense of a spiritual reality with no beginning and no end so none of this may interest you to challenge for yourself. It is not for me to judge but I do feel inclined to suggest the possibility just in case some little inkling of spiritual awakening is yearning to get out.

    You sound perfectly healthy and your atheism seems to pose no threat. Hang in and risk to share and test by question more often. You are welcome!

  • Jeff Preuss

    “What
    I do see are the voices that speak for Christianity in this country on
    major TV and radio stations, the internet and other mass media, and the
    30+ years of virtual silence from Progressive Christians. When a
    xenophobic, sexist, racist, militarist like Donald Trump becomes the
    darling poster boy for Christianity in this country, what can I say to
    that?”
    I absolutely get where you are coming from on this. Unfortunately, as with many sides of any issue, the representatives with the most negative outlooks get the most airtime, and may not be fully indicative of the majority opinion.

    But, Christianity certainly isn’t getting a good public reputation right now with Franklin Graham’s Islamaphobic and homophobic rhetoric, and Trump’s claim to stand for “traditional” marriage pandering to the most conservative supporters, whilst he’s on his third marriage.

    Unfortunately, those who espouse views of acceptance and grace tend to get shouted down by those who wield rampant fear as a tool.

    At the end of the day, it’s the old adage: “If it bleeds, it leads.” News media aren’t going to cover much about folks all getting along, and people being accepting and welcoming and having a big fluffy Love In. If there’s no conflict, there’s very little hook to draw in the readers and the viewers, so people like Josh Feuerstein get the coverage because he’s willing to shout about Christians taking back the country with his rifle held high. For all the idiocy of his statements, he gets the attention, because he knows how to market himself, and to whom.

  • Herm

    Oh Eva, you are talking to me but not with me. Your mind is made up with nothing to learn. I certainly don’t know how you think you are connected except to talk to Him but you are not talking with Him. Loosen up and as a little child knowing nothing let Him be in you to tell you that He loves you. It so very possible!

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    There are literally NO OTHER ancient texts that every American with a high school education would think he/she has so very figured out. Yes, we read the Iliad and the Odyssey in the 8th grade. How much hand holding did that require? Lots.

    Because of this, I nearly always wonder why we think everyone with little to no formal education can magically understand this ancient text so very, very well. “the Bible CLEARLY says…”

    That’s my 2 cents.

    Love,
    Stacey, Sans Bible Degree

  • PremiumOsmium

    You do of course realize that the people we’re referring to are not just obscure individuals that the media chooses to focus on. We’re talking about nationally-prominent leaders in charge of large organizations with millions of followers. Franklin Graham, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, etc. etc. are big name powerful people, not nobodies whose media exposure outweighs their importance. Can you think of any liberal progressive Christian leaders with even a fraction of their influence or exposure? I sure can’t.

  • Guy Norred

    Bible as expose–I like that.

  • HematitePersuasion

    Love isn’t about what you need. It is about what they need. And if your love is indistinguishable from being kicked in the face — which it pretty much is — then it is not love. It is kicking someone in the face.

    Love is not what you give. Love is what they receive.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “You do of course realize that the people we’re referring to are not just obscure individuals that the media chooses to focus on.”
    Of course I do. Never said anything to indicate otherwise.

    Much like the media exposure, those who ply their spiritual trade with the loudest fear-based rhetoric (fire and brimstone) tend to get the butts in the seats.

  • Guy Norred

    Simply that no one has to accept a pronouncement of love, but that makes it none the less sincere. We are not God and cannot know the hearts of our brothers and sister.

  • Herm

    … thanks, as if I could author an inspired book in the Bible, wow, thanks, again!

  • Marja Erwin

    As to your hypothetical, if your emphasis is on free rather than on market, then there is no contradiction. For example, the Italian anarchist communist Errico Malatesta wrote that: “In the anarchist milieu, communism, individualism, collectivism,
    mutualism and all the intermediate and eclectic programmes are simply
    the ways considered best for achieving freedom and solidarity in
    economic life; the ways believed to correspond more closely with justice
    and freedom for the distribution of the means of production and the
    products of labour among men.”

  • Jeff

    >But at the same time, in what other field do we have that same feeling of “everyone’s opinions are equally valid?”

    Subjective fields, like art and literature, put a lot of value on opinions. Objective fields, like biology and physics and geology, tend to be unreceptive towards anything founded more on opinion than demonstrable reality.

  • Ray, there is no such thing as a religion that will have as its core doctrines everything you believe it should have. What you seem to describing is a religion of cyborg Moonies, where everyone thinks and dresses the same.

  • Guy, you have the patience of a saint! God bless ;)

  • The religious right has had a number of litmus tests in the past. Innerancy of Scripture was big for awhile. Many Evangelical seminaries used it as a hiring/firing standard. Then came abortion, which the church on the right rallied around (note: I am pro-life but am not a total turd about it). Being anti-Gay is the latest test and will not be the last. It’s interesting to note that when the right is denied the legal right to persecute others, they claim they themselves are now being persecuted. Pretty sad. Ben, I noticed your comment on Preston Sprinkle, and agree it is good to see a conservative (that does not support SSM) at least willing to admit the church needs to do better. Having read his stuff, though, I don’t see how he and others of like mind have anything to offer Gays, certainly not the Good News. I have given the issue some thought, Preston’s thread mentioned that Jesus’s view of the Law was “stricter” than that of the Pharisees. It was an “ah hah” moment for me. It reflects a total misunderstanding of the Christian’s relationship to the Law. Jesus was not a legalist, this is clearly shown in Mtt 5, in his “you have heard it said, but I say unto you” treatment of the Decalogue. What Preston, and the church in general, does not realize is that Christ calls us to a understanding of the underlying reasons or “spirit” of the Law. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, not because they weren’t keeping the Law, (they did) but that their lack of keeping the spirit of the Law hurt others. This is where we are today, it is not the Jewish leadership and teachers who are Pharisees. The church has become modern Pharisees. Our theology ends up hurting others. Our righteousness ends up blinding us to our own self-righteousness. Preston’s hermeneutical principal of legalism will prevent him from a meaningful application of the Gospel to new, modern circumstances.

  • I believe this is, in large part, due to the hermeneutics which were made prominent during the late 1700s and early 1800s. By insisting that the Bible’s words were self-evident and could be accepted as truth by reading them at face value, religious leaders created a movement which could point to any passage in the Bible and declare that their interpretation was the one and only true interpretation, by dint of the fact that it came so easily to them to read it that way.

    Naturally, this is not the case, as can be easily proven simply by using scripture to argue for something the person obviously does not desire.

  • And then World Vision apologized to the people who had dropped their donations for having offended them.

    I described that as “the day World Vision knelt to the Antichrist.”

  • seashell

    Stacey, Personally, I’ve only tried to wade through some of the verses I’ve read on here (using biblehub) and I find that the Bible isn’t clear about much. Not only that, its context seems to be all over the place, not always conveniently placed in close proximity. So I’m with you on the insights some people form from what they think they have read.

    Thats my 2 cents added to yours.

    Love,
    Carole, Sans Bible

  • Dana

    I stand with you, Ben. I choose to be the Church, and I do so without apology.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Maybe, maybe not. But if I joined a religion, I would at least be sure that I actually believed what was required of believers. One reason why I quit Christianity before losing belief in gods entirely was because I couldn’t accept the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement.

  • shay simmons

    You would probably have to start your own religion, actually.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Speaking for myself, because it fulfills a spiritual need. Or, if you’re more comfortable with it, because it fulfills an emotional/psychological need, and a powerful need at that, one that I don’t find getting met somewhere else.

    I have horrible, horrible, horrible depression (for which I take medication and receive mental health treatment). Major depressive disorder, to be precise. I’ve found that following Jesus helps with this, as does going to (some) Churches (not all Churches). You may think this is stupid. You may think this shouldn’t help. You may think I should be able to get this assistance from someone or something else. Or maybe you don’t. I don’t know. But the simple truth is that for me, religion helps, and I imagine that it helps for a lot of people who don’t have the problems I have. So why not engage in something that is going to make their lives better, if that’s what they’ve found it to do?

  • PremiumOsmium

    It’s sad that you suffer from depression. Honestly I can’t understand how it makes it any better to go somewhere that you’re told you’re a wretched sinner who deserves to die, and that nothing you ever do will make you worthy of love or even life. Honestly it’s taken me years to get over that, and I’m still dealing with the fact that, although they may not say it, my own family believes that I deserve to die and go to Hell to be tortured for all eternity because of a loving god. Remember: that is what every single honest Christian you know is thinking about you.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Well, that’s not what they tell me at Church, and that’s not what I believe, so . . . I’m sorry your family believes that. That must be incredibly difficult for you. You have my sympathy. But really, I wish you wouldn’t put words in the mouths of Christians: there is a wide variety of belief in Christians in regards to the afterlife, everything from what you mentioned to good-people-go-to-heaven to Univeralism.

    And honestly, there’s a relief in being told that I don’t need to do anything to be deserving of love, and that instead I am already loved (which is what I instead get told at church). I’m a perfectionist also, so I’m always trying to live up to impossible standards that I of course can’t live up to. To give up that burden is liberating.

  • PremiumOsmium

    It’s good that you don’t go to a Christian church, then. I think it would be better if you didn’t have to rely on myths and superstition, but we all have our burdens to bear.
    And believe me, I’m not putting words into the mouth of anybody. Everything I’ve said is supported by centuries of Christian theologians as well as many of the most prominent, respected voices of Christianity today.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Just as an FYI, penal substitutionary atonement isn’t the only theory of atonement out there. It isn’t even the oldest, for all that it is presented as the only one in our modern society. Ta da!

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Comments like this, “I think it would be better if you didn’t have to rely on myths and superstition, but we all have our burdens to bear,” just aren’t helpful, really. Do you know what I wish? I wish I didn’t have to rely on medication, which is expensive and has all kinds of negative side effects that I don’t like at all. In fact, I’d take religion over medication any day, but I don’t exactly get a choice, now do I? In the end, I find your attitude towards me a little sad, but not entirely unexpected. You asked a question about why people would belong to a religion, I answered it, and rather than being treated with kindness and respect, this is the response I get. Ultimately, I think I just need to sign off for a bit and go to bed.

    But before I do, yes, you are putting words in the mouths of lots of people. You are assuming to speak for all Christians (in fact you are excommunicating the Churches I go to from Christendom because they don’t fall in line with what you believe about Christianity).

  • PremiumOsmium

    Maybe we can talk later, then, if you like. Not needing medication is almost always better than needing medication. I just hope that you can realize that you have the power within you to help yourself as well. You don’t need to rely on a belief in magic and superstition.
    I also hope that you can come to realize that you can feel better about yourself without judging and condemning me and everybody else who doesn’t believe in your god.

  • Matthew

    Why is my ethnic background and denominational affiliation important to know before you offer your insights into my question?

  • Bones

    “Personally I feel like we fly off the tracks when we turn the Gospel into sin management.”

    You are not far from the truth. A lot of Christians including Catholics are more interested in keeping people OUT of the kingdom of God.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Eva. I think you have answered my question.

  • I don’t adhere to it either, creates a bipolar God. Jesus came, saw that the instructions given in the Decalogue were turned into a rigid legal system devoid of mercy and justice and rebuked the status quo religious leadership for falling into a trap of self justification. If you see the same spiritual blindness in the church today, I can’t blame you for turning your back on it. But you are rejecting a church that no longer accurately represents Christ. I would recommend you reassess Christ’s attitude toward religious hypocrisy and Paul’s understanding of Jewish Law.

  • BT

    When an unexpected pregnancy left me in a financial bind, it was a totally secular guy, a Mormon and a gay guy that came to help.

    It taught me something about grace.

    Ever after, I’ve had a completely different viewpoint on the matter. I’m with Ben on this one.

    Point of clarification: my wife got pregnant. Not me. It wasn’t anything miraculous beyond the regular miraculousness of it all.

  • BT

    I need to look for the Preston article. I can imagine a sense in which Jesus’ view of the law was stricter (more demanding) on the intent but then more flexible on the letter.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Perhaps surprisingly enough, what I realize is that I and my doctors am in a better position to judge what is helpful to me in my recovery than you are, especially given that you don’t know me, my illness, or my beliefs. To be honest, I’m not even sure that you’re interested in learning about any of these things, considering how you keep strawmaning men. Consider the following.

    I don’t judge or condemn you or anyone who doesn’t believe in any deity, or anyone who does believe in a deity, for that matter. You aren’t specific, but I’m going to guess that by “condemn” you think I mean you are going to hell or that you are lesser in some way because you don’t believe in God. Untrue. I don’t think you are going to hell and I don’t think you are lesser.

    I do wish you would stop assuming the worst you could think about people just because you know a very little about them, though.

  • As long as LGBTQ people continue to be a ‘theological question,’ or a debate or something for straight white male pastors like Preston Sprinkle to turn into a media platform to sell not one, but two books about how to hate a part of us but still ‘love’ us, there will be no place for most of us in the Church.

    A few LGBT people find enough good in Christianity to whether the constant abuse. Most do not. And the longer the Church struggles to affirm our basic humanity, the more appropriate the estrangement between the LGBT community and the Christian Church is.

  • Ahahahahaha. Christians used to run multi-million corporations designed with the intent to ‘cure’ us. Some of them are still in business. “The LGBT is already welcomed in Church,” damn you are funny.

  • BT

    Boiling someone’s human identity down to a couple of aspects as if those constituted the essence of the person is pretty dehumanizing. That’s one thing I had to learn the hard way.

  • I mean, I suppose theoretically one could make the case for gluttony being a manifestation of another sin, like… idolatry? Sure, let’s go with idolatry. A person could argue that gluttony is about putting food (or anything else, if you want a more liberal definition of “gluttony”) in a primary position, more important than anything up to and including God. It’d be an exercise in rhetorical gymnastics, though.

  • gimpi1

    Well, I can think of several simple answers:

    1) You think the church is good, but wrong on one or two issues, and you want to help correct what you see as their error.

    2) You were raised in a church, and you have family, friends and history there. You have come to believe that they’re wrong about some things, but you decide that your relationships are more important than your disagreement.

    3) You understand that all institutions change. You find being a part of that change exciting or challenging, so you stay with a church that you disagree with on some issues, for the challenge and excitement of trying to bring about change.

    4) You think the church is good, but wrong on one or two issues. These issues simply don’t mean enough to you to make a big deal out of them. However if the congregation starts questioning them, you’ll line up on the “change” side.

    5) You were raised in a church, believed they were right about almost everything. Then, your life shows you new things. Consider someone raised in young-earth creationism taking a college-level course in geology. It won’t take long to discover what you were taught at church is not accurate. You go back to your church, and tell them what you learned, try to help them bring their dogma into better alignment with the facts. This happens with social-issues, too. Someone has their child come out, and suddenly has to re-think their beliefs. Rather than just bail, sometimes people want to share what they’ve learned.

    Ar these straightforward enough for you?

  • Realist1234

    God is love – yet He still condemns gay sex because He did not design us for it. Those who are trying to ‘re-interpret’ both Old and New Testaments to make God’s view fit into today’s secular society are doing a great disservice to the Church as a whole. The Church was never supposed to reflect society or its morality – it was supposed to be different – it stood out in Roman times like a sore thumb, hence the subsequent persecution. It is clear, from the gospels and other NT writings, that church leadership took seriously issues of sin. Its a shame many today just either look the other way or deny God’s/Jesus’ teaching. As for ‘scholars’ like Kirk, I suspect you view him as ‘outstanding’ only because he agrees with you (he doesn’t understand justification as a start, never mind God’s view of sexual morality). ‘I don’t think those who still hold non-affirming theology automatically cease to be the church.’ How kind of you Ben! You clearly don’t see the irony of that statement.

  • I’m never a fan of stretching to make something a sin. :)

  • Agreed. More of an intellectual exercise to imagine how it could be done. Definitely not interested in taking it seriously.

  • Guy Norred

    I spent a long time discounting Paul altogether as the things that seemed so unloving so often were his words. Then a few years ago, I kept finding other of his words popping into my mind. It didn’t take long before my understanding of him, even in the passages that seem less loving, began to change. I still haven’t sat down and done the intentional and in depth study of Paul I have meant to (for that matter, before this I was going to study each of the gospels separately and haven’t started that so….). I am still not necessarily ready to give Paul any more authority than I would any other person who I believe is doing their best to let God work through them, but I suspect Paul himself wouldn’t be completely happy with the practically semi-divine status some have given him.

  • Guy Norred

    Have you seen Kimberly Knight’s latest post? Not sure it wraps itself around my understanding of sin completely, but is certainly on its way. Of course I may just need more time to get there. :-)

  • $136305622

    How does that work? I mean, there is nothing sinful with being LGBT so I understand they are welcome in Churches (there are many many forms of “Church”). I am just curious how one can say with a straight face that many Churches are against the “rationalization and glorification of sin”? We see the glorification of money in most Christian Churches (I have only been to one church in the last 23 years that did not take up a collection and many Churches do not preach against accumulating riches – greed is a sin just as a reminder). Many churches encourage people to speak out publicly against LGBT people and based on what I have seen, such speaking out includes lies about LGBT and purposefully denigrating them as people. I seem to remember that was a sin… Just a couple examples of clear “rationalization and glorification of sin” practiced by the majority of Christian Churches.

  • $136305622

    I wonder if it is because the RCC is more unified. For instance, there is a clear catholic catechism. Doctrine is set and unchanging. While there are people in the Church who do not agree with the Church’s stance on homosexuality, they still have to deal with the reality that the RCC’s position on LGBT is unwavering. Catholics have always said that there should be kindness shown to LGBT, so it is wrong to disseminate lies about LGBT as many other Christians do. The RCC states that glbt who are celibate are fine – just as good as everyone else. The RCC is firmly against marriage of glbt and sexual activity of glbt. They DO receive criticism when they make pronouncements on the topics…so I am not completely sure they receive different treatment than other Christians…but they do tend to be less rabid in their hatred of glbt publicly.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I suppose, although I wouldn’t be inclined to try to change a church’s stance on anything. It’s not my business, after all. I compare it to going into somebody else’s house uninvited and telling them how to arrange the furniture. Likewise, if I was a member of a church and they adopted a position on something that I couldn’t agree with, I’d quit and find a suitable replacement. And I don’t see how a person could have a relationship with their family and friends only in a church environment. I see my friends and family all the time, and I don’t go to church at all.

  • gimpi1

    Well, if you grew up in a church, it’s not just “someone else’s house, it’s yours, too. You aren’t “uninvited,” you are part of the community.

    Simply withdrawing is not always the right thing to do. Sometimes something is unjust. To say, “That business club won’t allow African American members, I’m not going to join a group like that,” may absolve you of participation in the injustice, but the injustice still stands.

    There’s nothing wrong with trying to fix what you view as wrong. There’s also nothing wrong with deciding that the things you view as wrong aren’t so bad that you need to bail out. There’s nothing wrong with trying to fix what you view as a problem from within. And, if someone doesn’t want to put in the effort, or isn’t closely attached to the group in question, there’s nothing wrong with leaving.

    However, just assuming that no group should ever change — that anyone who spots a flaw should just opt out rather than bringing what they think is a flaw to the attention of the group — that, I disagree with. Many people have made many positive changes in many groups over time.

  • HematitePersuasion

    … I don’t know how to interpret this.

    I intended suggest that the preaching style best captured by the Westboro Baptist Church, a very aggressive and assertive God hates sinners, you wretched evil foul sinner is a metaphorical kick in the face.

    Regardless of one’s beliefs around same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria issues, that approach and style are perceived as hateful. I consider it a form of violence.

    Violent words can be every bit as harmful as violent actions, and perhaps even more so.

    Does this clarify my intent and meaning for you?

  • HematitePersuasion

    Certainly. Apparently my post was not as clear as I thought it was: my point was that it is up to the recipient to judge whether the treatment received is loving or hateful. Beyond that, imposing one’s own view on another is just that — imposition.

    I appreciate the chance to clarify my intent and meaning!

  • PremiumOsmium

    I’m not suggesting that no group should ever change. But you do realize the futility of an outsider trying to get a whole group of people to completely reverse position on something.

  • gimpi1

    No, I don’t, for two reasons.

    Firstly, the person trying to bring about change is often not an outsider, but a long-term member who has changed their views. It’s easy to ignore someone like a columnist from a paper you don’t read or a politician you don’t like. It’s much harder to ignore your old friend and fellow parishioner Brother Billy, who’s lovely daughter — the one that brought you a nice casserole and did your laundry when you were recovering from surgery — tells you that she’s told him she’s gay, and that her coming out has changed his views 180. Do people always change their ideas because they learn new things? No. But it happens, and it’s not that uncommon.

    Secondly, some people really do live for the challenge of trying to bring positive change to hidebound organizations. I know a few. They love taking jobs and trying to change the corporate culture, or joining groups and trying to shift the group’s focus or beliefs. Do they generally succeed? No. But occasionally they do, and, for those people, the game is worth the candle.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “But you do realize the futility of an outsider trying to get a whole
    group of people to completely reverse position on something.”

    …there’s an ironic point to make here about this statement paralleling your efforts here on this blog…

    You’re quick to say that Eris doesn’t attend a Christian church, or that Snommelp has renounced many of the core beliefs of Christianity, because neither of them experiences Christianity in the (frankly) very narrow way your church presented them to you. You seem insistent that your perception of Christianity is the only thing that you seem to discount the way we live our faith because it doesn’t line up with what was apparently hammered into you as a child: Don’t question. Bible is literal and true. It only counts if you believe THIS.

    There is much more to it than that, as many on here have tried to explain to you.

  • There’s lots of things God didn’t design us for that we do with our bodies (body modification comes to mind), yet those things are not condemned like homosexuality. I have to ask…why? How does homosexuality hurt people? Does it kill anyone? Lots of behaviors have inherent risks, but a monogamous relationship with someone of the same sex being wrong really doesn’t make sense to me.

  • seashell

    If I didn’t know better from Ben and some others in this forum, I would think that the only sins in Christianity revolve around sex – in one form or another. And that Christians think of little else than what other people are doing sexually and their own place in the afterlife. It’s hard to believe the entire Bible, and an entire religion built on it, speaks of nothing else than sex and the afterlife, but apparently Christianity’s most ardent proponents think of nothing else.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    I know, right? I swear, one would think that Jesus never talked about how we need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, welcome in the stranger, etc etc and so forth! One would think that instead he ran around ranting against homosexuality. It just flabbergasts me the way we can forgive and overlook the passages where Jesus says to give to those who ask of us and to not ask for our possessions back (because hey, no one is perfect, we help sometimes, we are granted grace, etc etc), but those sexual passages put forth by Paul or the OT . . . those suckers had better be interpreted in the most severe light possible.

  • $136305622

    It is true that many Christians focus on sex. It is an easy out. For instance, by pointing at gay people all the time, they deflect attention from dealing with any actual sins they are committing (greed, being arrogant, not helping others, lying (which is funny because they usually do this sin while condemning glbt), lust, etc.) It is amazing that the almighty God created humans only to be obsessed with how they used their genitalia…kind of a disrespectful view of God these Christians have…

  • Thank you! Just read it. Really wonderful.

  • Guy Norred

    I am going to have to look for that book she mentioned in it also.

  • seashell

    Exactly. What about the bigger pictures like economic and social justice for everyone? How can love between two people of the same sex outweigh injustice?

  • It’s his last post. I may have been a little too terse in my response on that article. I see Preston is working through the theology of the Law. As a whole, and Evangelicals are not alone in this, it affects us all, the church has skated too close to legalism for a long, long time. In some ways we have become the Pharisees ourselves.

  • BT

    Thanks. I’ll take a look.

  • Absolutely. Paul is a man of his times, but he had an amazing grasp of how the Law was fulfilled in Christ and repurposed in a new fashion. I am finishing “Paul and the Law” by Brian Rosner http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Law-Commandments-Biblical-Theology/dp/0830826327/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449188137&sr=8-1&keywords=Paul+rosner and can highly recommend it. He is an Evangelical, and I can’t recommend all his work, but this is an interesting one.

  • Brian Kellogg

    When I read a statement such as this I’m again reminded of one of the many reasons I had to leave fundamentalism/evangelicalism and could never return; Non-self-critical, uneducable, compassion stunting epistemology.

    “It is clear”, yup it certainly is, isn’t it?

  • Ficino
  • PremiumOsmium

    You do realize that it’s not just my experience, and not just from when I was a child. What I’ve described is how Christianity has been presented all over this country for decades by its most important, influential and respected representatives.

  • Jeff Preuss

    No, you are projecting the horrible experience you had, and letting it color your perception about everything having to do with Christianity (myths and superstitions, after all), going so far to deny the reality of OUR experiences. That you find other people who agree with you doesn’t change the fact that some of us have had better experiences.

    We keep telling you that not every Christian experience is the same, having to follow a codified black and white code that someone tells you is the hard and fast list of rules to follow or else you’re OUT. And, you react with comments that it’s “not a Christian church” or “rejecting the core beliefs of Christianity” because it is not Christianity as YOU have seen it and lived it.

    We get it. You think religion is stupid. You’re being kinda belligerent about it.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I don’t claim to be an expert on Christian doctrine or practice. I leave that to the leaders and spokespeople of Christianity. Eminent leaders like Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, (the late) Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Anne Coulter, Rick Santorum, Bill O’Reilly, William Donohue, Glenn Beck, Albert Mohler, and so on. They know far more about the fundamentals of Christianity than I could ever know, so I defer to their judgment as to what the true beliefs of Christians are.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Glenn Beck? You rely on Glenn Beck for his judgment on what the true beliefs of Christians are? For one thing, Beck is a Mormon, which some of those other “spokeseople” wouldn’t even consider to be a true Christian (In fact, many very conservative Christians consider it a cult).

    Other than him, you have selected this super-conservative list of public religious (or at least they say they are for their constituents) people to represent “true” Christianity to you, and anything that doesn’t line up with what they present to you doesn’t seem to be valid.

    So, the fundamentalist Christianity which filled your early life in the Church, the perspective you rejected, is the only one you accept as “true.” Do you not understand that you have made yourself essentially a
    fundamentalist Christian, just without the belief in a spiritual being?

    “I defer to their judgment as to what the true beliefs of Christians are.”
    You are deferring to their judgment as to what THEIR true beliefs are. They do NOT speak unilaterally for all Christians. But, you know that. We’ve told you that. You’re just being obtuse.

  • Realist1234

    But its Ben and others that keep raising the issue!

  • Realist1234

    No doubt you would have had the same attitude to the Apostles and the accepted teaching of the early church. I think you need to read Jesus’ words again – you might be surprised by what He actually says.

  • Realist1234

    Yet again it was Ben who brought it up.

  • Realist1234

    According to the Lord, sex was made for man and woman, to join literally together in marriage. Anything outside of that is not according to His design. In the end it is God who says gay sex is inappropriate – take it up with Him if you have an issue with that.

  • Realist1234

    And yet the Apostles would have rejected such behaviour as acceptable. So you would not view them as being a valid part of the Church? Bizarre.

  • I have no ‘issues.’ I am genuinely confused. That still doesn’t answer any of my questions.

  • RonnyTX

    Ah Kirk, you’ve caused me to smile about something! :-) What? Well, I was 16 years old and being born of God. God letting me know I was lost, leading me to repentance and on to faith in Jesus Christ and the cross. And in leading me to repentance, God pointed out to me, the sin of my selfrighteousness. Where did I get that? Well,right in the church I had been a member of for 4 years. The one where I was taught I had already been saved there and was a Christian. The church where I was taught we were the church-us and those just like us in belief and teaching. So I had been taught there, to look down on others, who were not of my church and who belonged to what I had been taught, was no true church at all. I had been taught to look down on such people, as I elevated myself. But then, God showed me the sinfullness in that, as God saved me and led me to repentance. And I didn’t think about this other part for years; but in saving me, God never told me my being gay was sinful. No, God never even brought that up. But 4 years earlier, at 12 years old, I had overheard some of my church elders scornfully talking about those homosexuals. Saying they chose to be that and it was the worst sin of all. Then I looked up what homosexual meant and I saw they were talking about people like me! :-( Which is why I ended up in tears one day at church, going up front and agreeing with everything the pastor told me about God, Jesus Christ, the bible, etc. Since I did that, he thought I had been saved, so of course, I believed the same. I wasn’t thought and it was 4 years later, that God saved me. :-) And as I say, in that God pointed out to me my selfrighteousness, which I had been taught in church; but God never even brought up my being gay, much less taught me that being that was a sin or sinful.

    Ah, just thinking about the human gods I was taught to have, look up to and never question, in the local church I grew up in! And it was years later, that God showed me the sinfullness in that. And the same years later, that God simply let me know, that no, my being gay was not sinful at all. :-) And to find that out, I simply had to trust God and ask God to show/tell me the truth of the matter. I had to turn to God to find out the truth and turn away from listening to and believing some people in my life, as if they were God.

  • Realist1234

    Instead of going by your childhood experience (youre an adult now) and some supposed leading figures in the American version of Christianity, perhaps you should go along to a local church – Id suggest a Vineyard – to see what church is actually like.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “But its Ben and others that keep raising the issue!”

    Others = Franklin Graham. See his long Facebook screed specifically targeting LGBT, telling us we need to repent of our sexual sin. Progressives respond with push back to reinforce our spiritual worth and Imago Dei, and you perceive that as just as obsessed with sex, and Ben is “raising the issue?”

    If people in power in the Church weren’t trying to vocally block LGBT access to the Church and the Kingdom, progressives wouldn’t feel the need to address it.

  • Guy Norred

    Thanks! Adding it to my reading list.

  • RonnyTX

    Giselle:
    The LGBT is already welcomed in Church. Rationalization and glorification of sin is not.

    Ronny to Giselle:
    When I was 12 years old, I came to discover that I was gay and not heterosexual. And I didn’t even know and had never heard of anyone, who was gay/homosexual. Yet it was easy for me to see that I was attracted to some males, in the same way these males were attracted to some females. And I simply desired to have a boyfriend, in the same way these other young males I knew, desired to have a girlfriend. I saw nothing sinful in that and still don’t. Do you? Yet at 12 years old, I also overheard some of my church elders talking ab out “those homosexuals.” Saying they chose to be that and were the worst of sinners. I didn’t even know the word homosexual, so ended up finding it in my Mom’s medical book. And that’s how I found out some of my church elders had been speaking of people like me. :-( And I believed them. Even though I knew better, I thought they must be right in saying I had chosen to be homosexual and that such was the worst of sins. Well, as a child I was also taught to look up to me church elders, as if anything they said, was the same as me hearing such directly from God. And as a 12yo, I didn’t know that was a lie and a sin I was taught. And as far as I can tell today, it is still up there with the biggest sins, that are taught as truths, in denominational churches. And much later on, how I learned that my being gay was not a sin, not sinful, was by my simply reading and thinking on the scriptures, that I had been taught condemned my being gay. I did that, asking God to guide me and show me the truth of the matter. God did. God simply let me see and know, that no my being homosexual, was not sinful at all. :-)

  • God bless you Ronny. You exhibit a pure, unspoiled relationship with God that hasn’t been over-theologized. Far too often we as Christians end up following men and end up straying from the Gospel.

  • Brian Kellogg

    This illustrates my concern. That many evangelicals/fundamentalist can’t be appropriately critical of the Bible. The Bible is not inerrant nor is it infallible. If it was then God must be a monster possessing character traits that we would despise in any human and should be even more despised in a God.

    Your underlying assumptions, from what I can gather based upon your statements, of the Bible are provably flawed. Which books in the Bible should I unquestioningly trust? Just the ones we know were written by Paul or also all the others where evidence is pretty conclusive that he did not. What of the immoral acts carried out by a “loving” God. Love does no harm, right? Or is God’s moral ethic, might makes right? Should not God exemplify our highest moral aspirations? If Romans says that we are condemned by our own conscience, than how can my conscience also be simultaneously untrustworthy when it tells me that eternal punishment is immoral? That stoning women for not being virgins on their wedding night is horrific? That all of the other Biblical moral failings and inconsistencies are just what they are? Proof of a book written by men for men in many respects.

    I have read the Bible several dozen times and have taught/preached it up till a few years ago. Its a tough thing to realize how uncertain life is, how uncertain and contingent our beliefs in actuality often are. That we know that we know that we just don’t know as near as much as we too often think we know.

    I hold out hope for the Christianity Ben and others like him espouse. I’d recommend this web site for your consideration: http://www.therebelgod.com/

  • If the feedback from my blog and memoir are any indication, I think I’m doing more for the cause of Christ by admitting when I don’t understand something and asking tough questions, as opposed to repeating tired apologetics that people have heard before. Following blindly just isn’t my thing.

  • DrewTwoFish

    Bingo. “This is hurting me more than it hurts you.” Bullsh*t.

    “My bible told me to be a douche to you. End of story. La la la la…I can’t hear you.”

  • There is one thing (well, many things, but one I’m going to mention now) that I always have to remind myself about Paul. And that is that Scripture itself says that Paul isn’t always clear. I’m thinking right now of 2 Peter 3:16 – “There are some things in [Paul’s letters] hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.” When I come across passages from Paul’s writing that don’t conform to the overall message of the Gospel, I have to ask myself if maybe this is one of those things Peter was talking about. Particularly when it gets used as an excuse for people to act in obviously un-Christian ways.

  • I realize that I removed myself from this conversation, but I do feel compelled to address one thing here: in replying to gimpi, you keep speaking of the folly of an outsider trying to change a group. Your original comment, though, was explicitly about insiders, as was gimpi’s response.

  • Well, you’re not wrong… after all, “Ben and others” is open enough that it includes every person in the world.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I don’t think one can ever truly understand something if one just blindly accepts what another person says to believe. Especially for something so unquantifiable as faith. How can you profess to believe something if you are unwilling to critically assess why and what it is you actually believe?

  • I sometimes wonder if I somehow got a copy of a different book that just happens to have the same title…

  • $136305622

    Not sure what you are driving at? Ben brought up the fact that many Christians are obsessed with the sexual activities of others? Yes, that is obvious. It is his blog and his topic…

  • Jeff Preuss

    It kinda reminds me of a time I was debating with a virulently anti-gay person who kept calling me a sex-obsessed pervert, while he went on and on about the details he assumed for my intimate expression. He kept condemning me for some lascivious obsession with sex, when it was yet another discussion prompted by some public conservative declaration of our “brokenness” that started the topic rolling.

    He literally accused me of being obsessed with it because I chose to comment on the discussion thread, never recognizing that he was commenting many more times than I.

  • $136305622

    Yes it is a weird tactic. I guess it is done in order to shut down debate. So Christians (many right-wing fundies) talk about how bad gays are (and their sexual activities, which most times are imagined much more than reality) on a constant basis. Another person, a fellow christian in this case, points out that this obsession with gay sex is problematic. Now that person is labeled sex obsessed as well. The illogical nature of that reasoning is astounding!

  • Exactly. I resent the implication from other Christians that I’m “picking and choosing” based on what I like or don’t like. They should have a look at my bookshelf: if I don’t understand something, I read everything I can on it. I won’t claim to understand it if I don’t. Last I checked, lying is a sin. And it seems non Christians appreciate the humility of saying “I don’t know” as opposed to, “Well, it’s in the Bible, so tough.”

  • PremiumOsmium

    If you say so. I suppose I would have to be a fundamentalist Christian if I believed in the fundamentals of Christianity. Can you give me the names of any prominent Christian leaders who have publicly expressed opposition to the ideas of the people I listed?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Also, the old standby “They’re not MY words – take it up with God!” is supremely patronizing, and serves as a way to shut down any questions or discourse.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I’m an atheist and have visited several churches. What would I have to gain from visiting one more if I don’t believe any of that stuff?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Why do you need prominent Christian leaders to tell you anything? Why can’t you engage in discussions with actual Christians – regardless of level of public recognition – to allow for a different perspective to be valid, or at least possible? You are relying upon those who declare themselves Christian leaders to tell you how to view Christianity – just like the leaders in your church when you were younger.

    I don’t think there’s a name of anyone I could give you that you would consider “prominent” enough to speak for all of Christianity. But, there are MANY people of prominence who publicly declare themselves Christians who oppose many of your named folks’ viewpoints. President Obama is one. Would you consider him a valid prominent Christian? Or does he not share the same valid credentials as…Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly? Their positions aren’t as Christian leaders – they are political commentators and media personalities who state they are Christians.

    You must be just trolling – there is no way to read what you write with any sincerity. Or else, you have some of the biggest blinders on in the world.

  • Realist (I don’t know why that moniker as you are not a realist, but a legalist), anyway, as I have pointed out ad infinitum elsewhere, no one is “re-interpreting” Scripture. There are passages that state certain SS behaviors are bad and displeasing to God. Noted. You mention Roman times. I have looked at the sexual abuses in Paul’s day and concur, those were bad actions by some very sinful people. The problem we face anytime we attempt to apply a 2000 year old text to modern circumstances is “how does this fit?” Does it fit? I understand the desire to tamper as little with the sacred text as possible, but church history abounds with our various versions of systematic theologies all trying to make sense and apply ancient writings to the circumstances of the day.

    What I want you to consider is that current Evangelical thought is evolving as some Evangelicals reassess whether the current SS actions fit the Biblical model of the Roman wealthy having SS sex slaves and participating (as heterosexuals) with those of the same sex in pagan rituals. You can discount this, and presume all SS relations are the same as denounced in Scripture, or you can take an honest look at SSM and come to a different conclusion.

    As for Jesus’s teaching on the matter, as I have pointed out on Preston”s blog, there is none, so get over it. Paul is a different matter, but as I’ve explained here and elsewhere we may be talking apples and oranges when it comes to the difference between homosexuality in Paul’s day and committed Gay relations today.

    As for the snarky comment about Ben believing Fundamentalists are no longer the church, good grief, give me a break! Talk about hypocritical! What has fundamentalism been saying about progressives for the past 150 years???

  • PremiumOsmium

    The way I see it, in order to learn what a religion (or really anything) is all about, you look for the leading experts and see what they say, do, and believe. I suppose you could ask the person on the street, but isn’t that like asking a science question of a high school freshman rather than a university professor?

  • Herm

    Have you ever participated in lab and/or study groups with students, all with different perspectives taken from the same class, taught by the same Professor?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “The way I see it, in order to learn what a religion (or really anything)
    is all about, you look for the leading experts and see what they say,
    do, and believe. I suppose you could ask the person on the street, but
    isn’t that like asking a science question of a high school freshman
    rather than a university professor?”

    If religion were a science, you might have a point. It’s not. There simply isn’t a hierarchy of earthly authority that dictates how to believe in the Christian faith, unless you’re Catholic and follow the Pope, but even he has his Catholic detractors who question him.

    Your list still only provided a certain slant of ‘leaders’ of Christianity. If that is the list of leaders you have chosen to accept, then your perception of it would lean very conservative fundamentalist.

    Call it what it is, but don’t call THAT the end-all be-all representation of Christianity.

  • Ron McPherson

    Beautifully stated!!

  • Guy Norred

    It always comes of like “Hey, I want to be on your side but God is a jerk and since He is God, I have to go with Him.” Well, usually (not always) a very sarcastic version of that–making it apparent that both the speaker and his god are jerks.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yep. It’s bizarre. Similar to when someone accused me of being hypocritical for pointing out others hypocritical stances. Weird logic for sure

  • PremiumOsmium

    Why do you think I asked you for some alternatives? You know, prominent, respected experts with a substantial body of work or following? John Shelby Spong comes to mind, but I’m pretty sure he’s an atheist who either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t want to admit it. Assuming you identify as a Christian, can you tell me who you look to as a leader, example, teacher or inspiration?

  • PremiumOsmium

    Of course. I majored in Philosophy in college.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Your questions have been asked and answered many times over. I’m done talking in circles to you.

  • Guy Norred

    How about John Shelby Spong, David Gushee, Tony Campolo as a starting place (and a rather broad starting place at that).

  • Jeff Preuss

    I take that back for this last little bit. Part of what you didn’t like about your church experience growing up was that you were told not to question authority, however you want me to provide you a list of authorities for you to actually respect our different take on Christianity. That’s some supreme irony.

  • PremiumOsmium

    “Irony”. Are you sure you’re using that word correctly?

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    So, you’re just picking a bunch of conservatives and letting them inform you on what Christianity is? Anyone who disagrees with them (I don’t know, liberals) aren’t true Christians? You trust people like Anne Coulter and Glenn Beck over people like, say, Rob Bell?

  • Herm

    Then you know what it might be like to learn from disciples of Christ as a peer disciple of Christ. It is written there is only one Teacher by one of many, many students. Formal class didn’t cease at the end of Revelations. You are actually participating where two or more are gathered in the Prof’s name. We are often called to reciprocally teach and learn in different organized religious fellowships as all disciples have been since enrolled. Some are called for an hour while the last call I had was for a decade of fellowship within a religious organization that I certainly didn’t agree wholly with all the corporate tenets.

    There is only one leading Expert in Christ Jesus’ church and university. The rest of us are in training with some assisting as student trainers. So we all share to learn in the fellowship of lab and study groups in His name outside of His more formal lecture. All pupils in the Spirit do so at varying degrees of relationship with the Professor, though with many only knowing the student professor’s assistant personally having not yet met the Professor.

    There are way too many who imitate what they see of the actual students and are unsuccessfully attempting to challenge the course on their own home schooled merits having had no formal classroom relationship in the only source for unlimited knowledge and truth.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    On what basis do you accuse Mr Sprong of being an atheist, given that he publicly identifies as otherwise?

  • PremiumOsmium

    I like Spong a lot; I’ve watched a lot of his talks on YouTube and read some of his essays. As I observed before, I think he’s actually an atheist but he just won’t admit it.

  • You know Brian, it’s interesting. I still consider myself an Evangelical although it is becoming more difficult to retain that moniker. I have attended Presbyterian churches in the past as well as Assemblies and Congregational. I suppose I could find an Episcopal or Luthern church and feel more at home, but continue to attend an Assemblies of God where my wife grew up. The preaching is good, although the pastor avoids anything really controversial. He doesn’t preach against Gays or SSM, just avoids the issue. I am looking for ways to support the inclusion of Gays and have come out in support to my friends and family. This will take time but I am hopeful. The old guard is dying off, to hopefully be replaced by those able to look past the letter of the law. We’ve already lost Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson will go to his reward soon I bet ;)

  • PremiumOsmium

    “Accuse” is a pretty strong word and I don’t like its implications in this context.
    I concluded that Spong is an atheist based on the things that he’s said. He denies that Jesus committed any miracles or rose from the dead. He denies the historicity of nearly all of the Old and New Testament, he believes in a wholly naturalistic view for the origins of life and humanity, and he admits that his view of god is a “non-theistic” god, or some sort of “grounding of all reality” (I forget exactly how he puts it). He doesn’t believe in a god that is even an entity, much less a magical immortal superbeing that intervenes in human affairs. That’s about as far as you can get to being an atheist without outright admitting it.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I read “Love Wins”. It didn’t make much of an impression on me. It seemed pretty trite and lacking much substance other than “be nice to each other”. I did like how the Christian establishment in this country reacted by verbally eviscerating him for saying something so basic.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Among other things. I began by asking why people would belong to a religion if they don’t accept its core believes, and others have pointed out that I’ve been wrong about what Christianity’s core beliefs are. I responded by pointing out that I’m basing my conclusions on personal experience and the observation of the words and deeds of those who purport to speak for Christianity in this country. Others then have replied that I shouldn’t rely on right-wing Republican Evangelicals, to which I’ve replies, “Who do you rely on?” That’s sort of it in a nutshell.

  • PremiumOsmium

    If that’s true, then the “Christian” label is meaningless to a progressive as anything other than some sort of tribal affiliation.

  • Brian Kellogg

    I have a professor friend who teaches and knows the biblical problems far better than I and he prefers evangelical churches as well. It is not my intention to paint fundamentalists/evangelicals themselves as bad people as they are not. The fundamentalist churches I served at were filled with very good and loving people but many blinded by entrenched bias and dogma mistaken as the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

    Having grown up steeped in fundamentalism, I cannot stomach it. Its view of God is of the consummate abusive spouse that keeps telling you how worthless you are, but because he is so incredibly amazing he has chosen to love you anyways and you should be person-hood crushingly grateful for that. If not, well, he’ll be forced to torture you forever. But, its your choice and therefore your fault! No thanks.

    Additionally, I don’t want my kids learning and then having to unlearn creationism and other anti-science nonsensical dogma. Nor does my obsessively inquisitive nature find any place to fit in in such an atmosphere.

    Added to all of that I’m not sure Jesus is God or that he was raised from the dead or if there is a God. I think these things are imminently doubtable and for very good reasons. My opinion is that if God requires a belief in these stories as historical fact as a litmus test, well then such a God is unjust.

    I do believe in forgiveness, enemy love, and non-violence. Whether there is an afterlife and a reward for such belief and practice I have no idea. I hope there is but it isn’t an overriding motivation for me. But this is something I still enjoy reading on, discussing, and contemplating.

    For me; hope is more of my faith because at the end of it all I do not know, but I do hope.

  • Bones

    These are the same Apostles who had no problem with slavery, right?

    And thought that gentiles had to become Jews to become Christians?

    Yeah whatever.

    And the Apostles would expect you to sell up your house, car, guns and belongings and give that to the church.

    But you would consider such behaviour……..extreme……

    (But not so on gays)

    Bizarre.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    I picked “accuse” for a simple reason: because by saying stuff like “I’m pretty sure he’s an atheist who either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t want to admit it” you are, in fact, accusing of either being stupid or lying, neither of which paints a pretty picture. So while you may not like the word accuse, I don’t like the picture you’re trying to paint of Spong. I’m particularly fussy about this because Spong was of the Episcopal Church, which is the church that I myself feel most affiliated with. You know, the one that you decided wasn’t really Christian because it wasn’t doing what you felt it should be doing.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    It’s not a matter of whether or not it made an impression on you, it’s a matter of the standing they have within the community, and with the liberal community, Rob Bell certainly has more credentials than Glenn Beck or Anne Coulter, who did apparently make an impression on you.

    And it says something about you that you, “did like how [certain elements of] the Christian establishment in this country reacted by verbally eviscerating him for saying something so basic,” considering that isn’t what the book is even about and that it isn’t like there is an overabundance of kindness within our society, especially in some of your vaulted sources of supposed Christianity, who follow Ayn Rand and don’t even consider kindness to be overly wonderful.

  • seashell

    That cracked me up, Sno! (Thanks, I needed to laugh.)

    The Bible: Helping God Run (Over) the World One Gay and Two Guns at a Time, or The Bible: Love and Peace

  • kaydenpat

    “The Church was never supposed to reflect society or its morality – it was supposed to be different”

    Yet in the past, churches supported slavery and segregation and thus reflected society and its morality here in the U.S. I expect that our grandchildren will worship in churches which affirm LGBT believers. Churches have changed their stance on many issues (especially those dealing with race) and I’m sure they can change once again on LGBT issues.

  • Note, Jeff, this is the same person who told me Methodists are required to believe the Book of Discipline in its entirety, then when I pointed out where the Book of Discipline says otherwise, suggested I was wrong because of what Sunday school teachers had said a long, long time ago. Selective definition of who/what is authoritative seems to be the name of the game.

  • seashell

    For me, it’s not just the people with power, but the ones with itty bitty power that blossoms. I have a hard time understanding how refusal to bake a cake for a SSM because it “violates my conscience” outweighs the huge wrongs of discrimination and condemnation against an entire group of people. What religious principle can be so pure that it can do that with approval from Christian leaders?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yup. That and other stuff imply to me an intentional willful obliviousness to the parallels, which is why I feel fairly confident he’s just trolling.

  • Brian, you and I are on a journey. We have not arrived, nor do we know all the answers. At times we don’t even know the questions! You and will run into people that want you to believe they have all the answers. Then again we will see people who give answers to questions no one is asking. The Bible is a complex piece of ancient literature. There are those who seek to simplify that complexity and deny the humanity it contains and those who wrestle with the underlying morality, attempting to separate God’s goodness from the inhumanity to man shown in the tribal God understanding of the OT.

  • Realist1234

    But both slavery and segregation were wrong and the church should have rejected them, not supported them. And similarly with gay sex.

  • Realist1234

    You call me a legalist because I say, with most of the rest of the Church, that a particular behaviour is sinful in God’s eyes. If that makes me a ‘legalist’ so be it. I would call it being truthful. There is nothing in the texts regarding gay sex that indicate they were condemning of certain ‘types’ of relationships, or only relevant at that time or in that culture. Indeed the fact that the NT texts still condemned gay sex centuries after the OT texts said the same, would indicate these were not commentaries on particular cultures or behaviours, but rather human behaviour in general. I dont ‘presume’ anything but have studied both sides of the discussion over many years. I find the ‘pro’ argument wanting. I find it telling that, in your judgement, you can only be taking an ‘honest’ look at the same-sex issue if you come to your conclusion. So basically if others disagree with you on this subject, they are being dishonest.

    You mention Jesus didnt say anything about gay sexual relationships. That’s right, but as Ive said elsewhere, He condemned ALL sexual immorality, and even simply viewing Jesus as a 1st century Jewish rabbi, there is little doubt this included male-male or female-female sex. One could justifiably argue that He saw no need to specify this sin given that He knew it was already well understood, particularly in Jewish circles, how God viewed it. To argue if Jesus didnt specifically mention a particular behaviour or act, we can then assume it is ok, is silly.

    As for my comment re being part of the church, Ben’s comment implied that some ‘progressives’ seriously think that those of us who want to tell the biblical truth on this matter should not be considered to be a part of the body of Christ, which I find the height of arrogance. I totally accept that fundamentalists have been guilty of arrogance. But I am not a fundamentalist, but rather an evangelical who is simply wanting to understand God’s view of the world and us human beings.

  • Realist1234

    I think if you are genuine in wanting to know the truth upon which your hope may be based, if you ask the Lord He will show you. I would call myself an evangelical (from the UK) but not a fundamentalist, though Im not sure how one defines that. I dont pretend to have all the answers, even if sometimes that is how I come across, but I do know the Lord is full of mercy, grace and love.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    For me, it comes down to a couple of passages.

    Matthew 22:37-4037 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

    I do not believe it would be loving, either on God’s part or on man’s part, to take people who are (by no choice of their own) in love with someone of their own sex and condemn them to a sexless life when their own inner self tells them to engage in sexual activity, sexual activity that causes no harm but supposedly violates a law that was put in place not to prevent harm but “just because.” As such, I believe that this violates both the Greatest Commandment and the assertion by Jesus that laws are put forth to serve man, not for man to serve laws. Until someone can convince me that there is objective harm in homosexuality, not that God engaged in some weird fit of fancy over the whole situation, I just don’t see myself getting around this.

  • Realist1234

    Fair enough, though one wonders why you waste your time on Christian blogs which talk about an entity and the lives affected by it, that you dont believe even exists? Should you not be spending your energy on things which you believe are part of reality? Or is there, after all, a little nugget of doubt that God doesnt exist?

  • KIZMET

    HI Benjamin, Great piece and it genuinely upset me to know that (what I see as) bigotry was the over-riding factor of the issues you faced in your placement in the congo. That said, I don’t personally see you choosing the Church, as I have never seen any scripture where Jesus of Nazareth stated that people must congregate in buildings, despite the fact you were fortunate enough to eventually have a Methodist Church in accepting ALL in this instance .

    If anything I see your choice as being one between a WWJD mentality over dogma. IMO, you did the right thing as Jesus was certainly no conformist and in fact,if Luke 11 can be seen as a tell tale sign, He loathed such a legalist approach.

    A place to help to heal comes from your heart, not a building. A place to love comes from your heart and not a building. It’s usually those with closed hearts who RELY on a building to close others out, as they did you and the basement congregation.

    You however just seem to grow with love and I applaud you for that. In this seemingly crazy world, your love, caring and lucidity shines through. Don’t allow a small few to taint your world view, but instead learn from it to just become a better you. :)

  • Brian Kellogg

    I can, mostly, agree with the spirit behind what you say. ;) My point is that getting to the truth isn’t as black and white as what most evangelicals want it to be. A lot of people have asked the Lord and come to very mutually exclusive claims so that is not a tenable way to truth for me given what I see as the obvious results. And, yes, I used to believe the same thing years ago and it failed me.

    My experience and resulting conclusion is that evangelicalism is really satiating our innate desire for absolute certainty, whether all of its claims are in actuality true or not is secondary for most I would argue for various reasons. As an extreme example I would put forth presuppositionalist Christian philosophy. Though I feel dirty for even calling it philosophy.

    And what disappoints me most with evangelicalism and by extension fundamentalism is the lack of self-critical reflection directed towards the Bible and the resulting interpreted beliefs.

  • KIZMET

    God does not condemn homosexuality and that is why God IS Love. God however DID take exception to both homosexual and heterosexual sexual “worship” acts carried out by those devoted to Baal, Ashtoreth and Molech, other God’s out there that He did not want revered in any way. There is a significant difference and no, I am not re-writing the Tanakh but rather, seeing it in context rather than cherry-picking one or two verses from Books. All I can do is suggest you read the Book of Ruth, which shows same sex LOVE is accepted by God and in fact you can even cross reference this back to Genesis when it’s stated that Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve. (CR Genesis 22 and Ruth 1) and again with David and Jonathan; check 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.

    What bothers me most in your comment though is you denigrate homosexual love to merely “gay sex”. May I ask what in YOUR mind, that is as PURELY homosexual acts?

    Also, what of hetero relationships when either the man or woman in that relationship cannot “come forth and multiply”? What if Hetero Steve has dodgy plumbing? If that is found out, does the intimacy of sexual relations in that union suddenly cease because Joe’s little swimmers are useless despite them travelling upstream? All I read from your comments of “He did not design us for it.” is that MUST be the case, no doubt with the “multiplying” crap involved. NO more intimacy with who he loves because…well, it’s not part of the design. Gee I hope you don’t masturbate either Realist.. because.. well.. hey.. poor old Onan.

    I don’t believe you are living up to your moniker frankly.

  • KIZMET

    Actually Jesus of Nazareth was cool with homosexual union, hence why in Matthew ( going from memory here) He not only healed the Centurions’ lover but also BLESSED their union. But hey.. thanks for NOT taking that into account.

  • Bones

    It’s funny that the Lord took his time getting around to showing people that slavery was evil. Thousands of years in fact, and contradicting Himself in the process, given that He said to take slaves in the Old Testament.

    The Disciples spent years with Jesus and still didn’t understand that gentiles didn’t have to becomes Jews.

    You’re correct about not having all the answers. None in this case.

  • Bones

    Evangelicalism and fundamentalism see doubt and self-critical reflection as the works of Satan. You only need to talk to them about critical biblical scholarship before their eyes start rolling over.

    And let’s not forget – you can’t be wrong, because we know where wrong people go.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    That’s one of the things that I find most strange about those particular brands of Christianity; gnosticism (the belief that gaining knowledge is what will get you onto the truth path) is supposed to be a heresy, and for mainstream Christianity the big issue is supposed to be about accepting Jesus, yes? Then why is gnosticism sneaking its way back in and all this with its, “Well, if you don’t know such and such, you aren’t a real Christian!”?

    The goalpost moving makes my head spin. At first, it’s all about accepting Jesus. But then it’snot all about accepting Jesus; you have to have the right stances on the ordination of women, on homosexual marriage, on Israel, on the rapture, and much, much more. You read the Bible and come the wrong conclusion? Well, clearly you aren’t a Real, True Christian and must not have accepted Jesus after all, because if you had, you’d know.

    o_O

  • PremiumOsmium

    I used to be a believer, people are real, and what people believes matters.

  • Bones

    But they did. Even Paul didn’t have a problem with slavery.

    By the same standard we say slavery is evil (ie equality), we say homosexuality is ok.

  • Ian Nairn

    Then bestiality must be OK, since it was also condemned in the similar conditions you describe.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    You know, if the only reason you can think of that something is wrong is, “The Bible says so,” you might have a problem: you don’t understand why that thing is wrong and seem to be of the opinion that God is ordering morality by divine coin toss.

    If nothing else (and by nothing else, I mean disregarding harm to the animal and harm to the person; sex with animals is often dangerous to one or the other) animals can’t consent and we as a society have decided that consent is pretty darned important when it comes to sex. Otherwise it ends up being called something pretty nasty: rape. The fact that there are reasons outside of the Bible (and religion in general) to condemn bestiality is why one doesn’t need to be a Christian in order to think bestiality is wrong.

    If you don’t understand this, if you think there is no better reason for bestiality to be wrong than, “God randomly decided bestiality to be wrong for no good reason,” then you might consider what you’re going to do if you misunderstood the text and God didn’t say that bestiality is wrong, because I think that would be pretty darned sketchy, but that does seem to be the argument you’re making.

  • Bones

    You nailed it, sister.

    The idea that if God didn’t tell us bestiality is bad we’d all be having sex with animals is deranged.

  • Bones

    Yet incest is ok hey Lot and Cain and Abel and Noah’s offspring…..

    It’s weird because much of what God commands in the Old Testament is immoral and some of the things he curses are ok.

    Maybe there’s a message there that you need to discover….

  • Bones

    I’m an Aussie, Ray and most of those guys would be regarded as nutters over here.

    Give me some Desmond Tutu or even ol MLK. People who made a difference to their societies instead of sulked in the corner from irrelevance.

    I’ve met Desmond Tutu and he is a wonderful human being, yet those you mention would denounce him as a heretic.

    I’ve got no doubt who’s on God’s side.

  • Bones

    I agree with you on a lot of things Ray.

    But the conservatives don’t own Christianity though they try to make out they do.

    Have you read any of Spong’s work?

    Just saying that there are alternatives.

    Btw some of my heroes are atheists eg Dr Fred Hollows – an atheist who lived the Gospel.

  • Brian Kellogg

    You did nail it. Because one of the problems that a belief in inerrant scripture leads to is an atrophy of one’s reasoning in respect to what you declare inerrant; an abrogation of one’s responsibility to honestly and compassionately reason. There is always that pesky problem of an errant human interpreting the “inerrant”.

    Looking across Christianity we have obvious and overwhelming evidence of this and why at the end of the argument whether the Bible is truly inerrant is an utterly meaningless claim. Its a claim used to avoid the hard questions that necessarily arise from an obviously errant text.

    The problem for the rest of us is that this blindly held belief brings with it the burden of social consequences for others who do not hold it. Thus why we should continue to peaceably point towards the obvious truth. This belief in an inerrant text is the genesis of so much harm, both personal and social.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Out of curiosity, can you find me a passage that shows me where the Bible says that slavery and segregation are wrong? Certainly I believe they are wrong, but so far as I can tell from my readings, you’re going to have a hard time finding specific passages that outright go against it and a lot of passages that at the very least seem to outright support it. For example

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    If you want to go against it, you’re going to have to go with vaguer passages that preach love of others and the law serving man (not the man serving the law) as I do with homosexuality.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I think Spong is great; I’ve watched several of his Chautauqua lectures and read a few essays, but haven’t read his books. I like how he views the gospels are symbols and metaphors but denies their historical reality. He also is right that the Bible endorses terribly immoral things and the Christian god is an abusive tyrant. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m pretty sure he’s actualy an atheist, but just doesn’t want to admit it.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    You think he’s great, but you also think he’s a liar of truly epic proportions? And it’s not like it’s a little lie, a lie about something like, “Do you like my new haircut?” It’s a lie about what he’s dedicated his entire life to. And you think he’s great? That doesn’t add up as far as I’m concerned. Is honesty not something you value, then?

    edit:

    As per Wikipedia:

    [Spong] states that he is a Christian because he believes that Jesus Christ fully expressed the presence of a God of compassion and selfless love and that this is the meaning of the early Christian proclamation, “Jesus is Lord” (Spong, 1994 and Spong, 1991). Elaborating on this last idea he affirms that Jesus was adopted by God as his son, (Born of a Woman 1992), and he says that this would be the way God was fully incarnated in Jesus Christ.[1]

    So, Spong says he is a Christian, you say he is an atheist but won’t admit it, and I can’t see how you are doing anything other than saying Spong is lying about something impossibly important.

  • seashell

    I’m an atheist, also. Or more accurately, an apatheist, and for much of my life I’ve been uninterested in religion until Christians became such a huge force in our politics and government with what I considered undesirable results. The results didn’t match up to how I believed Christians thought and lived, so I came to investigate where I had gone wrong.

    Snommelp wonders if there are two different books with the same title (Bible). I think there are generally two different types of Christians – the conservative Evangelicals and fundamentalists and the Progressive Christians. The first two hold beliefs that totally go against my nature. The Progressives live a Christianity that is everything I would like to be.

    I have no idea whether I’ll become a believer, but I’m delighted to have found Formerly Fundie and this group, as both have been influential for the good in my thinking.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I never once said he was lying; don’t put words into my mouth. I’m saying that he is either mistaken about what he believes or he’s in some sort of denial. He doesn’t believe that the god described in the Bible exists; it’s absolutely plain that he doesn’t. He doesn’t believe that the Gospels, especially John, are accurate records of the words and deeds of Jesus.

    “Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. God can no longer be understood with credibility as a Being, supernatural in power, dwelling above the sky and prepared to invade human history periodically to enforce the divine will. So, most theological God-talk today is meaningless unless we find a new way to speak of God.”

    (pp. 453-454, ‘Here I Stand,’ John Shelby Spong, Twelve Theses, A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile, A Call for a New Reformation.)
    He doesn’t believe in the existence of an immortal supernatural being who intervenes in human affairs. That’s the closest definition there is of a god that nearly everybody can accept. If he wants to conjure up his own definition and use that, he can, but calling a cow a chicken doesn’t make it a chicken.

  • Jeanne Fox

    Finis Dake defended segregation in his notes in the Dake Study Bible.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    First, you did say Spong was lying to all intents and purposes, whether or not that is what you meant to say; you said, “As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m pretty sure he’s actualy an atheist, but just doesn’t want to admit it.” If I said something on the lines of “As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m pretty sure he actually broke the plate, but just doesn’t want to admit it,” what would I be saying? Would I be saying he’s in denial about breaking the plate? Would I be saying that he was mistaken about breaking the plate? No, I would be stating that he’s lying. And keep in mind that Spong isn’t just some plumber or astrophysicist who is talking about religion as a sideline; he’s a (retired) bishop of the Episcopal Church, That means he’s aligned himself with Christianity through his position if nothing else. If you didn’t mean to be saying that he was lying, I apologize for misunderstanding you, but that certainly seemed to be what you were saying given your words.

    Second, while you may not think he believes in the God of the Bible, it’s clear that he believes in a God that humans are related to. From “Twelve Points for Reform” in Spong’s book A New Christianity for a New World: All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is.

    Lastly, saying that we need to find a new way to speak of God hardly sounds like what an atheist would say to me; atheists generally say we don’t need to speak of God because God doesn’t exist.

  • KIZMET

    Quite the specious argument on your part to be perfectly frank Mr Nairn, and one that I see is an attempt at derision and deflection to the matter at hand, but I will hopefully educate you on the difference. If of course that is the route you’re taking.

    That said, you MAY be asking if it is “ok” for you personally as being OK, if you choose to engage in Bestiality yourself? I won’t judge you if that is the case as it is not my right to, but I will just let you know one thing.

    God clearly set out the peramaters of the difference between the Human species and other animals. Even for you as a Former Fundie, which you claim to be, that’s a given, right?

    Homosexuality and Bestiality share no similarity in this regard given that simple fact as there ARE examples in the Tanakh of God clearly accepting same sex unions of the same species (as I have shown in my past post), but nothing at all showing support for human and other species, romantic, intimate or sexual interaction under any circumstances.

    I hope either answer you are hopefully seeking to find, is answered for you with the above.

    Thank you so much for your time.:D

  • Realist, please see my reply to C. M. on Preston’s blog. It explains our differences.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2015/12/why-homosexuality-is-not-just-an-issue/
    Thank you.

  • Ian Nairn

    You said that the Bible was just saying that it was due to the owrship of Baal that such acts were not allowed, but using that logic, since right after homosexuality was condemned, which by the way, Paul used to condemn homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6, then bestiality was condemned. So you have to be consistent that if the Bible was only condemning Homosexual acts in worship of Ball, then God was condemning acts of bestiality in the worship of Baal. IF homosexual acts outside of that worship are okay, then by your own very logic, bestiality has to be all right outside of the same conditions. If you want to say homosexual acts aren’t condemned, then you have to say that bestiality is not condemned either. It’s one or the other, either the Bible condemns both, or it doesn’t condemn both. You can’t say one is condemned and the other isn’t, that is just plain hypocrisy.

  • Brian

    Yes, and the Bible is completely fine with slavery. We do not use the Bible as a moral guide unquestioningly. Nearly all Christians are rightly repulsed by slavery these days.

  • Bones

    That’s an interesting site

    Biblical Summary of Unicorns

    Israel’s strength is compared to that of an unicorn – Num. 23:22; Num. 24:8

    Moses blesses the tribe of Joseph: the strength of his unicorn-like “horns” in pushing many people together – Deut. 33:17

    A unicorn’s great strength is again mentioned, and his apparently difficult to tame nature – Job 39:9-12

    The Psalmist states that a plea to the Lord was heard from the “horns of the unicorns” – Psalm 22:20

    Lebanon and Syrion are likened to a “young” unicorn – Psalm 29:6

    The Psalmist’s “horn” compared with that of an exalted unicorn’s, to be annointed with fresh oil – Psalm 92:10

    Mentioned along with bullocks and bulls in a prophecy concerning bloody judgment upon Idumea, and others – Isa. 34:7

    http://www.biblewordstudy.org/unicorns.html

    So what happened to the unicorns?

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    And don’t forget: we aren’t supposed to lend money at interest. I guess Adam doesn’t have a bank account, then?

    Luke 6:34-38 ESV
    And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

    Luke 6:34-35 ESV
    And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

    Leviticus 25:35-37 ESV
    “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.

    Deuteronomy 23:19 ESV “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.

    Etc etc.

  • RonnyTX

    Adam, being gay/homosexual is not sin or sinful. Though such, just as in heterosexuality, can be used sinfully. As for myself, I didn’t even know the words gay/homosexual, when I was 12 years old; but that was the age I discovered I was attracted to some males and not to any females. I thought this new thing I discovered about myself, was the greatest thing ever; :-) but then I only changed my mind on that when I overheard some church elders speaking scornfully about those sinful homosexuals. They said such was sinful and the worst of sins. They said being homosexual was self chosen. At 12 years old, I didn’t even know what they word homosexual meant; but found out, by looking up the words in my Mom’s medical dictionary. And that’s how I found out, that some of my church elders had been speaking about people like myself! :-) Now even though I knew I hadn’t chosen to be homosexual, I came to believe I must of. Why? Because I was also taught to believe the lie in church,that whatever I heard from our pastor and elders there, that was the same as my hearing such from God. So by 12 years old, I was taught to believe that in church and as a child, I didn’t know that was a sin and a man taught lie. God only showed me that, later on in my life.

    At 12 years old, I was made to feel so very guilty about my being homosexual. That guilt coming from some people and not from God to me. But I thought it was the same as God said, so I went up at church in tears and believed everything the preacher said to me, about God, Jesus Christ, the bible, etc. The pastor thought I had of been saved, so of course, so did I; but I hadn’t been. What I had been, is born of man; but what I hadn’t been, is born of God. It was 4 years later that I was born of God. That, by God letting me know I was lost, showing me my sin and leading me to repentance and by God taking me on to faith in Jesus Christ and the cross. :-) And in all of this, God never even brought up my being gay, much less condemned me for such and told me such was sinful. No, God never condemned my being gay or told me such was sinful; but some of my fellow church members, they did teach me to believe that. They taught me to condemn myself, because I was gay and not heterosexual, as they were. But I got all of that, from some of my fellow human beings and not from God.

    Adam, I’m sure we both know, that a good many people think the story of Sodom, is about homosexuality. It’s not; but much of it is about the attempt and or thought to rape same gender strangers, who were there. And that has as much to do with being gay, as opposite gender thoughts about rape, has to do with being heterosexual. But I know a good many people wrongly think that the story of Sodom, is about those sinful homosexuals. I wonder how those same people would explain Ezekiel chapter 16, where God tells us that He is going to some day restore and bless Sodom?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Conservatives sacrifice more for their beliefs and progressives really risk nothing”
    Ha. I don’t know how it is over in Ireland, but here in America, conservatives wield a LOT of political power, and some are quite focused (even in the pulpit) on amassing as much wealth as possible.

    What have they sacrificed?

    Even if you don’t agree with progressives’ profession of faith, it’s
    Very self-righteous of you to say the “universally accepted beliefs of the Christian faith” won’t be found here, especially since
    A lot of conservatives have been working tirelessly to add doctrinal requirements to what actually makes one a Christian, and they use these rules to set as other as many people as they can, instead of growing the Kingdom of the Lord.

    Your attempts at the No True Scotsman fallacy are interesting, but off-base. What’s the matter – couldn’t stay away? Was the name Matt already taken?

    Love you!

  • Realist1234

    Your memory fails you. What evidence do you have that Jesus believed the person He healed was the male lover of the Centurion? What evidence do you have that He ‘blessed’ their sexual relationship, assuming He knew they were in such a relationship, which I contest He didnt?

  • Realist1234

    I take your first point, though that is why I would always suggest reading the Gospels etc and using that as a plumb line, but nevertheless the Lord still speaks personally to people. Sometimes He just says – believe what has already been written about me – its the truth!(He said that to me), I also take your point re desire for absolute certainty. I have a scientific background and I do indeed like definite answers, though I am becoming more flexible in my middle age! But I think some things are either true or false, eg Jesus’ divinity, the purpose of His death on the cross, whether or not He was physically resurrected (I have yet to see an alternative plausible explanation). I think there is such a thing as objective reality, even if as human beings our experience of that reality differs slightly, simply because we are all unique. I suppose to be able to call yourself a Christian, I personally would view the above 3 tenets as basic to Christian belief, but I am reminded that it is unlikely the thief on the cross recognised the full reality of Jesus, yet when he asked for mercy, Jesus welcomed him into His kingdom. Jesus saw his heart and that was sufficient. ‘All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved’ – can we go beyond that? As for Scripture, I agree there can be a lack of critical analysis, and personally I would not go beyond what scripture says about itself,’Scripture is good for…’. But in the end I have come to the conclusion that the Bible as a whole is a reliable source as to God’s dealings with mankind, and particularly regarding Jesus of Nazareth. I think evangelicalism is guilty of intellectualising the faith, and I myself am guilty of that. The reality is that if Jesus had only taught, I doubt if many would have followed Him. But He also did things, such as performing miracles and healing people of disease. I believe he continues to do such things today, through His people. Many, including in the western, scientific world, have testified to such things. I doubt they can all be refuted as ‘psycho-somatic’. But thats just my opinion.

  • Brian Kellogg

    “… desire for absolute certainty”, No, that is not my point nor my desire. But it does again demonstrate the underlying conflict between how we both are trying to get to “the truth” I think. I do not believe that absolute certainty is at all possible on this topic beyond convincing yourself that it is.

    One of the things I love about Jesus is that he pushed strongly back against the Pharisees perceived absolute certainty in their interpretation of the scriptures. That is what I was endeavoring to do and will continue to do. Absolute certainty in our necessarily contingent beliefs inhibits the level of compassion we can show and severely restricts our ability to be self-critical of our own error prone conclusions.

    I do see evangelicalism and especially fundamentalism as today’s Pharisee-ism. There is implicit in its foundation a subconscious worship of a book, a book with many failings including moral failings that its various authors claim are founded in their God.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Well, yes. The Bible clearly condemns banking. Not the people just the act itself.

    So, why doesn’t the Church position itself as anti-bankers like it does LGBTQ?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Your assertions that American conservative Christians ‘wield a lot of
    political power’ are unfounded – have you not heard that SSM is legal,
    abortion is legal etc. Clearly, conservatives do not have much sway.”

    Not unfounded. SSM and abortion may be legal, but conservative American Christians still affect much of the political process and public policy, a fact even those of you who live elsewhere can plainly see. Otherwise, in America we would not have many states with “blue laws” that require certain businesses to be closed on Sunday, or liquor sales blocked, etc.

    “As for the ‘No True Scotsman fallacy’, I was not attempting to use it” That’s a lie. Need I remind you of this quote from you? “The universally accepted core beliefs of the Christian faith won’t be found in a progressive Christian blog.” Or this? “there is no difference between secular people and progressive Christians.”

    As if you and your ilk have the one true Christianity. Evaluation of your statements shows you have very little accurate perception of how influential conservatives still are in American life, or at least you want to pretend that to keep playing the victim.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Your assertions that American conservative Christians ‘wield a lot of political power’ are unfounded”

    Also? Tell that to the 14 main Republican candidates still running for President of this country. Tell them that they have no clout, no sway, and that there is no point for them to publicly appeal to expected conservative positions.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oh, that’s cute. I get angry? Not at all. I will continue to talk to you every time you decide to comment with falsehoods, and point them out.

    Why do you continue to return here if you keep getting banned “for being conservative,” Eva? You start so many conversations here that appear to get you quite wound up. You bristle when facts are pointed out that contradict your assertions, and you refuse to discuss the discrepancies.

    “I didn’t want to talk to you anyway, because every time I do you get angry.” Then why did you talk to me? Did it upset you that I pointed out your error in the assessment of conservative power? Did it bother you that I asked what conservatives sacrifice that progressives don’t? I can handle talking to you. I can hold my own. Thanks for your concern.

    (By the way, getting banned as Eva, then creating a wholly new Disqus account with a different name to skirt the ban is lying, Eva. That should be quite an obvious violation of Biblical commandments to you.)

  • Jeff Preuss

    Are you now asserting we’ve not interacted before? The same positions, the same snide sideways comments, calling me “petal?”

    Were you not just here predicting you’d be banned for “being conservative” last week? Then POOF! your comments as Eva disappeared two days ago, to be supplanted by this new account? Did you cut and run on your own, then?

    If you’re maintaining you’re new here, then what explains this?:
    “Petal you clearly can’t handle talking to me – SO DON’T. I didn’t want
    to talk to you anyway, because every time I do you get angry.”

  • Jeff Preuss

    “I didn’t say I never interacted with you before – did I?”
    And I was just asking the question, wasn’t I?

    This pattern of passive aggressive posting and ignoring factual statements contrary to your positions and repeated “new” Disqus accounts fits the pattern earlier established by Eva/Matt/Guest. If this isn’t Eva, and there are two of you with the same M.O., then good grief, that’s a lot of brick walls to talk to.

    (Psssst, if you are creating a new name to return to a blog and circumventing being held to what you’ve previously posted, that IS deliberately lying.)

  • Jeff Preuss

    Goodbye. Have a lovely evening. It must be about bedtime in Ireland. Sleep well.

  • seashell

    And dogs! Why are we fluffy dogs condemned? I guess both of us are lucky we didn’t go the way of the unicorns.

    More and more the Bible seems to be a lot like the Constitution. When treated as living, they make more sense than when they are taken literally in the old contexts.

  • Still Seeking

    Ben’s article is a little fuzzy; Does he mean being “anti-LGBTQ” as being against LGBTQ activism or LGBTQ people themselves? What does he mean by “affirming”? Does he mean affirming sin or affirming people who sin, as there are no people who do not sin. There are people who recognize they are sinners in need of redemption and there are people who don’t realize they are sinners in need of repentance. How can “being the church” be not recognizing sin for what it is and that there are always consequences? LGBTQ people need the church as much as everyone else; but neither do they need to be mislead. They need to learn of the love God has for them and the love which those whom have been redeemed have for them. It is the love of God that changes hearts and the power of the Holy Spirit that changes lives. When the church gets lost in the culture, however, darkness creeps over the light, but God in His mercy will not put out a flickering flame.

  • Jeff Preuss

    It seems very incongruous when we Christians declare on one hand that Jesus is alive and relevant to today’s Christian world, then on the other hand declare we can only adhere to a “literal” interpretation of a purportedly unchanging document. But, again, only literal on some things, while others we can say were different in Biblical times and don’t apply today.

  • Ron McPherson

    So you presume to speak for God on this? You are suggesting that John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 16:31, Matthew 5:3 is applicable to you but not Ronny? You discount the Holy Spirit’s witness to Ronny? Wow

  • Jeff Preuss

    This is great, Ronny. If I knew you in real life, I would lovingly recognize you as a brother in Christ.

  • Herm

    Having the word of God in your heart and mind is the only way to truly know that you are living a God centered life as Their little child. That Bible is a testament exposing the trial and tribulations of Man’s relationship with God. Jesus’ commands all deal with love so strong that He gave His final carnal example on the cross and demands to be His disciples, sisters, brothers and mother, we must pick up our own. You are sick to God and Man to ignore the plank in your eye to justify persecuting others with maybe a splinter in theirs. What consenting adult’s choose to do behind closed doors is purely between them and the God in their hearts and minds. All of the Bible references referring to sexual immorality are those that are a breech of contract or one of the parties involved is not consenting. There is no marriage in heaven, children of God are spiritual in nature, no need to propagate that our species survives and our Father is more concerned with helpers in loving relationship than whether they are male or female.

  • Still Seeking

    Just wondering under whose authorization you have played with scriptures when you have confessed that you do not know that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

  • seashell

    You know what? I hadn’t put those two declarations together before, but you’re absolutely right. Those two beliefs cause cognitive dissonance, which is a major distraction to the real message, unless the whole purpose of Christianity is to condemn LGBTQ people (and dogs), yet here we are.

  • seashell

    So you presume to speak for God on this?

    Seems more like speaking as God, rather than speaking for him.

  • Ron McPherson

    I know. It boggles the mind

  • Jeff Preuss

    Despite your tiny-hearted statement, there is room at the table for Ronny. There is even room for you.

  • Still Seeking

    So everyone is free to do whatever they like in the word of Herm? Isn’t also fair to tell them there will also be consequences if they deviate from God’s plan for humanity? Is this what we teach our children? It’s okay with God as long as there is consensual agreement between humans? Unconditional love is what children need from their parents, but they also need guidance and discipline or those children are not truly loved.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Good thing both Ronny and I have a reverence for God, then.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Your attempts at fearmongering are just precious. I fear nothing you spout because I follow Christ.

  • Ron McPherson

    Interesting you say that since you earlier called Jeff a fool as you apparently ignore the “plain warnings” of Matthew 5:22

  • Jeff Preuss

    You know, while you continue to rage against nothing, I just think back to some words I sang a lot over the weekend, harkening the onset of the Christmas season: “For unto us a child is born.” He is born. Hallelujah!

  • Still Seeking

    The danger of money is that it can become an idol. LGBTQ can also become an idol in it’s activism in that it is at war with God’s plan for marriage, family and gender roles and paves the way for whatever other letters of the alphabet it wants to add to it’s deviation.

  • Still Seeking

    You are projecting because you have not the Spirit to teach you the highest form of Love for which our Savior gave His life for you. That is sad; but He waits.

  • seashell

    You’ve been taking word salad lessons from Sarah Palin. You get an A+ for that task.

    Only you and Adam (not) in Christ choose to be at war in this conversation. You choose to judge and condemn those you don’t agree with, rather than leaving judgement to the God you profess to follow. That’s not Christian, but it is a human failure.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    That . . . doesn’t make any sense. I’m single. Am I also at war with God’s plan for marriage, family, and gender roles? If not, how would I be any more at war if I were to get involved with a woman? I would be no less involved with a man than if I remained single.

  • Still Seeking

    I am assuming that you came from a family? If you choose to remain single that does not exclude you from God’s kingdom as you would be free to devote all of your life to assist in bringing in His kingdom here on earth without earthly family responsibilities. If you are a woman and choose to get involved with another woman in intimacy, you would be more interested in fulfilling your own desires and not that of His kingdom. If you are a woman and would choose to be married to a man who valued God’s kingdom above all else, then you would be furthering His kingdom on earth.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Talking about my family is probably not the way you want to go. Husband + wife? Yes. Unfortunately, that man also decided that his wife wasn’t enough to fulfill his needs and AHEM sexually abusing his daughters was the way to go. SO . . . my family model is not the one to build off of, yes? I shall leave it at that.

    As for the rest of what you said, you’re drawing distinctions that don’t make sense. Why wouldn’t I be able to further God’s kingdom with another woman? Why would being with a man not automatically mean that I’m “more interested in fulfilling your own desires and not that of His kingdom?”

  • Jeff Preuss

    I think anything can become an idol if it’s too much of a focus, and I think some who are activists for activism’s sake are very easily incensed and outraged about something, anything really.

    But, to even tacitly say that banking is okay now, devoid of any idolatry and greed being at play, but insist that the Biblical “mandate” against homosexuality is sacrosanct is a bit hypocritical. There are many things which a purely literal reading of the Scripture (which is not entirely possible without ignoring buckets of context that help inform us about many of our learnings from the Bible) show as prohibited, that we easily incorporate into our 21st century lives. Likewise, there are things that are supported by literal readings – slavery, incest, polygamy – that are largely avoided in modern Western society.

    So, how does homosexuality get singled out as something for which we may not have any modern understanding considered?

  • Still Seeking

    Sorry, I do not understand if you are the daughter who was abused or if you were the wife married to a complete deviant. Whatever the case, I can see why you do not trust the male species. None of us are perfect. We do not marry “perfect” spouses. That does not mean that we cannot be chosen by God, to be His very own, in His kingdom. It only means that we are chosen for greater challenges. That is an honor we can accept or refuse to accept. Whatever the case, we are loved by Him eternally.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yes, it is a cognitive dissonance, sometimes willfully so.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Ah, well, I was one of the daughters. However, this isn’t about mistrusting men. If I mistrusted men, I would think gay men were awful by virtue of them being, well, men. I don’t gay men are awful. I think they are human beings who are worthy of finding love and affection.

    I admit wholeheartedly that my past has made it very difficult for me be in a relationship. I recoil from physical contact, especially if it is unexpected. I have difficulty opening up emotionally. But that only makes me believe that if a person can find love, that this love is all the more precious. I don’t wish it to be denied to anyone who can find it.

  • Still Seeking

    I think the problem may be that we think “the ancients” were ignorant. Slavery, incest, polygamy are not ancient sins; they exist today. God tells us that in whatever circumstances we are in that He is with us. There is evil in this world, but He is in control. There is no modern understanding of homosexuality. God knows that we are drawn to those of our own likeness for comfort, but to become whom we are created to be we need to have faith in the “otherness of God”. He is Holy. That is why homosexuality is singled out. Because we are “other”. We are created in His image, not our own.

  • Still Seeking

    That love is yours for God loves you wholly. You do not need to search any further; I really promise you that from all than I am. I am not much. The very least. And, yet, I know that I am fully loved by God. I know that you are fully loved by Him and among His Chosen.

  • Still Seeking

    It seems that you are the one who is judging. Adam and I only proclaim His Word. If we do not proclaim His Word, then we are not His followers.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I never said slavery, incest, and polygamy don’t exist today. I indicated they are frowned upon (by the West and the Church in general), when a “literal” reading of the Bible can easily support their practices. Bible hero Lot (so often referenced in anti-LGBT screeds) created offspring with his daughters.

    And, there is clearly a more modern understanding of sexuality, and the nature of people’s orientations. You say we are “drawn to those of our own likeness for comfort” but for a homosexual it’s more than that – it’s romantic, sexual companionship, much like what draws straight men to women, and straight women to men.

    So, again, how can we have evolved the Church’s understanding on the acceptability of slavery, incest, polygamy, women’s rights, eating lobster, wearing poly/cotton blends, etc. but not on homosexuality?

    (And, if you even try the angle of “Biblical slavery,” we’re gonna hafta refer to the prohibition as against “Biblical homosexuality,” which pretty clearly indicates pederasty, gang rape, and Pagan prostitution. In which case, what most modern homosexuals want doesn’t count.)

    [EDIT TO ADD: Because, I gotta tell ya “to become whom we are created to be we need to have faith in the “otherness of God”. He is Holy. That is why homosexuality is singled out. Because we are “other”. We are created in His image, not our own.” is NOT really any sort of explanation in and of itself.]

  • Herm

    What of the commands of Jesus the only begotten Son of Man/ Son of God, the Living Word at the beginning, do not you get for the will of God? Why don’t you listen to and adhere to the will and commands of God? Your church and the Bible is not God. Jesus lives and has authority and all His disciples see, know and learn from Him. There is unity in Jesus because all hearts and minds are one with His and His in them. That is in your Bible and yet you concern yourself with homosexuality between consensual adults as more important than picking up your cross in Jesus’ name. Just who is your guide?

  • Herm

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21

    Do you see Jesus? Is Jesus in you and you in Jesus today?

    Don’t capitalize scripture for this is what Jesus said nearly 2,000 years ago and for me, and others here, it is very real and we do see and know Jesus alive. Jesus is not consigned to a sepulcher in my heart and mind nor I in His.

    You explain how John 14:15-21 pertains in your life, please, without your distortion to promulgate falsely that the Spirit of truth does not exist for the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, suffices as the word of God to you. You make the Bible a whitewashed sepulcher for Christ.

  • Herm

    After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

    He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7:17-23

    Your arguments are fallacious and not for you to be judge, jury and executioner. Above is all Jesus is chronicled to have said regarding sexual immorality and your self indulgent arrogance ranks equally relative to evil thoughts from out of a person’s heart. You in your attacks cross over into malice, deceit, slander and folly.

    Jesus never commands that we persecute another or place the splinter in their eye above the plank in our own.

    Are you so dull as to be blind to the fact that if the Spirit of truth were actually whelming your heart and mind there could be no room for the evil thoughts of which you are the purveyor.

    Jesus commands that we love our enemy, our self, our merciful neighbor (even if gay) as our self, and our Lord God with all of our spiritual self that is at our command and our only responsibility; our heart, soul, strength and mind. If you could only do this you would live

    Jesus commands in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Your closed mind and heart to others makes me so sad for both you and them. We have no need for teachers of the law, Jesus’ nemesis throughout the four gospels.

    The sexual immorality Jesus spoke of only was relative to breaking covenants of marriage and engaging in sexual relationships that were not consensual between adults. I think you know that and choose deceit to win your point.

  • seashell

    All of your preaching has been asked and answered, Adam in (not) Christ. Is there a reason you want to keep spewing it when it’s obvious you’re not going to win any converts over to your legalistic side? Otherwise, I might be tempted to think that you not only want to be judge, jury and executioner, but you want to prolong the orgasm it seems to give you.

  • seashell

    So well said, Herm. You are loved by me.

  • Jeff Preuss

    What I find terribly interesting is when one’s salvation is apparently up for committee review, as if presenting one’s thesis. There’s always someone on the committee who seems determined to find your thesis unacceptable, and one wonders if they’ve got it out for you.

    When, in reality, repentance and salvation are not up for committee review, or peer review, as would be the case here.

  • Herm

    Come on Adam, you’ve bit into the apple at least one too many times. You are repeating yourself in your sin. You quote to me where Jesus, himself, made it plainly clear the sexually immoral will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He did make it perfectly clear that the Pharisees, teachers of the law (like you???), people who cannot come to Him as little children, and the self indulgent wealthy will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He didn’t ordain marriage at all except to use our marriage contract as an example and to mention very clearly that there is no marriage in heaven, none. Civil marriages are not, and never have been except in a theocracy, the business of the church. No church in this nation is required to marry anyone by state edict. As Jesus asks, are you so dull?

  • Herm

    Jesus doesn’t call the pompous to bring others to Him as the Word, the only Word. Until you get over yourself you will not see the plank in your eye that has you so blind to God’s will. You do not know Him to obey Him. You do not know Him to believe Him. You know only your pride of debate. Pride cometh before a fall and you are falling.

  • Herm

    You haven’t referred to the scriptures you misquote so often.

    You haven’t answered: Do you see Jesus? Is Jesus in you and you in Jesus today?

    You haven’t explained how John 14:15-21 pertains in your life.

    I offer the scriptures for your support hoping to direct you in Jesus’ direction in the Spirit of truth. It is you who lies founded only on the theoretical theology of your religion no more valid than the misinterpretations of the Pharisees, Sadducee and teachers of the law who murdered God in God’s name.

    Jesus is the only Teacher I want and will need for an eternity.

  • seashell

    Great analogy! Several of today’s reviewers seem to suffer from misanthropic psychopathy. They give new meaning to the bumper sticker Dear Lord, protect me from your followers!

  • Bones

    So Adam, did unicorns ever exist?

  • Bones

    I thought it was referring to you.

  • Bones

    God’s plan for humanity = equality

    It’s that simple.

    But that’s not part of your plan.

  • Bones

    Is Paul Jesus Christ?

    Actually Mark shows that the kingdom of God is here.

    And it isn’t bound by religious rules……

  • RonnyTX

    Adam:
    (snip) • Those that practice it shall not inherit the Kingdom of God

    (Rom. 1:32; I Cor 6:9-10; Jude 1:7; Jude 1:13; Rev. 21:8; Rev. 21:27; Rev. 22:15)

    All Scriptural references to homosexuality: http://www.biblewordstudy.org/

    Ronny to Adam:
    For the longest time, I never could understand how some people interpreted 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 to be a condemnation of my being gay? But I knew they said such people could not be Christian, would not be a part of the kingdom of God and would die and go to an eternal torment hell. Just one problem with that interpretation, I’m as gay as a goose ; :-) but when I was 16 years old, that was when God chose to save me, that was when God put me in the kingdom of God. Yet so many have been so wrongly taught, that this is not possible. Ummmm, well that way of thinking, now that I think about it, that’s some people telling God, what He can and can’t do. Well, that’s just staggering to me, that some people should do that; but then, it seems so many do just that!

  • RonnyTX

    Thank you Jeff and the same here. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Jeff to Adam:
    Despite your tiny-hearted statement, there is room at the table for Ronny. There is even room for you.

    Ronny to Jeff:
    Amen Jeff, amen! :-) And what you say here reminded me of what the angel told the shepherds, at the birth of Jesus Christ. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a
    Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2,10,11 Yet most of what goes by the name of Christianity, that tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ was actually good news, for a very few people and that the vast majority of people, would end up in a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment. My, how so much that goes by the name of Christianity, has strayed so far from the good news of Jesus Christ! And Jesus Christ tells us, he came to seek and to save that which was lost and well, that’s all of us. But most that goes by the name Christian, tells us that Jesus Christ failed at what he came to do. That’s the Armenian/free will side. The side I grew up under in a local church, was the Calvinist side. And there I was taught to believe the lie, that God chose only to save a few people and at the best, simply let the rest go to hell. But if you think about it, that teaching is really that God chose for the biggest part of humanity to go to hell. And that is not true. And I still remember, from the time God saved me, from the time I was born of God, I so desired that all people have the same type of relationship with God, as I then had. :-) God gave me that desire; but the church I was in, there I was taught to believe, that such was not of God. And I am just so thankful and grateful, that just 5 years ago, God did show me that Jesus Christ is truly and completely the Saviour of the whole world! :-) Which is one big reason I so love that song, Go Tell It On The Mountain. :-) Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is here! Oh my yes,such truly good news and that for all people! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Adam to Jeff:
    There’s room for Ronny–when he repents from sexual immorality.

    God will not be mocked.

    Ronny to Adam:
    Adam, there are of course times I have repented from sexual immorality and I would suggest that if you’re a heterosexual male, then you have had some repenting to do yourself, in this area and in your lifetime. Now if you haven’t, then you’re sure different from any gay or heterosexual male, that I’ve ever known or heard of.

    But Adam, God has never called on me to repent of my being gay. Nor, in my lifetime, has God ever called on me to repent because I desired to have a boyfriend or because I was attracted to another male and truly cared for and loved same. And you see Adam, when God wants us to repent, we will repent. For it is the goodness of God, that leads each person to repentance. :-) You see, that is not something we do for ourself; but it’s a good thing that God does for us. :-) And what God does for one and for some, before all is said and done, God will do the same and that for every person. :-)

    And thinking here, about when God saved me. I was 16 years old and had known I was gay for 4 years then. And I had been made to feel extremely guilty about that, by some of my church elders. But God never told me my being gay was sinful and or that I should repent of such. then at 16 years old, as I was being born of God, God never even brought up my being gay. Instead, God showed me the sinfullness of my selfrighteousness. And I got that selfrighteous outlook, from my local church. For there I was taught that we and those just like us, were the one true church. And that those other churches, were no true church at all. So I came to look down on some school kids my age and about, who I knew were members of other denominations. I thought of myself as smarter and better than them. Then when God saved me, God really gave me a punch in the head about that one, :-) as God taught me better! LoL And oh my yes, that was painful; but it was a painful thing I needed and God knew that. And it was God, the love of God, who provided such for me. :-) And as the old song so well puts it, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” :-) And oh my yes, that is what God did for me, as I was born of God. :-) God let me know I was lost. God let me see my sin and compare that to God and God’s holiness and that was the goodness of God, that brought me to repentance. :-) And when I had repented/agreed with God, then the love of God began pouring out upon me and God simply put a picture in my mind, of three crosses. And I knew that on that center cross was Jesus Christ and that he was there for me, there taking my sins upon himself. And that is how I was saved/born of God and how God proved to me, just how greatly God/Jesus Christ loved me! :-) And the greatest and best news of all, is that God/Jesus Christ loves all people in this way and that by way of the cross, all people have been reconciled back to God the Father. :-) And now it is only a matter of time, tell every person knows this and that, as each individual person is born of God! :-) Ah my, here is where I tend to break into that old song; Give Me That Old Time Religion. :-) Why? Because it is truly that old time religion, that comes to us from Jesus Christ and makes us love everybody! :-) And as the song so well says, that’s good enough for me! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Adam to Jeff:
    A false christ, indeed, you follow if you’re not calling one to repent from their sins.

    Ronny to Adam:
    Adam, I would say the main sin that needs repenting of, is following preachers and such like, as if those people were God. As if all they had to say to us, was the exact same as God speaking to us directly. Now that teaching needs turning from, repenting of. And I am so glad, that God delivered me from such and that a number of years back now. :-) And yes,we can call on people, ourselves included, to repent of some sins; but we need to keep in mind, that it is God who shows a person their sin and it it God, the goodness of God that causes the person to see such, repent and turn from such. So we need to also consider our sin of pride, if we think God just has to have us and can’t do without us, in calling others to repentance.

  • RonnyTX

    Adam to Ronny:
    You are deceived, Ronny.

    And if I knew you in real life, I would lovingly tell you to your face that, unless you repent from homosexuality–you will enter Hell.

    Ronny to Adam :
    Well Adam, just what exactly do you say I am deceived about?

    And yes, I gladly proclaim that I don’t understand and know everything. (ha) :-) But then, I don’t have to and or I’m not required to be there yet. :-) For as God wants me to learn and understand a matter, then God will be there, at that time, to teach me such. And my, that has helped me a lot, in my not being all agitated, over my not knowing and understand every thing and that right now! :-)

    Now Adam, above you say that unless I repent from homosexuality, I will enter hell. Well, to start of with Adam, there is no Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment. But that teaching came to us from pagan religion, was added on to the bible by some in Roman Catholicism and from there, spread to most all of Protestantism. And such is not of God/Jesus Christ. Now what is the real “hell?”
    Why God is and that’s a good thing-a great thing for us all! What do I mean by that? I mean, that God is a consuming fire. So when God chooses to burn something out of us, then all God has to do is bring us into the direct presence of of God and there show us our sin and that in the context of God and God’s holiness. So, it is the goodness of God, that shows us our sin and burns it out of us. Is this painful? Yes, it is. Is it for our own good? Most certainly it is. And God/Jesus Christ does such for us, for all of us, because God/Jesus Christ loves us. :-) You see Adam, God doesn’t leave us in our sin; but instead, God/Jesus Christ, delivers us from/out of our sin! And that, is just how much God/Jesus Christ loves us, one and all! :-) And some don’t know this yet; but there is coming the day, when all will be singing, what a friend we have in Jesus! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Ron to Adam:
    So you presume to speak for God on this? You are suggesting that John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 16:31, Matthew 5:3 is applicable to you but not Ronny? You discount the Holy Spirit’s witness to Ronny? Wow

    Ronny to Ron:
    Thank you Ron. :-) And yes, sadly many do discount the work of the Holy Spirit. And sadder to say, as I look at it, so many of us get that from the teachings in and from our denominational churches. But then good and best news is, at the time of God’s choosing, God will bring us all out of that and the errors that we’ve gotten from such. The things we have gotten,mostly from some men and not from God. But God teaches us all, that in God’s time and when all is said and done, we will all have been taught of God and we will all know, exactly that which God means for us to know! :-)

  • Still Seeking

    A literal reading of the bible doesn’t support slavery; only that slavery exists and how a slave is to behave according to the Word of God. We do not live in a perfect world, hence we are all slaves to something be it slaves to sin or slaves to the gospel which sets us free. We can be slaves to our sexual behavior or slaves to sexual purity, thus free from the choices of immorality. The secular world is free to choose as it wishes. Those who wish to follow Jesus have a higher calling and that is to become more like Him.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Gosh. You still haven’t answered the question I asked, which is why this one thing is held aside as singular in “literal” adherence when all the other things I listed have evolved over time. And you apparently ignore the fact that many church leaders defended the institution of slavery, supporting it with literal Bible reading.

    You may say that it just mentioned slavery exists, but that’s simply not the literal reading taken by many in Church power for many years.

  • Still Seeking

    I believe I hear you saying that Jesus trumps the Word of God, which is impossible because He is The Word. God does not change, and there is dire warning lest anyone add to the Holy scriptures. My guide is the Holy Spirit, my Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ and my Father is God, my Abba. It is the Holy Spirit who interprets the scriptures for us; His thoughts are always higher than our own.

  • Herm

    Still Seeking, I am saying very clearly, I hope, that the Bible is no more than a compilation of testimonies, letters and an expose of Man’s relationship with God. The Word is Jesus who was at the beginning and the word of God is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the only Teacher for His pupils (disciples). There is no dire warning to adding to the Bible except there is a warning at the end of the letter to the seven churches that nothing be added. The Bible is only physical parchment and God is only spiritual. We are a carnal shell having had the spiritual image of God breathed into our shell. When whelmed (baptized) with the Holy Spirit in us and we in the Holy Spirit we are one with God as little sisters, brothers and mother of Christ Jesus and our only Father then is Jesus’ Father. Jesus needed the Dove to be one with His Father when in carnal form and so do we.

    If you have a problem with this please ask the Spirit of truth for counsel on John 14:15-21.

    Love you and thank you for asking!

  • Still Seeking

    I have answered, but apparently not to your understanding. This “one thing” goes against God’s perfect design for humanity which is the foundation of society. Who is better able to do this than The One who has created all there is?
    It is the folly of man in interpreting scriptures without the guidance of the Holy Spirit that leads to such things as defending slavery or anything else. Regardless, God is working things out for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

  • Jeff Preuss

    As I previously indicated, your first answer “to become whom we are created to be we need to have faith in the “otherness of God”. He is Holy. That is why homosexuality is singled out. Because we are “other”. We are created in His image, not our own.” doesn’t really say anything. Saying we are “other” doesn’t say “don’t be gay.” Imago Dei applies to homosexuals as well.

    Then, when I listed out the other literal things upon which the Church has changed position, your response was to remind me that slavery, incest, and polygamy are still issues that exist today, which again was not an answer to the question I asked, and also not counter to a point I had even suggested.

    And, the NEXT time, you argued the literal reading doesn’t support slavery, which is…less than accurate. It again didn’t answer my question.

    “This “one thing” goes against God’s perfect design for humanity which is
    the foundation of society. Who is better able to do this than The One
    who has created all there is?”
    THIS is the first time you have even approached addressing what I asked, but I’m afraid it’s more talking in circles. Homosexuality going against God’s perfect design for humanity (News flash: He designed us ALL – even homosexuals) is based on…what, exactly? Literal reading of the Scriptures? And we’re back where we started, with you unable or willing to convey why this is the one issue amongst what I’ve listed as literal-Biblically taboo, abomination, verboten, etc. that cannot be changed.

    In general, the Church HAS changed its position on:
    slavery
    women’s rights
    polygamy

    eating shellfish
    eating pork
    cutting our hair
    shaving
    tattoos
    interacting with women while they’re menstruating
    acceptance of dwarfs (no, seriously, there are verses forbidding them (and anyone with a skin disease or major disability) from becoming priests)

    mixed fabrics
    banking
    and a SCORE of other admonishments and rules to which we Christians no longer regularly adhere today, but homosexuality?

    Oh gosh no there’s no way we can have a different understanding because um there’s those 6 verses and um BIBLICAL MARRIAGE and uh God’s design for man.

    You’re simply unable to answer my question about what makes this particular issue so special that it’s the proverbial line in the sand that Christians must not cross. Thanks for the chat. Have a nice day.

  • Still Seeking

    Herm, the bible is not just another book you read and put back on the shelf with all the others. It is God’s gift to us with both His and man’s blood, sweat and tears all over it. Did you not read John 14 yourself where Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”? Of course, God is spiritual and it is His Spirit that speaks to the Holy Spirit within us to give meaning to the scriptures so that we may apply that meaning to our living. Without the Bible we could be spiritual, but spiritual pagans and not know Whom we worship.

  • Still Seeking

    I can see that you are all tuckered out. Sorry. I’ll just leave you with the challenge to find one bible verse that affirms homosexuality. I know there are many that affirm God’s love for all people and that we are to love and respect people likewise. It is abhorrent that the gay community has been treated otherwise and I understand how you feel that they have been “singled out”. I am sure this has angered God and, especially when this degrading has been done by His own representatives. Whatever it was Jesus was writing in the sand, we know that no one chose to throw that first rock. We are all sinners. We all need redemption. But we still need to accept our sinfulness and not color over it and call it something else. Sometimes we can’t rid ourselves of the thorns. Paul said that God chose to not remove his thorn, for Christ was able to use him more because of it. God works in mysterious ways, but of His great love for us, we are assured.

  • Herm

    Still Seeking, apparently you didn’t pray to invite the Holy Spirit for counsel. He is one with me so for me to do the same would be redundant and disrespectful to the Spirit of truth.

    Without the Spirit of truth in our heart and mind binding together all hearts and minds of God others are the definition of spiritual pagans.

    Is Jesus in you and are you in Jesus right now?

    I understand your consternation as I was there before being baptized (whelmed) by the Holy Spirit and became a little child of God then with Jesus as my only Lord and Teacher. Do you understand when I testify that I am a little brother of Jesus and that our hearts and minds are one eternally?

    I know who I worship and it is only in the Spirit that I know Them personally. Do you?

  • RonnyTX

    Eva to Adam:
    Using the bible as a moral compass is the only way to truly know that you are living a Christ centred life. I agree with you Adam, the bible clearly condemns homosexuality. Not the people just the act itself.

    Ronny to Eva:
    Eva. what act is it that you’ve been taught the bible condemns, when it comes to two gay/homosexual women, who are a couple who love each other?

  • Still Seeking

    I have already answered that for you, Herm. I have been a born again believer for most of my life. Yes, I understand what you are saying that we have the very mind of Christ, but we are not God. ” Now we see as if in a glass dimly. Then we shall see Him face to face. ” We are growing into His likeness.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’m not tuckered out. I am done with your, as Seashell says, “word salad.” Your talking in circles adjacent, but not related to, the topic of conversation is no way to get your point across, and it just ends up being clear you have no point. Take care.

    Edit to add: “I’ll just leave you with the challenge to find one bible verse that affirms homosexuality.” And here we are, right back at the beginning of this whole conversation, slavishly relying upon a literal, surface reading of Scriptures, which prompted the [unanswered] question about why other parts aren’t taken literally by Christians anymore, but this one has to be. Congratulations. You’re still on square one.

  • Ron McPherson

    Amen!

  • Herm

    Still Seeking, thank you for answering that for me. You do not understand though that I am saying that Jesus is my big Brother as I am His disciple with the Holy Spirit in both our hearts and minds today. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and I am certainly not the only adopted child of God. As a little child I truly am not expected to get this whole thing right but the Family of God is bringing me and my other little siblings along at each of our unique paces with an eternity ahead to finally get it all right. I testify by my own life that this is true and can point to the scripture that supports all I just claimed. Jesus, I and all my siblings of God are not becoming one God but with the Spirit of truth we are working and playing as one spiritual body of all unique members supporting the whole as one bound together in love.

    With the Advocate I am able to fulfill Luke 10:27 and Luke 14:26 and 27. John 14:15-21 is scripture I would not have understood until I actually could see Jesus in me and I in Him joined by the Spirit of truth. He is crystal clear and not a dim reflection as in a mirror.

    It is myth that God does not change. All relationships change according to what is shared within. As people come to Jesus like a little child to be whelmed by the Dove God grows with all the differences brought and shared in love and good for all of God.

    It is pagan to believe that it is God’s will to remain separate from Their creation. It is pagan to believe that any all powerful creator god would demand Their creations serve Them. Jesus could not have done more in His walk on earth to prove that God loves to serve even the least among Their creation, in Their image, to raise up Their creation to love to serve even the least among them.

    Sorry, I have continued on enjoying my relationship with Jesus when I really meant to share with you. Hopefully you will see that there is more than the simplicity of worship found within our churches when compared to an actual one in One relationship with and in God. I am not playing with you. I am sincerely and vulnerably sharing that even the littlest most ignorant children of God are of God as Jesus was during His walk on earth after the Dove came to Him. The Dove comes to all who come to Jesus as a little child to learn only from Him and abide in Him as their Lord with all authority over heaven and on earth today. I know my Bible better than most and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, not a dim reflection, Jesus is the only inerrant Word. The Holy Spirit only speaks what Jesus and our Father have to tell us directly.

    Please read every scripture written relative to the Holy Spirit/Spirit of truth. Please consider that for nearly 2,000 years now, since Jesus’ ascension, the Spirit has been active and growing and did not stop at the end of the letter of Revelations. It was approximately 1,393 years from the birth of Moses to the birth of Jesus. Mankind has been growing in relationship with and in God throughout.

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13

    He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

    Thank you for your care! Love you!

  • Still Seeking

    Yes, we are all equal; equal to choose to sin or choose to follow Jesus.

    It’s that simple.

    That’s God’s plan.

  • Still Seeking

    None of my posts could have led you to believe anything for which you accuse me. If so, please state. I have only stated that God, according to His Word, has only ordained sexual intimacy between one man and one woman in marriage. I have never stated that “the end of days are upon us because of homosexual relations”. I do not hate what God has proclaimed in His Word, but it seems that you do.

  • How many times must it be said? The point of Romans 1 is found in Romans 2. If you condemn based on Romans 1, then you are exactly the person Paul is talking about in Romans 2:1.

  • Still Seeking

    The Holy Spirit was present in the OT in preparation of the coming Messiah which was fulfilled in the NT scriptures. It was straight from the mouth of Jesus who said that we must be born again to see the kingdom. His church was born on the day of Pentecost when the gift of the Holy Spirit descended on the body of believers. That is where lives were transformed with the power given unto the believers to preach the gospel message to the world even unto death. The whole NT is witness to this fact. What is there in your heart that wishes to dispute the gift of His Holy Spirit?

  • Still Seeking

    Chapter and verse will do; propaganda would just be boring, but I’m willing to be bored.

  • Proud Amelekite

    I used to get bent out of shape over my and my brethrens treatment at the hands of Christians until I read the Bible and realized there are no more Christians.

    “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have
    been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I
    am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

    No real miracles in millennia. The last Christian died in the first century.

  • Bones

    That’s without even going into the notion that Peter thought Paul was a heretic.

  • Bones

    Bahaha you don’t judge….

    Dude you’ve appointed yourself judge, jury and executioner all based on a dishonest reading of the Bible.

    “Oh we’re just proclaiming His Word….”

    No, you’re keeping people out of the kingdom by your made up rules.

    And you’re right, you’re not His followers…..

  • Bones

    Yeah Christians now are so worldly because they love gays.

    Much better in the old days when they just supported slavery.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    This is one of my fun passages, because people cann’t seem to explain to me what it means, but to me it is lovely and seems to contradict what you are saying:

    1 Peter 4:8
    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

    That is, even assuming one believed that homosexuality was a sin. Which I disagree with.

  • And this is where a little bit of education goes a long way. Because the Roman Jews to whom Paul was writing were not committing any of the acts named in Romans 1, yet Paul’s tone in Romans 2 is clearly condemnatory. Because the big problem for Roman Jewish Christians was that they were trying to keep Roman Gentile Christians excluded, on account of their not following Torah. And according to the Jewish understanding, there is no hierarchy of sin. If you commit any sin, you are a sinner, and there are no worse or better sinners. Paul is reminding his readers in Rome that, if they believe that the Law is the source of salvation, then condemnation has come not only for those that they’ve condemned, but for them as well. It’s a theme that runs through the entire letter.

  • RonnyTX

    Eva to Ronny:
    Romans 1:26-27
    Love has nothing to do with it. Clearly, two women can love each other. That’s not the issue.

    Ronny to Eva:

    Well Eva, love obviously has something to do with most any couple deciding to marry and be a couple for life. That so, whether the couple is gay or heterosexual. But the main thing I was asking you was, what act is it that you’ve been taught the bible condemns, when it comes to two gay/homosexual women, who are a couple and who love each other? Now you responded by bringing up Romans 1:26,27. Well, let’s see what that has to say about gay females or males?

    “For this cause God gave them up into vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26,27 KJV

    Now if you read the verses just above that, you will see that the apostle Paul was talking about people who were idol worshippers. They worshipped all kinds of things from creation; but they didn’t worship God. And well,that’s a description of the pagan fertility religion of 2,000 years ago and it goes back even further, as we can read about it in the Old Testament. Back then, some of the Hebrew people got to following such and even sacrificed their infant children to the pagan god Molech! :-( And in their worship and places of worship, they also had both male and female “holy” type prostitutes in their religion! And people would go to their places of worship and have sex with them! So what Paul is talking about in Romans chapter 1, is people like that. Pagan religionists, that God gave up to vile affections. And sometimes the females having sexual relations with another female and or sometimes a male have sexual relations with another male. But this has nothing to do, with people who are gay/homosexual. For we simply get to puberty and find out/discover that we are only attracted to our own gender and that in all ways. So for someone like myself, as a 12 year old boy, I came to discover I was attracted to some other males, just as heterosexual males are attracted to females. And the gay female, she is attracted to other females, just as heterosexual females are attracted to males. Of course, not everyone is gay are heterosexual. Some people are bisexual,some asexual and others transgendered and intersex. And well, as I like to say, we can simply look around us at all God has made and we can see how much God likes variety! :-)

    BTW Eva, I had a cousin, the youngest son of a Baptist preacher and he was gay. He and his male spouse were together until his death, so they were together for somewhere between 20 and 25 years. Then a couple of years ago, a niece of mine and her female spouse, they got married. I forget which state it was in; but they had to go out of Texas, for them to be legally married. And in my growing up years, there were at least two guys in my small church who were gay. Of course, I didn’t know that back the. Then in later years, there was another pastor there and he had a son who was gay. Which is why I sometimes teasingly say, there must be something about growing up in a Baptist church, that makes some guys gay! :-) LoL

  • Still Seeking

    If you wish to know if your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you must be born of the Spirit; the two are connected. God’s Spirit assures His Spirit that is within you.

  • Still Seeking

    So you applaud something you don’t understand? In this present world we are all under the oppression of the enemy. Slavery is of the enemy. False imprisonment is of the enemy. Bullying is of the enemy, etc. We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in dark places. It took the Civil War to win against slavery, but the body of Christ should not use such things as slander or ridicule against each other in disagreement which is an even worse offense than killing the flesh.

  • Still Seeking

    You read the scriptures differently than I do. Yes, people do change as we are growing into God’s likeness, but God does not change. I hope you noticed the word “respect” in 1 Timothy.

  • seashell

    …but the body of Christ should not use such things as slander or ridicule against each other in disagreement which is an even worse offense than killing the flesh.

    You might want to read Ben’s newest post that doesn’t recognize one kindred body of Christ all calling themselves Christians. Here are some excerpts to give you an idea:

    …what’s happening today is the result of a clash between two different kinds of Christianity– one is the tradition of Jesus, and one is a nationalistic, secular religion that simply has the same name.

    We’re tired of xenophobia in the name of Jesus, the marginalization of the poor, the apathy towards immigrants, and we’re really tired of this sadistic fetish civil Christianity has with guns.…

    There’s a new day dawning for Christianity in America– I see it every day from messages that find their way to my inbox. People who have opened their eyes and realized there are two kinds of Christianity, and that one must be embraced while the other must be condemned to death…

  • Still Seeking

    Dear Herm, Jesus is more than your Big Brother, He is God, and when you are looking in the mirror and see clearly, I think you are looking at your own reflection and not that of Jesus.
    You have rightly said, however, that we have a long way to go before getting it right.
    God does not change. How can He? There is nothing in God that needs perfection, for that is Who He is. But, yes, His children constantly change as they grow more unto His likeness.
    God is not our servant, He is our Savior and our Father and we do serve Him by serving each other with the help of His Holy Spirit who guides us. Your theology reminds me of the church who changed the lyrics in the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” from “And Crown Him Lord of All” to “and crown Christ Servant of all”. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He shall reign forever and ever.
    I love you, too.

  • Several times throughout Matthew, Jesus states that those who are first shall be last, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Have you noticed that many of those you have listed are internationally famous and exceedingly wealthy, and seek positions of power and renown?

  • Meepestos

    Interesting excerpts. I’ll take a look at Ben’s post. Are you familiar with the likes of Tom Harpur and his take on Christianity?

  • seashell

    No, but do tell. Actually, I’m off to the Google now!

  • There’s also a noteworthy difference between people who are Christian and leaders, and people who actually study theology. Anyone can become a famous Christian without knowing or practicing a word of Christian thought. Hitler invoked his Catholic upbringing to appeal to German Christians, but, like his appeal to workers unions, it was nothing but a ploy to gain power.

  • Jeff Preuss

    It’s also interesting, since Seeking doesn’t seem to take Adam to task for his posts targeting other Christians…

  • Meepestos

    He is an Anglican ordained priest that claims to be a Christian. He wrote the book “the “Pagan Christ” he has a website. Let me know if you find it and what you think. I came across his book in a clergy house.

  • Still Seeking

    And this you believe is a true representation of the Body of Christ?

  • According to the Lord, sex was made for man and woman, to join literally together in marriage.

    I’m curious where you get this idea. Paul decries sex altogether and allows only that sex within marriage is not a sin. Augustine, the person who gave us most of what we “know” about “original sin,” even said that sex is the poor second choice to the ideal condition to which we should strive. In his mind, divine reproduction would have been creation, not sexual reproduction, which is what we were forced to resort to and which is why “original sin” is passed down to future generations.

  • C.S. Lewis once said that there were some sins he would never discuss because he felt no temptation to commit them. Can you guess which one was foremost?

    He also had things to say about those who insisted that they were the worst sins of all, somehow less tolerable than any other…

  • When SSM became legal in California, for one day, Burger King put rainbow wrappers on their Whoppers. One man’s response was that he went in to Burger King for a burger and was forced to think about two men having sex instead.

    Conservatives think about me having sex infinitely more often than I actually do.

  • It’s because of the word used to describe the Centurion’s companion. Pais has been used as a euphemism for a male lover.

    As for the argument that Jesus was ignorant of such a detail… well, if your faith allows for Jesus to be ignorant, then I have no argument to that.

  • Herm

    Dear Still Seeking, what do little children have that allows them to serve their parents more than what their parents serve first to them?

    What is the example you take away of Jesus’ walk on earth? Yes, He is God in the beginning where it is recorded that God said:

    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

    Do you notice, not changed in the Bible since first penned, that “mankind” is singular as well as “God”? Did you notice that “us”, “our” and “they” are plural relative to the singular “God” and singular “mankind”?

    The Jesus Christ whom I know personally as my mature big Brother and I His immature little brother. I have nothing carnal to offer Him that our Father had not already made available to mankind except love. I have nothing spiritual to offer Him of which He excels in as being where I have never been spiritually except all the love of my heart, soul, strength and mind. Of the two of us, Jesus and I, who is better prepared to serve who? What other than love do I have to serve Him with? What do you have other than love to serve Him with?

    Everything we have and are were first God’s to do with as They willed. Other than teaching responsibility to the value of resources to my children I gained nothing if I taxed their allowance to earn living in the house I had provided to them for years before they even knew what an allowance was.

    The Lord of lords/King of kings served us all the way to the anguish of accepting certain death at the request of our Father. It is pure self indulgence derived from the powerful of mankind to invent trickle down as a concept of God. We can be lifted up and out of our poverty in mind, heart and soul by those graced the resources to do so but we cannot lift ourselves up with nothing. The second a newborn cries to breathe I dare you to demand it serve you who conspired without its choice to give it the responsibility of life. This is what you have been incorrectly taught is the image of God and you repeat to me. I would prefer to die eternally in some horrendous torture chamber forever than be eternally tortured to serve a slaver self centered God. The Gospel (Good News) is that the Old Testament God and Lord is not the example that the Messiah gave us all the way to death.

    I have no theology, none, zero, zilch. I have a relationship right now, today, as a living spiritual little child of God who I know better than I ever knew my carnal family of birth. What was your theology with your family of birth?

    You are dependent upon elite and exclusionary catch phrases to communicate your relationship with God. I am certain you speak to God and God answers you everyday. I would guess from your presentation that you even recite one creed or another in your church as well as the “Lord’s prayer”. The Rabbi Jesus taught in the gospels and teaches today that He hates any relationship founded upon repetitious public exclamations. Did your carnal family of birth require you to publicly, or even privately, repeat a pledge of allegiance by rote in worship of the them?

    God includes all in Their love excluding none. God is capable of personally knowing, remembering and acknowledging every heart and mind open to Them from the beginning to beyond the end of eternity. God knows every language ever to reciprocally meet people exactly where they are when they ask, seek and knock. We only become children of God when we recognize that we are no more capable of serving God than can little infant children serve their loving family of birth.

    This is inspired by the Spirit of truth to speak directly to you and those listening in on our conversation. Did you hear any organized Christian catch phrases repeated as a picture of my relationship with God? I am in God. I communicate in my very real heart, soul, strength, and mind which is spiritual and can live with no end. I use my carnal shell to communicate through to you just as we use the machine we know as a phone to connect our spirits together. In the spiritual beings can and are within each other so they don’t speak to each other but within each other. When I have a question the answer is immediate when I am mature enough to use that answer constructively and productively (for good). The answer always meets me at my level of comprehension and I am not expected to comprehend at my Father’s level for He serves by coming to me to answer in my language. I never need to interpret what God is telling me as the majority of Christian organizations do in the form of hardcopy theology.

    There is so much more for you to learn if you are willing. I am not the Teacher. Seek the Teacher when you are willing to despise the traditions and lessons taught to you by your carnal family of birth and/or church. Until you do so you will continually be frustrated by responses from the disciples (students) of the only Messiah.

    Thank you for continuing to challenge me. This gives me a very welcomed time and reason to consult with the Word.

    I am no longer seeking for I am within the most divine Family ever.

  • Jeff Preuss

    A certain former poster who recently disappeared from Patheos, one who was fairly threatening in demeanor and suggestions, has an interesting presence on the internet. If you Google him, you find about 90% of the hits involve him complaining about homosexuality in some form or another, or liking videos in which John McArthur calls SSM the real terrorist attack on America, etc.

    And approximately 10% is comments on praise/worship music.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Sure. And how did they become rich and famous? Who gave them their power and renown?

  • That sounds suspiciously like a bandwagon argument, or an argument to popularity. Both are logical fallacies. Virtually any idea can gather a following, even if it has been proven incorrect numerous times. Pat Robertson, for example, one of the names you list, has made many, many predictions throughout the years, claiming that God has informed him personally of the coming future. Most of these predictions have proven false, yet you still list him as an authority of Christian disciplines.
    I would note that the Bible itself explicitly says that those who make false predictions are to be regarded as false preachers who will perish!

  • And wow, it’s a good thing that whole “murder anyone who doesn’t believe the same thing you do” part isn’t to be taken literally. It’d sort of give the lie to that whole love thing.

  • … and given that divorce rates are actually slightly higher among Christians than other faiths, it would appear divorce is on the list as well.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Well, didn’t you see? Adam said he’d lovingly tell Ronny he’s going to Hell. So, I’d imagine he’d kill someone who didn’t share complete theological parallel with him in a similarly loving way, were he to literally follow all the Bible.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Divorce! I knew I was forgetting a biggie (or four).

  • Jeff Preuss

    Now I want a cheeseburger…just not a Whopper. I think they’re kinda terrible.

  • PremiumOsmium

    I don’t really care what the Bible says. I care about what real people say and do. And the enormous power and respect the people I listed possesses shows that their beliefs are shared by a large number, if not a majority of those who call themselves Christian.

  • Still Seeking

    If the little children have God as a parent they have adoration in which to serve Him. If the human parent has love for the child, that love is reflected back to the parent by the little child.
    Your second paragraph contradicts itself in stating that it is a trickle down concept to serve others as God has done for us; for in knowing of His great love for us, our only desire is to serve Him with the same love He has given us in gathering up His fold.
    How can you come to a conclusion that God is self centered in giving us His all? Why would you deny His children the honor of serving Him when once they have received His love to not give it back when that is their heart’s greatest desire?
    I worship God in awe, in Spirit, in deep gratitude, in humility, and at times have even had need to turn Him away lest He take me away to be with Him before I can serve Him even more. Little children need to grow up if they have not learned that giving and serving is not their greatest joy.
    You do not frustrate me. You should always be seeking Him, for He works in mysterious ways and your heart needs to be open to them.

  • So, um, two takeaways from that post.

    1) You don’t care what the Bible says, but you’re arguing that X people have superior knowledge of Christianity (and thus the Bible). Does this count even if their knowledge is blatantly contradicted by the Bible?

    2) Post hoc ergo propter hoc. A person’s following is not an indicator of their qualities, much less that their beliefs have any form of consistency or reasonable assumption of veracity.

    Harmless example: Joanna Southcott predicted that she would give birth to the second coming of Christ and the world would end in 1814, and now, over 200 years after her death, she still has followers who insist her prophecies were true.

    Extreme example: Adolf Hitler invoked his Catholic heritage to appeal to German Christians and won a popular election. Would you assume Adolf Hitler was a Christian theologian?

  • I don’t understand how you are connecting the two passages in that way.

    .. Are you aware that in the original Greek, the two passages follow immediately after each other, without a chapter break between them? They are as connected as two paragraphs on the same page.

  • Herm

    “It is pure self indulgence derived from the powerful of mankind to invent trickle down as a concept of God.”

    How could you read that and respond with this?

    “Your second paragraph contradicts itself in stating that it is a trickle down concept to serve others as God has done for us”

    God serves, as in the example of Jesus’ carnal walk on earth, from the bottom up and not the top down. Nothing trickles down from the Lord of lords/King of kings, nothing. It is mankind who pays homage to their kings and not the children of God. God lifts up without demanding tariff.

    Why would I seek what I have already found? It is you who has apparently not found what I am speaking of. My carnal parents worked in mysterious ways until I too grew to learn to work in those ways and then those ways were no longer mysterious. I trusted my benevolent carnal parents to teach me the ways to survive to the fullest term graced me of my finite carnal life. I trust my benevolent spiritual family to teach me the ways to survive to the fullest term graced me of my spiritual life with no end. What is so mysterious about that when we already grew up as children in the image of God?

    God is my family within whom I work, play and stop to savor together. We worship our family more perfectly than any mortal family by growing together in love without interruption.

    Thank you for not being frustrated by me even as we speak with one another on two seemingly similar but different wavelengths.

    How many ways can I tell you that once your heart and mind have been whelmed by the Holy Spirit they need not be open to what is already within? If becoming one with and in God is all you seek there then would be nothing left to seek for God would then be in you and you in God.

    Please, reread what I wrote especially for you. You miss the point entirely if you think I called our creator God a slaver God. I said;

    “I would prefer to die eternally in some horrendous torture chamber forever than be eternally tortured to serve a slaver self centered God. The Gospel (Good News) is that the Old Testament God and Lord is not the example that the Messiah gave us all the way to death.”

    and your response was;

    “How can you come to a conclusion that God is self centered in giving us His all?”

    The Old Testament God was portrayed as a harsh task master and the testaments to Christ Jesus are that He was a servant to mankind. He was the least among them who was the greatest.

    You are looking for words and phrases you have heard before to test according to your church instructions the validity of what I am sharing with you. All that I have shared with you is in the Bible you quote verbatim, seasoned with a lot of your church’s needlessly sacred vernacular, without understanding the only Teacher it is pointing to.

    There is only one way to serve as a disciple of the Messiah beyond love and that is to pick up your own cross. That means to become the judged and not the judge. That means to become the executed and not the executioner. Do you serve as a disciple of the Christ?

    All else has been given you. The will of our Father is that we relate with all of God in all we do with all we value together. Do you really believe the winners get to kneel in eternal praise and song before the almighty God while the losers are consigned to eternal agony as punishments for their stupidity? The truth is eternity for those who truly know to love is a relationship within God learning and sharing all together as one. Those who cannot love beyond themselves and theirs will sleep the eternal sleep of knowing nothing anonymously forever more.

    As a side note; our Father and Brother is up for learning, growing and changing as we, the little children, learn, grow and change. Perfection can get more perfect or else perfection would be the end of having anything else to share with one another. Possibly that is why their image was breathed into our life that we could offer new perspective from which God could grow. Those who promote God as the end all don’t understand at all what they might do with eternal life.

    Love you and thanks, again!

  • Herm

    … passages with none of our punctuation, chapters and verses as we know today.

  • KIZMET

    Hello Mr Nairn. My apologies for not getting back to you before now but given my vocation, this time of year is very busy for me. I have been working on my reply to you as time permits. I hope to have it completed by tomorrow night my time, but realise, it will be a long reply with citations to support my case, which will show full well that my position is not one of hypocrisy but rather, one of truth. Thank you in advance for your patience.

  • KIZMET

    Hello Realist1234, as I have just stated in a reply to Mr Nairn, I am busier than usual given the time of year, but I also hope to have my reply completed for you by tomorrow night as well. Thank you in advance for your patience.

  • Jeff Preuss

    And a whole lotta words that seem Greek to me…

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yay! I do so love it when Miss Southcott makes an appearance.

  • She’s my favorite would-be apocalyptic prophet. How cool is it to die on the date of your own end of the world prediction? It’s an almost modern example of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (though, unfortunately, not modern enough to be 100% sure of the time of death).

  • Jeff Preuss

    I almost want to travel to Bedford just to see the Panacea Museum.

  • Herm

    Oh Jeff, they were Greek!

  • Jeff Preuss

    ‘Tis the joke. ;)

  • Herm

    Oh, you were kiddin’ me … :-O

  • seashell

    Nope. Not a peep out of Seeking when Adam slandered and ridiculed with these gems:

    And you, old man, are one of the more shameless distorters of Scripture I’ve meet on here. A whitewashed sepulcher, you are.

    Cease your lies, old man.

    But… I do think that Adam and Seeking represent what passes as the American body of Christ that we see in power today (although losing power daily). The Christian body is pretty much interchangeable with the Republican party, and neither body governs, speaks or welcomes with love anyone not exactly like them.

  • seashell

    I found his website. I’m looking to track down his articles and maybe pick up a book, too. Thank you for the tip!

  • Meepestos
  • Bones

    “but God does not change. ”

    God changes His mind on things though eg slavery, shellfish, women being made unclean from their bleeding, punishing people for their ancestors’ sins……

  • Bones

    The force is strong with this one.

  • Realist1234

    I wouldnt go by everything Augustine said. I was referring to what Jesus said. I wouldnt agree Paul ‘decries’ sex but rather comments on the fact that to his mind, remaining single is ‘better’ as you are not ‘distracted’ by a wife/husband or children as by definition you have to devote alot of your time to them (as any good husband/wife should).

  • RonnyTX

    Patrick, I sure am glad there were mixed marriages thought and that way back when. If nor for those, I wouldn’t be here. (ha) Kinda interesting, for a person like myself, who is part white, Native American Indian and black. It’s just interesting to me, to think back on somethings, when at one time part of my family were slave owners and another part were slaves. Then yet another part was being killed and having their land stolen from them, in what we now call the United States. And I love all parts of my family; but that doesn’t keep me from seeing both the right and wrongs done, by all sides. Well, I’m not perfect, that’s for sure and I don’t expect them to be either; but I do hold those up to a higher standard, who say they are Christian. The way I see it, if we’re Christian, then we should be seeing people loving other people, just as Jesus Christ loved and still loves us. :-) Well, we should be loving of all that he loves and that takes in every last person. :-)

  • Realist1234

    I would be careful who you are calling ‘dogs’. Remember Jesus’ words regarding your brothers.

  • RonnyTX

    Still Seeking to Bones:
    Yes, we are all equal; equal to choose to sin or choose to follow Jesus.

    It’s that simple.

    That’s God’s plan.

    Ronny to Still Seeking:
    Thinking here, of how Jesus Christ told the first apostles, that he had chosen them and not the other way around. Then Jesus chose Saul of Tarsus and turned him into Paul the apostle. And I sure don’t think Saul of Tarsus, was going down the road to Damascus, with the idea of him becoming a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ! :-) But that, is exactly what he became. Why? Because that is what God/Jesus Christ chose to happen. And the best news of all, for every one of us human beings, is that God/Jesus Christ loves us all and has chosen us all. :-) He truly did take all of our sins upon himself, on the cross and there he reconciled us all, back to God the Father. :-) Now, it’s only a matter of time till each person learns that truth and that each will, as they are born of God. :-) And then, when the Son has set us all free, we will be free indeed! Amen! :-)

  • Realist1234

    Pl see the referenced article, which shows how feeble this attempt to assume the Centurion’s servant was his lover is. Just shows how desperate some people are to force the NT’s teaching to fit their world view.

    http://thebiblicalworld.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/did-jesus-heal-centurions-same-sex.html

    As for Jesus’ ‘ignorance’, the incarnation is mysterious, to say the least, and none of us truly understand it. However I do believe that Jesus’ knowledge whilst on earth was limited, even though he continued to be God the Son. Indeed one could argue that the human brain simply could not hold God’s knowledge. It is clear that the Father/Holy Spirit revealed certain unknown facts (unknown on a purely human level) to Jesus when he was in particular situations, such as the woman at the well. But in the end, I dont pretend to properly understand the reality of Jesus being the unique God/man.

  • Realist1234

    A significant number of people around the world have testified to physical healing through churches and healing ministries. I would not assume such miracles ceased at the end of the 1st century.

  • Realist1234

    Tell the truth – you’re Santa Claus, aren’t you?!

  • Realist1234

    Jesus is concerned with both picking up our cross and our sexual morality, amongst many other things, otherwise He wouldnt have said anything about the latter. But He made clear statements about it.

  • Ah, it saddens me to see that the last organized member of Southcott’s followers died in 2012. I will have to stop saying she still has followers, as that can no longer be confirmed.

  • Realist1234

    I would consider myself as an ‘evangelical protestant’ and dont recognise your description. Its fair enough to describe certain individuals as you have done if that is their behaviour, and I would obviously never defend such attributes. Though I would suggest you can find such individuals in any ‘stream’ of Christianity. As Im not American but am from the UK, no doubt my experience is different from yours. As an example of UK evangelicalism, could I suggest the late John Stott as representative in his views. I therefore find it unfair and inappropriate to apply your descriptions to all or even the majority of evangelicals.

  • Herm

    Lets’ be a realist here, please. You would help me an awful lot if you would show me exactly where He is quoted regarding our sexual morality. He is not concerned about picking up my cross as He carries His. For my sake He is concerned I love enough to pick up my own.

    You speak as if you go to your church fellowship and bounce off each other just what the Bible says for you to do to be saved. You speak as if they have impressed you that you are ready to save the world in His name. In reality it is not your job and none of His disciples who know Him as the Teacher personally have been called to save the world. If you knew Him you would understand beyond any shadow of a doubt by our example only does Jesus call His little sisters and brothers to bring little children throughout every nation out to become His student.

    Jesus is quoted to have said something I feel is most apropos in response to your choice to be a prestigious teacher of the law in the name of God.

    “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.

    You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

    “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 5:36-44

  • Herm

    Still Seeking, the Bible is not “His Word”. As long as you continue to use scripture in place of the Word who lives and teaches many here you will get associated with those Pharisees, Sadducee, and teachers of the law who do what you were just accused of.

    “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.

    You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

    “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 5:36-44

    Who are receiving your inspirational glory from; human beings or the only creator God (you can’t serve two masters) when your only teaching of others is from only the Bible interpreted by the theology of your church and not directly from the Teacher as a real relationship in the Spirit of truth?

  • Still Seeking

    There is a hierarchy: God is the One in control of His creation and in control of the enemy whom He will put to an end when He fully establishes His Kingdom. Jesus is our Savior and the Head of His church: the Bride of Christ. We are not God even though He has given His Spirit to those whom He has chosen. What you are portraying is secular humanism disguised as Christianity. You are attempting to use God as your servant which only leads to destruction of His purpose for humanity.
    You have rightly stated that God is The Judge.

  • Very happy that I was too busy yesterday to respond to the ridiculous response I had gotten, because now it looks like I don’t have to.

    Also, the Trans Siberian Orchestra is absolutely fantastic live in concert. You should all go if you get the chance.

  • seashell

    This cracked me up so much I had to make a run for the fire hydrant. Yes, the TSO is the way to go!

  • Jeff Preuss

    Now I want to know what the ridiculous response was…

  • Oh, something to the effect of my answer being just my opinion. With the implication being that any answer that disagreed with Eva would be opinion, while any answer that agreed with Eva would be Truth, in spite of any actual knowledge regarding the situation in Rome when Paul wrote his letter.

  • Still Seeking

    Where have I said God’s Word changes? Neither God nor His Word changes. For those of us who desire more than anything else, He gives us the Holy Spirit in which to understand His Word and we are able to change according to His Word; that is all that I said. I do understand, however, that you want me to believe that God approves of gay marriage. There is no scripture to support that. I do not believe, however, that God hates the LGBTQ community nor have I ever given you the indication that I hate them. I have no room for hate in my heart because it has been filled with the Love which comes from God. I do detest the destruction which comes from sin which the enemy tries to penetrate into innocence and all that is holy and especially the church which he can wound but never destroy. The enemy can even use scripture to deceive church leaders from which I, myself, have fallen victim of in the extreme liberal interpretation of such. Jesus led me through that fire. I am sorry that I cannot side with the liberal view in affirming gay marriage as God has clearly proclaimed His will and the sacredness of traditional marriage. There are always consequences when we deviate from His will. He will never stop loving us, however, and even walks with us through the fire if we do slip from His path. I believe that God would even honor your commitment to your partner privately out of His compassion for you if you would confess to Him your weakness of the flesh and that your heart does not wish to rebuke His authority. Otherwise, your war against His Word and those of the brethren whom you curse will be futile.

  • Jeff Preuss

    That lines up with her telling Ronny she simply can’t agree with his position because she reads the bible. With the not-so-subtle implication that means Ronny doesn’t.

    Despite many comments referring to doing just that, and here’s why we believe it means this and not that.

    I do feel for our erstwhile commenter. Even though she insists I get angry when she comments, she seems to get so very worked up in discussions, mass-deleting everything she types, then returns to start the whole process over again. I don’t know if she’s seeking validation of some sort coming into the Progressive channel, or if she’s thinking there will be an A Ha moment when one of us might “see the light” of what she’s saying.

    I honestly don’t know why she subjects herself to the repeated frustration.

  • It’s almost enough to make me want to start calling myself her follower, just so she’ll still have one.

    Almost.

  • Still Seeking

    Yes, we love Him because He first loved us. Sadly, some either do not know of His love, or choose not to love Him back.

  • Still Seeking

    Herm, you are using scripture to prove that scripture isn’t reliable.

  • The referenced “article” (blog post, really, but let’s not split hairs) can be boiled down to this conclusion: “pais has several meanings, one of which is indeed the gay lover term that people have pointed out, but because it’s ambiguous I’ve decided that it can’t mean it here.”

  • Guy Norred

    While I do believe in freewill, I don’t think anyone chooses to reject God’s love. His love is so great that once actually known, we can’t do anything but accept it. When we think we see His love being rejected, what we are actually seeing is a soul who has never seen His love. Whether that soul is blinded by pain, fear, or God forbid, the lack of the example of love from Christians, or all of the above, that blindness is real. To some extent or another, this side of Paul’s dim mirror, we are all blind, but to the extent we are not, we are to spread the good news of the love we do know–by showing and being that love, and in doing so we may bit by bit overcome the blindness to God’s love in others, and sometimes even in ourselves.

  • Still Seeking

    Amen :)

  • Herm

    Still Seeking, I am using scripture exactly as how it was inspired to direct those who do not know to the only reliable Teacher. The Teacher in us and us in the Teacher is not subject to interpretation and requires no theology to unite all His little sisters, brothers and mother. There is no other spiritual church of our creator God united where all parishioners are in Him and He in them. His temple, that He administers as the only High Priest, was raised three days after His crucifixion and the curtain was torn top to bottom. His temple is where His family meets to worship in the Spirit and exists purely in the spiritual hearts and minds of the attending congregation. Your church of spiritual support is a carnal image of His.

    You are using scripture and your church influences alone to prove that scripture is reliable. How reliable is that?

    Until you go directly to Him as the most humble little child sincerely in search of the truth you really don’t know just how reliable He is in you and you in Him. That is the baptism by the Holy Spirit, the Dove, available to all daughters and sons of God to know for certain their perfectly reliable Father in them and them in their Father.

    Do it, please!

  • Realist1234

    The article raised the main point that the same word is used on numerous other occasions within the New Testament with no indication whatsoever that it meant ‘gay lover’ or anything close.

  • Realist1234

    On re-reading my response, I think you misunderstood when I said ‘What evidence do you have that He ‘blessed’ their sexual relationship, assuming He knew they were in such a relationship, which I contest He didnt’. I was not querying Jesus’ knowledge, but that there is no evidence He believed them to be in a gay relationship. Nevertheless my view regarding Jesus’ limitations whilst on earth still stand.

  • Realist1234

    On re-reading my original response, I think you misunderstood when I said ‘What evidence do you have that He ‘blessed’ their sexual relationship, assuming He knew they were in such a relationship, which I contest He didnt’. I was not querying Jesus’ knowledge, but that there is no evidence He believed them to be in a gay relationship. Nevertheless my view regarding Jesus’ limitations whilst on earth still stand.

  • Herm

    Your picture of God is painted by your spiritual traditions and lessons of mankind. You are writing from the image and not the heart and mind of our Messiah.

    Mankind is in the spiritual image of God both secular and religious. Children of God are in God. The Messiah’s kingdom is here; has been since He was given ALL authority over heaven and on earth by our Father. The citizens of Christ’s kingdom are those who accept Him as the only Lord over their carnal and spiritual life today.

    He chooses only those who come to Him as little children despising the ways of their carnal family but loving their carnal family of all of mankind so much as to pick up their cross that they might live. It is the Holy Spirit that whelms all the hearts and minds of God to be one. This is no different with the Father, the only begotten Son and all His brothers and sisters and mother today.

    If your church has come to any other relationship then by their theological base in scripture they are a church disguised as His church. I can call myself anything or anyone but that does not make it so. You argue from a theoretical foundation when I am offering you my testimony that Jesus is my only reliable foundation necessary, ever, and that rock is available for you to know and no longer teach your and your church’s theories. It is okay that you don’t know Him beyond the stories of the Bible for that is where most of us began. If you are sincere, although, you will go beyond for our creator God cannot be contained between Genesis and Revelations. The Bible and many other books of mankind’s testimony to God are only, all together, the 5 second trailer to the eternal, no beginning and no end, movie of God. It just isn’t nearly as simple as your traditional Christianity administered by Man makes it out to be. The Good News is for those of us who can love according to our Father’s will we have until the end of eternity to fully comprehend. You’re welcome to be in the movie until it finishes or to sit and watch from the outside until you finish. Your choice.

  • Still Seeking

    This I have done, Herm, and His Spirit is within me, so whatever spirit you are listening to is not The Holy Spirit or you would have known.

  • Still Seeking

    His sheep know His voice and can recognize a voice disguised under sheep’s clothing but not of His flock.

  • Herm

    … as you will.

  • Herm

    … follow as you know, your choice.

  • KIZMET

    Hello “Still Seeking”. I am supposedly “projecting”? In what way? Please tell me what erroneous conclusions you may have jumped to, to end face first in sand? I am intrigued. Look forward to your reply.

  • KIZMET

    LOL . Ich habe herausgefunden!!! SHHHH!! ;)

  • Jeff Preuss

    Das nächste Mal , sollten Sie einen besseren Job zu Versteck zu tun!

  • KIZMET

    Sehr Gut! lol Perhaps I should! :D

  • Ron McPherson

    Great points!

  • Yes, but he also notes that contemporary sources use it to mean exactly that. And arguing that it shouldn’t be translated thusly here because it isn’t translated that way elsewhere in the Bible is ultimately circular logic — it amounts to “it shouldn’t be translated this way in the Bible because it’s not translated this way in the Bible.” A more intellectually honest response would be to admit that perhaps we should be critically evaluating the translations of those other occurrences in the Greek Scriptures.

  • Bones

    “Neither God nor His Word changes.”

    Says who?

    God seems to have changed His mind about lots of things.

    Its amusing how those who read the Bible ignorantly claim to be led by God.

  • You appear to be presenting two challenges here — one, that Jesus approved, and two, that Jesus knew. Based on what little was recorded, it’s impossible to prove or deny his knowledge.

    If he knew, and approved, then his words stand on their own, as he praised the centurion’s faith and that hardly seems like something he would do if The Most Unforgivable Sin of All Time were being committed.

    If he knew and did not approve, then he is conspicuously silent about the matter and does not seem to withhold his blessing all the same.

    If he did not know, then his approval or lack thereof is moot, though it leaves us with a host of questions as to the things Jesus was also ignorant of.

  • “…the body of Christ should not use such things as slander or ridicule against each other in disagreement which is an even worse offense than killing the flesh.”

    – 20 hours ago, you called Herm a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Around that same time, you accused Herm of listening to false spirits.
    – A day ago, you declared that RonnyTX either doesn’t know God’s love or is choosing not to love God back.
    – A day ago, you accused Herm of trying to turn God into his servant.
    – Two days ago, you accused Patrick of spouting baseless propaganda, of disputing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and of hating what God has proclaimed.
    – Three days ago, you implied that Jeff’s response to you was akin to the whining of a child who needs sleep: “I can see you’re all tuckered out.”
    – Four days ago, you declared that KIZMET “[has] not the Spirit to teach you the highest form of Love for which our Savior gave His life for you.”

    I could continue, but I believe that should be sufficient to prove my point, which is that you don’t seem particularly interested in practicing what you preach. Some of these came before and some after your declaration that “slander and ridicule… is an even worse offense than killing in the flesh.” Physician, heal thyself.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I remember once being told that slander and ridicule prohibitions didn’t apply to taunting me, since the one doing the slandering and ridiculing had definitively decided I am not a Christian, so therefore he was free and just to do so to me.

  • To be perfectly honest, that’s the exact response that I’m expecting here, as well. Perhaps I’m jaded, but it seems like the logical thing to expect. “It’s only wrong if it’s against other Christians, and I can’t be wrong, so these other people can’t be Christians.”

  • Jeff Preuss

    Well, it is such an easy call to make for those who categorically state there is no such thing as a gay Christian. It makes me as rare as a unicorn in some people’s eyes (although, come to think of it, some of them believe in unicorns from some Scripture, so maybe I’m rarer still. I’m Mewtwo.)

  • I suppose being Mewtwo is better than being Mew, though? Like, at least you exist in the world without the Creator having to mod you in.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Didn’t the Creator mod all of us in? ;)

  • One of the great theological debates: were we modded in individually, or did the Creator just program the game and then let the programming spawn us?

  • Mr. G.

    Scripture offers the clearest evidence that scripture isn’t reliable.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Chuuuuuuuu.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Actually, Seeking offers pretty good evidence of that, too.

  • Guy Norred

    Tangent warning–yesterday on another blog, someone quoted I Corinthians 13 from the NIV. The beginning of verse 7 jumped at me. It says “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I decided to look it up in a few other translations and in everyone I saw, where the NIV says protects, they said bears or is patient. Do you think I am either completely misunderstanding the meaning of “bears” or do you think one of these is a better translation?

  • Well, bearing in mind that I’m not an expert on Greek by any stretch of the imagination, my explorations and researching have led me to this:

    The Greek word in question is στέγει (stegei)

    According to Strong’s Concordance, the verb στέγω (stego) means “to cover closely, generally to bear up under.” Literally, to roof over; figuratively, to cover with silence (or to endure patiently). It’s the verbal form of the word στέγη (stege), which means roof.

    This same verb is used in 1 Corinthians 9:12, “…but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way….” It is also used in 1 Thessalonians 3:1, “…when we could bear it no longer…,” and 3:5, “…when I could bear it no longer….” In none of these other instances would “protect” make sense as a translation, nor does there appear to be any other precedent for it to be translated as “protect.” The absolute best, most literal translation would probably be “cover,” but that English word is ambiguous enough to obscure the apparent Greek figurative meaning.

  • Guy Norred

    Thanks. Interestingly I at least can see how “protects” might have appeared there, but somehow “shields” seems like it would be more accurate if that is the way one felt it needed to go.

  • SamHamilton

    …it quickly became clear that my refusal to denounce LGBTQ individuals was a critical issue for him.

    …a Methodist church who would only agree to share their space if the church welcomed LGBTQ persons.

    Maybe I’m misreading the story here, but it seems like these two churches are flip sides of the same coin – they’re both saying “We won’t work with the refugee congregation unless it adopts our view on GBLTQs” Shouldn’t this be an attitude Christians oppose? Yet it sounds like Mr. Corey thought the Methodist church was right to insist on this framework. Again, perhaps I’m misreading this.

    I look forward to a day when how a congregation views gay marriage, gay priests, homosexual sex, etc. doesn’t prevent congregations from working together to preach the gospel and do good works. In my mind, both the original church and the Methodist Church attempted to use the dire straights in which the refugee church found itself to push their BLGTQ viewpoint. The refugee church sounds like it was being used as a pawn.

  • Still Seeking

    You have sorely misrepresented the love between Naomi and Ruth and David and Jonathan. It is absurd and even if it were true, it would not mean that God accepted it.

  • Still Seeking

    Herm said plainly that man is God; whatever spirit told him so was not that of God.

    I did not accuse RonnyTX of not knowing God and I believe that he does love God.

    Patrick said that Abraham was a pedophile. There is no biblical basis for that. I do not know what you are intending to say about disputing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    Patrick does hate that God does not approve of the gay lifestyle.

    I did not say that Jeff was whining. I implied that he was getting tired of the discussion between us.

    Kizmet was in fact slandering the characters of both Ruth and Naomi and Jonathan and David.

    There was no slander or ridicule in anything that I have said.

  • Herm said plainly that man is God; whatever spirit told him so was not that of God.

    I saw no such thing; looking back at the conversation, I still see no such thing. On the contrary, what I see is Herm reaffirming several times, in several different ways, that man is made in the image of God, as is stated in the Bible.

    I did not accuse RonnyTX of not knowing God and I believe that he does love God

    Your exact words: “Yes, we love Him because He first loved us. Sadly, some either do not know of His love, or choose not to love Him back.” Do you mean to say that you weren’t implying that RonnyTX doesn’t know God when you said that? Because if that’s not what you meant, it’s not at all clear what you did mean.

    Patrick said that Abraham was a pedophile. There is no biblical basis for that.

    Patrick did say that, and offered to provide citations, chapter and verse. In your response, you declared it to be propaganda, before you’d given him any opportunity to provide his evidence.

    I do not know what you are intending to say about disputing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    I don’t know what it means either, but they’re your words, not mine. I just found them and reminded you of them.

    I did not say that Jeff was whining. I implied that he was getting tired of the discussion between us.

    Implications are what is unsaid. You said that you thought he was getting tired. Your wording implied that you thought he was behaving like a child. If you did not intend that implication, I’d suggest being more careful with your choice of words next time.

    Kizmet was in fact slandering the characters of both Ruth and Naomi and Jonathan and David.

    Your belief that KIZMET was slandering figures from the Bible does not make your response to them any less slanderous. Your exact words, again: “You are projecting because you have not the Spirit to teach you the highest form of Love for which our Savior gave His life for you.” Outright stating that KIZMET does not know the Holy Spirit seems quite slanderous to me.

    So not only are you denying clear slander, you also managed to slander Herm again in this very comment where you denied slandering anyone.

  • Still Seeking

    Did you miss the part where Herm said that God is not perfect and that His children are making Him perfect?

    Because you misunderstood what I said to RonnyTX, does not constitute slander.

    I asked for “chapter and verse” from Patrick, but he did not provide them. If you want the definition of slander, read Patrick’s posts to me.

    You did not state the subject in referring to the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”. I believe I have mentioned the Holy Spirit many times, but not the “gifts”.

    What I said to Jeff was not slanderous.

    Kismet, in declaring that Ruth and Naomi and Jonathan and David had homosexual relationships with no basis for saying that is slanderous. I did not say she did not know the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit in this case would have spoken to her to not project her homosexual beliefs unto these people when their relationship was only that liken to God’s love for each other.

    You may follow Herm’s teachings if you like.

  • KIZMET

    I did not misunderstand you at all, Realist1234. A couple of simple facts from the time: homosexuality was an accepted “norm” at the time,(between 600bce through to 300 CE…at least) especially with the Romans and Greeks, which I suppose to many in this day and age, is a hard truth to accept. It was not something that had to be covered up, or was shunned and in fact, was the “moral norm” and there were even public weddings of same sex couplings which Tacitus, Seutonius, Plutarch, and other
    Historians of the time, wrote about. Even Nero was wed to Doryphorus (another man and this information can be found in Tacitus’ Annals). Prior references I can cite are Plato and Thucydides.

    Apart from such contemperaneous information, the original writings of Matthew 8 in Aramaic first and then in the Greek, mention specifically Naar Racham (which in Hebrew and Aramaic mean romantic love with a man)to refer to the Centurions sick partner and in the earlier Koine Greek translation of the same points, speaks of erastes-pais, which has the same meaning and intent of ROMANTIC love (the beloved).

    In the OT, RACHAM was also a term used in Genesis to describe the LOVE between Adam and Eve, the love between David and Jonathan in the Books of Samuel and ALSO the love between Ruth and Naomi in the Book of Ruth. Did God at any point, diss the coupling of David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi? Well, clearly not considering Ruth for one is one of two women to even have Books allowed IN the compilation, and well, David’s activity speaks for itself as to God being OK with it. The fact that these
    actual terms of Naar racham and in the Greek, eraste-pais weren’t brought forward in translations post the aforementioned time frames, has a lot more to do with bigoted opinions of the later writers who changed things up to suit their own agenda and even those changes only happened in the late 18th and early 19th century CE.

    The thing is, you cannot come to a conclusion based on current day mindset;it’s a mistake that many Christians make as to what they deem as unacceptable behaviour NOW MUST be the same and have applied back then. There is zero evidence to support such a notion and in fact, when you research, the complete opposite is the case especially in places like Elis and Boiotia where same-sex unions were not only accepted but too,celebrated, which is evident by pottery works ornately displaying same-sex couplings.

    Back to Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew 8 and the loving and caring interaction he showed to the Centurion by healing his “Naar racham,” is proof enough that Jesus of Nazareth clearly accepted their union and also clearly blessed them both,by being willing to HEAL the Centurions partner which was too a blessing to the Centurion.

    There was no condition on this healing by Jesus of Nazareth saying anywhere “hey, I will heal him if you two just stop being gay”. Being GAY was the “norm” for any Military worker at the time…period, so even if we are to assume Jesus of Nazareth accepted that as a given, he still healed the Centurions partner, without question.

    The thing is there were times Jesus of Nazareth was mega blunt with his disdain for others and their ways or practices: The woman from Canaan being one and the Pharisees being another example.(both in Matthew 15)

    Perhaps too you should look even more into Matthew to show support of homosexuality and it is this: Matthew 19:12

    “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have
    made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

    Perhaps you can tell me what a eunuch born from their mother’s womb is, unless it’s a homosexual male?

    Seriously, I would love you to explain that one away for me.

    I look forward to your reply and again, sorry for the delay.

  • Still Seeking

    What books have you been reading? Lincoln was the greatest president our nation has ever had, and, of course, he was against slavery.

  • Still Seeking

    No, because your version would be unreliable.

  • Still Seeking

    Then why don’t you attend one of those churches? Maybe you are fighting so hard for approval for everyone to believe as you do because you are not so sure of your own belief?

  • Still Seeking

    You are speaking for yourself in most of what you have said. Scripture does not change, but we may see things we may have missed at a previous time as we grow into His likeness, not evolving, but returning to the state in which He made us before the fall.

  • KIZMET

    If you believe that, please tell me how and why. Thanks. I will let you know right now I expect YOUR reasoning’s to come from the Biblical Hebrew versions of the works, rather than some dodgy KJV or otherwise variant. I will let you know right here and now “Still Seeking”, that I have spent near the past 32 years of my life dedicated to Biblical study, which includes a Doctorate in Divinity, achieved by immersion study in Israel, where my focus languages were that of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic…the first EVER penned examples of what God wants and expects. I cannot fight what’s been written, but apparently, you claim to know better than God and choose to fight Him? Good luck with that. ;)

    I for one, unlike you, would NEVER assume to know what God wants OR expects or accepts from my own “head-cannon”, hence going back to the best as a human I can do. Perhaps I am not as ignorant and prideful as you are but I have gauged you to be probably a “new born again” style Christian, probably only “into” it all for a maximum of 5 years and quite possibly affiliated with an AOG “style” church as a bum in a pew, willing to give your “tithe” via CC because the over-zealous wanky Mega-Church preacher tells you that just by you sitting there and giving them money… YOU HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED BY JESUS!!? Just a hunch.

    If I am incorrect, then we will deal with this soon I suspect, but in your reply, I DO expect you to clarify your claim of me “sorely misrepresenting” both same sex unions I have mentioned in Aramaic or Hebrew and hey, given that Greek is my 3rd “dead” language I know as well, even in Koine or Attic Greek will do.

    You up for it, Still Seeking”?

  • Still Seeking

    I can deny no one their salvation. All that I can do is point to the One who may give them their salvation if they so choose.

  • KIZMET

    Oh Adam in Christ… I truly hope you don’t wear mixed fabrics, nor have a prayer at your dinner time whilst wearing a poly cotton blend, because those two are also considered abominations. Hey even the fact your moniker is Adam In Christ is considered an abomination as it’s a show of shameless pride. Perhaps you should have a good read of Proverbs and deal with your own failings before pointing your quite crooked finger elsewhere.

  • Jeff Preuss

    ” All that I can do is point to the One who may give them their salvation if they so choose.”

    Yet, none of your comments have been pointing to Him. They’ve only been pointing fingers at us.

  • Wait, so first you said that Herm was saying man is God, now you’re saying Herm said God is imperfect. Which is it? And no, I didn’t see that one, either. Care to toss a quote my way?

    And I worded what I said about Patrick the way I did for a reason. Patrick offered chapter and verse, and in your response to that offer, you accused him of baseless propaganda. Now, I personally don’t know what chapter and verse he might be referring to, but if I were Patrick, I’d not be too interested in providing my evidence when you’ve made it so clear that you’ve already made up your mind like that.

    You did not state the subject in referring to the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”. I believe I have mentioned the Holy Spirit many times, but not the “gifts”.

    Your exact words: “What is there in your heart that wishes to dispute the gift of His Holy Spirit?” So my apologies, I accidentally pluralized it.

    And everything else amounts to “I don’t think it’s slander, so it’s not.” Or “you’ve misunderstood, but I’m not going to bother to explain what I actually meant,” in the case of what you said to Ronny. Hell, I even quoted you word for word with what you said to KIZMET, and yet you deny that you said exactly what you said. “I did not say that she did not know the Holy Spirit.” The original post: “You are projecting because you have not the Spirit.”

    And once again, just because one person has slandered does not mean that what you say to them isn’t also slander. You seem to be having a lot of trouble grasping that one; “Patrick slandered me, so I didn’t slander him. KIZMET slandered Ruth, so I’m not slandering them.” That’s not how it works.

  • **head-canon

    Sorry, pet peeve of mine. Cannons go boom, canons are bodies of work.

  • Looks like I was wrong. Rather than “It’s not wrong because they’re not Christians,” it was mostly “it’s not slander because I’m right.” With a little “it’s not slander because they slandered first” thrown in, for good measure. Can’t say I’d seen that one before.

  • Still Seeking

    Yes, I am a “born again” Christian and been so for over 40 years. I was a member of the UCC, sorry, until a few years ago as they became so liberal they think they know better than God. It doesn’t matter how many languages you have an expertise in, you will not be able to interpret the Word of God without the help of His Holy Spirit. There was no same sex unions between the aforementioned people for whom you accused. You may believe as you wish, however.

  • Still Seeking

    Yes, just a stop sign to give you directions.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Yes, just a stop sign to give you directions.”
    How arrogant. Still not pointing to the Savior.

  • KIZMET

    I know, sorry the keyboard I am working with at the moment has keys of D, N and S that sometime stick. :)

  • KIZMET

    Oh they who are so blinded by their own bigotry they cannot see… no wonder you are “still seeking”. A little ironic though considering you claim to KNOW all that God means and intends despite dissing The Bible, because you somehow claim you are “better” and beyond it now? I would be interested to know, just what language does the “holy spirit” speak to you in for you to have a BETTER understanding of Him? I am sure a lot of Students of Theology, perhaps even including your own Pulpit dwelling “head”, would love to know your personal, near Pauline-esque secret of 1-1 chanelling. Perhaps you bumped your head as Paul did at some point?

    The below even though addressed to you, is not really meant for you, as…hey… you know more than anyone apparently, but regardless, I will post it anyway in the hope that others may not end up blind as you are.

    I suppose this from Ruth 1:16-17, is merely “we are just friends” chatter: “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die — there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!”

    Those are the words spouses would share and the reason WHY Biblical Hebrew IS important, is because there are words in Hebrew used in the above, that were also used in Genesis 2, where Adam and Eves’ union is explained (how Adam love Eve) and also used in Ruth 1:14 and then later on AGAIN in Ruth 4. Apparently though, the Holy Spirit has not lead you to even get THAT simple message, oh but that’s right, you’re supposedly above and beyond the written WORDS that lead you to God in the first place.

    I will continue with David and Jonathan; again, not necessarily for you as your mind is too closed to see any light, but because others willing to let the Love of God in, can understand better and not continue to live in darkness as you do. At Jonathan’s funeral, David states categorically that he loved Jonathan more than any woman.

    “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!

    In life and in death they were not divided;

    they were swifter than eagles,

    they were stronger than lions.

    How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle!

    Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.

    I am distressed for you my Jonathan;

    Greatly beloved were you to me;

    your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

    (2 Samuel 1:23, 26-27)

    Again, the Hebrew is important in this regard too as the word describing romantic love of another is USED here as well. It’s not a “bro-code” style statement but again, a connotation used to describe spousal partnership and adoration for that person.

    As you stated to me as to believing what I CHOOSE to, is sent right back at you. I trust in the Lord with all my heart, rather than relying on my own understanding, and I know full well that’s why I was lead to the study I have done. I used to be an arrogant bigot like you are, “believing” I was right. Then I allowed God to guide me, which made me accept things I had in the past, shunned. Perhaps you just don’t have it in you to go to that next level of committment to God, because…hey.. “born again” you have already been “saved” and that’s what it’s all about right? You need do NOTHING more but say “hey, yeah I am “born again” so I am all things and a bag of chips and I only acknoweledge as much as I have to to make me “feel” like a “good person” in my own mind, making what you perceive to be “righteous” judgement, despite there being no RIGHT in your flimsy replies.

    Now, unless you have viable rebuttal to my points, do not bother replying. I am more than happy however to wage a verbal interaction on these points made, not only in passing in my first and second interaction with you, but also this one that explains WHY the same sex unions are viable and accepted by God. I do not want your Ouiji board/mindmeld God to take over. I just want YOU to validate your position and show how and why YOU (as you claim to be) are right. I am willing to allow you to pose your position as you failed to even answer the VITAL questions last time around. As such… have at it.

    I REALLY look forward to your justification of your position.

  • Still Seeking

    You are confusing eros with agape and the love shared between the brethren. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loves His church.

  • KIZMET

    Eros and agape are Greek words you nong. I am referring to the words racham and dabaq, which are purely Hebrew and Aramaic. Like I stated before,with YOUR willful ignorance of God’s word, hence a mindset of bigotry, YOU don’t get it. As I stated, the same words used to describe the union and love of Adam and Eve, were the same words used SPECIFICALLY in Ruth to depict Ruth’s and Naomi’s relationship. But thank you pew dweller and your self-righteous mindset. It bothers me none that you don’t get it as I am not your final Judge. That said though, I wish you all the best in trying to wangle your way out of your own self-absorbed bigotry when you eventually meet your maker.

    The irony is, you even gave no genuine rebuttal and interestingly Jesus NEVER uttered a word in Greek, so I am wondering now just WHO YOUR “holy spirit” is? How bothersome.

    Remember this. God does not dwell in Churches, whether it be in the singular one only you can attend in your mind or otherwise.Perhaps that is part of your problem. Jesus NEVER had a Church and in fact, he loathed such institutions. As such, I was right to peg you as a misguided Pauline devotee over that of the actual Disciples. Good luck with your tainted world view.

  • Still Seeking

    Whether you use the Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic there are no sexual connotations in the words you have described. God’s love surpasses that of sexual relationships. Jesus has chosen His bride.

  • Still Seeking

    You are speaking of John’s baptizing and John, himself, spoke of the One greater than he who would baptize with fire. Jesus said that one must be born anew to see the Kingdom. His followers were instructed to wait until the Holy Spirit descended upon them. The New Testament church would not have survived without the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Being born of water is being baptized unto His death and resurrection, dying to self and living for Him, and it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to do so.

  • Still Seeking

    Jesus died for the sins of all; there is no one that can claim they have not sinned except for Our Lord, Himself. “if a plan or understanding is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” Acts 5:38,39. We need to pray that we are in His will and not that He be in ours so that we are able to rejoice as His will is done.

  • Still Seeking

    I am deeply sorrowed to hear of your loss. From your previous posts, I was led to believe that you were waiting for SSM to be approved in Australia so that you could marry. Sorry that I did not realize what had happened and thank you for sharing.
    I may have failed all of your “tests”, but I prefer to accept our Lord’s tests. I have failed His tests, but He knows that it is not in my heart to do so and always is there to pick me up when I fall.
    I did not say that you “hated God”, but only that He could be against a homosexual lifestyle. I am sorry that we disagree on this and all that you mentioned above. I have no doubt of God’s great love for you.

  • R V

    The Church is and always has been a place for all people to worship God, including LGBTQ people.

    Having said that, it is the people, who need to bend the knee to God and accept His will for their lives regardless of sexuality. It is not the place of the church to bend God’s word to fit people’s sexuality no matter how well meaning.

    Questions I have are these. Do those who claim they are more ‘affirming’ justify same gender sexual relations? Do they claim God blesses same gender marriage?
    I find that concept hard to defend from Scripture.

  • R V

    Jesus said that but that is not all Jesus said. You can’t make that one comment a sole proof of faith against the whole New Testament.

  • R V

    It’s true that conservative Christians tend to place more emphasis on sexual sins and specifically make homosexuality probably a bigger deal than it is. But it’s also true that the progressive wing of the church wants to go the other way and ‘affirm’ Gods blessing on same gender sexuality and unions.

    One can be compassionate without giving up ones standards and beliefs. Two gay Christians can do what they want and I am willing to let God be the judge. But I don’t think the Church, or any Christian should be forced to ‘affirm’ such a relationship. And by forced I mean social as well as legal pressure.

  • R V

    We don’t have to fully understand why God chooses to not condone sexual intimacy between two same gendered persons. It’s enough that is God’s will.

    Progressives can nuance the scriptures to the point nothing is condemned except intolerance if they like but that does not make it God’s will.

  • R V

    Then you disagree with the Scriptures.

  • R V

    Your saying two consenting adults can do anything, married or not, same gender or not.

    That’s not biblical at all. And it’s not being judgmental to point that out.

  • R V

    Equating obesity and gluttony is ignorance. And cruel.

  • R V

    Your one of those types…..your going to tell everyone what God really says aren’t you!

  • R V

    It’s reliable.

  • Herm

    RV, because I care I share what the WORD tells me. “?” but not “!” when asking a question.

  • Herm

    … yes they can and yes it is judgmental without authority according to the WORD. By the way, I could care less what is biblical if it is not pointing to the Spirit of truth which you are not. In the Bible all the law and the prophets are summed up in everything do to others as you would have others do to you. If that’s news to you I wonder what you might think about what all the law and prophets hang on, ALL.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Says you. ^_^ And even you don’t say how. -gasp-

  • Proud Amelekite

    Either the Bible is the word of God or it isn’t. Even one falsehood shipwrecks the entire document. That is the nature of perfection – even one solitary falsehood and it is all potentially false.

  • Proud Amelekite

    Testified but not verified. Many people have testified to seeing Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur alive and well. People believe what they want to believe but evidence and the facts never lie. That is what makes them better than people.

  • Proud Amelekite

    Might makes right.

    What I would expect from the morally bankrupt God of Christianity.

  • Proud Amelekite

    The scriptures disagree with the scriptures.

    Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13 KJV)

    Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

  • RonnyTX

    I have to disagree with you on this. For God/Jesus Christ is still in the business of bringing the dead to life. How do I know that? Because that is what God did for me, in my lifetime. :-) Does that make me better than you? No, no it doesn’t. Why? Because it was God’s doing and what God has done for one and for some, before all is said and done, God will do the same and that for everyone! :-)

    http://www.tentmaker.org/FAQ/DoesJesusREALLYLoveLittleChildren.html

  • RonnyTX

    RV to Ronny:
    We don’t have to fully understand why God chooses to not condone sexual intimacy between two same gendered persons. It’s enough that is God’s will.

    Progressives can nuance the scriptures to the point nothing is condemned except intolerance if they like but that does not make it God’s will.

    Ronny to RV:
    RV, where did you get your belief from, that God chooses to not condone sexual intimacy between two same gendered gay people, who love each other and who wish to be a couple for life?

    What does God/Jesus Christ condemn? Selfrighteousness. What does God/Jesus Christ show,approve and affirm? Love. For God/Jesus Christ, is love. :-) And as a born from above child of God, who just happens to be gay and not heterosexual, I am to simply love all other people, just as God/Jesus Christ. I am to love those who treat me right, I am to love those who mistreat me and I am to love those, who count me as their enemy.

  • RonnyTX

    Cajaquarius to RV:
    Might makes right.

    What I would expect from the morally bankrupt God of Christianity.

    Ronny to Cajaquarius:
    Cajaaquarius, when you have been born of God, then you will find that the greatest might of all, is the love of God/Jesus Christ. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Patrick to Ronny:
    I am glad you are my brother :)

    Ronny to Patrick:
    Thank you and I am glad you are mine, as well. :-)

  • Still Seeking

    Sorry that you believe I was not sincere in my condolences. Death, particularly that of a loved one, is the most horrendous experience the enemy has thrown upon us. All creation grieves, but, thankfully, Jesus has removed its sting. He also has assured us that those who mourn shall be blessed. If we do not mourn our loss, we have not loved and love is the greatest gift that lasts for eternity.
    I wish you well in your service to those with addictions and in so doing may the opportunity arise for you to point them to Jesus whose love will help lift them out of their despair.

  • Realist1234

    I suspect you would have had the same dismissive attitude towards Jesus when He healed blind men. Nothing changes…

  • Realist1234

    Just to confuse you even further, my post starting ‘On re-reading my response…’ was meant for another poster not you, Kizmet, so apologies for the confusion!

    But turning to your response, I am not sure why you are bringing in ‘Naar’ and ‘Racham’ as I was taking issue with the assumption that the Greek word ‘pais’ to describe the person whom Jesus healed was in fact the Centurion’s male lover. Pais typically means son or young man/servant, and given that the parallel passage in Luke uses a word that very specifically means ‘servant’, there is little doubt that both Matthew and Luke meant ‘(young) servant’ and not ‘male lover’ as some would assert. Nevertheless I accept that for the Romans, it was relatively common for soldiers to have some sort of sexual relationship with their servants, male or female, but I contend that we cannot assume that in all or even the majority of cases. It is interesting to note that it was typically outlawed for a Roman soldier to engage in gay sex with another Roman soldier, so clearly such servant/slave relationships were very much to do with power, and who held it. And I certainly would not hold up Roman behaviour as a model to follow when it comes to morality, sexual or otherwise. BTW Naar typically means ‘young man/servant’ and racham ‘compassion’ or ‘mercy’ rather than ‘romantic love’ as you believe, which makes sense in this context given that the Centurion was indeed looking for compassion/mercy for his servant. I also have no doubt that Jesus would indeed heal someone of a physical illness regardless of their sexuality. We are all ‘sinners’ yet God shows his mercy and compassion.

    As for your comments on ‘eunuchs’ – you should remember that Jesus said these words in the context of talking about marriage and divorce, not gay sexual relationships. Eunuchs could be so due to physical or hormonal problems occuring whilst developing in the womb, which affected their physical sexual development. To presume this actually refers to gay people I find bizarre. And those who make themselves ‘eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of God’ clearly refers to those Christians who have made the choice not to have a sexual relationship but rather remain single and celibate, whether straight or gay, because that is God’s will for them.

  • KIZMET

    Hello Patrick and thank you for this information. I had already decided not to continue my interaction with “Still Seeking” as it’s akin to casting pearls before swine who are already on their mad trot off a cliff to their own demise (see how I mixed Biblical metaphor there? lol). You can only suffer fools for so long and given Still Seeking’s inability to concentrate on forming a cognitive sentence, let alone paragraph, shows that he’s incapable of understanding ANYTHING, other than what his ego creates in his mind. THB I find him a little “touched” and clearly not by the Holy Spirit as he claims.

    It’s just a positive to know that there are people such as yourself out here with an open mind and the love of God in your heart. For the record, I am heterosexual, wed with two daughters, and for the past 32 years of my life have been a Biblical Scholar(formal). As such someone who uses the moniker of “still seeking” when clearly they have sought NO actual Biblical truth, I find bothersome and an affront to anything Jesus of Nazareth stood for, including that in the Gnostic Gospels.

    It’s people like “still seeking” who are the ones Jesus of Nazareth fobbed off, as they are all “show” in their alleged faith, over actual substance. He’ could have even been one Jesus of Nazareth “offed” in the Gospel of Phillip given his demeanour. Oh well, it’s to his own folly. *shrug*

    Let’s just put it down to the fact that some people are beyond help Patrick.

  • Proud Amelekite

    If I didn’t witness it with my own eyes? You are right – I would dismiss him as a liar. That is called being reasonable and rational.

  • Proud Amelekite

    Have my perception of right and wrong warped by your God to transform me into some mewling, abused wife who looks at tyranny as if it were love? I think not. But then, I am gay. I am a degenerate given over to my wicked nature. A son of the Morning Star. Hell is my birthright, at least if Paul is to be believed.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    You got to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra live?! -envy!!-

  • Yes I did, and yes they were amazing. But what’s also amazing is that they’re totally okay with having some of their concerts put onto Youtube in their entirety. Which is not quite as good as seeing them live (though I was up in the nosebleed section of a basketball arena, so very far from the stage), but is still super amazing when you want a TSO experience at home.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Neat! -runs off to YouTube-

  • Bones

    Paul is overrated….

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    One of the things about Paul that I wish people would get through their heads is that he was Apostle Paul, not Second Coming of Christ Paul. I mean, come on, people! Let us not treat him as if his words were more important then the words of Christ Himself! And yet, for a lot of people, Paul’s words are more important than Jesus’s. Jesus said love your enemy and Paul said all this seemingly negative stuff about homosexuals, and which do they pay attention to? Guess. Jesus said care for the orphans and the widows and Paul said this stuff about women not speaking in church and which gets paid attention to? Guess. Sometimes people even mix them up for heaven’s sake. This just doesn’t happen with the other Apostles. Everyone remembers with the other Apostles that they were human with human flaws and that they made human mistakes. Paul? Nope. Every word from his lips were also from God, somehow.

  • Bones

    Warning bells should be sounding because the other Apostles didn’t like Paul and that’s putting it nicely.

    It’s a bit weird that Jesus spends His time training the Twelve then has to convert Paul to get His message out…..

  • Bones

    You make it seem like a crime…..

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    For @disqus_contrarianrob:disqus, it probably is. You may already know this (I don’t know) but in Jewish tradition there is or at least once was this ability to argue with scripture and even with God. You see it in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, weirdly enough, where Abraham actually argued with God over whether or not God would destroy the cities, and Abraham won to a degree (Lot and his family were saved from destruction) although he didn’t manage to save the city (the ultimate agreement had been that God would spare the city if 10 righteous men could be found in the city, and only Lot and his family could be found, and they didn’t number 10). You don’t see this in Christian tradition; in Christian tradition, you don’t argue with God because God knows best. If it had been a Christian sitting there on that day that Sodom and Gomorrah had been judged rather than a Jew, he wouldn’t have tried to get God to change his mind about destroying the city . . . probably. But it wasn’t a Christian, it was a Jew, and that left Abraham with a tradition that said he could argue with God, which certainly benefited Lot and his family.

    It’s all very interesting, actually.

  • RV, it is impossible to defend from Scripture because of some basic presuppositions brought to one’s reading and application. First, Scripture is, basically God speaking to us. Secondly, we are to understand Scripture in its simplest “literal” sense. The problem with conjoining these two concepts is it doesn’t work well.

    As Henry Brinton points out in “Balancing Acts: Obligation, Liberation, And Contemporary Christian Conflicts”, Souther slave owners “asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).” The literal , or plain sense reading of the Bible plainly supports slavery! Southern tracts in defense of slavery used the argument that the Bible represented the mind and will of God, and therefore must be read literally. See http://www.kingscollege.net/gbrodie/The%20religious%20justification%20of%20slavery%20before%201830.pdf, for an overview.

    I am not saying evangelicals need to dump infallibility or the belief the Bible is the Word of God written, but be very careful with literal interpretation. It has been used to hurt millions of people in the past, and in the case of Gay rights, it’s being used to hurt people again. I urge you to be sure of your understanding in this matter. Read about SS relations in Roman times. Put Paul’s comments into historical perspective, then judge if evangelicals are fairly characterizing Gays by the the historical context of 2000 years ago. If not then it’s time to search the Scriptures for the “intent” of Paul in relation to Roman hedonism and sexual dominance based on caste.

    Arguably the best crash course in understanding all the issues is William Stacy Johnson’s “A Time to Embrace” which covers the religious, political and legal ramifications of SS relationships. I am currently reading it, and can highly recommend it.

  • Ah, caj, you’ve hit the Achilles heal of “inerrancy”…house of cards! Reading through some of your posts I see that the hypocrisy and unloving attitudes towards the LGBTQ community have pretty much soured your opinion of Christianity. For that I am deeply sorry. I defended “the Biblical view of marriage” and thought Gays were pretty “messed up” for a long time. God has convicted me and turned me completely around based on a deeper understanding of Christ’s love and that we have all been created in God’s likeness. You may not be able to see it now, but God does love you.

  • KIZMET

    I suggest you read the first paragraph I wrote, to realise that the CENTURION being in a same sex relationship, was a GIVEN. It was THE NORM. As I have said before, when dealing with history, ,you MUST put yourself in the mindset of those living at the time, rather than merely assume societal structure as it is now, back then. Doing so has become second nature to me when working with such ancient example. Imagine trying to get your head around going back even further to “get into” the writings of Daniel and other DSS writings, but it is all about setting your mind to “walk a mile” to even attempt to understand it.

    Also, the reason why racham and naar are important is because Matthew wrote first in Aramaic and NOT Greek, hence the initial meaning trumps the Greek. Luke, well his works are a copy of Matthews writings but only in the Greek.

    I also suggest you do some impartial (as in non Biblically related) study into Koine Greek to see what pais actually means and how specifically relevant it was to same sex relationships in the 1st century. LEARN SOMETHING new.

  • Realist1234

    So you are indeed dismissing Jesus as a liar? ok, thats your choice.

  • Realist1234

    If that’s what you believe, then I doubt there’s much I can say that would dissuade you.

  • Realist1234

    According to Ben, it appears that some ‘progressives’ seriously believe that those Christians who do not ‘affirm’ (ie agree that gay sexual relationships are ‘good’ in God’s eyes) LGBT individuals in sexual relationships, should not be considered to be part of the Church!

  • Proud Amelekite

    My family raised me traditional Catholic with a smattering of Church of Christ and Calvinist in there, so it has painted my view of scripture.

  • Proud Amelekite

    I agree. Yet he is the father of Christianity, whether I like it or not.

  • Bones

    That’s debatable…

  • karl john

    i think that the problems stem from taking the Scriptures way out of context…..to fully understand the Story of S&G,you have to read Genesis 14; verses 1-16. they had experienced war, the plundering of their cities,death. they were “shell shocked”. but instead of showing justice or mercy, they became hateful and inward, hateful of strangers (see America immediately after 9/11). The Angels of GOD were not to be raped by the men of SODOM, they were to be tortured and killed( they WERE STRANGERS).Lot attempted to give them his daughters not to “straighten them out”, but to take the place of the Angels(women were not valued as highly as men). THAT was S&G’S sin.
    as for Leviticus…..there are 612 OTHER COMMANDMENTS, not just that one, and i’m sure that ALL CHRISTIANS behave just like Orthodox Jews.
    as for Romans, Paul was no better as a ZEALOUS CONVERT as he was a ZEALOUS PHARISEE prior to conversion. He was touring NERO’S ROME which was no great place morally for any religious Christian or Jew

  • Snooterpoot

    Gosh, aren’t you all puffed up and righteous! Claiming to know what is in the hearts of others, and if they acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.

    I don’t think God is too keen on people like you declaring whose faith is real and whose isn’t. You cannot make that judgment. God has reserved judgment for himself.

  • Snooterpoot

    I have not ever judged the validity of a person’s professed Christianity. Not. Ever. And I never will.

    Nice try.

  • Snooterpoot

    Bullscat. Quotes, please. Let’s see what your interpretation of judging the validity of another person’s faith entails.

  • Bones

    That’s funny because the dudes you hang around with like judging the validity of other people’s faith.

    Like gay Christians, Muslims, Liberals…….

    Maybe you should get your friends to read it.

  • Bones

    Dude you always hang around your conservative mates before covering your tracks.

    As seen on this thread (and others) you hang around at the end for the gotcha moment against the evil liberal while giving your conservative judgemental friend a free ride.

    You won’t be here long either.

    This whole “please don’t pick on me because I pick on gay people” thing is so pathetic.

  • Bones

    Broad sweeping statements?

    I dont know if you realise it but Christians make broad sweeping statements about gays all the time.

    Look at this thread?

    But you’re not interested in policing those.

    And you have a history of doing it before you vanish.

  • Snooterpoot

    Try again. I have not ever said, nor will I say, that someone who has professed Christianity is not really a Christian.

    I have commented on behavior that I consider to be outside the example Jesus gave us to follow. Jesus called out the Pharisees for their self righteous behavior. That is my point of reference, and you are the first person who has ever said that calling people out for self righteousness is the same thing as judging the validity of another person’s faith.

    As I have repeatedly said, that’s not for us to do. Only God can see into our hearts.

    [Edited to add the following]

    I read the column in your link. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there isn’t much there that I will agree with. It is, after all, one man’s interpretation among millions of interpretations.

    Thank you for the link, though. I did enjoy reading it.

  • Bones

    Let’s be clear about who the Pharisees represent in the gospels.

    1) They represent exclusivity in religion. They are those who keep other people out of the kingdom of God.

    2) They are evangelical.

    3) They prefer judgement to mercy.

    4) They represent purity and holiness codes

    5) They represent the religious privileged and powerful and the Jewish social order

    6) They represent the Temple-state and nationalism

    7) They represent those captive to the way things are, resisting criticism and change, and brutally suppressing efforts at humanisation and liberation

    8) They are the strongman whom Jesus will bind and plunder their house

    8) They represent the conflict between local synagogues and Christians.

    What is clear from a political reading of the Gospel of Mark is that most Christians have assumed the role of the Pharisees..

    Cognitive divine belief about Jesus being God has nothing to do with it.

  • Bones

    An opinion shared by many scholars.

    The problem with the Pharisees wasn’t that they didn’t believe Jesus was God. Jesus pointed out to them what their problem was.

    It’s because of all the things I posted above.

    Heck you can believe in Jesus is God but if you are working to exclude and oppress others, you’re the Pharisee in the gospel stories.

    It’s quite clear.

    The church merely replaced one form of pharisaism with a Christian version.

  • Snooterpoot

    And I say that your comment is complete bullscat. You base your opinion on another person’s opinion.

    I think my comments are clear enough so that people understand that I am referring to behavior. Apparently you don’t understand that, but that’s your problem, not mine.

    Again, I have never told anyone that they are not a Christian, and I never will. It’s not for me to judge.

  • Bones

    Where did I call you a Pharisee?

    You’ve obviously placed yourself in that camp.

    Are you working for the kingdom of God? – to bring about liberation and end oppression or are you stopping it?

    And there’s nothing at all in those quotes about Pharisees not believing in Jesus as God which you claimed. That’s irrelevant. In fact they back up my points about the Pharisees.

    Many don’t get it. It was simply one exchange of religious oppression for another – ie the Church past and present including many modern Christians became the new Pharisees.

    Just look at how your own church has disciplined liberation theologians for standing for the poor even Fr Romero, Fr Dom Halder Camara..

    Far more interested in theology and church politics than human beings – Pharisees.

    Now if you say Pharisees are destined to hell, that’s your problem…..

  • Snooterpoot

    Then why did you link to an opinion column that supports your interpretation of the scriptures?

    It’s obvious that we are not going to agree. I will say again that I have never told anyone who has professed Christianity that they were not a Christian, and I never will do that.

    May you be richly blessed.

  • Bones

    “stating that someone is a Pharisee is the same as saying that they’re not Christian.”

    What of Christians who have tortured and murdered for Christ?

    Were they Christians?

    No, you don’t get to define who Christians are.

    The Pharisees are representative of those who oppose the kingdom of God – Christian or not.

  • Bones

    Were the popes who ordered the crusades and the Inquisition Christian?

    What about the archbishops who protected paedophiles?

    You are going to tie yourself into a knot over this.

    The Pharisees represent religious power and institutions which exclude and oppress others.

    Just like in Christianity.

  • Bones

    So being a Christian isn’t about doctrine.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    And of course those ‘christians’ who you say didn’t follow Christ became the Pharisees in the gospel stories.

  • Truth first

    There is probably few other points that the Bible is so clear and unequivocal about as homosexuality. And yet there is presently no more divisive issue in churches than homosexuality and gay unions/marriages. What does that tell us about the Church as the body of Jesus Christ? That it is prostituting itself to worldly influences and sin. As real Christians we should make a stand for the truth of God’s word. We can’t allow church leaders/ ministers/ pastors/ priests to dilute or bend that truth, and effectively make Jesus out to be a liar. This issue goes to the foundations of our faith and God’s building plan for creation. It is not a love issue, but one of obedience and respect for that divine design. Apart from that one does not have to be a Christian to reject homosexuality, as there are enough medical reasons to be against it. Check out the CDC findings in this regards.

  • Bones

    Wrong.

    The Bible is far clearer about accepting immigrants and caring for the poor.

  • Truth first

    Being hospitable to strangers was, and is, indeed an important part of Jewish culture. Caring for the poor, widows and orphans is excellent work as well. These are not sins and are not divisive issues, however. Sexual sins are performed with the temple of the Holy Spirit, your own body, and are therefore considered in a different light by our Creator. Don’t venture into that lifestyle, is what the Bible says. You will not go to heaven, is what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9. And if you’re in that lifestyle repent and turn away from it. No sin is too big for God to repent from and still go to heaven.

  • Bones

    http://www.openbible.info/topics/immigration

    http://www.openbible.info/topics/poor

    I’m surprised it isnt clear given there are hundreds of verses on it.

  • Bones

    Huh so NOT caring for the poor and accepting immigrants isnt a sin.

    Dont venture into that lifestyle that doesn’t care for the poor and shuns immigrants.

    If you’re into that lifestyle repent and turn away from it.

  • Truth first

    That’s not what I said. Things are complicated with immigrants. In the case of Europe most immigrants are Muslims and the reluctance of some less secularised countries to embrace immigrants because of their faith is understandable. Also not all have a ministry with immigrants or the poor, and not make it your mission and ministry to get involved there is NOT a sin. However, we all have a ministry to profess our faith and witness of the hope that is in us. Part of that is to take a stand against heresy, apostasy and blasphemy. Those justifying and even advocating a homosexual lifestyle are professing a lie, as the Bible does not support them. Not taking a stand against that IS a sin.

  • Bones

    All of a sudden the Bible isn’t so clear and is complicated and we have to justify why we don’t follow what it CLEARLY says. And suddenly not following the Bible isn’t a sin. Nope there are no caveats in the Bible as to which immigrants you can’t accept whether Mexican or Muslim.

    So basically your neighbour can’t be a Muslim……(who sent the Jews back to Germany in WW2 btw)

    No the Bible is clearer on accepting immigrants and caring for the poor than being gay.

    Btw the whole point of accepting immigrants and caring for the poor is you reflect the goodness and grace of God.

  • Truth first

    God is ALWAYS good, even if you don’t like what he is clearly saying in the Bible. Only those who do not WANT to understand what the Bible says about an actively homosexual lifestyle (which is something different than “being gay”, = having feelings to be attracted to a person of the same sex, which is not a sin, but which God asks you to resist), can argue that the Bible is not clear on it. Which part of NO don’t you understand. The issue in the blog with the thread title was homosexuality, not caring for the poor or immigrants. In the case of the church pastor demanding that the blog writer declare himself anti-gay (in itself the wrong expression. Rather say pro Bible) his demand seems out of place, quite frankly. Nevertheless, the church, with reference to the clear scriptures, should tell the world what is on and what not. And not dilute its message to keep/gain bums in pews. Souls are at stake!

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Being hospitable to strangers was, and is, indeed an important part of
    Jewish culture. Caring for the poor, widows and orphans is excellent
    work as well. These are not sins and are not divisive issues, however.”
    Claiming these are not divisive issues is a bit lot of a stretch.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Which part of NO don’t you understand.”
    We understand the NO here, it’s just that you are the one saying it, not God. To pretend that there has been no valid debate over this often-translated and manipulated set of clobber verses speaks more to your denial than any you perceive in us, who have studied the topic in earnest attempts to understand what the Bible says about the topic, and find the answer to be not as clear as you would like it to be.

    Have a good day.

    [Edited to change the word ‘under’ to ‘understand.’ Whoops.]

  • Truth first

    How can they be divisive? These are good works that God lines up for those who are justified and obey his commands.

  • Truth first

    The literal interpretation leaves no doubt about the intention of the Bible texts regarding homosexuality. As I said: you have to be prepared to accept the Bible as inerrant and God breathed. It is not helpful to leave people the false impression that it’s OK to go against God precepts. All sexual sins (including heterosexual ones) are a transgression of God’s holy law for which we have to repent.

  • Truth first

    I am not saying there has not been valid debate, and I am sure you studied the topic intensely, but that does not mean you necessarily did so with the right intention: to discover and uphold the truth of God’s word, irrespective of what the outside world says, against the zeitgeist, if need be. Your dismissive and intolerant approach to “clobber verses” and those wanting to take them in context of God’s word tells me more about your unease with the core of God’s word than about my own alleged politically incorrect ideas. We must be oh so careful, Jeff, that we are not denying Christ all over again. I don’t know how you got hurt as a “fundie” but whatever the reason that does not mean that a orthodox/fundamentalist approach to the study or understanding of God’s word is therefore contemptible. Don’t let yourself be burdened by your past, plough forward and do not look back.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “How can they be divisive?”

    You tell me. These topics ARE divisive in the current political and Christian landscape, at least in the US. Many who refuse to welcome strangers or help the poor publicly declare their positions to be Christian.

    These are topics upon which Christians are clearly divided.

  • Bones

    Well its neither god breathed nor inerrant so you’ve lost from the start.

    Your god seems obsessed with sex when so many people are dying around the world.

  • Bones

    And of course you have the right intent?

    Dude you didnt even know what the Bible said about immigrants and caring for the poor which is mentioned hundreds of times but you knew a couple of verses supposedly about gays.

  • Bones

    The issue of course was your initial post which showed your ignorance and how, like the pharisees, you neglect the heart of the Bible. It seems you don’t like what God is saying in the Bible about immigrants and the poor.

    There’s more than souls at stake – there’s people’s lives but its too complicated unlike gays.

  • seashell

    The God you describe reminds me of ‘Miss Manners’, busily going forth to ensure that the correct fork is placed next to the right knife and that the one dining is immaculately dressed for the occasion. And all the while people are hungry and dying right outside the house where the dinner party takes place.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Literal translation of…which translation? If we literally take the Bible in its original languages, it doesn’t equal exactly what you want it to say about the topic. In fact, it’s not perfectly translated into any modern language, since there are not perfect linguistic and cultural parallels in our time to the agrarian and tribal culture of thousands of years ago. This is why a cultural contextual study is so essential to try to understand the minutiae of these rules you think we should follow.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Your dismissive and intolerant approach to “clobber verses” and those
    wanting to take them in context of God’s word tells me more about your
    unease with the core of God’s word than about my own alleged politically
    incorrect ideas.”
    HAHAHAHA! No. I am not uneasy with God’s word.

    My intent in studying has always been pure. I call them clobber verses, simply because they have been used to try to ‘clobber’ me in the past, with malicious intents by ‘well-meaning’ Christians like yourself.

    Again, there is valid theological debate on this. Your blinders prevent you from seeing that means the answer isn’t the slamdunk 100% clarity you wish it to be.

    Thinking that homosexuality is not a sin does not equal denying Christ, and it’s unbelievably hubric of you to equate the two

    “I don’t know how you got hurt as a “fundie” but whatever the reason that
    does not mean that a orthodox/fundamentalist approach to the study or
    understanding of God’s word is therefore contemptible” I never said it was. You are inserting that into the conversation here. YOU were the one who said, “What part of NO don’t you understand?” I reiterate – YOU are the one saying no, based on what you think the verses mean.

  • Truth first

    Dear Jeff,

    Your decision to block me from your website was a disappointing one.
    I may have been too direct in my responses to Jim Rigby’s story and on the issue of
    homosexuality in the Church. If that is the case, I apologise for that. I
    acknowledge that you have invested a great deal of emotional capital in
    investigating the issue of homosexuality in the Bible. You and Freedheart are
    driven by concern for the lost, and have come to the conclusion, guided by your
    compassion, that acceptance and tolerance should prevail over a strict
    application of what seems to be a rather harsh biblical precept.

    As a fellow Christian I share your passion to reach out to those who
    have yet to accept Jesus as their Saviour. In your profile you mention that you
    once was what you call a fundamentalist, but have turned that page now. I can
    only guess what may have been the reasons for that about turn. What counts in
    the end is THAT you changed to a more liberal stance in doctrinal matters.
    Perhaps you even subscribe to the idea that doctrine is not important. I see
    Freedhearts defence of Jim in that light.

    Susan’s decision to publish Rigby’s crie de Coeur resulted, as could be expected, in something close to an outcry from more conservative Christians. Jim’s article was indeed rather hurtful
    to those whom you would label fundamentalists (I don’t mind the label, by the
    way). He sarcastically attacked values and doctrines that are held dear by
    orthodox Christians. And perhaps most painful of all, he put himself in Jesus’s
    place in front of Pilate. Before publication Susan should have assessed the
    gravity of Jim’s piece and the deviation that his theology constitutes from
    biblical teachings. This should not be about homosexuality, but about Jim’s
    viewpoint on the resurrection. I cannot say this in any other way: the bodily
    resurrection of Jesus is the FOUNDATION of the Christian faith. Without that,
    there would be no Christianity. It is as simple as that. Then on top of it
    there were a few more painful and denigrating (for fundamentalist Christians)
    responses which were endorsed by Susan’s husband. It would only have been fair
    if, considering the attack these comments constituted on orthodox Christians,
    the right to reply was offered for those aggrieved by those attacks.

    By publishing Jim’s piece you are bound to invoke responses from orthodox
    Christians like myself. I believe I did not cross any boundaries in my
    criticism of Jim, and would have expected that you would be fair enough to allow it through. After all, Jim’s piece is highly controversial. Furthermore, I am NOT a troll or bloodthirsty atheist trying to derail a debate and blaspheme in the process. I am a brother in Christ. We now end up with a situation that on a Christian website you allow the comments of unbelievers, but you block the ones of fellow Christians. By offering a platform for pieces like Jim’s the website
    contributes to the growing confusion in the churches, and, worse, offers the opportunity for the dissemination of essentially unbiblical views which deny the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In closing: ultimately this is not about me, nor about other orthodox Christians being denied the possibility to respond. I do not expect you to unblock me and really, I am not seeking readmission. This is about something much, much bigger: the active dissemination of heretic viewpoints under the guise of liberal Christianity. You will find yourself on a slippery slope,
    Jeff, if you allow unchristian viewpoints to pass for Christian ones.

    As it is, we’re living in a time of deception. The last thing we, as followers of Christ, want is to add to that deception and the resulting confusion within the Body of Christ. The attack on the Bride of Christ is hectic enough as it is from unbelievers. Let us not be seen to be internally divided and at least take into consideration well-intended opinions of those who are led by the Holy Spirit and who accept that ridicule and derision, perhaps even persecution, may result of their principled stance. Let God be true and every man a liar.

  • Truth first

    Are you not running the risk to dismiss centuries of scholarly work as being ill informed and/or guided by a worldly/culturally deterministic agenda? I mean, till very recently, let’s say till the onset of the sixties, and at the very earliest since the start of Higher criticism of the Bible early in the nineteenth century the main tenets and precepts of the Bible were uniformly understood and accepted by all of mainstream Christianity. What did these early Bible scholars interpreted wrongly that we now feel called to correct them? Aren’t we simply dancing to the tune of postmodernism and secularisation? Aren’t we becoming part of the world as well, and aren’t we reaping the consequences of of liberal views? Finally: if we consider the Bible God’s Word and God breathed, shouldn’t we have the confidence that the Holy Spirit would have been there where the Bible was translated in a godly way, obvious miscreants like The Message notwithstanding?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Dear Jeff, Your decision to block me from your website was a disappointing one.”

    I don’t have a website, so this is another topic I think you in error on. If you’re referring to the place I’m guessing, you told a fellow Christian that his love as a gay man is a perverse abomination, violating the commenting standards of that community, and also just being an immensely crappy thing to say to someone else.

    Your error, and a presumptuous one at that. You should be ashamed.

  • Truth first

    What made you move from a more conservative view on the Bible to the liberal one you hold now? My walk with God went exactly the other way. I was a largely “horizontal” Christian who was always identifying with the underdogs of this world. Was an active member of Amnesty International, the anti-apartheid movement, and did 7 months of voluntary work in a very remote place in Africa to build a clinic together with the locals. The vertical, my love for God, was underdeveloped those years and I hardly read my Bible. I started realising that there was more to a personal relationship with God than helping others. God needed my attention, much more than I gave him. I started to read my Bible more, gradually got over my leftist conviction and boy was I confronted with myself and my humanistic prejudices! God kindly and patiently showed me I had been so wrong in so many respects! It seems the T-shirt you are wearing now was the same T-shirt I was wearing then, but which is now in my cupboard. That does not mean I am not interested in the poor and underpriviliged (my work gives me the opportunity to give hand and feet to that), and I haven’t thrown it away. And neither should I. But it’s because the cloak of righteousness Jesus Christ has offered me is so much more valuable! I am his bond servant and want to do the things he wants me to do. Sometimes that is being a (very unpopular) watchman in a time and place that people don’t like watchmen, yet have to be reminded of our status as a particular people, set aside from the rest of the world.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Are you not running the risk to dismiss centuries of scholarly work as
    being ill informed and/or guided by a worldly/culturally deterministic
    agenda?” No, because the centuries of scholarly work on the Bible have not remained consistent on many topics within the Bible, theologians quite handily dismissing each other as heretics for millennia over topics we would find immensely minuscule and petty today. As it stands, there is a vast array of topics upon which Christians do not consistently agree, and this is no different.

    I do not come to my thinking from a “worldly” view. That is further erroneous assumption upon your part. Explaining where I’ve come from rewards me with a response from you of me “denying Christ” or “showing contempt” for fundamental ways of thinking about Scripture. I have shown and done neither of those things, but you have made those assumptive leaps, simply because I disagree with your interpretation.

    Again, this speaks more toward your difficulty with the topic, and not mine.

    You may consider the Bible God’s Word. I consider that Christ is God’s Word made flesh. I do not find the Scriptures to be “God-breathed” since I find the translation of that verse saying it is God inspired to be a lot more accurate to how the Scriptures were written and much later compiled into what we know as the Bible today.

    “I mean, till very recently, let’s say till the onset of the sixties,
    and at the very earliest since the start of Higher criticism of the
    Bible early in the nineteenth century the main tenets and precepts of
    the Bible were uniformly understood and accepted by all of mainstream
    Christianity.” Even giving you this, the stance on homosexuality is not and never has been a main tenet of Christianity, and you elevating it to one is inappropriate.

  • Truth first

    Wowwowowowowowowow, easy Tiger. I am afraid you’re mixing me up with someone else. My previous post, by the way, was the reconcilatory one in which I was looking for common ground. Have you actually read it? If you are a Christian, this is NOT how you respond!

  • Jeff Preuss

    I am NOT mixing you up with someone else, unless the two accounts with the same name here are different people, even though they are the same conversation stream. I saw what you posted on Freedhearts before it was deleted. What I stated above about your post was the truth, and you should be ashamed of it. I didn’t block you from anything (again, not my blog).

    How arrogant of you to tell me how I shouldn’t respond “if I am a Christian.” The way you addressed people there and me here are not at all Christlike, so you have no room to admonish me.

  • Jonathan

    Okay, so first off… Jeff didn’t block you; he’s not a mod. Second, he’s not “mixing you up with someone else”; you’re the same guy who said those things (I was also there when you did it), and it’s too late to hide it. Third, I did read your diatribe, and I see no reconciliation; only an attempt to exhonorate and martyrize yourself by badmouthing another blog that you were banned from for being rude and blatantly ignoring the forum rules (and then, adding insult to injury, tried to use a second account to evade the ban – y’know, the Bible also has some pretty definite ideas about deception). Fourth, it takes cajones to bluster in and stomp on everyone who disagrees with you and then try to dictate how they’re supposed to respond.

  • Truth first

    I guess the humble pie is mine when it comes to accusing Jeff of blocking me from his website. Not his website, not his fault. Apologies, Jeff. This was actually meant for Susan, but then again: I could not reach her. And in the website Jeff endorsed more or less the sentiments of the website host.

    As for me telling a particular gay man that his actions are undesirable, I did no such thing. I do not know who is gay and who is not, and I simply quoted the qualifications the Bible offers for an homosexual lifestyle in general. Believe me, Jonathan, I would so much like to be more accommodating and less critical, but I can’t. I strongly believe that the Bible is meant to be read by all, and that academic eminence, or the study of the Greek and Aramaic, should not be required to fully understand the Bible. Hence I go with the most obvious interpretation of the text.

    But as I have said: this should not be about homosexuality in particular, but about the liberty with which people call themselves Christian, or even function as a minister, when they have abandon the most fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: the Resurrection being one of them. Being liberal in matters homosexuality is an other exponent of the deviation away from the core values of the Gospel.

    As for the second email address: that was not deliberate and was not to avoid “detection”. I “Do” DISQUS on two different places and when I started got confused with logging in.

  • Truth first

    We have indeed seen nitpicking about trivial things. These have somehow diminished as time went on. However, the divergence of viewpoints on big issues within the faith is growing, and one of the divisive factors is homosexuality. But that not alone: issues like promiscuity, faithfulness, monogamy, Jesus death and resurrection'(viz Jim Rigby’s), the virgin birth, miracles, the Trinity and biblical inerrancy have all come under fire, first by the outside world, but now even from within. We have the health, wealth and prosperity teachers, charismania, interfaith efforts, mysticism and yoga etc, all of which are entering the Church from the outside and are managing to get incorporated into many main stream churches. The WCC is into politics and more worried about worldly politics than about steering the ship of faith. The Pope is making a comeback, Oprah is on the loose, don’t these things worry you?

  • Truth first

    Where I live promiscuity has become a deathly game and AIDS related diseases are the main cause of death.

  • Truth first

    Pray for wisdom, discernment and a revelation of the truth and save your soul. No sin is too big for God to forgive!

  • Truth first

    Don’t fool yourself, Ronny. Marriage is between a man and a woman, no godly love can exist between two people of the same sex. You are insulting the Creator if you say that, and go against God’s building plan for his creation

  • Truth first

    You KNOW all these things and still not change???

  • Truth first

    Isn’t that exactly the beauty of Christianity? That God can change his fiercest prosecutor into his biggest ally? That proves for me that the Christian faith really works, and shows God’s almighty power to make dead people alive in Christ!

  • Jonathan

    “As for me telling a particular gay man that his actions are undesirable, I did no such thing.”

    When you call a same-sex relationship an abomination (a word that fundamentalists have singled out to somehow mean badder than bad, when in point of fact it’s used in scripture to describe everything from deceit, to fraud, to a proud heart, to violation of Kosher laws), that is exactly what you’re doing.

    “I simply quoted the qualifications the Bible offers for an homosexual lifestyle in general.”

    And this is the part you’re still not getting. You aren’t listening. What do you know about Jeff’s lifestyle? Or mine? Or any gay person’s? Do you completely define your own lifestyle by who you have sex with, or who you find yourself attracted to? I highly doubt it. So what makes you think it’s okay to do that to others?

    “Believe me, Jonathan, I would so much like to be more accommodating and less critical, but I can’t.”

    Sure you can! In fact, Romans and 1 Corinthians are almost entirely devoted to admonishing Christians to do just that.

    “I strongly believe that the Bible is meant to be read by all, and that academic eminence, or the study of the Greek and Aramaic, should not be required to fully understand the Bible.”

    That’s your belief. And if that’s the way you want to approach scripture when it comes to your own walk with God, that’s perfectly fine, and I would completely stand by your right to do that. You don’t, however, have the right to evaluate the salvation or Christian status of others based on that, because yours is not the only valid interpretation of scripture.

    “Hence I go with the most obvious interpretation of the text.”

    Obvious to you. Looking at the original Greek and Aramaic text is as easy as a Google search today, and that aside, for some of the people who disagree with you, their interpretation is just as obvious to them. Obviousness is not objective. Look at the American political scene. Most Evangelical Christians nowadays seem to think that Jesus was a homophobic, xenophobic, warmongering, anti-environment gun-nut. Now, from my reading of scripture, it seems like it should be incredibly obvious to everyone that that interpretation is patently ridiculous. That’s clearly not the case, though.

    “But as I have said: this should not be about homosexuality in particular, but about the liberty with which people call themselves Christian, or even function as a minister, when they have abandon the most fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: the Resurrection being one of them.”

    And I won’t deny my own concerns about that, but I’m also willing to admit that God is bigger and more mysterious sometimes than we realize. The problem was not in your criticism of Mr. Rigby – there were a lot of people, including myself, who were expressing that. The problem was its delivery with a self-superior, self-righteous attitude; you were (and still are, it seems) totally convinced that you and only you have the “correct” understanding of God, and anyone who disagrees with you is just denying the Truth™. But it’s time to stop going on about that; it’s done and over with, that’s on another blog, and I’m sure Mr. Corey doesn’t want us to continue discussing that here since it’s off topic.

    “Being liberal in matters homosexuality is an other exponent of the deviation away from the core values of the Gospel.”

    No. It’s not. I know you really, really want to keep sharing Matthew 19 with us, but you can’t take a specific answer about divorce to a specific question about divorce and try to make it about a completely different issue. That’s twisting scripture.

  • Andy

    No. This is a textbook example of the Composition/division fallacy.

    And besides, the Bible isn’t even one document. It is a compilation of 66 or so separate documents by numerous different authors, written many years apart.

  • Andy

    You are deceived, Adam. For what you said to be true, it would have to be the case that hell exists, which is far from certain. Personally, I don’t believe it does, as I find a place of eternal torment incompatible with an all-loving God. How about you?

  • Proud Amelekite

    When in Rome. Of course it is unreasonable. Most people commenting here are reasonable and recognize how ridiculous it is to apply the Fundamentalist doctrine to the Bible. But my former church brethren are fundamentalists and the best defense against them is to break them on their own doctrine.

  • Proud Amelekite

    Correct. I don’t bow to tyrants. I choose hell over any God who demands obedience under threat of eternal violence. I was once afraid and hopeless but the hatred over the injustices suffered by my brethren eventually outweighed my fear of hell. Freed me from His asinine game. Opened my eyes to what a bully your God is.

    Stabbing God in His black heart by leading children to accept me as normal is all I can do but if I can hurt your God just a little, it will be worth it. I hope His heart breaks and He weeps for each child I lead astray. He has earned at least that much.

    What can He do to stop me? Throw me in hell twice? He has no power.

  • Truth first

    We are all starting out as rebels against the Creator of the Universe. In that homosexuality is just one feather in the cap of the Rebel we all are from birth, one sin among many other sins. As kid we all had to be taught to be “good”, not to be naughty. God hates ALL sin, and expects us to do the same. As heterosexuals we also need to stay in the clear and treat sex and intimacy with the godly respect that it deserves, and use /enjoy it in the way it is intended: as the celebration of the union between a man and a woman within the covenant of marriage. All sexual sin is committed with the body, which is the temple of the holy spirit. That is the reason why God would take that type of transgression of his law extra serious.

  • Truth first

    Let no one say that we have to choose between loving homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriage. Biblically, love is defined not as license to do whatever we want, but as leading people in the truth. Obviously, we must be as concerned about our own sins as we are about the sins of the homosexual community. We must be concerned enough to speak out about any action, heterosexual or homosexual, that violates God’s intended plan for marriage and the family.

    We are all starting out as rebels against the Creator of the Universe. In that homosexuality is just one feather in the cap of the Rebel we all are from birth, one sin among many other sins. As kid we all had to be taught to be “good”, not to be naughty. God hates ALL sin, and expects us to do the same. As heterosexuals we also need to stay in the clear and treat sex and intimacy with the godly respect that it deserves, and use /enjoy it in the way it is intended: as the celebration of the union between a man and a woman within the covenant of marriage. All sexual sin is committed with the body, which is the temple of the holy spirit. That is the reason why God would take that type of transgression of his law extra serious.

    To your response now.
    ” [abomination] a word that fundamentalists have singled out to somehow mean badder than bad”.

    I could have used a number of other qualifications, and did mention 2 or 3 more in the posting which was removed, but won’t repeat them here. All of these were not my own, but from God’s Word.The Bible has a dozen or so. Fact is when the Bible talks about homosexuality it is NOT in a positive light, with words that reflect God’s position on the issue. Nitpicking about which word I am supposed to use and which not is obfuscating the issue.

    “And this is the part you’re still not getting. You aren’t listening. What do you know about Jeff’s lifestyle? Or mine? Or any gay person’s?”

    I do not need to know the ins and outs and the details of what is essentially an, let me put it nicely, unnatural relationship between 2 people of the same sex. Frankly, in this perverted world I have accidentally been exposed to some of it (and not only by bumping into Gay Pride parades!) to know what I’d be missing out on …;) Everyone labelling themselves as being in such a relationship, or everyone justifying/defending such a lifestyle, goes against the way God intended intimate partnerships between two people to be. I do not have to know the ins and outs of promiscuous heterosexuals either to know that THAT is not the way God intended the “Union between a man and a woman” to take place. Neither do I have to know the web of deceit some men weave to hide their adultery or addiction to pornography. I hope you get the picture.

    That’s the part YOU’RE not getting: wrong is wrong, irrespective of the degree to which you give in to your aberration. And once again, I take my Creator’s cue on this. I have no opinion, but I realise I have my own battles against temptations, albeit of a different kind, to fight. I do not start justifying them though, as you seem to be doing in the case of homosexuality. I have to shape up, not the Bible.

    “You don’t, however, have the right to evaluate the salvation or Christian status of others based on that, because yours is not the only valid interpretation”

    I would find it hard to accept that there would be hidden, deeper meanings in the Bible that can only be revealed by the study of Greek or Aramaic. I concede that not all translations of the Bible are equally accurate in their interpretation of some of the foundational tenets of the faith, but most err on the side of liberalism rather than orthodoxy. Personally I combine the KJV and NIV and consult the commentaries, Matthew Henry in particular.

    I concede that there is room for variety/divergence, but only on the smaller issues. Church dress for example, is such a thing, as well as what you can and can’t do on a Sunday. I believe the most important tool we should have as Christians is the one of discernment. Warning someone of the dangers of a certain sin, lifestyle, etc, is NOT the same as condemning someone to hell. It is something Jesus would punish us for if we don’t

    “I know you really, really want to keep sharing Matthew 19 with us”

    I actually wasn’t, but since you mentioned it, it does mention you faith should be childlike. The most pristine faith can be observed in children, who accept the Bible as it is. That would go against the need for academic excellence.

    As for the divorce bit: yes the context is divorce here, but sexual union (a divine precept and reserved for the relationship between 1 man and 1 women) cannot be separated from the purpose of God’s creation in this respect (Genesis 1:27). They are inextricably linked yet you artificially create a gap in the interpretation that is not be there.
    Matthew Henry says this about it:

    He made them male and female, one female for one male; so that Adam could not divorce his wife, and take another, for there was no other to take. It likewise intimated an inseparable union between them; Eve was a rib out of Adam’s side, so that he could not put her away, but he must put away a piece of himself, and contradict the manifest indications of her creation.

    I realise I may have fallen short of convincing you, as my zeal and conviction may have been too direct or confrontational for you. Do yourself a favour and read Erwin W. Lutzer’s THE TRUTH ABOUT SAME SEX MARRIAGE, who does a much better job. The first paragraph of this response is from the Amazon review of his book.

    Romans 18:15
    If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

    Galatians 6:1
    Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

  • Bones

    Lutzer is your standard nutter

    Rios and Lutzer Link Homosexuality to Pedophilia, Crime and Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro – See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rios-and-lutzer-link-homosexuality-pedophilia-crime-and-cleveland-kidnapper-ariel-castro#sthash.kU8V3MJv.dpuf

  • Truth first

    Making no Bones about it, hey?!…;)

  • Truth first

    Just had a look at the website you recommended. There is no denying that the position of the family has been affected by many things. One parent households, secularization, postmodernism, feminism all played their role in its demise. Same sex marriages with, god forbid, children in the mix, will confuse people even more. Broken families, lack of decent role-models, working parents, liberal attitudes towards crime and authority, and a laissez faire approach to raising children all contribute to a lack of guidance for kids and a drifting away from an acceptable moral, and spiritual, norm. Lutzer’s arguments are rock solid. Love’s not what you make it to be. It’s NOT in they eye of the beholder. Without transcendent definition of it outside the corruptible claws of mankind, confusion will rule. Lutzer’s got it spot on: pedophiles DO believe their love equates real love, and so do homosexual couples. God, however, knows better.

  • Bones

    Yeah the slippery slope bagan when they let blacks marry whites.

    Its fairly disgraceful that you have to rely on nutters like Lutzer who compares homosexuals to paedophiles. Anyone making that assertion doesn’t have a clue. I suppose this scare tactic is a desperate attempt to rally like minded clowns and the final attempts to stay relevant.

    Here’s an intrresting article which repudiates your Chicken Little scare campaign about same sex marriage..

    http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/same-sex-marriage-the-netherlands/

    What The Netherlands Can Teach Us About Same-Sex Marriage
    After it legalized same-sex marriage in 2001, the institution of marriage there became stronger for it

    I wonder what Lutzer thinks of immigrants….

  • Bones

    Sure.

    Where do you live? In a brothel.

  • Bones

    “Don’t these things worry you?”

    No.

  • Truth first

    Keep it structural, Bones.

  • Truth first

    Ad hominem. You loose.

  • Jonathan

    “Let no one say that we have to choose between loving homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriage.”

    Okay, first off, we’re gay people or LGBT people, not “homosexuals”. If you are claiming to love gay people, you’d be a lot more credible if you weren’t using terminology that dehumanizes them. Secondly, claiming to love gay people and oppose same-sex marriage is like claiming to love left-handed people and opposing left-handed writing.

    “Biblically, love is defined not as license to do whatever we want, but as leading people in the truth.”

    Not even close. But I don’t have time or space to get into the theological issues with your redefinition of love, because it’s not really relevant. Because even by that twisted definition of it, despite repeated explanations from myself and numerous others, you still don’t understand that you’re not the only one here who has the “truth”. You just keep bludgeoning away like some colonial missionary trying to convert the savages.

    Here’s the thing: you don’t have a patent on the truth. You’ve got this idea that everyone who disagrees with you doesn’t understand/know that truth, and that’s not it. The ones who disagree with you reject your version of it as FALSE. I studied scripture for years, begged God for years, to make me straight. It didn’t happen. And God has not called me to be celibate, either. How dare you think you know more than I do about what God intends for my own life?

  • Bones

    You lost a long time ago.

    Comparing homosexuals to paedophiles is the ultimate in dishonesty and fallacious reasoning.

    No wonder you’ve been banned.

    You really are a poor piece of work.

  • Truth first

    The sentences you comment on are not mine. They’re from the Amazon book review and from Lutzer himself as I indicated at the end of my response. I don’t care much about the label. LGBT, LGBTI, LGBTQ, take your pick. To me it has too much of an activist, militant ring to it. Also, in the end one can only be one of the mentioned group, not all 4 or 5.

    After our head on collisions up to now it is not easy to change track in the tone of our discussion, but I am going to try it anyway, and hope that you accept that I genuinely mean it.

    I have an immense respect for people who have acknowledged that they have feelings of attraction to members of the same sex but try their utmost to fight those feelings and even seek Christian counsel in order to change, or at least try to stay celibate. I do not know if that is the case but if you have been struggling with these affections and tried to get rid of them, that is nothing short of laudable. It does show that you have somehow felt that a redirection of your feelings was required, perhaps through the inkling of the Holy Spirit. Few would have had the courage to go against the permissive, gay friendly zeitgeist and actively attempt to change. The question remains: how do you know that God has not called you to stay celibate? Having those feelings per se is not a sin, but acting them out or fostering them would be. Whatever may be the case, I wholeheartedly hope that 2016 would be the year in which God may grant you the conviction to change and find the happiness, after the pain you went through in not succeeding in what you set out to do. God wants all of us to live fulfilled, godly lives, that much I know. I hope that God will be able to steer you in the calmer waters of such a life. I really mean that, Jonathan.

  • Andy

    Okay, I think I didn’t properly parse the scope of your comment. I think I understand now.

  • Jonathan

    “The sentences you comment on are not mine. “

    I don’t care. You thought it appropriate to quote them, so yes they are yours whether you were the first to say them or not. Take some responsibility for yourself.

    “I have an immense respect for people who have acknowledged that they have feelings of attraction to members of the same sex but try their utmost to fight those feelings and even seek Christian counsel in order to change, or at least try to stay celibate.”

    God doesn’t call everyone to that – not even every gay person. Now, you can choose to accept that or not, but it’s the truth.

    “The question remains: how do you know that God has not called you to stay celibate?”

    That’s between me and God, not you. I know it puts your perfectly arranged, black-and-white worldview in disarray that God doesn’t call every gay person to celibacy, but again, that’s nobody’s problem but your own.

    “Having those feelings per se is not a sin, but acting them out or fostering them would be.”

    I could again repeat, as numerous others have countless times, that you are wrong – and that, in fact, as it is never something you’ve ever dealt with in your own life, you really have no right to speak on at all – but that’s clearly a waste of my time. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    “Whatever may be the case, I wholeheartedly hope that 2016 would be the year in which God may grant you the conviction to change and find the happiness, after the pain you went through in not succeeding in what you set out to do.”

    That’s where you’re mistaken. My still being gay after all my struggle with God isn’t a failure. I did succeed. Because I have since realized that it’s not up to people like you to get to dictate my relationship with God. This statement indicates the fundamental problem, and the reason for all the “head on collisions”. However nice and sweet your words are, your attitude is still one of complete, overwhelming self-righteousness. You assume that I’m still gay because I just haven’t tried hard enough to pray away the gay, and that nobody who tries long enough or hard enough could possibly miss the “truth” (which in reality, is only your limited and flawed understanding of it). I’m still gay because I’ve realized that God doesn’t need me to keep trying, because I am the way he wants me to be. I have a lot of faults that God has to constantly “convict” me of, but being gay is not one of them.

    “God wants all of us to live fulfilled, godly lives, that much I know.”

    On that we agree. But your blatant disrespect of other people’s walk with God is not going to lead people to that, no matter how much of your “truth” you try bludgeon them with.

  • Truth first

    You’re a child of your time, Jonathan, a partly willing victim of the spirit of the age which confounds people to believing that the Bible does not mean what it says. Indeed, there are none so blind as those who will not see. Still I do hope that one day these words will make sense and the penny will drop. The heavens will rejoice. Good luck and God bless.

  • Jonathan

    “You’re a child of your time, Jonathan, a partly willing victim of the spirit of the age which confounds people to believing that the Bible does not mean what it says.”

    So now it’s just going to be a pissing contest of who has the truthiest truth, huh. I’m beginning to think you’re a completely willing victim of the spirit which confounds people into thinking that idolatrously worshipping a book (rather than the Living Word of God) gives them license to shut off the mind God gave them.

    “The heavens will rejoice.”

    Indeed. When everyone realizes that the One True God is much bigger than the impotent, boxed-in phantom of a god that some people worship, there will be much rejoicing. But there’s still a long way to go. I’ll pray for you.

  • Proud Amelekite

    The holy spirit was cast out of this “temple” long ago. I have a strict policy against lazy, do-nothing squatters. I am more moral than your God, ergo I reject Him. The beauty of free will.

  • Proud Amelekite

    [There is probably few other points that the Bible is so clear and unequivocal about as homosexuality.]

    Not true. God is also clear about how much he loves to butcher children for the crimes committed by their nations and parents. Of course, there is the whole Thou Shalt Not Kill bit but the our “Most Holy” Divine Retard of a Father Yahweh is anything but clear.

    Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city
    and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no
    pity! Kill them all old and young, girls and women and little
    children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right
    here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.
    “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the
    bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and
    did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7)

    [What does that tell us about the Church as the body of Jesus Christ?
    That it is prostituting itself to worldly influences and sin.]

    The church prior to worldly influences brought of the dark ages and the “papal pear”. Religion and God need to be leashed by secularism like the mad dogs that they both are, lest we see Catholicism and Christianity follow in the footsteps of Al Queda and ISIS.

    [Apart from that one does not have to be a Christian to reject
    homosexuality, as there are enough medical reasons to be against it.
    Check out the CDC findings in this regards.]

    CDC findings show the dangers of promiscuity but promiscuity is not an intrinsic feature of homosexuality. Correlation does not automatically beget causation. This is why the hate groups that consistently tout these false equivalences don’t stand in debate.

  • Truth first

    And deadliness! You are raising a middle finger to God and challenge Him to respond. He will.

  • Truth first

    You changed your definition of love. You changed your definition of marriage. You changed your definition of what constitutes faithfulness. You changed the meaning of the words in the Bible refering to homosexuality by hiding behind a screen of Greek/Aramaic mysticism. You call good what is evil and evil what is good. Then you look at me and do not recognize in me anything of what you just redefined. You then accuse me of boxing in/conserving the original faith which you declared invalid for you because you had to justify your sinful choices. You call the worship of God’s Word (which is from God. Which IS God, remember John 1?) idolatry. You have just redefined the entire Christian faith to make yourself look good, and in the process raised one giant middle finger to our Creator. You have hardened your heart dangerously, Jonathan. Beware that God will not harden your heart permanently so that there will be no way back.

    Romans 1: 24
    Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

  • Bones

    He’s giving the middle finger to you.

    You ain’t god.

  • Bones

    You’re calling loving people evil.

    It is you who calls good, evil.

    It is you who has hardened their hearts and become the Pharisee.

    Ultimately it’s none of your business.

  • Truth first

    As I said: redefine love, call good evil, and smite me because I do not comply. And yes, it IS my business because it contributes to the destruction of the very fabric of our society: the nuclear family.

  • Bones

    Really. Comparing homosexuals to paedophiles is frankly disgraceful.

    There is nothing compassionate and caring about him.

  • Bones

    No one ‘s smiting you, you goose. Its your version of god who wants to smite gays.

    That’s what it’s all about And no it is not your business what other people do in their bedrooms.

    Btw I work with children and families and the so-called destruction of the nuclear family has nothing to do with gays.

    There are many factors which cause dysfunction in families, homosexuality is not one.

  • Bones

    In what context? Your mate SJ’s use of Theodore Shoebat who has called for the deaths of homosexuals, unbelievers and a Christian State.

    That’s deadset ISIS as is btw the Torah.

    I’m waging to bet that he clearly does because he admitted it. The love homosexuals have is no different to paedophiles. Which btw any paedophile victim will tell you that is complete and utter ignorance.

    And you seem to be defending him over it.

    And you wonder why people don’t like conservatives.

    You have little credibility no matter what you think your good news is. It’s lost in a sea of stupidity.

  • Bones

    Btw I could point to studies in family dysfunction but you wouldn’t be interested in that because you don’t really care about the factors placing pressures on families.

    To you it’s about the gay.

  • Bones

    Your silence is deafening…

    The gay community thank you for your silence…..

  • Bones

    Your opinion matters naught to me except how you wish to hurt others.

    As for name calling: gosh get a life, you poor thing. Christians have subjected gay people to all sorts of abuse and you’re worried about a name which I didn’t call you.

    How is it not stupidity?

    Gay people cause the destruction of the nuclear family.

    Gay people love like paedophiles.

    How are those not stupid uncaring ignorant statements. To not only gay people but the victims of paedophilia.

    And if you can’t see that and you think Christ is with you, you are sadly mistaken.

  • Bones

    So telling people to stop bearing false witness is now spreading hatred?

    You really are a hypocritical bunch.

    And then you wonder why no one listens to you.

    The pharisees were the same.

    You never learn.

  • Truth first

    Why are we held to ransom by 2% of the world population, who force their ideas upon us? Why can’t I, belonging to the other 98%, not freely criticize that what I hold to believe, and with me millions of other orthodox Christians, ungodly? Why are there people like you who may not even be gay defending that what is countercreational/unnatural? Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to criticize same sex marriages without being persecuted? Why can’t a florist or a bakery refuse services for a gay/lesbian wedding, without being charged with the most horrible things, and sentenced to a heavy fine? If these things happen, it DOES become my business what people do in their bedroom, how they define marriage and what co-confounded people like you say and do to support the indefensible. Like it or not, but this now is becoming everyone’s business. This has become the stuff that splits churches and divides the world.

  • Jonathan

    And now the truth comes out. When you realize people aren’t buying your façade of niceness, then comes the descent into rambling rants and accusations. That’s fine. If you’re just going to continue in your proud heart (also an abomination, according to Proverbs 16:5), there’s no need to continue wasting your time or mine with the superficial display of niceness.

    “You changed your definition of love. You changed your definition of marriage. You changed your definition of what constitutes faithfulness.”

    Nope. I just don’t define them the same way as you do. But fortunately for the rest of us, it’s not all about you.

    “You changed the meaning of the words in the Bible refering to homosexuality by hiding behind a screen of Greek/Aramaic mysticism.”

    In the first place, there are so many verses of the English Bible that you’re flagrantly ignoring in order to justify your sinful attitude that I haven’t had to even bring up Greek and Aramaic. In the second place, the Bible was written in those languages; God didn’t just come to save the good ol’ U S of A, and if someone gets deeper meaning from studying scripture in its original language, there is nothing ungodly or twisted about that.

    “You then accuse me of boxing in/conserving the original faith which you declared invalid for you because you had to justify your sinful choices.”

    My “sinful choices” are between me and God, so there’s no justifying them. My being gay, on the other hand, is not something I need to justify to you, because you don’t get to decide whether I’m a Christian or not.

    “You call the worship of God’s Word (which is from God. Which IS God, remember John 1?) idolatry.”

    I remember John 1 very well. It says “The Word became Flesh”. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, and worshipping a book is idolatry. Stop trying to justify your sinful choices by twisting scripture.

    “You have just redefined the entire Christian faith to make yourself look good, and in the process raised one giant middle finger to our Creator.”

    No, the people of the early church didn’t obsess over the things other people did that didn’t affect them. Being fixated over what goes on in my bedroom is a fairly recent development in the Christian faith. It’s also kind of creepy that you people think so much about sex. I suggest therapy.

    “You have hardened your heart dangerously, Jonathan. Beware that God will not harden your heart permanently so that there will be no way back.”

    If by the “way back” you refer to agreeing with you and rejecting the way I was created, don’t hold your breath. That’s not happening.

    “Romans 1: 24: Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God…”

    This coming from the one who thinks Greek and Aramaic scripture is no longer relevant or worth retaining.

    “…so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”

    Like worshipping idols. But while you’re in Romans, take a perusal of Romans 2:1, Romans 2:19-21, Romans 2:29, Romans 3:21-24, Romans 3:28, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:34, Romans 10:4, Romans 12:11-16, Romans 13:10, and Romans 15:7 (in English, if you prefer), and see how futile it is to single out one seemingly-legalistic passage out of a letter that is completely devoted to denouncing legalism.

    But I’m done dancing to your tune. I owe you no explanation or justification for my being gay. That is between me and my creator, not you. It is time for you to justify your arrogant, self-righteous, idolatrous lifestyle.

  • Bones

    This 2% would be the majority of all western countries.
    Slightly more than 2%.

    There are countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asis you can live where gays are banned.

    Why do I defend gay people from people like you? Because I love them..Because I know the damage your type have done to gay people and to the name of Christ.

    Why are you so obsessed with gays?

  • Bones

    Here’s a great comment on the reality of being a gay Christian..

    “I am a former Baptist Pastor and Missionary, now retired. Still married to my wife for over 44 years. But I am gay, medically proven during electronic shock therapy organized by the President of the Baptist Church with the promise it would change me. It was driven automatically by measuring body temperatures of a persons private parts when seeing about 1000 pictures of men and 1000 pictures of women over about 10 days. When my body temperature rose when I saw the guys which is natural for me, they delivered high voltages of electricity through wires that were also attached. It didn’t work. The machine never recorded anything when I saw all those pictures of nude women. There isn’t anything anyone can do to alter the outcome of those tests. I am not sexually active, but 44 years is a long time to pretend to be someone I am not sexually active. God created me gay and I am now proud of that.
    At church, I was told I was not good enough to turn up for a working bee, be on the cleaning roster or to help take up the offering. But when I was told I was not welcome to even attend church, I left the church, and I shall never return. Enough is enough.

    Comments here about Christians here feeling they will be the victims when gay marriage is eventually passed, makes me smile. For centuries the victims of extreme physical violence, discrimination and abuse have definitely been the gay community.
    “Love does no harm to its neighbour”. Rom 13:10

    The entire medical profession declassified homosexuality as an illness 42 years ago this year.

    I strongly support gay marriage. Loving committed monogamous gay marriage is not condemned in scripture anywhere. Celibacy is not mandated in scripture anywhere. For a gay Christian who holds the traditional view of marriage, the very WORST thing that can happen is to fall in love. They must walk away heart broken, and that has to happen every single time for their entire life. Something is terribly wrong.

    Gay marriage was passed in the UK a few years ago. In 2014, the Baptist Church assembly resolved that any church could conduct gay marriages, without fear of being disciplined. Things change.”

    http://baysidechurch.com.au/thoughts-on-same-sex-marriage/

  • Truth first

    Didn’t I just explain that to you?
    If you call yourself a Christian, and you would truly love them, you would warn them for the consequences of their actions.
    Would you, if you were a doctor concerned about the health of his patients, who had just found out that one of his patient had a form of cancer that would give him just a few weeks to live without treatment, but could be cured with an 80% probability if treated, send him home with Aspirin because you don’t want to upset him and and hurt his feelings by telling him the truth? Ponder these things, Bones, before you start throwing insults to someone who is genuinely concerned about gays, and perhap more than someone who sticks his head in the sand and misrepresents the Bible.

  • Bones

    Which orthodox belief systems are these?

    I live in Australia which is very secular and a great place to live.

    Do you honestly think that gay people getting married has any effect on heterosexual marriage?

    Btw I cleaned up our garage after my father suicided which wasnt long after he accepted Christ.

    I don’t consider what he did a sin.

    But I don’t live in a black and white world.

  • Bones

    As I said the only one smiting anyone is YOUR god.
    You”re the one insulting by comparing gays to paedophiles.Now that you can’t see that shows just how blind you are. But that’s the sort of trash you think makes a convincing argument.
    And no gay people do not have to repent over loving other people no matter how much you don’t like it.

  • Truth first

    In God’s eyes ALL sexual sins are seen in an extra serious light, whether they are GLBTI or peadophilic or bestial or incestuous, as they are performed with your body. After the allowing of same sex marriages it is only a matter of time before the definition of marriage will be further stretched. Already people are investigating the possibilities of allowing three or four-some marriages. Lowering the ages for marriage partners is next, which will bring paedophilia inside legal reach of the sexually deviant. There is thus no disgrace in comparing the two as Lutzer did. Get real, these things are on the cards before you and I can say That’s an abomination.

  • Truth first

    Thank goodness, thanks for that support, Alexandria. I thought I was the only sane person in the house!

  • Bones

    Btw does your friend know you don’t want them to be gay and they have to celibate all their life to make you happy.

  • Bones

    Your slippery slope argument is so flawed it defies belief and shows you are grasping at straws.

    And that you can’t see the difference between two adults in a committed loving rlationship is the same as having sex with animals and having sex with babies shows how abhorrent you are.

  • Truth first

    We never said gay people love like homosexuals, just that both types were deviant and should be unequivocally rejected by any Christian worth his/her salt. You know, the most disappointing and unnerving thing of this whole discussion is that I am holding it with someone who is professing the name of Jesus Christ and who should know so much better. For all I know I could have this discussion with an atheist. By all means, Bones, hold the opinion you hold, but don’t call yourself a Christian and least of all try to teach those who do believe the Bible is the unchanging Word of God lesson what they should and should not say. “Christians” like you are making life for genuine Christians so much more difficult than necessary, and will be contribution to the persecution of Christians world wide. Turn from your ways, Bones!

  • Truth first

    Good for you, A!

  • Truth first

    Why on earth bring the Torah in? Are you saying that what is written in the Torah equates with the teachings of ISIS?

  • Truth first

    “Committed Loving Relationship”? You redefined love first before you could say that, remember? You’re still with your head in the sand ignoring the developments that are ahead. Nobody talked about babies here. Drop the age to 14 years and Bingo. You’re losing it, Bones. Be ashamed of yourself. Be very ashamed and ask the Lord for forgiveness before he ardens your heart for ever.

  • Truth first

    So it’s Aspirine for you then hey?

  • Truth first

    That’s a tragic story indeed, Bones. But we’re living in a fallen world and these things happen. Electroshocks are obviously not the way to change gayness, and I do feel and admire the pastor that he stuck with his wife. I don’t believe all church counseling sessions are run the same way though.

  • Truth first

    Let’s stop fighting, Bones.

    I did some research and found a really informative website on research on the changes of sexual orientation. It really is a good news story and ultimately our viewpoints may be less far apart than we think:

    http://ipost.christianpost.com/news/successful-therapy-and-counseling-for-dissatisfied-homosexuals-11050/

    From the article (this is also my viewpoint):

    Same-sex attraction is a powerful temptation, but biblically speaking, it is not a sin. To have such attractions is akin to a married heterosexual man having opposite-sex attractions to women other than his wife. These attractions are temptations to sin and nothing more; they are not sin, although they would lead to sin if acted upon. Same-sex attractions are not something that anyone chooses initially. Rather they first occur in homosexual persons without their volition or intent. This is an important distinction that Christians need to be aware of. The Bible condemns homosexual sex acts, but it does not condemn the initial experience of being tempted by same-sex attractions. If the Bible did condemn the experience of being tempted, then Jesus would not have been without sin, would He?

    The result of corrective counseling are encouraging and could have helped your Baptist Minister.

    “Numerous studies have shown that both religiously and secularly mediated change in sexual orientation occurs in highly motivated, dissatisfied homosexuals at success rates of around 25%-30%, which is comparable to the success rates generally achieved by therapists and counselors for treatment of psychological disorders and behavioral problems, such as alcoholism.”

  • Truth first

    Prepared to bury the hatchet and make peace? I am. Sorry I got a bit hot under the collar. We’re really not that far apart in our opinions. We both want the best for all who profess Christ as their Lord and saviour, even if they are (still) gay.

  • Truth first

    I appreciate your principled stance. Apologies for getting a bit hot under the collar with Bones. It seems you calmed him down. Good to see.

  • Truth first

    Thanks, A. Thought for a while you had fled to more amenable surroundings to escape me…;) It does wear one out though, to always be on the back foot in defense of God’s word. It’s extra saddening that we’re fighting against supposed fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I more and more believe that in these last days our main opposition will be from within the Church, rather than from more obvious opposition like the one from Moslims. Deception is big, Alexandria, as the case of Jim Rigby shows (no resurrection, remember?). May I ask you: which church you visit? I am with a very Bible oriented, down to earth pentecostal church.

  • Bones

    Lol. 40 years ago and you’d be calling for them to be used on gays.

    You really are a piececof work.

  • Bones

    You agree your friend is like a paedophile.

    Well aren’t you a good friend.

  • Bones

    You aren’t defending God. God doesn’t need defending.

    We need to defend people from people like you.

  • Bones

    Except they’re not deviant.

    Once again an insulting term.

    Oh I’m a Christian and I won’t fall for your lies which others do.

    There’s nothibg of Christ in you.

  • Bones

    Taking sex slaves, killing unbelievers…..

    Sound familiar?

  • Bones

    Do you know what Bible says about bearing false witness or doesn’t it count when people are gay?

  • Bones

    “You and I think alike….”

    And you wonder why people don’t like you….

  • Bones

    So you’ve come out to try and terrify and annoy gay people with your nonsense.

    The Bible is clearer about many other issues facing your country but its all about the gay with you.

  • Bones

    You also seem to have missed his last paragraph.

  • Bones

    That you accept lies about people.

  • Bones

    Gee an article by a conservative Christian who happens to be a biologist.

    Heres good news. God probably won’t change your gayness. Not even with electrodes.

    Nah you lose in this.

  • Bones

    Most of my friends and family are anti-gay. You’d love em.

  • Bones

    Hey you’re the one giving your whole hearted support to the nonsense espoused by your mate who is bearing false witness against gay people.

  • Bones

    You’re the one who should be ashamed.

    You lie about people and think you’re so clever about it.

    Sensible people see right through your nonsense.

    And this nonsense of redefining love.

    Well I love my wife which means I have committed myself to her.

    It seems people have to love under your terms.

  • Bones

    That didn’t make sense. In our house we don’t talk religion or politics.

    You people love attacking others and don’t like it when the shoes on the other foot.

  • Bones

    No. Most are ignorant and brought up to believe that. Just like the conservative fear of Muslims and blacks.

  • Bones

    You need to move to Australia. The main cause of death here is heart disease….

    You need to rant about gluttony….

  • Bones

    There are plenty of conservatives who do. Take your friend SJ who has filled a thread with anti-muslim rants using conservative articles including people who have called for the deaths of non-christians.

    Why do those conservatives do that?

  • Bones

    Not plenty?

    You obviously haven’t been taking any notice of the Republican presidential nominees.

    As for your friend with nutty conspiracy theories, its about being on a Crusade and seeing evil lurking in the shadows of their mind. And placing that over and against real human beings.

    Not unlike your antigay friend.

  • Truth first

    I am repeating my peace offering. Let’s show this community that we, Christians, in spite of our differences, can forgive one another the things we said in the heat of the discussion, and which we now regret. In God’s eyes there are neither conservatives nor progressives, only fragile and fallible people who either are his children or not. The choice is always ours whether we want to be his Children, and let Him be our Father, Lord and Saviour. Yet we cannot pad ourselves on the back for doing right or even choosing right. All we bring into this relationship really is our sin. Be kind to Alexandria. She means well.

  • Proud Amelekite

    Until that day comes, I will continue leading children behind me, away from your cowardly shepherd. I hate your God and, if He is real, fully intend to hold Him accountable for each and every innocent His mindless laws and bastard followers have harmed.

    If I can lead even one child away from your God, that will be victory enough for me. I welcome hell. I won’t go there alone.

    There is nothing you can do to stop me.

    Take care.

  • Proud Amelekite

    [You call the worship of God’s Word (which is from God. Which IS God, remember John 1?) idolatry.]

    Because it is. Not sure where the quote is from but:

    “The King James version of the New Testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the Church of England.

    There were (and still are) NO ORIGINAL TEXTS to translate. The OLDEST manuscripts we have were written down HUNDREDS of years AFTER the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts… NO TWO ARE ALIKE.

    The King James translators used NONE OF THESE. Instead, they EDITED PREVIOUS translations to create a version THEIR KING and Parliament WOULD APPROVE.

    So, 21st century christians believe the “word of god” is a book EDITED in the 17th century from 16th century TRANSLATIONS of 8,000 CONTRADICTORY COPIES of 4th century scrolls that CLAIM to be COPIES of lost letters written in the 1st century.

    That’s NOT faith. That’s INSANITY.”

    You are losing the culture of advanced nations because reality is not on your side. Because the increase on knowledge means it is easier than ever to show kids what a load of crap your God and His Impotent Words are.

  • Bones

    It’s ok for your guys to pick on gays, isn’t it?

    Here’s a song

    DON’T TELL ME WHO TO LOVE by Ray Boltz

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zerlT8FA7kc

  • Jeff Preuss

    That link is a different song, Bones.

  • “These things happen.”

    Well you win comment of the day.

  • I love that the Christian Post is your idea of an unbiased source. I dare you to try to last five minutes reading their comment section.

    And no, I don’t judge them solely on their comment section, but I think it makes my point rather well.

  • There is probably few other points that the Bible is so clear and unequivocal about as homosexuality

    It’s a lot more clear on the point that women need to cover their heads, but I don’t see Christians running for office on a headscarf platform or bemoaning how the lack of bonnets has turned our daughters into whores.

    It is not a love issue, but one of obedience and respect for that divine design.

    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

  • Jeff Preuss

    But, but, but…a conversion success rate of 25-30 percent! Wow, that’s…well, kinda sucky. At that rate of success, that means that 70-75% of people cannot change their orientations to straight…

    Oh, no, wait. “Highly motivated, dissatisfied homosexuals…” Gotcha. Places the ‘blame’ squarely back on the gays when they don’t ‘change.’

  • Truth first

    Have you read any of the English language Bibles available lately?

  • Truth first

    There’s that fist again. What did He do you you that you loath him. Why the anger?

  • Truth first

    The fact that the website is not quite a conservative, orthodox Christian one and lacks some discernment does not therefore make the contents of the article itself untrue. We should always give credit where it is due. In fact, being the rather “Christian Light” website that it is it should rather be complimented with the publication of this article as it, in spite of being scientific and truthful, will be controversial in the eyes of many, including Christians, ready to knee jerk anything critical of homosexuality into damnation.

  • Truth first

    If you accept that psychological treatment of those feeling burdened by moods and afflictions of a mental nature is acceptable, and find that gays and lesbians are cured/helped to the same extent as people treated for other reasons, it does show that that method could be one of the methods to change/redirect sexual orientation, even if it is only at the level of same sex attraction. What is wrong in helping those seeking assistance for change after they have established for themselves that they are unhappy with their homosexual status? Isn’t it harsh to say they shouldn’t be helped?

  • Truth first

    Thanks brother. I knew I had it in me to become a writer…;). What have I won?

  • Bones

    Or in the words of that common colloquialism “Shit happens”.

  • Truth first

    And you just redefined idolatry as well. Good job!

    Which part of 1 Corinthians 6:9 would you say would cast any doubt on my interpretation of God’s view on homosexuality?

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Truth first

    Your sinful choices are only between you and God if you refrain from calling yourself a Christian. The moment you call yourself that, and not only silently defend homosexuality but actively promote it, it DOES become my business, as I get tainted as a Christian by your personal, unbiblical conviction. The world is giving reborn Christians a hard time because of their stance against homosexuality because people like you call yourself Christians and flaunt your ungodly imperfections. I can accept that young Christians who come from that background would initially be struggling to change their lifestyle, but one would expect them to be convicted by the Holy Spirit that what they are doing is wrong, and slowly change their ways. You do not seem to be one of those, and that is why I come hard at you, as tough love may be required to let it sink in with you that what you are doing is wrong. I cannot pussyfoot around the wickedness. Yet if you are valuable to God you are valuable to me and I would want the best for you. That does not include you being separated from God forever by the wrong, persistent choices you are now making.

  • Bones

    Paul obviously had a different view of the Kingdom of God than Mark did.

    It wasn’t something to be inherited, it was already there according to Mark..

    By Paul’s token even the Pharisees inherit the kingdom of God……

    Also Matthew 21:31-32

    ““Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.”

    Wonder if he’s talking about you?

    You don’t think much about the Bible do you?

  • Bones

    Brian Houston (the creator of Hillsong)’s father, Frank had a nifty way of counselling gays which involved mutual masturbation.

    It, like electric shock and chemical castration, may have worked for some.

  • Bones

    Btw lobotomies were more successful. It involved driving a pick axe through the gay person’s eye sockets. 40% of these procedures were used on gays.

    You’ll be happy to know if it didn’t so much as cure them, but turned them into vegetables incapable of gay sex in the majority of cases.

    Win/win.

  • Jonathan

    “Your sinful choices are only between you and God if you refrain from calling yourself a Christian.”

    Nope. Wrong again. As there are currently over forty thousand denominations of Christianity, some very close to your own beliefs, some vastly different, you don’t get to decide who has the right to call themselves Christian and who doesn’t.

    “but one would expect them to be convicted by the Holy Spirit that what they are doing is wrong, and slowly change their ways.

    Yes. One would. And yet so many Christians are still gay, and not only are they not convicted, they are encouraged. Too bad for you that the Holy Spirit doesn’t always operate the way you think it should.

    As for the rest, I’ve already stated in my last comment that I’m done dancing to your tune. “Reborn Christians” like yourself get a bad name because of your own arrogance and self-superiority. You can try to shift the blame all you want, but in the end you’re going to have to answer to God for trying to block people from him, for that’s exactly what you’re doing with your attitude, and you’re lying to yourself and everyone else if you think otherwise. One day, maybe not in this life, but one day you’ll understand that.

  • Jonathan

    You have placed a book in a position of power over the God the book speaks of. That is most definitely idolatry. If you want to continue in that sinful lifestyle, don’t blame others for showing you the truth.

  • Truth first

    You are SO way out of bounds, Jonathan. Your ball is not just in the undergrowth of the golf course, it is floating in the ocean or flew to the next village. But I will forgive you, and I sincerely hope God will do the same. THIS is what the Bible means when it says that in the latter days people will not put up with sound doctrine and want their ears tickled. They will call evil what is good and good what is evil. YOU are the one blocking people from seeing the real God, by tickling their ears and dancing to the tunes of an ungodly piper. Jonathan. You and you alone. My name is clear, I have nothing to ask forgiveness for when it comes to clearifying God’s word with regards to homosexuality. Once again I ask you, Jonathan: which part of 1 Corinthians 6:9 is backing your viewpoint on homosexuality up?

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Truth first

    What on earth does that even MEAN?

  • Bones

    Your Bible is your god.

  • Bones

    Do you not realise how much you turn people off God and out of the kingdom?

    There were other self-righteous ones in the Bible.

  • Bones

    Hey just a word of advice.

    You can’t argue and harass people into your way of thinking.

    It just shows to everyone you’re a bit of a pillock.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think I was reading any more of your junk? You’ve proven yourself to be dishonest in your discourse with me, as well as making wild assumptive conclusions to make your “points”.

    There is no reason to engage with you further.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve told you, I owe you no explanation, particularly since you are now ignoring most of what I say anyway. Until you can justify your sinful lifestyle, you are wasting your time. It takes more than an Internet name to make you a follower of the truth. You are calling idolatry good and kindness evil. Repent.

    [EDIT: The “I know you are but what am I?” approach hasn’t worked on me since third grade, so you might as well drop that.]

  • Jonathan

    You are worshipping a book more than God. That is idolatry.

  • Truth first

    How is that possible when you are talking of the Bible?
    I am worshipping the God of the Bible, the God that can only be known through the Bible which is God’s infallible, inerrant, God-breathed never-changing word which became flesh. That Word was with God. That word WAS, and IS God. There is no distinction between God’s word, the Bible, and God himself, or his son Jesus Christ. All are inextricably linked. There are no mistakes in the Bible. Where in the BIble does God forbid me to worship him or his word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That’s what we’re supposed to do!

    Dear Jonathan, I am not despising you because of your homosexuality, or defense of it. I fact I do not hate or despise you at all. I do know that your orientation is not easy to accept, and even if you accept it, it comes with its obstacles, loneliness, sadness and the whole gamut of human emotions that accompany the emotional roller coaster that is human intimacy, whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. You are NOT a criminal, thief, murderer, rapist, demon possessed or a bad person because of this particular choice you have made. Many gays and lesbians are valuable people in their community contributing positively to it. We must give credit where it is due. Even I enjoy Modern Family, and that’s partly because of the gay couple, rather than in spite of it. Gays and lesbians are NOT sub human.

    However, just like all other sins (sexual and non-sexual) we are supposed to shed in our walk with the Lord, homosexuality does stand between God and man. There is no use denying that, the Bible is clear about it. Just like with all other sins, if we want to be children of God, and not little gods ourselves, we have to shed those sins. I know it isn’t easy in this permissive society of ours, but God has set benchmarks we cannot deny in all aspects of morality. If we do away with these benchmarks permanently, we’re on our own. That’s all I wanted to say.
    God bless and go well.

  • Truth first

    At least we agree on one thing.

    Let this be my parting shot then.

    I am not despising you because of your homosexuality, or defense of it. I fact I do not hate or despise you at all. I do know that your orientation is not easy to accept, and even if you accept it, it comes with its obstacles, loneliness, sadness and the whole gamut of human emotions that accompany the emotional roller coaster that is human intimacy, whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. You are NOT a criminal, thief, murderer, rapist, demon possessed or a bad person because of this particular choice you have made. Many gays and lesbians are valuable people in their community contributing positively to it. We must give credit where it is due. Even I enjoy Modern Family, and that’s partly because of the gay couple, rather than in spite of it. Gays and lesbians are NOT sub human.

    However, just like all other sins (sexual and non-sexual) we are supposed to shed in our walk with the Lord, homosexuality does stand between God and man. There is no use denying that, the Bible is clear about it. Just like with all other sins, if we want to be children of God, and not little gods ourselves, we have to shed those sins. I know it isn’t easy in this permissive society of ours, but God has set benchmarks we cannot deny in all aspects of morality. If we do away with these benchmarks permanently, we’re on our own. That’s all I wanted to say.

    God bless and go well.

  • Jonathan

    “The God that can only be known through the Bible”

    No, God is known through the revelation given by the Holy Spirit. For the first several centuries of the Church’s existence, there was no Bible. You’re placing limits on God, and that’s dangerous.

    “God’s infallible, inerrant, God-breathed never-changing word”

    That sounds pretty idolatrous. And before you throw 2 Timothy, 3:16 at me, it’s a huge leap from “God-breathed” to “infallible and inerrant”. Humans are God-breathed, also, but they’re far from infallible.

    “which became flesh. That Word was with God. That word WAS, and IS God.”

    You’re confused. That passage is nonsense when you’re trying to use it to describe a book, for a book is not flesh. On the other hand, the passage makes perfect sense when it describes Jesus and the Holy Spirit, neither of which are bound by the words of man. John says as much in the last verse of his Gospel. You are twisting scripture to justify idolatry.

  • Jonathan

    Way to ignore the entire discussion.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I find it telling when “well-meaning” folk are commanding us to deny Christ. Being ordered to stop calling ourselves Christians is a strange form of witness…

  • Truth first

    I believe we’re done, Jonathan.
    You were right in pointing out there was understanding of the Gospel through the Holy SPirit before the Bible came into being as a scroll and later book during the first century primarily. I was referring to our situation, now in the 21st century. Although God appears to people in visions and dreams to allow for personal change (this happens a lot in Muslim countries, for example, and in China), we know all church doctrine (applying to ALL believers) from the books of the Bible. No new doctrine for the entire church gets revealed anymore, we know all that there is to know, and can do so without theological study.

    Fortunately God is never done with us and will touch our hearts to keep us on/ take us to the narrow path leading to his Kingdom. If we open ourselves to that, that is. No hard feelings towards you, Jeff , just some of regret to have to let you go unchanged. But God’s timing, love, compassion and patience are perfect and maybe one day this will all fall into place to the edification of yourself and the church as the body of Christ. Go well and may God’s wisdom touch your heart and his eternal truth prevail.

  • Jonathan

    “I was referring to our situation, now in the 21st century.”

    That would suggest that God does, in fact, change the way he does things sometimes. Well, that causes some problems with the rigid insistence on tradition and thinking God’s methods and the revelation of the Holy Spirit are confined to a book that was put together centuries ago. (You still have not explained why that kind of idolatry is acceptable, by the way. Now I think I understand why “we’re done”; it certainly must get frustrating, constantly being berated over your perceived sins, imperfections, and unrepentance. I bet that sucks – not that I’d know; it’s not like people ever do that to me).

    “this happens a lot in Muslim countries, for example, and in China”

    Hmm. For someone who holds such a rigid view of scripture, that’s a rather interesting leap. It sounds like a shift of responsibility away from First-World Christians who are too busy fighting the icky gays instead of following Jesus’s command to help the least of these.

    “No new doctrine for the entire church gets revealed anymore”

    History shows that God isn’t following that rule you’re trying to impose on him. If he were, we’d still believe the earth was flat and forbid interracial marriages. Fortunately, God is bigger than you’re giving him credit for.

    “No hard feelings towards you, Jeff , just some of regret to have to let you go unchanged.”

    Okay. All jokes, cynicism, and sarcasm aside… I am going to assume good faith and actually believe you have no hard feelings. Your zeal is admirable, if misdirected, as I believe it is. If you were to bring that same zeal to… not “loving” (you and I are never going to agree on what that means)… but being good to people, being kind to people, being willing to listen, being willing to step out of your comfort zone and try to look for truth in people exactly as they are without trying to change them, being willing to just let God be God and doing the Lord’s work rather than the Lord’s job… you would be a force to be reckoned with, and you have no idea the changes you would be able to make for the good of people.

  • Bones

    But surely if he lies about you and insults you further you’ll come around to his thinking.

  • Bones

    The local nutcase is here…..

  • Bones

    What’s that about lies?

    You might want to meditate on that yourself.

    Everytime you point at someone there are 3 fingers pointing back.

  • Bones

    So you’ve got a cure for the gay as well?

    As usual you don’t have a clue ….

  • Jeff Preuss

    But, didn’t you see? He doesn’t want to leave here without seeing me changed. Why wouldn’t I want to submit all my needs for change to him, instead of Jesus, to whom I have already done so?

    I won’t bother to insult him or lie about him. His comments stand on their own.

  • Bones

    Yes that type of harassment works so well.

    He must be the tenth that’s tried it….at least

  • seashell

    My opening and parting shot to you, Truth[less]: You say What does that tell us about the Church as the body of Jesus Christ? That the ones who get all worked up, self-righteous, and loud about the issue are conservative Evangelicals, aka Republicans. Although that does appear to be changing now that (a) it’s a dead issue and, (b) the majority of people are tired of hearing about it and it’s hurting the tithing/donating numbers of the parties involved.

    God could care less about the gay issue, who’s gay and who isn’t. Sounds more like he was pissed at the Corinths that thought a few trips to visit Venus & Co. would be overlooked because they were already wise and knowledgable. Although fornicators were included in the unrighteous as were homosexuals, nowhere does it say two people joined in love are unrighteous.

  • Truth first

    You haven’t really followed the discussion, have you?
    God has defined LOVE differently than those who try to justify the unjustifiable. It’s between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage.

    Once again, which part of:

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    don’t you understand?

    If you think it’s alright, be my guest. But don’t call yourself a (reborn) Christian, and don’t damn those Christians who are committed enough take God’s word for true, and who stick out their neck to defend God’s word.

    Have a nice day.

  • seashell

    Ya know, Jesus gave you TWO jobs: Love God and love your neighbor. He said nothing about harassing people who intimately love another of the same sex. Nothing! The fanaticism with which you pursue the subject is downright perverted, and literally uncalled for.

    The turtle is the only animal that makes progress by sticking out its neck, and frankly, you make a lousy turtle. (What is it with conservatives and turtles in this country?) Finally, if you’re worried about the nuclear family, just don’t vote Republican. They’re always wanting to nuke somebody or a whole nation of somebodies, which causes extreme peril to families.

  • Truth first

    You mean you’re the loving type?

  • Proud Amelekite

    Of course. I wouldn’t be defending my LGBT brethren on a near constant basis if I didn’t love them.

  • Truth first

    Obviously you don’t do either.
    I believe we’re done here.
    My parting shot will be my as my opening shot:

    Once again, which part of:

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    don’t you understand?

  • Bones

    What did Jesus say about the Dutch Reformed Church, the creators of apartheid?

    “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

    Don’t you understand?

  • seashell

    Once again, which part of:..don’t you understand?

    All of it. Just like you.

  • He/she replied to a reply or a comment I made I didn’t even bother to respond

  • Truth first

    Wise thing to do!

  • The “isms” are making remarks and statements that don’t hold water and many times are in contradiction with the Bible. Even saying that the wonderful Name of Jesus doesn’t mean Salvation. And more of that nonense

  • Truth first

    I will try my best, Jonathan. I appreciate that last paragraph. And it IS true: Christianity is growing fast in countries like Indonesia and China. Allegedly 100 million Chinese are already Christian! Many are in house churches away from the prying eyes of the government.

  • Truth first

    It’s a dark and confused world out there, Five. Deception is just around every corner.

  • Bones

    Not like in a Dutch Reformed church hey, TF

    Apartheid isn’t an ism is it?

    And it’s not like you believe in fundamentalism or literalism

  • Bones

    Nah. They’re human beings who have studied the Bible more than you have.

    I see that threatens you.

    How about you go read the gospels and do what Jesus said to do and love your fellow human being.

  • REALLY???
    LEAVE ME ALONE and take your DECEPTIONS with you

  • Isn’t that the truth and much more!!! Every day I pray that the Eternal One teaches me His Truth and teach me to recognize false readings and remarks of others.
    The “isms” claim they have read the Bible, however the TRUE Message of God’s Word did not come across.

    And remarks in comments/replies like that I am a Baptist Pastor and I am proud to be gay and God made me that way. The apostasy in this world is maybe worse than in the days of Noah. And always denying the DEITY of Jesus. They haven’t a clue how Holy the God of the Bible is and there is no way to around the LORD, in case they think they can.

  • Thank you Pumpkin. I don’t respond to him anymore. He is denying the Deity of Jesus, the Only Way to salvation; holding the Eternal One responsible for most things that are going wrong.
    He claims he reads the Bible; that may be so but God’s Word sure has not come across because it does not show up in his remarks

  • Bones

    Nah, you kids should go and play with your DECEPTICONS somewhere else.

    It’s funny how you don’t see yourself as an ism as in fundamentalism, literalism, anti-intellectualism.

  • Bones

    Oh gee this is a discussion forum not your own Facebook page.

    If you don’t like having your views discussed then piss off.

  • Bones

    Well when you can’t substantiate your statements and are scared by someone who questions you, all you have is ignorance and pissing in the wind….

  • Bones

    That’s right. I educate others….

    well those who want to be educated….

  • Bones

    You really are quite childish. No wonder interacting with others is a threat to you.

  • Bones

    Yeah your ‘great conversations’ are on this thread.

    As inane as the 10 year olds I teach.

    Now if you don’t have anything of substance to contribute (which so far has been whingy don’t pick on my friend) to this article then piss off.

  • Bones

    I live in a secular liberal democracy.

    That is difficult for people like you to handle.

    It’s people like you who are a problem.

  • Bones

    Actually I live in Australia where we have free health care and tightly restricted gun laws and everyone here thinks that’s a good thing supported by our conservative Liberal Party btw. But yeah it’s the idiotic libs….

    No one’s taking away your republic.

    People want to be treated equally but that threatens people like you.

    And your kind are dying out in the western world like those who opposed racial equality.

    And given the quality of your conversation which can’t move beyond childish ‘liberals or losers’, it’s no surprise.

  • Thank you Alexandria :-)

  • That bones guy doesn’t know when to stop. Pumpkin, let it go he is none the wiser.

  • He has been bothering others too.

  • Pumpkin I really admire your patience.

  • ;-)

  • Yes I did the same thing a couple of days ago. That’s what made me not respond anymore. Thank you again Pumpkin :-)

  • Bones

    The Episcopal Church has been suspended from the Anglican communion because it has agreed to bless same sex marriages.

    This in a church where Anglican churches in Africa freely support laws which oppress homosexuals including calling for the death penalty in Uganda, with no sanction at all.

    The Selective Outrage of the Anglican Church

    The global communion suspended its Episcopal branch for accepting same-sex marriage—yet has failed to address dubious behavior of its leaders elsewhere.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/the-selective-outrage-of-the-anglican-church/424569/

  • graceismessy

    Benjamin,
    I am sitting here in the buckle of the Bible Belt, screaming “yes!!!” My closest guy friend of 8 years just invited me to coffee this week to tell me that because I write blogs that show love and grace to the LGBTQ community, I am going to hell and dragging all my readers with me. “Their blood is on your hands, thus saith the Lord.” I’m totally going to share this. It is EXACTLY the response I needed earlier this week. THANK YOU!

  • Snooterpoot

    That is a disgusting comment. Shame on you. Pedophiles take advantage of innocent kids, and is in no way related to same-sex intimacy. Incest often involves power and control, and it is in no way related to same-sex intimacy.

    As Bones said, your slippery slope argument totally lacks credibility.

    People like you should get your voyeuristic imaginations out of the bedrooms of strangers. You haven’t been invited there. It’s creepy, and it’s disgusting. And it seems to be an obsession of fundamentalist Christians.

  • Truth first

    Thanks for your balanced and well-informed response to my posting on God’s viewpoint on sin in general and sexual sins in particular. For someone “”who desires honest, but civil discussion” you seem to be exploring the limits of “civil”, if you allow me to make that observation.

    Just before you even get even hotter under the collar and run the risk of endangering the recovery process of what must have been a harrowing Southern Baptist experience: I am NOT equating what pedophiles do with what happens between two consenting adults within the spheres of a homosexual relationship. And btw, pedophilia covers more than incest. All I am saying is that within the context of sin, those sins committed with the body have an extra weighting in God’s eyes. Not my opinion, the Bible tells me so. I also see a legal slide into accepting ALL types of sin that were previously highly frowned upon or even taboo but are now tolerated, accepted or even put on par with behaviour that is not sinful.

    But I want to move away from the default condemnation you ascribe to me of people of a different sexual orientation than myself. I have read some moving stories and through my interaction with gays on Disqus I have come to understand their struggles better. I have read about courageous decisions and feelings of guilt, about difficult lives and desperate efforts to somehow fit in, sometimes against better judgement. I appreciate those efforts and perhaps even admire them, because they have led to challenging, sometimes even double lives. I acknowledge that the physical tendencies and urges could be such that it would seem as if one gets born as a gay or lesbian.

    All I say is: God would want us to live fulfilled lives and explore and fulfill the measure of Jesus Christ that we all have been given as Christians. Man and women have been created differently, with different, complementary roles to fulfil in order to blossom as people. One cannot deny that a GLBTQ lifestyle is NOT conducive to achieve God’s purpose with us in this regards.

  • Snooterpoot

    I offer civil discussion when warranted. When people like me are labeled as sinners simply because of whom and how we love, then civil discussion is thrown out the window. Your messages have been antagonistic from the beginning.

    You say that you know the truth because the Bible tells you so. That, sir or madam, is your truth from your interpretation of the scriptures. There are millions of other Christians who disagree with you.

    I stand by my comment that evangelical/fundamentalist Christians seem to be obsessed with the sexual activity of strangers, and that it’s creepy and disgusting.

    Attend to your own sins; everyone has plenty of them. Loving, sharing intimacy with and marrying another person of the same sex are not among them.

    I will be recovering from my Southern Baptist indoctrination until the day that I die. Such is the evil that I was taught as truth.

  • It must be nice to have the privilege of being able to be “gentle and diplomatic” about what you believe about homosexuality– which, I suppose, is a concept you can choose to be diplomatic about when it’s not your life.

  • Truth first

    Dear S,

    Civility is as civility does. You cannot “desire” civil discussion and then deviate from it the moment someone disagrees with you. This is a discussion/debating website after all, isn’t it?

    We are ALL sinners, myself included, and ALL have to repent when we sin. Yet when we are reborn our identity is not that one of a sinner anymore. We are not slaves to sin anymore, but slaves to righteousness via Jesus Christ. David Pawson in The Key of Unlocking The Bible on the book of Galatians says it very aptly:

    after our justification we are free NOT to sin.

    When we sin (which we still do, as the old self is still there and we haven’t quite died to the flesh) it will not be the planned kind of scheming that will be at the source of it. We do not accidently rob a bank or set up a pyramid scheme to rob people of their money. Having accidental same sex attractions would NOT fall in that category, same sex unions DO..

    However, when we set ourselves up for transgressions by living in an environment, situation or partnership that almost inescapably leads to sin, we cross a line which we cannot cross as a reborn, Bible believing Christian.

    If you are not a Christian these things count for little, as sin does not count for you and as long as nobody gets hurt and all have a good time, and it feels good, it should be OK. As Christians, however, we have raised the bar and do not just do what feels good, or is, or has become acceptable, but try to steer away from those situations that have been predetermined by God to be undesirable to pursue. If you claim to be a Christian (and I believe you do) I am not just allowed, but it is my God ordained duty to approach you as a brother in Christ and communicate to you, with reference to God’s word, where for whatever reason you have lost the narrow path God has set out for us, provided of course that I am not sinning in the same area that you are.

    I am not condemning you to hell, S, but try to open your eyes for the reality of God’s holiness. Neither are you a thief or a criminal. I have come to appreciate the difficulties that GLTBQ people have as a result of their minority choices. This is NOT a matter of
    “evangelical/ fundamentalist Christians seeming to be obsessed with the sexual activity of strangers, and that it’s creepy and disgusting”, but a genuine attempt to direct you to God’s word and hope that it convicts you to change.

    I would like to conclude with the words of the Pope Francis (not a favourite of mine, but in this case he has got it spot on): “There can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union.

  • Apollos

    It’s basic humanity to lie, cheat, steal, and have sex with everyone we are sexually attracted to… So, churches should affirm that basic humanity as well?

    What this is about is simple. God, who claims his right over ALL of his creation (including you too), tells us for what purpose he creates us and how we should use the bodies and minds that he has given us. If we decide that he has no right over us and that we can live as we wish, then we will be caste out just as a defective thing should be destroyed and just as a disease-carrying mosquito should be exterminated. God has the right to tell you and your body what you should and should not do while in it for it belongs to him as he is the one who fashioned and created it.

  • Apollos

    It is not wise to equate World Vision or any single organization with Evangelicalism. Evangelicalism is a movement of people who simply believe that God’s Word is true and is the only measure for our lives. As long as this is what defines Evangelicalism, then you are throwing the baby out with the bath water to stop identifying as an Evangelical — In the end, you are only hurting yourself for there is no other Christian movement on this green earth that confesses any purer doctrine or teaching than that of Evangelicals as a whole.

  • It is not in my humanity to lie, cheat, steal, or have sex with everyone I meet. Don’t cast your personal failings on me. Or ‘humanity.’

    As for the rest of your diatribe comparing people like me to a diseased mosquito that needs to be exterminated, well….I’ve heard worse. But thank you for your Christian charity.

  • Apollos

    Yes, it is. You suppress those desires as all of us do. Just because you don’t do them all the time or any of the time, doesn’t mean that it is not a part of your basic humanity. You better believe that it is and homosexuals can also suppress or satisfy their desires in the way that God has given them to do it. No one ever died from not have sexual relations.

    You can choose to take what I said personally or not personally. But, the next time you decide to get kill a rat who is harmful to your home or business, then you can understand that, just as you have the right to kill that rat or to keep him out of your home, God also has the right to caste you and me out of his home (this good creation he made and the next too).

  • I didn’t say I equated World Vision to Evangelicalism. I did say it was my last straw in using the label, yes, after a few hundred other straws before that (and a bunch more since). So yes, I agree with you that we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. But we’re not talking about one isolated misuse of the term. If I asked 100 people on the street what evangelical meant, 99 of them would say something that doesn’t describe me. That’s not worth my energies right now.

    My allegiance is to Jesus, not that or any other label (Anabaptist is generally the best one at the moment). And language changes. In the popular definition, “evangelical” has changed and doesn’t describe me anymore. It’s just language – words used to convey ideas. The ideas conveyed don’t describe me anymore, so I’m not going to keep using the word and causing unnecessary confusion.

  • Apollos

    Sorry. It is not just words or language. It is the only word used to describe a large group of people who hold to basic sound teachings from the Bible. Anabaptist were a 16th century movement describing a group of people who broke away from the RCC and the Protestant Reformation movement because of their beliefs in re-baptizing. These people were the forerunners to Evangelicals and are the grandfathers of the movement.

    You can either be by yourself (against Scripture), RCC or Orthodox (holding the traditions of men to be equal or greater than Scripture, or Mainline Protestant (mostly denying Scripture’s authority outright). There is no other choices within Christianity.

  • Snooterpoot

    When you say that my sexual orientation in and of itself is sinful, and that my expression of my love for my wife is sinful, then civil conversation has ended, and it wasn’t ended by me.

    Your interpretation of the Bible is not the only one that is valid, and your interpretation of the scripture does not entitle you to approach others and say they have strayed from the path.

    You claim to be civil by hiding behind the Bible to make your hurtful and judgmental comments. You might even think you are coming from a place of love. But, Truth, you are not. It’s not up to you to decide if your comments are loving; it’s up to the person or people to whom they are directed, and I can tell you right now that my perception of your comments is anything but loving.

    We are finished. If you want to reply to this comment and, once again, accuse me of being unwilling to engage in civil dialogue, sobeit.

    May you be richly blessed.

  • Truth first

    Dear S,

    I agree we should be finished and would leave you with a last parting shot. Please accept that I am not rejecting you as a human being. I do not even dislike you as I know far too little of you. There is a fair chance that you are a valuable member of society, creative, caring, well educated and with above average social engagement levels which will put many Bible-believing Christians to shame. You are likely to have a well-developed sense of justice in many respects, may be an excellent sportswoman, will genuinely love many a neighbour quite different from yourself and contribute in many ways to the good of the community you are part of. These are not things I am denying you because you have chosen for a same sex union.

    What does upset me is that you are deliver a triple whammy to me, other Bible believing Christians and, most importantly, the Creator and Grand Designer of the Universe.

    Firstly you clearly go against both the letter and the spirit of God’s Word. However bold you make your assertions, however often you repeat that what I said is just my interpretation/opinion, deep in your heart you KNOW that it takes a heck of a lot of fancy theological footwork to pronounce right what is so clearly wrong. You’re a rebel against God, S, and deep down you know that.

    Secondly, you are not only following the path that you are, but are also trying to justify it. You created your own definition of marriage, and in doing so made God (who clearly defined marriage) out to be wrong. This is the perhaps pinnacle of human arrogance, as we are just the clay and God is still the potter.

    Thirdly you don’t only do the things you do and try to justify them, you also promote them and condemn those who accept and following God’s precepts, claiming they are less of a Christian than you are. In fact you are turning the world upside down. That is skating on extremely thin doctrinal ice.

    Frankly, S, I have become sick and tired of being told by self professing Christians who are so clearly in the wrong that I must change and dance to their tune. I am sick and tired of pseudo Christians calling themselves Christians, even reborn, when they are very unlikely are, judging from their behaviour and pronunciations. They are making life so much more difficult for orthodox Bible believing Christians who are now scorned not only by non-Christians, but by what should be their brothers and sisters in Christ, but are clearly not.

    It is NOT me who is wrong, but those who have chosen to raise a middle-finger to God by redefining what Christianity and Jesus teachings entail.

    In Disqus I have read some excellent, touching stories of men who have struggled with their homosexuality but did so quietly and with integrity, without pushing the issue and accusing ME to be wrong. I have nothing but the greatest respect for that.

    But you cannot have your cake and eat it, S. You cannot be in a same sex union AND believe you are still in God’s will, and pronounce as such and condemn those who disagree with you. This I will argue and fight against till my dying breath.

    Still, Snooterpoot, I wish you well. Seek God’s counsel first before you open your ears and eyes to an unsaved, confused and wicked world.

  • Bones

    Rejecting you and your homophobia is not a rejection of God.

    Just because people give you the middle finger for behaving like a dick, doesn’t mean they are giving it to God.

    Heavens above, actually do something positive with your life instead of trolling gay people.

    Gay people are sick and tired of self righteous jerks like you.

  • Bones

    And people have every right to slap his arguments down.

    He’s not interested in discussing the issue either and posters like Snooter put up with this sort of nonsense all the time.

  • Bones

    No he isn’t. He’s gunning for the gay people here to make them straight lest they burn. Full of intimidation and ‘antagonistic’ as said by Snooterpot and some of the other gay posters.
    That’s why he came.

    There’s no room for discussion when you think you have the mind of god.

  • Truth first

    We have all been given, as children of God who KNOW they have been saved and where they will spend the rest of eternity, a better view of God’s mind, since during our justification/rebirth God regenerated us, including our minds. Still, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and his thinking is so much higher than ours. Yet we now understand things differently and see things we did not see before. So in a way we understand God and the Gospel better now than before. All the answers we have not, but God has given us increased discernment and a boldness to reveal to the world His wisdom whether the world likes it or not.

    Bones does not want to accept that, as you correctly said, which is why he unrelentingly keeps on trolling, taunting, insulting and accusing those who have been regenerated and see things that are spiritually discerned differently. His immature teenage-like vengeful and unforgiving behaviour (he ignored 3 peace offerings, remember?) set a sad example for the outside world and provide the wrong impression of what brothers and sisters in Christ should be like. As I said earlier, Alyssa, you’re too good to be made upset by him. Don’t feed this dog any leftovers. He’s not worth it.

  • Truth first

    You mean on the Patheos website? Where can I find you there? Had a look at one of the short Kelly’s. Sounds almost like one of the evangelical seeker sensitive church pastors…Will let you know more later. Have been out arranging passports at the Embassy. Two day’s job here just to travel up, fill in the forms and travel back the next day. SJ is prolific! Must start working part-time to keep up with her Big Data approach to things…;)

  • Herm

    “We have all been given, as children of God who KNOW they have been saved and where they will spend the rest of eternity, a better view of God’s mind, since during our justification/rebirth God regenerated us, including our minds.”

    How can you who brandish the avalon of Truth First dare to claim you know where you will spend the rest of eternity?

    None of us on earth in the Spirit of God know where or what heaven and/or hell and/or death in reality is. None of us children of God have been let out of the crib of earth to experience any of those eternal places following this carnal life. The Holy Spirit can fill our hearts and minds but in no way can we come even close to beginning to know God’s heart and mind, with no beginning and no end, beyond our own experiences.

    You, my friend, speak with forked tongue about truth you do not know.

  • Herm

    OH, NO, Bones is a liberal teacher of kids?!?!?! How dare he when my only trusted Teacher is divinely capable of unmerited love (liberal grace) to teach even me. He tells me it is equally the student’s responsibility, as it is the teacher’s, to be good in conversation. Hummm???

  • Truth first

    What I meant and what you did not pick up was that I know that I will spent my life after this in the presence of the Lord God Almighty. “Faith is to be sure of what we hope for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)”. THAT is the beauty of Christianity and being reborn: we KNOW where we are going, unlike Muslims and those of other faiths. HOW exactly it will be, we do not know but hints have been given in Revelations (golden streets, tree of life, God’s light shining everywhere, no sun required, nor sea or mountains, no animals!). We have been given enough in his Word to look forward to “Meeting our Maker”! Heaven is that place where we will be in the presence of God, that’s all we need to know. We have all been given a measure of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:7). God HAS totally and entirly regenerated us including our minds the moment we are reborn, which causes us to be different, and see things differently (e.g. six day divine creation instead of evolution). We start to see why ” What is exalted in the eyes of man if folly in God’s eyes (LUke 16:15) We know enough of God’d mind to know that it is immeasurably more elevated, just and sovereign than ours. Yet we share in his Spirit through the Holy Ghost.

  • Bones

    Dude you came on here specifically to preach at the gay posters on the site. But of course your accusations, insults, taunts, and trolling is doing the work of god isn’t it?

    As I said you can’t have discussions with anyone who thinks they have the mind of god.

    Its all about talking at people and converting them to your way of thinking ie your god’s.

    And that you think you’re regenerated and somehow the rest of us aren’t because we don’t bow to your immature us verses them theology just shows how arrogant you are.

  • Bones

    No you only communicate with those who share your own views or your trying to convert apparently.

    No one else is worth it.

  • Bones

    Wow I’ve really missed you too.

  • Bones

    ” he has no intention of engaging in discussion, ”

    No that’s your friends.

    Its easy to bail out when it gets too hard.

  • Herm

    You pass, let’s just converse within our own little mutual admiration company where we’re sure to be liberally understood. Since we are in complete agreement within such liberal boundaries we can have full faith that we’ll never be challenged, always be flattered and oh so joyful that our brilliance will be reflected back without any smudges of gray. What shall we call ourselves? Oh, how about TNLC, LLC. The No Longer Challenged, Limited Liability Company.

  • Herm

    Thank you for your blessing. I was hinting, as carefully as I know how through witty retort (sans angry), the teacher’s methodologies and strategies are as much the responsibility of the teacher to impart as it is the responsibility of the student’s methodologies and strategies to be receptive to attempt to understand. If someone, like Bones, is not as verbose, like Herm, does not in and of itself suggest not bringing “good conversation”. More often it suggests that the person to whom the “quip” in comment was offered did not understand what had been said in such a short fashion.

  • Bones

    God thinks you’re not much better than vermin who needs exterminating.

    Wow the gospel message has changed.

    If I had to believe that I’d be an atheist as well.

  • Bones

    Yes World Vision actually contributes to society and humanity as opposed to Evangelicalism

    Please don’t confuse the two.

  • Bones

    I think you’re alright, Irish.

    And I hope God is a better being than me.

  • Bones

    It’s basic humanity to divide along religious grounds and think that your understanding of the Divine trumps everyone else’s.

  • Truth first

    Never get tired, Bones?

  • Bones

    Well I’m in bed at the moment.

  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,

    “How can you who brandish the avalon of Truth First dare to claim you know where you will spend the rest of eternity?”

    Isn’t that is the basis of our faith and the absolute unmerited favour and privilege of being a Christian, Herm? After all, “faith is to be sure of what we hope for and the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrew 11:1).

    We are sure to enter God’s Kingdom the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour to the exclusion of all other gods and idols. The moment we acknowledge we are all born sinners and will avail to absolutely nothing if we do not reconcile ourselves with God, something we can only do because Jesus did this for us and shed his blood for us, we KNOW that we will spend the rest of eternity with Him. Hallelujah!

    Isn’t THAT what is the Good News? Does it get any better than that? When we acknowledge His resurrection, virgin birth, and all the other things our creed mentions, including his holy Trinity, we’re justified in God’s eyes, and are clothed in jesus cloak of righteousness, NOT our own. Our sins will be as if they were never there. When we accept the Bible as God’s word, God breathed, infallible and inerrant, God KNOWS you, and your name will be written in the book of life.

    All who are God’s children have been given a measure of Jesus Christ, whose helper is present in us. Through the Holy Spirit we are now better able to discern what is godly and what not. God grants us extra wisdom, even if this wisdom may seem folly in the eyes of an unbelieving world. “We receive a discernment that is literally “not of this world”.
    Luke 16:15
    “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. … But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts.
    1 Corinthians 3:18
    “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

    As for what heaven or hell will be like: the Bible gives pointers in the book of Revelation: streets of gold, yet transparent, shining the light of God everywhere. there will be a river if life and a tree of life straddling the two river sides. There will be no sun, moon, stars, sea, mountains and animals. We will be glorifying Jesus/God all the time. Hell is where the absence of God will be, the gnashing of teeth and the lake of fire which was made for the angels but which will be the residence of those not accepting Jesus Christ. So although we don’t know EXACTLY what it is, we do know ENOUGH to guide us in making the right decision.

    I meant it in THAT sense when I said that God reveals more of himself during our sanctification. In a way that could be seen as God giving us a better view of his mind. You’re right of course when you say that it is difficult to compare God’s infinite eternal mind to ours, granted. Yet we still are made in his image. But if you find my phrasing unfortunate, I would understand that, and might as well not use it that way. In any case, I hope that after my explanation your judgement of me speaking with a forked tongue will be somewhat less harsh. After all, I am not lying and in no way claim that God and we are even close to one, as too many panentheists do. It is just as well that God knows our hearts, isn’t it…;) Hope this helped.

    Yours in Christ,

    Truth First

  • Truth first

    Are you in a good mood or a bad mood?

  • Truth first

    Are you in a good mood or bad mood?

  • Truth first

    Good mood or bad mood?

  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,

    “How can you who brandish the avalon of Truth First dare to claim you know where you will spend the rest of eternity?”

    Isn’t that is the basis of our faith and the absolute unmerited favour and privilege of being a Christian, Herm? After all, “faith is to be sure of what we hope for and the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrew 11:1).

    We are sure to enter God’s Kingdom the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour to the exclusion of all other gods and idols. The moment we acknowledge we are all born sinners and will avail to absolutely nothing if we do not reconcile ourselves with God, something we can only do because Jesus did this for us and shed his blood for us, we KNOW that we will spend the rest of eternity with Him. Hallelujah!

    Isn’t THAT what is the Good News? Does it get any better than that? When we acknowledge His resurrection, virgin birth, and all the other things our creed mentions, including his holy Trinity, we’re justified in God’s eyes, and are clothed in Jesus’ cloak of righteousness, NOT our own. Our sins will be as if they were never there. When we accept the Bible as God’s word, God breathed, infallible and inerrant, God KNOWS you, and your name will be written in the Book of Life.

    All who are God’s children have been given a measure of Jesus Christ, whose helper is present in us. Through the Holy Spirit we are now better able to discern what is godly and what not. God grants us extra wisdom, even if this wisdom may seem folly in the eyes of an unbelieving world. We receive a discernment that is literally “not of this world”.

    Luke 16:15

    “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. … But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts.

    1 Corinthians 3:18

    “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

    As for what heaven or hell will be like: the Bible gives pointers in the book of Revelation: streets of gold, yet transparent, shining the light of God everywhere. there will be a river if life and a tree of life straddling the two river sides. There will be no sun, moon, stars, sea, mountains and animals. We will be glorifying Jesus/God all the time. Hell is where the absence of God will be, the gnashing of teeth and the lake of fire which was made for the angels but which will be the residence of those not accepting Jesus Christ. So although we don’t know EXACTLY what it is, we do know ENOUGH to guide us in making the right decision.

    I meant it in THAT sense when I said that God reveals more of himself during our sanctification. In a way that could be seen as God giving us a better view of his mind. You’re right of course when you say that it is difficult to compare God’s infinite eternal mind to ours, granted. Yet we still are made in his image. But if you find my phrasing unfortunate, I would understand that, and might as well not use it that way. In any case, I hope that after my explanation your judgement of me speaking with a forked tongue will be somewhat less harsh. After all, I am not lying and in no way claim that God and we are even close to one, as too many panentheists do. It is just as well that God knows our hearts, isn’t it…;) Hope this helped.

    Yours in Christ,

    Truth First

  • Truth first

    You’re in a good mood or bad mood?

  • Truth first

    Are you in a good mood or in a bad mood?

  • Truth first

    Won’t do. They’re removing my postings.

  • Truth first

    Looks like it.

  • Truth first

    Are you in a good or a bad mood?

  • Bones

    I’m always in a good mood.

  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,

    “How can you who brandish the avalon of Truth First dare to claim you know where you will spend the rest of eternity?”

    Isn’t that is the basis of our faith and the absolute unmerited favour and privilege of being a Christian, Herm? After all, “faith is to be sure of what we hope for and the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrew 11:1).

    We are sure to enter God’s Kingdom the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour to the exclusion of all other gods and idols. The moment we acknowledge we are all born sinners and will avail to absolutely nothing if we do not reconcile ourselves with God, something we can only do because Jesus did this for us and shed his blood for us, we KNOW that we will spend the rest of eternity with Him. Hallelujah!

    Isn’t THAT what is the Good News? Does it get any better than that? When we acknowledge His resurrection, virgin birth, and all the other things our creed mentions, including his holy Trinity, we’re justified in God’s eyes, and are clothed in Jesus’ cloak of righteousness, NOT our own. Our sins will be as if they were never there. When we accept the Bible as God’s word, God breathed, infallible and inerrant, God KNOWS you, and your name will be written in the Book of Life.

    All who are God’s children have been given a measure of Jesus Christ, whose helper is present in us. Through the Holy Spirit we are now better able to discern what is godly and what not. God grants us extra wisdom, even if this wisdom may seem folly in the eyes of an unbelieving world. We receive a discernment that is literally “not of this world”.

    Luke 16:15

    “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. … But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts.

    1 Corinthians 3:18

    “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

    As for what heaven or hell will be like: the Bible gives pointers in the book of Revelation: streets of gold, yet transparent, shining the light of God everywhere. there will be a river if life and a tree of life straddling the two river sides. There will be no sun, moon, stars, sea, mountains and animals. We will be glorifying Jesus/God all the time. Hell is where the absence of God will be, the gnashing of teeth and the lake of fire which was made for the angels but which will be the residence of those not accepting Jesus Christ. So although we don’t know EXACTLY what it is, we do know ENOUGH to guide us in making the right decision.

    I meant it in THAT sense when I said that God reveals more of himself during our sanctification. In a way that could be seen as God giving us a better view of his mind. You’re right of course when you say that it is difficult to compare God’s infinite eternal mind to ours, granted. Yet we still are made in his image. But if you find my phrasing unfortunate, I would understand that, and might as well not use it that way. In any case, I hope that after my explanation your judgement of me speaking with a forked tongue will be somewhat less harsh. After all, I am not lying and in no way claim that God and we are even close to one, as too many panentheists do. It is just as well that God knows our hearts, isn’t it…;) Hope this helped.

    Yours in Christ,

    Truth First

  • Truth first

    Well, always… You seem to have made verbal stick fighting your second nature…;). My poor Disqus Bones crash helmet cracks just about every time I receive one of your “servings”. Ignoring you has not had the desired result as you are still giving me stick anyway. It hurts, brother!

    Anyway, if your mood is good, that’s good, because I want to make peace with you. I am bad at fighting, especially since you may just be one of God’s children. I realised I may just have to give you the benefit of the doubt. Two Christians fighting it out in Disqus public, that’s not a good thing, Bones. Let’s make an end to our conflict and at least sign a truce. I will not shoot you down if you do not shoot me down. I will furthermore show restraint in tackling issues that you feel extremely strongly about. You know what I mean. That does not mean I won’t disagree on those topics at all, but that my debating style will be somewhat milder. Now show me that good mood of yours and stick out that right hand of yours!

  • Herm

    TF, I am so sorry for you, really. You are so indoctrinated in your movement away from your carnal family for survival as a child right into your church family which you believe for your spiritual survival.

    NO, the Good News is God, the personal touch of the Holy Spirit, is real, knowable for certain and working in our lives everyday, no supposition, no theory of theology.

    You wrote, “Isn’t that is the basis of our faith and the absolute unmerited favour and privilege of being a Christian, Herm?

    The basis of my faith is that all that Jesus teaches (present tense) is real and works today right here on earth carnally and spiritually. I trust (have faith in) Jesus when He tells me that I will enjoy the ocean beach, when I’ve never been outside of Kansas, when the whole family goes on vacation after my kindergarten graduation. I trust Him because I see and know Him equally as well as I did my carnal parents as a carnal child.

    I don’t follow Jesus’ teaching because some fellowship some where says, as members of His flock, we have unmerited favor and privilege not available to non-Christians. Can’t you see how many differing religions throughout this world think the same thing of those poor, ignorant other non-members without their special unmerited favor and privilege, all with not so divine results (fruit)?

    If you knew our creator God, more than just the fables of Jesus in the Bible, you wouldn’t dare speak as if you are chosen because you are Christian, sprinkled and/or immersed in holy water. The Israelites were chosen of God, were non-stop rebellious, to demonstrate how God can be right in their midst and yet by their favored and privileged authority they blindly murdered the only begotten Son of God, filled by the Holy Spirit, in the name of God.

    You wrote, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

    Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return.

    Job 15:31 (NIV2011)

    My friend, truly for I know you are honestly trying to help, you are trusting what is worthless. If following what you have been led to believe is Jesus (His commands) does not work for you today, for more peace and joy for all who share of your fruit, then it is worthless. If you cannot employ Matthew 5:43-48, 7:12 and 22:37-40 only because it makes life better for all those you love today then you truly have no day at the ocean beach in your future for you have not graduated the bare rudiments of kindergarten.

    You do not understand the reality of being in Christ and Christ in you according to John 14. You could not know the Spirit of truth in your spiritual heart and mind, in continual reciprocal prayer without ceasing, if you think God only reveals Himself/Themselves to those special chosen Christians. Jesus’ disciples (students) are those who look to Him because his teaching works today. All His true disciples (Christian members or not) have left all the traditions of influential teachings from all their carnal families, blood and religious, to pick up their cross for all, not just privileged Christian families, or Jewish families, or any organized religious family thinking they are special in God’s heart and mind over all others.

    You are deceived by your own will and not by those who you allow to deceive you. Blame no one for your blindness to God’s equal love for all others of Man. Heed your own words and risk to become foolish by going directly to Jesus and/or the Father of God in absolute humility to seek, ask and knock to be let in as you let the Dove in.

    I am sorry to be so harsh on your ego, vanity and pride of being so special but this is truth according to the Spirit. It is good that you challenge others in the name of Christ for He is here to teach as you are receptive. It is evil (destructive) to pass on conjecture derived second, third and often more than fourth hand as though this is truth that sets you, and us, apart in an exclusive club now destined for all the riches of a place you cannot know. God is as inclusive in His love as those He loves will allow. You can know to value and savor today in peace and joy for you are living it now. You can know the Spirit of truth for He is in your midst anxious to be let in to your heart and mind.

    I do hope, more than you could possibly know, that this helps you to find the inheritance you seek.

    Love,

    Herm

  • Herm
  • Herm
  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,
    Before I sink my teeth into your response, answer one question to me: who do YOU say Jesus that is?

  • Bones

    Well let’s hug it out.

    Group hug.

  • Truth first

    You’re going the extra mile, I see. I asked for a mere hand, and get the upper body half. That’s the spirit!

  • I read in a book somewhere that God loves us and adopts us as sons and daughters. Was that book wrong; are we really just vermin to the big man?

    Or to put it another way–you say it’s right for me to kill rats that are hurting my business. Is it also right to kill children who are hurting my business?

  • Herm

    Jesus is our Christ and Messiah. Jesus is my LORD with all authority over heaven and on earth, Teacher, High Priest, and, best of all to me, Brother who loves me and I Him with all we have. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Without being filled with the Dove I would not be in Jesus and Jesus could not be in me. Without the Spirit of truth I would not see Jesus this moment to know the peace and joy I feel right now. Without The Holy Spirit I would not be able to speak the word of God directly from the WORD. Whelmed by the Holy Spirit I am a living child of God. I serve no other master and my LORD’s yoke is light as He serves to carry most of the weight beside me. …

  • Truth first

    That sounds perfectly sound, Herm.

    Yet if we want Jesus to be our Saviour AND Lord we have to obey what He, as our Lord and Master, commands us. We have to acknowledge the exclusive role that He appropriates himself in spiritual matters, to the exclusion of all other spiritual side tracks. That’s what Jesus means when he says:

    “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody will come to the Father but through me”.

    We also have to realise that whatever blessings God bestows upon his children (those who seek the Father via Jesus Christ and repent) we don’t deserve, as we are born sinners who avail to nothing without Jesus and his helper, the Holy Spirit. This is what I meant when I wrote about “unmerited favour and privilege”, which is basically the definition of GRACE. That grace is potentially available to ALL people of the world, but they HAVE to make a choice EXCLUSIVELY for Jesus, that’s the one condition. No good works are required to move into an eternal presence of God, and yet that’s what the other religions of the world believe, that good works will get you to heaven/God. Of course good works will naturally flow out of one who has chosen to follow Jesus.

    You write:

    I don’t follow Jesus’ teaching because some fellowship somewhere says, as members of His flock,

    we have unmerited favor and privilege not available to non-Christians. Can’t you see how many differing religions throughout this world think the same thing of those poor, ignorant other non-members without their special unmerited favor and privilege, all with not so divine results (fruit)?

    Christianity is the only faith that claims not to be a myth, the main players of which have been historically verified, including the miracles, and which has the moral credibility and humility in line with the reality of the human condition (we’re inclined to mess up rather than “be good”) to make the worship of its God a worthy undertaking. You cannot be a follower of Jesus and maintain that people of other faiths will be dealt with in the same way as God’s children. Christians have lost their lives for not renouncing Christ! How can they receive the same rewards as unbelievers? The Bible is very clear on that. God will present himself to anyone who honestly seeks the Truth, even if they initially do not equate The Truth with Jesus Christ. The large number of Muslims presently turning to Jesus Christ, in spite of the danger of that, is astounding and proof that God does things His way.

    If you knew our creator God, more than just the fables of Jesus in the Bible, you wouldn’t dare speak as if you are chosen because you are Christian, sprinkled and/or immersed in holy water.

    What do you mean by that? Are you saying that the Bible LIES about the life of Jesus Christ?!

    The Israelites were chosen of God, were non-stop rebellious, to demonstrate how God can be right in their midst and yet by their favored and privileged authority they blindly murdered the only begotten Son of God, filled by the Holy Spirit, in the name of God.

    God has his own reason to favour the Jews, and much of it was based on Abraham’s faith which was “counted as righteousness to him”. It is not on us to question God’s sovereignty. And without the Jews crucifying Jesus God’s plan of salvation would not have become available to us, gentiles!

    You wrote, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.”

    I did not write that. That is literal biblical truth.

    Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return.

    My friend, truly for I know you are honestly trying to help, you are trusting what is worthless.

    That’s a very dangerous thing to say, Herm. I believe in the biggest Treasure the world has ever known: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and do so uncompromisingly. You claim that that gospel is worthless? You’re on very thin ice indeed!!

    You seem to fail to grasp the basic tenets of our faith, Herm, and want your ears tickled by the world. Deception is everywhere and at this stage you are swallowing it and lack the discernment to distinguish what is of the world and what is of God. Ask for guidance from a patient God who wants the best for you but who does expect obedience and the exclusive worship of his Son, Jesus Christ.

    Yours in Christ,

    Truth First

  • Bones

    Looks like he didn’t like your answer, Herm

    I think you’re a good bloke. And so does God.

    Cheers

    Bones

  • Bones

    A great quote in Herman C. Waetjen‘s A Reordering of Power a Socio-Political Reading of Mark’s Gospel. In it he writes of the passion of the Christ in Mark 14-16:

    Now at the end of his life, at the moment of his physical death, the curtain of the sanctuary is torn apart, and God comes forth again. Jesus’ earlier symbolic act of invalidating the temple institution is consummated by the divine exit from the Holy of Holies. Consequently the architectonic center of Judaism is canceled. The old order, which is represented by the temple, its sacrifices and its hierocracy, is abolished. Jerusalem is no longer the navel of the world where heaven and earth are united and where God’s presence is uniquely experienced. Heaven and earth have been reconciled cosmically and universally. Accordingly, the binary opposition between the sacred and the secular, constituted by the temple as the axis mundi of Judaism, is dissolved. Both are reunited, and the entire creation once again becomes ambiguously sacred and profane. Henceforth no geographical, religious, social, sexual, or racial lines can be drawn to separate the clean from the unclean, good from evil, life from death. God’s presence will be experienced everywhere or anywhere without the necessity of atoning sacrifices or a mediating priesthood. God’s presence will be experienced wherever the eschatological reality of the New Humanity that Jesus incarnated throughout his ministry is encountered.

  • Truth first

    Very eloquent, Bones. You’re improving the quality of your rebuttals!

  • Herm

    You aren’t half shabby either. Thanks!

    I only wish TF liked himself much better. He doesn’t realize it but from our perspective he doesn’t have much love to go around, not much to share with his neighbor as himself.

    Too bad so many practicing the religion of self indulgent exclusionism are blind to how much quality time you, Bones, spends helping to shed some light on the real truth of God’s love just for them. I thank you for your valuable time shared in challenging, stimulating and leading all of us who are far too near sighted for our own good, much less our merciful Ausie and world neighbors.

    I love you and have it from a very reliable source that God loves you infinitely more. What you offer rings so much more true than what I receive from Truth First or SJ or … drawn to argue by the lgbtq, liberal and progressive labels.

  • Herm

    TF, do you know that I’ve heard all you say for the last 60 years and have seriously considered it all? Do you know that I was sprinkled 59 years ago and immersed 37 years ago? Do you know that I have been in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ for 54 years throughout the world including in combat in Vietnam and prison ministries in Folsom prison? Do you know that I am educated and experienced in physical, social and spiritual sciences; as well as I am a protestant seminarian? If you do not, even though I have been open here regarding my short journey to this point, you do not know that I was not baptized/whelmed/filled by the Holy Spirit until I had lost all I thought I had earned (family, church and occupation) 21 years ago.

    With all the “have to”s you just spoke as though God to me, along with “You seem to fail to grasp the basic tenets of our faith”, I’m deeply frustrated with how blind you truly are to the Truth. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I see Him. I am in Him. He is in me. From my firsthand knowledge how credible do you think your judgments might seem. Let me be very clear you are blind to the Spirit of truth.

    Let’s go through a long biblical study and I highly suggest you take diligent note.

    Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    John 14:5-7 (NIV2011)

    Please note that in one sentence “the Father” is noted and in the next sentence it is “my Father”.

    Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 13:11 (NIV2011)

    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

    Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

    Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    Matthew 16:15-19 (NIV2011)

    Please note that the rock Jesus’ church is built on is the way Peter knew Jesus is the Messiah.

    When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Luke 3:21-22 (NIV2011)

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

    Acts 4:31 (NIV2011)

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” is the Holy Spirit, the Dove, speaking through Jesus. To the Holy Spirit the Father is not His Father as the Father is our, all the children of God’s, Father.

    If you get time, and if you are serious that the truth be first you will, read and digest all in Exodus chapters 19 through 34. That is the most you will ever read that is God speaking in your Bible until you get to the witnesses of Jesus with the Spirit of truth speaking in the New Testament. Note that the tabernacle’s design was precise for that was the first prophesy of the sacrifice of the first born Lamb for us, not for God, carried all the way through to the temple in which the curtain before the Holy of Holies was torn on the Lamb’s last breath.

    Pay very close attention to the Decalogue that was written two times in stone by the hand of God.

    “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    “You shall have no other gods before me.

    “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

    “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

    “You shall not murder.

    “You shall not commit adultery.

    “You shall not steal.

    “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    Exodus 20:2-17 (NIV2011)

    Now compare the Decalogue to the following verses:

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:12 (NIV2011)

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV2011)

    Luke 10:27, Matthew 7:12 and Matthew 22:37-40 are the Decalogue spelled out so even the simplest of us can understand the whole law. This was Jesus’ way of editing all the embellishments the Levites, Pharisees, Sadducee, Attorneys, kings and high priests added to the law throughout the ages. Paul, Peter and James embellished.

    And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!

    Matthew 18:3-7 (NIV2011)

    I can safely say that Peter, Paul and James didn’t embellish in the letters and administration of the early church so bad as to cause too many little ones to stumble, not the ones, as in Acts 4:31, who were filled by the Holy Spirit. But definitely since Constantine’s patronage of Christianity many have embellished by their own logic and authority on the law of God to have caused far too many to stumble: Christian church sponsored segregation, witch hunts, dehumanizing slavery, and deadly crusades financed by rape and pillage, and “Shock and Awe” come immediately to mind.

    TF, I certainly do not fail to grasp the basic tenets of your faith for I’ve been there and trained in those tenets. My faith is not that Jesus exists for He I see and know for sure. My undying faith is that even as a little ignorant otherwise worthless child born of God Jesus loves and serves me as my King and does not expect me to serve Him except through reciprocal love. We did not fall from anything at any time for children who cannot walk in the realm cannot fall far. God has been with us from the beginning without fail to protect, provide, nurture and teach us, we who are no more responsible than newborns, as abundantly as we are ready and freely choose to let Them serve us.

    It is not your fault that you are ignorant of the Holy Spirit in your midst but it is your responsibility to realize the inadequacies of your family’s (blood and church) traditions and rituals to ask, seek and knock for the Spirit of truth to enter in to you to learn from Jesus only (Luke 14:26 and 27).

    The following verses came to mind by all you just told me that we/I have to do to obey Jesus when He in truth made His commands and my Father’s will for the most simple to understand and obey:

    “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

    Matthew 11:16-17 (NIV2011)

    If you go to the Father and Jesus to ask that Them directly to keep you safe from the deceptions of this world do you not believe They are capable of doing so? If you prayed as those in Acts 4:31 did do you not believe that you too could be filled (100% whelmed but not over-whelmed) by the Holy Spirit, or does your faith tell you the Holy Spirit was only alive and available to the early church chronicled in the New Testament of your Bible. Do you believe the word of God can be spoken without your Bible today?

    Oh, by the Way, Jesus is not the savior for Christians but already, nearly 2,000 years now, saved the entire world. It is painfully sad that so many who carry His name as their exclusive authority so very often isolate and eliminate others who would otherwise get to know Jesus as their Brother. There are many in this fellowship who recognize this and are doing the best they can to shine the true light of Jesus that is welcoming to all who truly put the Truth, His Spirit of truth, first.

  • Truth first

    I am impressed with your contents-driven response!
    Tell me, Bones: were you always a liberal Christian or do you come from a conservative background originally?

  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,

    I am impressed with your credentials, honestly. You have come a long way in many respects, been down and out it seems and looked up to the heavens and expected (rightfully so) that your help would come from there. You are also a very courageous man having served in war-torn Vietnam, and having preached in Folsom Prison. You have embraced your first love in seminary, a youngster still probably and driven by the freshness of your conviction. I, and with me many other Christians, are duly impressed with your pedigree. Once again, although I am not too many years younger than you are, I have achieved less in this respect.

    And for that reason you deserve to be respected and approached with due respect. My remark: “You seem to fail to grasp the basic tenets of our faith”, does not show that respect. I apologize for the phrasing of that sentence.

    Let me explain what drove me to make that rather harsh judgement.

    Firstly you called the biggest treasure of my life, and of any Bible believer’s life, “worthless”. That is unacceptable, Herm. We may differ in our conviction, you cannot label uncompromising adherence to God’s Word a worthless exercise, and label The Truth, the Good News of the Gospel, worthless, even if you do not agree.

    Secondly, one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith (if not THE most important one) is that ONLY via Jesus we can enter Heaven and come to know the/our Father. (I am not interested in semantics here that may or may not prove or deny the Trinity). I know the implications, power and veracity of those words spoken by God’s Son. They were the very words that sparked the rebirth of my wife, who comes from a Hindu background. Like no other she knows the bondage that comes with a believe in many deities and many “roads to God”. There are NO other ways to God, you HAVE to acknowledge that as a Christian! The “many mansions in heaven” are NOT referring to other beliefs. It’s simply NOT true.

    If we fail to tell the world of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, we show ourselves to be ashamed of Him. We are afraid to be seen as intolerant. Face it, Herm. Why did Jesus call the Gospel a two edged sword? Why did he warn us that it will split families and nations? The Gospel will NOT bring peace in the worldly sense. The peace he is talking of is of the peace that comes with the embrace of the ENTIRE counsel of God, and the resulting status as heirs of his Kingdom, irrespective of what follows. Not only the bit that the world likes.

    Thirdly, Jesus tells us to be discerning and vigilant and aware of deceptions. Those who proclaim a different Gospel will be punished heavily by a just and holy God. We are his subjects and follow him. He will listen to our prayers and make that:
    ” in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
    Once again there is that proviso: only His children, not unbelievers!

    Fourthly, a point of worry that upset me greatly was when you wrote:

    ” If you knew our creator God, more than just the fables of Jesus in the Bible, you wouldn’t dare speak as if you are chosen because you are Christian, sprinkled and/or immersed in holy water

    FABLES?! In the Bible?! You have not yet explained what you meant by that. You will admit that without context or explanation that sounds like a terrible thing to say for a Christian!

    Then fifthly about your ignoring of the importance of the Law. Even if we would ignore the Ten Commandments and summarise them as in Matthew 7:12:
    ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    then still the issue is: how do we love the Lord our God as he wants us to do, and our neighbour like ourself?

    Personally I believe that by saying that there are more than one way to heaven goes against God’s very own words in the first, second and third commandments. Do we REALLY honour and love the Lord our God if we believe, and make other people to believe, that they will go to heaven without a saving faith in Jesus Christ? I think He will be absolutely horrified!

    Also consider Matthew 8:17-19
    ” Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18″For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19″Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.…”

    Jesus is talking here!

    As an Assembly of God church member I am not a secessionist. God is able to appear to individuals in the spiritual realms/dreams to provide personal guidance and premonitions. However, these are NOT new teachings or adaptations for the ENTIRE church. That truth was established and closed in the fourth century AD.

    Finally my biggest bone of contention with your theology.

    “Oh, by the Way, Jesus is not the savior for Christians but already, nearly 2,000 years now, saved the entire world. It is painfully sad that so many who carry His name as their exclusive authority so very often isolate and eliminate others who would otherwise get to know Jesus as their Brother.

    God WANTS all to be saved, but demands conversion first:
    1 Timothy 2:4
    ” [God] who wants all people to be saved and to be converted to a knowledge of the truth.”

    Jesus DID die for the entire world, so that everyone has the POTENTIAL to become a child of God, but still demands that conversion.

    In short, Herm: God is no respecter of people, and in the end to Him it does not matter whether you did seminar or an theological degree, or not. If anything, more often than not theology studies take people away from the life saving faith of Jesus Christ. The true light of Jesus does not contain wavelengths that allow for more than one way. What God wants is an uncompromising embrace of our first love, a love that can be understood by a child that is much more inclined to accept miracles or the Jesus-only requirement for the faith. He looks at our heart and how we are prepared to stick our necks out for him. We are in this world, not off it. Our neighbourly love is more served with telling people the truth than to lull them in a false sense of security that they are “good people” irrespective of their conviction.

    As a preacher man you have an enormous responsibility to preach the Truth, Herm. I pray that you will receive God’s discernment to separate what is of God and what is of his adversary.

    Yours in Christ,
    Truth First

  • Herm

    TF, I have no pedigree other than as a relatively newborn infant born of God. My credentials mean absolutely nothing except to show how serious I am. I am not the Teacher who I did not see until I was 51 years old to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I still use the Bible to bring people out of the Bible and into Jesus as their only Teacher. Paul still used his organizational skills learned as a Pharisees to coordinate the best he knew how the growing church of Christ.

    Let me help you a bit on a couple of things you wrote for I learned from Jesus how they were meant. Take it or leave it but it helps to make some sense of all the things Jesus is witnessed to have said.

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV2011)

    Everything Jesus was asked to accomplish by our Father was finished at His last breath on the cross and, at that moment and for three days, for Jesus, the WORD at the beginning, the heaven and the earth disappeared. The curtain was torn top to bottom and the covenant authority of the Moses seat, upon which sat the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (attorneys in the tradition of the Levites), was ended. Upon Jesus rising from the dead the temple was rebuilt in the hearts and minds of all filled by the Holy Spirit, to be administered for all time by Jesus as the High Priest. God is worshiped only in the Spirit by those in God. That is where Jesus’ church can be found today.

    TF, you asked, “then still the issue is: how do we love the Lord our God as he wants us to do, and our neighbour like ourself?”

    But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

    In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    Luke 10:29-37 (NIV2011)

    Do you see yourself as per chance the expert in the law? Substitute homosexual, Muslim or Hindu for Samaritan and see if you could be a little more personal than the one who had mercy on him. Your neighbor is not your enemy no matter how despicable you might have thought they were before they showed you mercy.

    In the same vein, though you may not be able to see it from your perspective:

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

    That is precisely, without any doubt, how you will know how to love the LORD your God.

    You asked, “Why did he warn us that it will split families and nations?

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

    Luke 14:26-27 (NIV2011)

    You may know that the sword Jesus and His disciples carry today is from their mouth.

    This you alluded to in a letter from Paul to Timothy:

    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

    1 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV2011)

    I would agree that Paul was called to be a teacher of Jesus but not a teacher for Jesus. Remember nothing was compiled to be presented as scripture yet following the book of Malachi in your Bible. Understand that nothing in the Bible was edited, endorsed or canonized by God though everything in the Bible was inspired by the author’s relationship with God. The only commands directly written by God’s hand is the Decalogue. The only trustworthy and inerrant Teacher is Jesus Christ. All claims to the inerrancy of the Bible are purely from those Pharisaical types who seek authority which is no longer theirs plus they know the Holy Spirit and the Messiah in their midst enough to crucify a child of God in God’s name as did the original Pharisees. The Bible is not sacred, the word of God is, as spoken boldly in Acts 4:31.

    TF, I know, see and am in Jesus Christ right this moment so you might understand why I totally hurt for you if this is true; “Firstly you called the biggest treasure of my life, and of any Bible believer’s life, “worthless”.” A documentary on television is only a dim vicarious relationship not nearly as of value as relating in person to the now past that what was documented to peak interest. If the documentary does not entice you to get up and go to meet the subject, if possible, for real then it failed in its mission. Compared to the real WORD your Bible is worthless if it does not bring you to Christ as the most valuable relationship in all the things that I shared with you earlier that Christ means to me today, in person.

    This is the beginning of prompting a one on One relationship with Christ free from the Bible, your words, “They were the very words that sparked the rebirth of my wife, who comes from a Hindu background.

    I know in my heart and mind today that Gandhi was more filled by the Holy Spirit than Franklin Graham discerned from each of their fruits. The Holy Spirit has no name and neither does God. A name is not necessary when you know and call each in the spirit by the essence of their fruit. Christians are not saved by their named membership but those in the Spirit are. This may be difficult to understand having to answer to your Assembly of God church. As an elder I too had to answer to more authority than that of Jesus and my Father. Now I am free to seek the truth Jesus teaches only.

    I am embarrassed by the ingrained habits of my being such a long time “preacher man”. Today, there is no “enormous responsibility” to speak the truth, only a more peaceful easily handled responsibility to point to He who most surely does know and speaks the truth, often as a double edged sword.

    Unless all your lessons learned are from Jesus directly you too will have moments of being Jesus’ adversary speaking from your interpretation of the law and not His with full authority to do so from our Father. All that I share with you in confrontation is inspired because you have shown throughout that, your words, “the biggest treasure of my life” is a book and not what the book is all about.

    My wife is infinitely a greater treasure, given to me by God, in my life than the Bible. My oh so short opportunity of carnal life, gifted me by God and my parents, is a greater treasure than the Bible. Nothing as far as valuable treasures are concerned is greater than my relationship with and in God by an eternity. If the Bible does not enhance all of those treasures in my life today then it is worthless to me.

    You are and have been in my continual prayer with God, now also your wife, that you may find what I know you seek beyond your Bible but remain blinded by your church’s influence, no less so than the Hindi familial influence once blinding your wife.

    There is no truth that “was established and closed in the fourth century AD“. That is a manipulative power ploy from your church alone. The gospel and the Holy Spirit cannot be separated. You cannot have one without the other as a carnal human being. When filled by the Holy Spirit we each are one in God for all, including Jesus and our Father, have unique spiritual hearts and minds filled by the Holy Spirit bound in grace, empathy, compassion and forgiveness for one another in the whole of God. Reread John 14:15-21 with that truth in mind to begin to understand what you are so resisting for fear of being deceived free from the Bible. I am not speaking about any “spiritual realms/dreams” concept. I am speaking about the living and available Spirit of truth that is filling my heart and mind right this moment, has for 21 years now without ceasing, and I have all faith that He will remain throughout all eternity.

    I direct you toward Him and not me.

  • Bones

    Conservative but I interacted widely with many Christians from different churches including studying at a liberal theological College which included liberals, evangelicals and Catholics.

  • Truth first

    What made you go to a liberal theological college rather than to a more conservative one? Were you preparing for ministry of any kind when you joined the college?

  • Truth first

    Dear Herm,

    It seems you truly believe that all spiritual paths lead to heaven. How can you be sure? We only have a limited knowledge of the paths that go up the mountain. Who is the only one who knows which path(s) are leading to the summit and which ones are dead ends or are leading to dangerous ravines? It surely is the One who is omniscient, the one on top of the mountain. He has the oversight. That God tells us there is only one way up, one narrow path that leads towards him called Jesus Christ. Why should we ignore his guidance?

    Universalism just doesn’t make sense.

    Firstly it creates a very cruel and unjust God. It would mean that that God would encourage his followers to believe in Him and if need be sacrifice their lives for Him by refusing to denounce their conviction and exclusive belief in his Son. And would subsequently decide it would not matter at all.Hebrews 11:35-38 gives an impression of the persecution Christians faced by sticking to their faith:

    “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
    36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
    37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
    38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

    If Christians are asked to undergo all of this, and not just to endure it, but to praise God for it and worship Him for it, what kind of a sadistic and cruel God we would have if it actually did not matter which god you pray to, as he would figure it out and channel all prayers to the same address. That is not just cruel, it is extremely illogical and goes against just about the entire Bible. As Christians we are saints and holy (set apart) because we are asked to be separate of the unbelieving world and not be unevenly yoked.

    Secondly your attitude and professing of universalism would mean that the Biblical command to “teach, baptise and make disciples of all nations” was all a lie. There would be no need for that as all will go to heaven, irrespective of whom they see as their saviour (if any). You would also have just negated 300 years plus of missionary activities and declared useless the lives of thousands of missionaries reaching out to unbelievers.

    Thirdly there would be no justice whatsoever if unbelievers, God-loathers and unrepentant murderers and rapists would receive the same treatment in the afterlife as those who lost their lives because of their faith. Where is the justice in that?

    Your God is an immensely cruel God, Herm. It seems you have really fallen victim to the spirit of the age, which denies God’s trinity, sees the worship of God’s word as idolatry and tries to cast doubts on God’s divine word as known in the Bible, a God breathed, not just inspired, document. Your problem with Paul is well known. It sends millions of self-professing Christians up a path of self righteousness and political correctness. Fact of the matter is, Herm, that Paul’s credentials are second to none. He was personally selected by the risen Christ to set up His Church. If you do not want to accept what Paul says you mights as well do away with the NT altogether. Your are blinded by your dislike of Paul, and Satan thanks you for it.

    I find it remarkable that you on the one hand, and rightfully so, emphasize the power of the Holy Spirit in present day life, but at the same time deny that that same power and conviction could have guided and inspired the men who wrote the books of the Bible. Surely if God via his Holy Spirit can intervene in the mundane in the lives of believers, he should be able to steer when it comes to something immeasurable more important as Jesus legacy and the structuring of the Church?

    You say, referring to Matthew 5:18:

    “h by our Father was finished at His last breath on the cross and, at that moment and for three days, for Jesus, the WORD at the beginning, the heaven and the earth disappeared”.

    That is NOT the common interpretation of that text. Like always one first tries to understand the LITERAL meaning of the word, before venturing into any other possible explanations. In this case no other meaning needs to be read into the disappearance of heaven and earth. Matthew Henry’s commentary is clear in this:

    “Heaven and earth shall come together, and all the fulness thereof be wrapped up in ruin and confusion, rather than any word of God shall fall to the ground, or be in vain. The word of the Lord endures for ever, both that of the law, and that of the gospel.”

    As for the importance of the Law itself he says:

    “5:17-20 Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to trifle with any commands of God’s holy law. No sinner partakes of Christ’s justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evil deeds. The mercy revealed in the gospel leads the believer to still deeper self-abhorrence. The law is the Christian’s rule of duty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to be Christ’s disciple, encourages himself in any allowed disobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do the same, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, he can be no true disciple. Christ’s righteousness, imputed to us by faith alone, is needed by every one that enters the kingdom of grace or of glory; but the new creation of the heart to holiness, produces a thorough change in a man’s temper and conduct.”.

    “You write:

    “Your neighbor is not your enemy no matter how despicable you might have thought they were before they showed you mercy.”

    What on earth makes you say that?! My love for my neighbour shows in my concern for their afterlife. If God wants ALL to be saved, I’d better do MY part in telling them how to get there! As Christ followers we have a godly priesthood and are ordained to tell the world about the Gospel and our saving faith. Pussyfooting around the issues keeping people away from God does not help.

    That is like a doctor who knows his patient has a treatable cancer but who, when asking him in for the diagnosis, tells him there is nothing wrong with him and that he can just take a few disprins at be all right. Is it loving from that doctor not to tell him the truth (viz. we’re all sinners in need of salvation and jesus is our only way to that salvation), because treatment will be extremely uncomfortable, just like repentance may hurt?

    You write:

    “All claims to the inerrancy of the Bible are purely from those Pharisaical types who seek authority which is no longer theirs plus they know the Holy Spirit and the Messiah in their midst enough to crucify a child of God in God’s name as did the original Pharisees. The Bible is not sacred, the word of God is, as spoken boldly in Acts 4:31.”

    Do you realise that in these two sentences you just about disqualify yourself as a Christian? How on earth can you separate the Bible from God’s Word?! The Bible IS God’s word, and was compiled largely on the basis of the apostolic and pentecostal truth. Why would it crucify a child of God?

    You quote:

    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people”

    This is true. But it does NOT mean that ALL will be automatically saved. Jesus is still required. Deny that and God will not know you at the time of reckoning.

    You write:

    “I know in my heart and mind today that Gandhi was more filled by the Holy Spirit than Franklin Graham discerned from each of their fruits”.

    If you really, really believe that, Herm, you lack the discernment that should come with a spiritual rebirth in Jesus Christ. Gandhi plagiarised elements of the Christian faith and presented it as his own. He never accepted jesus Christ and was co responsible for the death of close to 2 million people during India’s Partition. He was a terrible family man and very prideful. As he was not pointing to jesus at all, he failed to display the fruit of the Spirit. He was not a Christian and if there is not more to him than what we as outsiders can know of him, he will NOT be saved. My Indian in-laws dislike the man with a passion, and they’re not even Christians!

    What do you mean by a documentary on television that would have guided me in my faith?

    You write:

    “The Holy Spirit has no name and neither does God. A name is not necessary when you know and call each in the spirit by the essence of their fruit. Christians are not saved by their named membership but those in the Spirit are.”

    “My wife is infinitely a greater treasure, given to me by God, in my life than the Bible. My oh so short opportunity of carnal life, gifted me by God and my parents, is a greater treasure than the Bible. Nothing as far as valuable treasures are concerned is greater than my relationship with and in God by an eternity. If the Bible does not enhance all of those treasures in my life today then it is worthless to me.”

    If you say things like that, Herm, what hope is there for you right now? You have based your faith in sinking sand, not the rock of Jesus Christ. Who is that deceiving spirit whispering all these things in your ear and leading you away from God? Be very careful to become too experiential. Satan is an excellent imposter. Stick to the Word, and not only the red letters in the NT.

    Please consider the above, Herm. In my own imperfect way I try to reach a brother who is clearly passionate about jesus Christ but seems to be sidetracked and wayled by an experiential approach to the faith. You do not mind to make an effort to profess what you believe in. That’s half the battle won. Now buckle down to really find out what the Bible teaches (NOT the little voice in your ear) and make your mark in the Book of life. God Bless!!

  • Truth first

    What made you choose a liberal theological college?

  • Apollos

    You are right and wrong at the same time. You are right to say that God as adopted us as sons, but you are wrong about the meaning of “us”. Jesus clearly said that the road to destruction is wide, but the road to salvation and eternal life with him is narrow and few find it and travel it. So, God adopts those who, by faith and trust in the saving power of Christ, walk with him and love him more than their own desires (idols).

    The rats example was just that… an example. It is not perfect in every way. But, the idea is that God has every right and will remove evil from his midst. Only those in Christ who follow him and his ways will be able to enter into his presence.

  • Herm

    TF, You don’t read anything I say without misinterpreting. Nothing I said needed interpretation or anything else being read into it.

    There is a label that most describes what I know, end of discussion, will be my end should I not be able to love according to the law and will of my Father. I will die forever more to know nothing and fade into anonymity. There is no justice in the application of eternal torture with no ability to adapt. Punishment is not justice because what was done wrong to another cannot be undone and restored to its original form. Jesus still carries the scars.

    You don’t see that I know, see, and am in Jesus Christ right now. You don’t understand the baptism/filling/whelming of the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist first told what Jesus baptizes by. The plank in your eye is massive and it is the intimidation, manipulation, coercion, and subjugation of your complete reliance on your mutual admiration society and their directed study of dogma and theology. You rely solely on what others tell you about the Messiah without going to the Christ as a vulnerable little know nothing child. You do not trust God beyond your church and their interpretation of the Bible.

    I will repeat this in the hopes that you will see the errors of your ways. Throughout your New Testament, written very clearly in witness to that which happened before the New Testament was even a glimmer in the eye of mankind, the word of God is mentioned alive and well. The word of God is not your Bible. Your Bible tells you exactly what you must do before you can speak the word of God directly from the WORD in you and you in Him.

    Can’t you see that I know the Bible you can’t get beyond. I use it with more certainty today because I have the Teacher who was there. When I was a student of the Bible I did not know the Teacher but was learning about the Teacher. With the Teacher in my heart and mind today, and I in His, the Bible is superfluous. It is only inanimate testimonial parchment that will return to dust. My Teacher is alive with, in and for me without end. Can you say the same? That’s rhetorical for by your fruit I know the answer. You do not know the Teacher beyond your church’s pulpit. My Teacher’s pulpit is all hearts and minds of the children of God filled by the Holy Spirit who are one bound in all reciprocal love.

    You of deaf ears and blind eyes tell me, I who knows Jesus personally, “Now buckle down to really find out what the Bible teaches (NOT the little voice in your ear) and make your mark in the Book of life.” Don’t you see you used judgmental Christian speak from your church fellowship and not from the Spirit of God? I don’t think you are able to discern the difference. If you knew the Holy Spirit in your life you would know you just blasphemed the Spirit of truth filling my heart and mind. My Father in heaven,please, forgive TF for he knows not what he does.

    If you say things like that, TF, what hope is there for you right now? The hope for you today is to pray in all humility, as a helpless child with nothing to offer but all your love, that Jesus and the Father will fill you with the secure Rock, the Holy Spirit.

  • Truth first

    You surprise me, SJ. Is it really you writing this or someone else?
    Do you really believe that Universalism could be part of a saving faith? Where do you see God’s judgement come into the picture, and how does hell fit in there? Did you consider my arguments regarding justice and cruelty?

  • Truth first

    Hi Herm,

    One of the most beautiful parts of the Bible dealing with the spread of our faith and the appreciation for those bringing the Good News is Romans 10:9-18.

    >> If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”e 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”f

    14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.…

    How else than via the Bible do we know the Word of God/Christ? The Word that was with God. The Word that WAS God (John1)?

    The danger of an almost total focus on an experience based faith is that what the Bible says becomes less important. And the golden rule is still: if it isn’t in the Bible it isn’t of God. I do hope you have not fallen victim of the Toronto “blessing” (or is that curse?) or Compton revival of sorts, with people being “slain in the spirit” and barking and laughing endlessly, but since you told me you were “whelmed” but not overwhelmed, this concern may be unnecessary. Important for all Christians is to find a Bible based church and not be too individualistic in you faith.
    We have to worship with others in order to prevent us from going off on a tangent.
    To allay your fears: my witness is NOT formed by the Assembly of God family I am now part of, but finds a reflection in it. It was, however, enriched by it through the study of the First Principles of the Christian faith in Hebrews and 1 John. Before joining, and being confronted with “our” increasingly worldly Presbyterian Church, we were alarmed and sough for truth. We did our own research, and got to know the giants of the faith like Roger Oakland, Dave Hunt, Paul Washer Ken Rendall and Jacob Prasch (his rather brash approach notwithstanding). Most of all we studied the Bible and its commentaries. There was no indoctrination of any kind whatsoever. This is what God revealed to us when he added us to our new Church.

    Vaya con Dios, as the Latin American Christians say. Go with the God and his Son, but go with the one as he presents himself in the Bible. Faith comes from hearing (and reading). And hearing from the Word of God.

  • Herm

    Sorry TF, apparently I have been too verbose for you to get what I am trying to share with you.

    Please, tell me what these few verses in your Bible mean to you.

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

    Acts 4:31 (NIV2011)

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

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    Truly Trying,

    Herm

  • Truth first

    Maybe you were, but let’s see if we can find common ground. I do acknowledge that you are genuinely trying to explain to me what touches your innermost being. In that respect I do really appreciate your openness to share your conviction with a total stranger like myself. It takes lot’s of courage to do so. Let’s see if I can help by answering your question. We may find out the gap between us is smaller than we thought.

    Acts 4:31
    The context here is a request by Peter and John to God to assist them in being bold in their preaching of the Good News. They had upset the Sanhedrin by telling the listeners that Jesus was Resurrected and that:
    “Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” They had been held overnight and released and probably been told not to preach that again. Yet, in the face of possible persecution they were emboldened by the Holy Spirit to continue where the left off. Supernatural courage, and protection, indeed!

    John 14:15-21
    This is about Jesus spurring his followers to keep his commands, and the helper (the Holy Spirit) would send them to assist them in doing so. Jesus explains here his oneness with the Father, which helps us to be in Jesus and God at the same time, and they in us.
    It is only those who keep his commands, he seems to indicate, who will have the privilege of such life-saving closeness.

    Hope this helped.

  • Truth first

    Really appreciate your response.
    You are totally correct that you do not accept human arguments to establish the veracity of divine principles and doctrines. No problems there from my side.
    ou are anything but a heretic and I am taking your viewpoint very seriously. Eternal torture is not something I am advertising too much as being part of my faith. I hate to refer to it as it does sound very harsh. And you are right: it is a hard to grasp concept which does not naturally flow from a loving God. You have given me a very balanced and reasonable explanation of why the picture of an eternal fire for those not accepting Jesus Christ may be in need of some sort of qualification.

    PLease bear with me here and allow me to investigate your argument to see if it will stand for me:

    1) What do you mean by:
    “after turning up certain doctrinal secrets I decided to no longer believe in eternal torment.”?

    2) “In God’s case He can do things after we are dead.” How will he do that? Is purgatory for you a real option?

    3) How will God differentiate when he judges (you are still believing in a final judgement, isn’t it? between believers and unbelievers? You struggle to accept annihilationism as an option. What will unbelievers do after they die?

    4) You are offering the possibility of possible mitigating circumstances for those burdened by sin almost outside their own fault, genetically almost (naturally born killers). Will they be beyond saving or on the contrary be exempted from eternal consequences?

    5) You say:
    > But I can understand if you don’t agree. Some people can’t shift on doctrine and/or some people won’t shift without a lot of deliberation and research deeply into subjects the average person can’t easily access.It could even be that God tolerates the eternal torment doctrine because it’s just too advantageous for people to receive Christ then not receive him<
    And he subsequently wants us to believe it and preach it to emphasize the urgency and appointment of the right choice…

    7) Are believers and unbelievers going to different places, in your opinion? I would love to represent "hell"as a place where there would be simply the absence of God, which in itself must be a terrible place.

    8) After we die we will all get resurrected bodies, which may be more geared towards where we will spend the rest of our eternal lives. Those bodies may be more "fire resistant"than our present bodies.

    9) Isn't there the factor time to consider as well? God is the great I am, he was, is and is to come. Time is an essentially man-made thing. Eternity seems a "helluva" (pun intended I am afraid…:) long time, but in the afterlife will be a constant status, where the year do not really count…

    10) For me a God who treats unbelievers the same as believers is not a just God, as I explained earlier. Somehow you must have weighted the injustice done to those losing their life for Jesus, and the deception it would imply from God's side, to make his followers believe they can only follow Jesus Christ and then in the end tell them it did not really matter, against the harshness of a sentence to hell for unbelievers.

    These are just a few thoughts that your response piece provoked in me. See what you can come up with.

  • Herm

    Thank you, TF, for humoring me. You have helped. You have made it very clear that you do not understand the spirit as relative to the carnal.

    Take your concordance or search through the entire New Testament for the exact four word phrase of “the word of God” to see how it is used. I would highly suggest you invite the Helper (the Holy Spirit) to shed some real truth into your heart and mind as you study.

    To help you further I have randomly chosen only a few along with some dating and comments that you may begin to understand that your Bible is not the word of God. It tells of the word of God but is not in any form the word of God I know personally. He is real and did not cease to exist for all the disciples (sisters and brothers) of Christ who live and have lived since 70 AD. By your fruit you do not know Him but He most certainly knows you. You are so close to actually knowing the Truth. Ask Him!

    during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

    Luke 3:2 (NIV2011)

    One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.

    Luke 5:1 (NIV2011)

    “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

    Luke 8:11-12 (NIV2011)

    As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

    Luke 11:27-28 (NIV2011)

    So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

    Acts 6:7 (NIV2011)

    Luke-Acts: unity, authorship and date[edit]

    See also: Authorship of Luke–Acts

    The gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles make up a two-volume work which scholars call Luke–Acts.[13] Together they account for 27.5% of the New Testament, the largest contribution by a single author, providing the framework for both the Church’s liturgical calendar and the historical outline into which later generations have fitted their idea of the story of Jesus.[14]

    The author is not named in either volume.[6] According to a Church tradition dating from the 2nd century, he was the Luke named as a companion of Paul in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself, but “a critical consensus emphasizes the countless contradictions between the account in Acts and the authentic Pauline letters.”[7] (An example can be seen by comparing Acts’ accounts of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-31, 22:6-21, and 26:9-23) with Paul’s own statement that he remained unknown to Christians in Judea after that event (Galatians 1:17-24).)[15] He admired Paul, but his theology was significantly different from Paul’s on key points and he does not (in Acts) represent Paul’s views accurately.[16] He was educated, a man of means, probably urban, and someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself; this is significant, because more high-brow writers of the time looked down on the artisans and small business-people who made up the early church of Paul and were presumably Luke’s audience.[17]

    The eclipse of the traditional attribution to Luke the companion of Paul has meant that an early date for the gospel is now rarely put forward.[7] Most experts date the composition of the combined work to around 80-90 AD, although some suggest 90-110,[18] and there is evidence, both textual (the conflicts between Western and Alexandrian manuscript families) and from the Marcionite controversy (Marcion was a 2nd-century heretic who produced his own version of Christian scripture based on Luke’s gospel and Paul’s epistles) that Luke-Acts was still being substantially revised well into the 2nd century.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

    John 10:34-36 (NIV2011)

    The Gospel of John is anonymous; Church tradition identified the “beloved disciple” mentioned in John 21:24 as the author and named him (John the evangelist), but this is rejected by the majority of modern scholars.[10][Notes 1] Scholars believe that the text went through two to three “editions” before reaching its current form,[11] [12] and because of this complex and multi-layered history it is meaningless to speak of a single author.[13]

    John is usually dated to 90-110 CE.[14][Notes 2] It arose in a Jewish Christian community in the process of breaking from the Jewish synagogue,[15] and John, which regularly describes Jesus’ opponents simply as “the Jews”, is more consistently hostile to the Jews than any any other body of New Testament writing.[16][Notes 3] In later centuries, John was used to support anti-Semitic polemics, but the author of the gospel regarded himself as a Jew, he championed Jesus and his followers as Jews, and he probably wrote for a largely Jewish community.[17][18]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John

    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    Ephesians 6:17 (NIV2011)

    Paul wrote Ephesians about 60-62 A.D..

    Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

    Colossians 1:24-29 (NIV2011)

    Paul wrote Colossians 60-62 A.D..

    And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

    1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV2011)

    Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians about 52-54 A.D..

    If you truly seek the truth then your studies have to be directed by the only Teacher who knows the whole truth. In reality, you are intellectualizing no different than the Sadducee, Pharisees and scribes who did not recognize the Spirit of God in Jesus, the Messiah.

    I really do hope you begin to despise your carnal familial traditions that you may come to the Messiah for first heart and mind instruction.

  • Herm

    Anna Marion Howell, who has ever benefited, in the long run, by not attempting to be “gentle and diplomatic” reacting to ignorant beliefs about their sexuality, gender or human differences? Without us doing to others as we would have others do to us are not we even more of a threat than we want to be perceived as in our queerness? I am a heterosexual who is sufficiently different from most others to be considered just as dangerously queer as any homosexual who abandons “gentle and diplomatic” should I do the same. We all have the privilege and responsibility to share as we will with all others. I have found that mercy, empathy, compassion and forgiveness for all others works best for me to get through bigoted fears by tearing down the walls of defense, as no longer needed, put up by those ignorantly taught to despise me. I hurt that you find “gentle and diplomatic” as not your privilege of choice. Love you!

  • Truth first

    Nice to have you back, Eva. Herm, SJ and I are still trying to straighten a few things out, with SJ coming up with some game changing ideas. What’s your take on them?

  • Truth first

    Would be an interesting question to ask: does she believe in hell, Satan, God’s judgement and holiness. What you say is true: why bother about evangelising if universalism was what God intended? The road to hell is wide indeed and too easy to find: we all were on it at one time in our lives, until we let Jesus take possession of ourselves through his Holy Spirit. But let me have a good look at her latest posting and report back later.

  • Truth first

    And here I was thinking we were looking for common ground. Naive me… More semantics from your side, I am afraid. The Word of God was spoken in the OT and the OT. And the books form a reflection of those words. Although written by people those words WERE God’s words, who supernaturally saw to it that they reflected His Truth. There are no personal revelations that God provides NOW to individual believers that form a new doctrine or body of knowledge to the Church as a whole. Everything has been covered in the Bible as we know it. Why would God want to do that to individuals? If you receive a new insight it is because your knowledge or understanding of that bit of God’s Word was lacking or faulty. God works indeed in mysterious, but also loving ways, understanding where we fall short!

  • Bones

    So God changed his mind about killing gay people did he?

    God did not write the OT.

  • Herm

    TF, it has become very clear, I mean very clear, that the only truth first is the one you will tell everyone. Thank you for your consideration but no thanks. You don’t know the truth. I’ve told you how you could know we were not left orphaned. You are orphaned.

    You wrote:

    There are no personal revelations that God provides NOW to individual believers that form a new doctrine or body of knowledge to the Church as a whole. Everything has been covered in the Bible as we know it. Why would God want to do that to individuals? If you receive a new insight it is because your knowledge or understanding of that bit of God’s Word was lacking or faulty.

    If you are serious you did not read, “Scholars believe that the text went through two to three “editions” before reaching its current form” regarding the book of John, or you can’t face the truth. You apparently believe you are the truth.

    Ever since I was 17 God has made “personal revelations” to me and that was before I was baptized by the Holy Spirit in a continual relationship. Why do you think I felt the call to become the “preacher man”? Do you think it was because I knew better how to read the Bible than everyone else?

    What exactly do you think you would be doing for an eternity in relationship with God if not having shared personal revelations as we play, work, adventure, savor and learn together? Is God that dead to you that you don’t want a loving reciprocal relationship with and in the whole of God?

    Read your New Testament again and see where our living Lord Jesus, with all authority over heaven and on earth, ever once said anything like, “write this down, I’ll edited it and then publish the New Testament as my last will and testament ending right after the book of Revelations.”

    I am truly astounded that you put so much weight on the New Testament of the Bible that was assembled, compiled and canonized by scholars in the year 325 AD. What exactly do you believe why so many thousands died for their faith in the living Messiah before there was a New Testament?

    I have some really good news that I thought you knew. Jesus lives, the Holy Spirit is right here and our Father loves us exactly as we are. We are not expected, as little children, to come up to God for God has come to us, never really left us since our beginning.

    It has been longer since Jesus’ ascension to the year 2016 than the whole entire period that the Bible was being written Genesis to Revelations. Wow, your heart and mind is truly dead to a relationship with our creator God. I am sorry for you.

    My brother Jesus is not an intellectual exercise dependent upon the Bible for eternal life. Jesus is my Teacher today and we are in relationship at this moment.

    There can be no common ground if you don’t realize I was using your Bible to point to that relationship as being real. God didn’t write the Bible, Old and/or New Testaments, but people inspired by their relationship with God did. God didn’t edit the Bible for perfection for it stands alone in a true expose of Man’s relationship with God. The only absolute dictate God wrote down was the Decalogue in stone. The tabernacle was dictated precisely because it was the ultimate prophesy of God’s sacrifice of the perfect firstborn lamb for us.

    How can you possibly claim to be a follower of Christ when you don’t know Him personally?

    Good luck trying to figure this out without Him! You are not a disciple of Jesus.

  • Herm

    I wasn’t so concerned about TF until this moment when he confessed that he has no dynamic relationship with Christ. This whole time he has faulted gays, liberals, progressives and people who didn’t know his truth discerned purely by his intellectual Bible studies. He is certain there is an eternal hell of divine torture because he doesn’t know the love of God personally. He only has a relationship with God by what his Bible tells him without any “personal revelation” from the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Are all fundamentalist conservatives working from the same relationship?

  • Truth first

    If the God you know is a different one than the one you know from the Bible, your God is a man-made one, Herm, and your Jesus is not the Son of God, but an imposter. If your Jesus tells you things that cannot be justified by the Bible, or even go against it, even against the words of Jesus as quoted in the Bible, THAT Jesus is an imposter as well. He will be a made up composite of your and the worlds wants and desires, disappointments and be at the mercy of the fads of our times.

    As I said, Herm, I DO accept that God intervenes at a personal level and whispers, (and sometimes shouts!) things we should take into consideration. He is very much alive, and hasn’t taken a backseat in the lives of those who accept his son as their resurrected Saviour! It could be a Bible text that he gives us to have a look at, a dream warning you about an imminent event, a miraculous healing (I believe in those as well!) or a most unexpected hard to explain fortune that befalls us. A new insight or angle into a Bible text we had not yet considered.

    For example, before my wife got shot 18 years ago she had lived through that experience 3 times through dreams, in which she was reassured that “all will be allright”. When it actually happened she knew she would survive the three bullets she received, and we could praise God for his premonition and protection, having received the best possible care in a very poor West African country.

    All I am saying, Herm is that you cannot trust your heart. Faith is NOT a feeling. It is a silent conviction in the truth of what we claim when we say our creeds. I wonder which parts of the creed you endorse at all. Do you believe that Christ was born from a virgin? That he was resurrected? That he did miracles? That he exclusively pointed at himself as the only way to the father? That only those who believe are His children? These things are what make us Holy, Herm. Set apart from an unbelieving and God-scoffing world.

    Apart from the foundations of our faith, do you believe you can be slain in the Spirit Toronto Blessing style, and still be having a realistic view on who Jesus is, that “blessing” being a curse that has destroyed the faith of thousands?

    If you claim that the Bible “tells of the word of God but is not in any form the word of God I know personally”, you’re in deep trouble Herm.

    For this reason I am not a disciple of YOUR Jesus, but rather stick to the one I know from the Bible, the one who established my rebirth, and the one who presented himself without going through the heart of man which is wicked beyond measure, one who does NOT get coloured and disfigured by personal experiential moments. DO you realise, Herm, how exclusive and private you make your Jesus? That you say that only the Jesus whispering in your ears is the Jesus I should buy into? What arrogance! He may fit in YOUR box, but not in mine. Difference is I share my box with millions of others, yours is private. There MUST be an external reference point for ALL Christians to know whether they are on the right track or not. THAT is the Bible for us!

    If you believe that the Holy SPirit has not stopped working, and I agree with you here, why would He not have been there when the books of the Bible were canonised?

    >I am truly astounded that you put so much weight on the New Testament of the Bible that was assembled, compiled and canonized by scholars in the year 325 AD. What exactly do you believe why so many thousands died for their faith in the living Messiah before there was a New Testament?<

    There was a need to kick out heresies and apostacies which had crept in, like mysticism and gnosticism, Desert Fathers type stuff who claimed secret knowledge. The Holy Spirit touched these people's heart partly in the absence of the written word. However there were most certainly early Gospels and epistles, even since the first century. These were used as litmus tests for the preaching.

    He is NOT dead to me! I do not need God to tell me from day to day what I should do and the fact that he does NOT appear in my dreams or that I do NOT speak in tongues does not mean I believe He is not there for me.

    That’s a big danger of experiential Christianity: you go from high to high and risk being in the dumps in between. That is NOT God’s Spirit!

  • Bones

    If your Jesus kills gay people and commands people to commit genocide than you have the wrong Jesus. In fact that Jesus is an imposter.

    That is plain and clear.

    If you have a god who demands human sacrifices then you have the wrong god.

    That is plain and clear.

    If your god is so hung up on sin then you have the wrong god.

    That is plain and clear.

    Jesus came to show us what God was truly like, not bronze age nationalistic interpretations which had originally been rules for the priestly class.

    When you understand that, then you are truly born again otherwise you are no different to the Pharisee.

  • Truth first

    Shush, Bones. I thought we had a truce…;). I thought you somehow, somewhere considered yourself to be a Christian. How does that work? You could be my next door atheist neighbour…

  • Truth first

    Stick to the topic Bones. And be nice to me. Haven’t been after you at all.

  • Truth first

    I am trying my best to convince Herm that the Bible is truly God’s Word. We’re living in a funny world if I even have to explain to a preacher man things that constitute Christianity 101. I am feeling really sorry for him. He really looks like a decent, loving human being who is prepared to go the extra mile to give hand and feet to his faith. That’s the last type of person you want to loose his way in apostacy. But his is a private conviction, which he does not test against God’s Word. He seems way-led by semantics as well as an untested Spirit that makes him reject the Bible. That’s serious stuff!

  • Bones

    Gee, how do you get atheism out of that?

    I’m not quite sure what this truce is.

    It’s called a discussion.

    Not quite sure why you are so threatened about it.

    Maybe you need to make a truce with people you don’t like eg gays, Catholics, other Christians, other human beings.

    Just in case you haven’t heard – God has declared a truce with humanity.

    He is not our enemy – never was.

  • Bones

    It relates directly to your last post in which you wrote

    “The Word of God was spoken in the OT and the OT. And the books form a reflection of those words. Although written by people those words WERE God’s words, who supernaturally saw to it that they reflected His Truth.”

    It’s a simple question….

    Did God change His mind about killing gay people?

    Was He wrong about that?

    Or was it God at all?

    I know the answer to that.

  • Bones

    Oh so people didn’t execute gays because they stopped being a theocracy. If they had’ve listened to God they would kill them.

    Yeah good article that with some really sound logic there.

    Do you think they killed gay people like ISIS did because that’s what God wanted?

  • Bones

    I wonder why Jesus told the Psalmist to write this..

    “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock”. Ps 137:9

  • Herm

    Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

    “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

    Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

    “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

    You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

    John 3:3-19 (NIV2011)

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

    Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

    Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

    Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

    Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

    Luke 14:26-35 (NIV2011)

    When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Luke 3:21-22 (NIV2011)

    He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV2011)

    The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    John 1:9-13 (NIV2011)

    Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

    John 1:32-34 (NIV2011)

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

    John 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

    TF, you know of the Spirit, of God’s intervention in your life, of the light, and of the source of truth but you do not know the Spirit, the light and the truth. The Dove has not come down and remained in you.

    Where does it say that in order to inherit (as a child of God already) that I must attest to any or all of God’s miracles (Luke 10:25-37)? I can show you, in your Bible, where Jesus expresses grief for those who repeat creeds and pledges in public and in conversation with God.

    I feel better for you in that you just backtracked a little from your previous God is in the Bible period. The problem that fundamentalists and conservatives have, I’m speaking from personal experience, is that they try so hard to fit all of God into the Bible (John 21:25), something they can trust and control. I was there, I worked in the community, but looking back I realized even then that infinity and eternity are concepts that I can know about, can live within and never control. You are controlled and controlling because you don’t trust the Father or our Lord to protect, provide, nurture and teach you personally (even when you can point to Their intervention in your and yours life).

    I am free (you’ll find that too in Paul’s letters) because I know how infinitely small and ineffectual I am to even begin to believe I can control anything.

    Until you become a vulnerable little child you cannot come to the truth (Mark 10:15). You were never more free than when you depended on your carnal family to protect, provide, nurture and teach you as their otherwise loved, helpless, ignorant, out of control, adorable (graced) little child. Meanwhile you are a deaf and blind teacher no more aware of God than Nicodemus.

  • Truth first

    I concur with all the texts you quoted from the Bible, but do not quite see how they would be supporting your argument. The Word of God is always true, and the fact that you quote them also means you accept them as authoritative, at least being inspired by God.

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

    Isn’t that an exclusivity claim coming from Jesus: only via Me you will go to the Father? Who has the Son has the Father also. Who does not have the Son does not have the Father either. Once again, these words confirm the Trinity, as do the words describing Jesus baptism.

    Once you are reborn your name is sealed in the book of life. I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, and do so to the exclusion of all and everyone else. THAT is the command that Jesus has given us in the Bible. He is my Lord and Saviour and clothes me in righteousness, which is not my own, and will blot out my transgressions as if they were never there. His Holy Spirit will guide me and embolden me to preach the Gospel, as I am doing to you now . If I am truly reborn, that Holy Spirit will never leave me, and my name will be forever written in the book of life. God will lose none whose name is written in the book of life. THAT is the certainty I have. I am still running the race and will have to have to persevere, but know that in the end my heavenly rewards will be there, and that the Celestial City as described in The Pilgrim’s progress, will be my destination.

    I do not know which miracles you do not attest to, but the ones of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the exclusivity of Christ and Jesus’ virgin birth are pretty crucial. Without the last one, Mary’s seed would be sin-filled and Jesus would not be able to take away our sins. Without the first one there would simply be no Christian faith. Without the middle one you make the truths spoken by God and Jesus out to be lies. Universalism in the sense that ALL will go to heaven is directly going AGAINST what Jesus teaches. If your Jesus tells you that universalism is what he teaches, you are following another Jesus, one that seeks to tickle our postmodern ears. If that is the case you are NOT a follower of Jesus Christ and God will tell you: “I never knew you”.

    What are the creeds you are talking about? You do not mean the praying of mantra’s, do you, as the Hindu’s do who pray “in vain repetition”?

    Matthew 6:7: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

    > You are controlled and controlling because you don’t trust the Father or our Lord to protect, provide, nurture and teach you personally (even when you can point to Their intervention in your and yours life).>

    I have no idea what gave you that impression. It is totally the opposite: I trust God in ALL aspects of my life, and do so because that is what he told me countless times in the OT and NT. I believe in the Gifts of the Spirit, and that miracles are still happening to those who believe, and even in situations where unbelievers may turn to Christ if they take place.

    All I am saying is don’t be swayed by the winds of doctrine. We’re in a time where the Word of God is being discredited, scoffed at, changed and misrepresented. This is a time that requires discernment. If we do not read our Bible and test everything with the word of God, we’ll be canon fodder when the time comes that the Antichrist arises!

  • Herm

    There is no trinity!!! It is not in the Bible, it is purely from the brains of your church. You are swayed by the winds of doctrine!

    You are not here to learn but to teach (control). I knew every nook and cranny in the Bible by the time I was 30 and did not know the Spirit. Your mind is closed to the Spirit. Look at every verse where the Spirit is mentioned, that I shared with you, and you might notice that they are each a specific capitalized one only entity. You do not know that Entity in your spiritual heart and mind! You haven’t even recognized the difference in your carnal self and your spiritual self in the image of God.

    You can make all the religious declaratives you wish and none of them will be your entry into heaven, only the very personal bond of love can. You think you know those verses so well that you did not reread them in order to understand what you do not know but is written in your coveted Bible. There is infinitely more to learn and discover that Jesus can teach you today as you are ready … only as a little child.

  • Truth first

    Context, Bones, context.

    > Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
    9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.<

    This is what Matthew Henry says:
    The pious Jews in Babylon, having afflicted themselves with the thoughts of the ruins of Jerusalem, here please themselves with the prospect of the ruin of her impenitent implacable enemies; but this not from a spirit of revenge, but from a holy zeal for the glory of God and the honour of his kingdom.

    It could also be a reference to the harlot of Babylon, the One World Religion into which most of the world will buy into in the Latter Days (No, I am not a Scientology Church member).. Her "infants" will be the churches and individuals that buy into her lies. It were better if they be destroyed, and the one doing that will be commended for rejecting her lies. Sounds harsh, but God is not one to take lightly to deceivers and those who curse his favoured nation.

    But I guess most of the above will be lost to you

  • Truth first

    Thanks for the encouragement, Eva. All we can do is professing the Gospel, Eva, that which is written in God’s Word. We cannot convict others, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. God is always faithful and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

  • Truth first

    Where does the WE fit in in Genesis? Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God were there, pre-carnate and unified.There is no swaying to the winds of doctrine, as the Trinity has been apart of the Christian faith for 2000 years now. Unitarianism has only become prevalent lately.

  • Herm

    The trinity was not apart of the Christian faith for the first 70 years or so. It would be in the Bible and it is not. Yes, God is a plurality in the creation story, very good for most Christians don’t accept that. I will take you through a bit of a study that may help you to see that God is much bigger than three but the Holy Spirit is much different than the Father and the Son.

    Let’s begin with this review:

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

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

    Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

    Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

    Matthew 3:13-17 (NIV2011)

    All students of Jesus born of the Holy Spirit are children of God today. There are two components of each of our spiritual bodies, in the image of God, that we are in control of that allow us to be reciprocally aware of life; our hearts (emotions) and our minds (logic). The word baptize means to whelm which means to fully fill. When your heart and mind are fully filled by the Holy Spirit so is Jesus’ heart and mind and the Father’s heart and mind and by the Spirit of truth you become one with God. That is the spiritual mechanics of how Jesus is in our Father, and I am in Him, and He is in me. The Holy Spirit is the conduit that connects us all of God and love is the glue that holds us together. This is in 2016 AD terms that we are ready to understand as is written 1,946 or so years ago. You can stay where you are, locked into 70 AD, or you can come to Jesus as a little child connected by the Holy Spirit bound by the certainty of love to learn by today’s gifts. If you do then you will be a follower of Christ as the only Teacher of God’s children.

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV2011)

    That is where people developed the trinity concept to maintain a minimal monotheism. If you read this, especially in the language of the author, very closely you will notice the singular “name” which could have gone on to include Jesus’ students, more than the eleven, at that moment for they were Jesus’ sisters and brothers of the same Father. The name was God. The baptizing was filling the hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.

    Two very significant points here;

    One, I am not by any means blaspheming the Holy Spirit, quite the opposite. To deny the Spirit of truth as real is for Christians and Jews blasphemy. The Holy Spirit was once only available for counsel in the Holy of Holies but is now the Gospel available to fill hearts and minds from all the nations on earth. It was then that we all, of mankind, could become little children of God born of the Spirit.

    Two, the very end of the age has not happened yet. In fact, when in Jesus and Jesus in you that is a relationship that extends to the end of eternity.

    I will leave this study right here for you to consider and hopefully research. I wish I could force feed you but I cannot and you must actually be open to the Truth before you will know the Spirit of truth in your heart and mind. When you know the heart and mind of the Lord your God, and the heart and mind of your Father in heaven, from within you it is impossible not to love Them with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and like that love your merciful neighbor as your self.

    Ask, seek and knock and it will be opened to you!

  • Herm

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. Why do you want to believe all of God ceased to relate at the end of Revelations, when the world was flat and all the heavens orbited around earth? If you inherit eternal life will you continue to ruminate over Genesis to Revelations over and over and over and over again?

    Are you uncomfortable and miserable yet? Maybe, you’re ready for God to give back more generously than you could have ever dreamed.

    You do know that progressive means moving ahead and growing don’t you? You know, like doing better than hanging all heretics from crosses or burning witches in God’s name. What does abundant unmerited love, mercy and forgiveness of God mean to you if not freely liberal as versus stingy self centered conservative? Oh, conservative means to stay where you are at or go back to the good old days. I’ll take looking ahead to doing better every day in how I express my love for my Lord God, my merciful neighbor, myself and my enemy rather than do exactly how it was done 1,946 years ago.

    Eva, I don’t think you see the irony in what you just shared with TF.

  • Bones

    Yeah sure.

    You’re just part of a cult to him but he’s desperately seeking allies.

    He’ll take anyone atm – even Catholics.

  • Bones

    When you post an article, you support it. It becomes part of your opinion. Why else would you post it.

    I can justify what I believe, because what I believe is grounded in reason, rationality and plain facts.

    And if the facts change, I change my mind.

    Unlike some.

    Maybe you can answer….
    Did God change His mind about killing gay people?

  • Herm

    Eva, thank you so much for responding!

    Why do you think I have abandoned the Bible? Could it be possible that I’ve grown up from the the Bible as the more primitive beginning foundation into the living word of God, the Rock? If I use the Bible as a reference to guide you into a relationship of your own in God why would you believe that is regressive?

    In the scriptures are wonderful illustrations of a value system that is not based on intimidation, manipulation and subjugation but only when we get to Jesus Christ and His teachings. The problem, based on just Jesus’ teachings, is not being liberal enough with our love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, compassion and empathy for our God, our neighbor, our selves and our enemy. Too many Christians invest liberally in their church and not liberally in the rest of their community. According to our Messiah those gifts are to be shared with the entire world liberally as God shares those gifts liberally with us.

    Crime is rampant when the criminals don’t know the love of their victims. It is not following some strict code of conduct that shares love. It is a frugal conservative (the opposite of liberal) investment of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, compassion and empathy for all others that is the problem. The cross is the solution, my cross, your cross.

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

    Luke 14:27 (NIV2011)

    Oh, Eva, I so wish I could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt how much more Jesus can respond to your questions in person, in your person. Society was screwed up for much longer than the Bible tells us. In both the Old and New Testament society was more screwed up than it is today and far less people populating the earth. If scripture allowed them to crucify God in God’s name isn’t that a little screwed up?

    You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

    John 5:39-40 (NIV2011)

    You can go to Him today to have life, really, He lives!

  • Bones

    So God only wants gay Jews dead?

    Is that your point?

    Btw the whole dividing the Law into 3 artificial divisions is an attempt by Christians to keep people under the Law.

    In Judaism it is all the Law or Torah.

    And this argument is so old and tired, even Israel recognises the Torah as immoral and incompatible with a democratic society where killing gay people puts you in prison.

    But hey that’s what God wanted them to do according to you and CARM . (CARM’s got heaps of anti-Catholic stuff too which you’d like. They’re a bit like that)

    It’s amazing we’re still having this argument nearly 2000 years later.

    Btw I don’t reply to every post you post, whoever you are now, because I’ve seen how you use personal information.

  • Bones

    There is no question in your last post. Just a heap of ungrounded statements and cheap apologetic articles. Or was it your command to prove God exists which is essentially unprovable.

    It’s not just me though is it, whoever you are. Wasn’t it your posts on his family that Corey deleted.

    And yeah I’ve said as much as I want to to someone who just wants to use personal information as a smear.

    You of course still haven’t answered.

    “Did God change His mind about killing gay people?”

    “I have no intention of replying to your posts from now on. ”

    Sure. You’ll be back as Mary Beth or Sue Ellen or Alyssa to play your game.

    Truth is when the fire heats up, off you jump.

    “Not everything people believe can be rationalised.”

    Hence why we have Scientology, Jonestown and Heavens Gate.

  • Bones

    The fact is we don’t know…….

    That is a fact…..

    Is there a god?

    I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.

    But as I say to people who want to argue about this stuff – don’t tell me God is real and what He is like – show me.

    I hope God is real but that’s not a certain belief.

    It’d be good to see all my family who have died over the years but that’s a hope, not a belief.

    I hope that our lives mean more than just existing on this rock. I hope that there is joy for those who have spent their earthly lives in hell.

    But they’re not beliefs because we don’t know what happens when we die.

    Based on the evidence, the Eastern Orthodox concept of God as Divine Energy is the best explanation I’ve encountered.

    As energy is eternal and permeates all. (First Law of Thermodynamics)

    However, the idea that the God of the Universe was micromanaging an ancient tribe on the arse end of the Earth and supposedly distributing the death penalty for behaviours He (no – the priestly code) didn’t like doesn’t hold up just because the books say it does.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  • Truth first

    I appreciate you making time to explain your point to me, Herm.
    Strange thing is that when you formulate it the way you do now I cannot but agree with most of what you say! This is such a different story from what you wrote earlier!

    Just some remarks and questions:
    Doesn’t believe on Jesus come first before you are filled with the Holy Spirit?

    >On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.The name was God. The baptizing was filling the hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.<

    Hebrews 6 teaches us the first principles of the faith.
    After Repentance from dead works comes faith towards God and the doctrine of the baptisms. There are 4.
    The baptism into the body of Christ should always come first, than in an order that may vary from believer to believer, follow the baptism into water, the Baptism into the Holy Spirit and the baptism into sufferings. According to this the baptising in Matthew 28 could refer to both the water baptism as well as the other three. Do you agree?

    I do not quite understand what you mean here.

    >If you read this, especially in the language of the author, very closely you will notice the singular “name” which could have gone on to include Jesus’ students, more than the eleven, at that moment for they were Jesus’ sisters and brothers of the same FatherTo deny the Spirit of truth as real is for Christians and Jews blasphemy.when in Jesus and Jesus in you that is a relationship that extends to the end of eternity.

  • Bones

    I’ve never said anything about my teaching.

    You obviously just cut and paste the same comment.

  • Bones

    I suppose you bring young people up to hate gays.

    You type are becoming more and more irrelevant.

  • Herm

    Thanks TF, we are much closer to an understanding.

    To keep it simple I will try only to develop the picture of the family of God we can know from the witness we have of Jesus’ words, and some of John’s. Jesus was not named Jesus in the beginning, He was in the Spirit the WORD. The spirit of the WORD (spiritual heart, soul, strength and mind) was breathed into the womb of Mary and that carnal child, the first and only begotten of God, was named Jesus (a Greek a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua “Salvation”).

    We do not know, nor do we need to, any other entities within the family structure of God; such as mother, Father, the only carnally begotten Son, sons and daughters. We do know Jesus introduced that divine familial structure as existing and available to be born into.

    As with any family structure there are the more capable in authority, such as the Father remains the highest authority over Jesus while Jesus, as following His rising, has been given full authority by the Father over all of heaven and on earth. This was a mistake by the Pharisees who, because Jesus claimed to be Son of Man/Son of God, believed Jesus was claiming equal authority over them as God. The Father had all authority at that moment over them. They, also, believed the Spirit of God in the Holy of Holies was God rather than an advocate of God.

    Children begotten by Man, now born of God to be today as only children of God are no different in God than Jesus is except that they are least capable little children being taught by their most capable Brother. It is not our carnal self that needs to inherit eternal life through a carbon based body. Our carnality may be necessary for any of us spiritual fetuses to express our awareness through to one another. Without my physical body I don’t know just how aware I am for when it sleeps very often I seem to know nothing. I don’t know, I don’t need to know and I don’t really care.

    All possible eternally sustainable values are spiritually based. As in Luke 10:25-37 all values we require to be welcomed are related purely to attitude. That is why I say that no adherence to any creed, pledge, ritual, promise, sacrament, theology, dogma, doctrine, ordination, or tradition of any carnal church on earth makes anyone a follower of Christ, a child of God or will inherit eternal life. Without that attitude of love nothing else matters to continue on in relationship with God. I cannot speak for anyone else but I did not fulfill and continue the attitude necessary to inherit eternal life until I was filled by the Holy Spirit. I did not know myself to be a child born of God in God as a real live sibling of Christ until I was totally and continually whelmed by the Holy Spirit. Today I say with confidence my spiritual surname today is God.

    I have baptized by water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. First I was ordained to do so by a church into which I was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As of having Jesus in me and I in Jesus, connected as one in both our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit, I realized that I had misunderstood Matthew 28:19 as well as did/does my church. Only Jesus has the authority to whelm by the Holy Spirit as He did Saul/Paul and He does not do so in the name of the Holy Spirit. I can do much more today without my carnal church’s ordination because of the Holy Spirit’s presence and connections. Now when I lay hands on in the name of Jesus and/or my Father the power is infinitely greater, with much better results, than what my church had once ordained. I am not a healer but I am now a little child capable of representing my Family by the Way, the Holy Spirit.

    Is my Family exclusive? Only if a child of Man will not submit to an easy but specific attitude change assisted by the Spirit of truth, God’s advocate.

    This may be considered, by many in carnal church authority who consider themselves as called by God, as heretical or even delusional. Oh so many are invited but so few are chosen because they cannot accept the attitude change and/or the Holy Spirit (both unequivocally necessary) as a little vulnerable child with full faith in their Father in heaven. If that attitude along with the Dove was necessary for the Father to express His love and pleasure in Jesus it should be good news that exactly such is available and can be chosen by all, now from all nations, to become as loved and a pleasure to our Father in heaven as His child, sibling of Jesus the Christ, the WORD in the beginning.

  • Oh please Ruth not him again

  • He is a false prophet

  • Thank you now I have one thing less to worry about. what a relief :-))

  • Bones

    I’ve never even heard of you besides the “I’m not reading your posts” posts.

    I wonder how I’ll get over this disappointment.

    Some of you people need to get a life.

  • Bones

    The fact is, it is unprovable…..

    But hey I’m not the one who believes in talking snakes and a god who wanted gay people dead yet somehow changed his mind or something.

  • Bones

    No you aren’t good. You are relics of the torture and oppression of gay people which would still be happening if you had your way.

    Anything to purge people from their sin.

    You are becoming more and more irrelevant as we can see by the younger generation coming through who aren’t scared of people who are different.

    Just like the segregationists and white power are irrelevant so are you.

  • Bones

    And all your bitchiness is because you can’t or won’t answer if God changed His mind about killing gay people.

    Well let’s just leave that up for all to see.

  • Bones

    Yes context, context.

    Of course you wish revenge on those who have occupied your country and dispossessed the land.

    Your comments on smashing babies heads out of zeal for the Lord is positively disgusting. Are you Muslim?

    Your second part about One World Government ( no doubt under the Pope) is some of the worst eisegesis I have ever heard.

    Its not lost on me because you’re making crap up.

  • Bones

    Young U.S. Catholics overwhelmingly accepting of homosexuality

    Fully 85% of self-identified Catholics ages 18-29 said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with just 13% who said it should be discouraged.

    Similarly, despite the church’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage, most U.S. Catholics (57%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally wed, according to aggregated 2014 Pew Research surveys. And again, younger Catholics are particularly likely to express this view. Three-quarters of Catholic adults under 30 support legal same-sex marriage, compared with 53% of Catholics ages 30 and older (including just 38% of those 65 and older).

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/16/young-u-s-catholics-overwhelmingly-accepting-of-homosexuality/

    Even irrelevant amongst your own.

    That you consider all the tortures that gay people have endured as ‘good’ because you have to cure them of their gayness (which makes you ‘good’ because they are ‘bad’) is totally bizarre.

    And no, your apologetic articles didn’t answer anything.

    Like everything else they just danced around the question.

    Why don’t you just say it.

    Yes God wanted to kill gay people but now He changed His mind or something.

  • Bones

    Yeah sure.

    Don’t think so.

    The Times They Are A Changin…..

    This is of course how social change comes about. And extremist views become more and more part of the periphery like how the Vatican now accepts science and evolution.

    It’s bizarre how you think you’re the good one in this while those who have never hurt anyone but have neen oppressed and tortured by people like yourself and your church, are seen as bad.

    There’s something profoundly wrong with your worldview.

  • Libhunter

    Ruth you have my beloved mothers name, I love your comments, rock on! I’m a disabled Nam enlisted Army Infantryman. I hunt down commies, muslims, liberals, invading illegal aliens & Barry Soetoro.

  • Truth first

    You’re a tough nut to crack, Bones.
    No bone comes harder than the ones with genuine space age technology alloys with a coating of postmodernity, I presume. God does prefer a soft heart though. Not inspired by Valentine’s day, then?

    Even if you were to be right, the way you say it is such that even people in agreement with you would feel uncomfortable with the crash way you say things. Somehow in those rock hard bones there must be a bit of Christian compassion and tact left, Bones. It’s a lame pun, I know, but the appeal to a more forgiving kinder approach more in line with your faith is not less sincerely meant.

    Let me clear one thing up though that seems to occupy you quite a bit, my alleged membership of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. I grew up in and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in The Netherlands, NOT in SA. I was part of the anti-apartheid movement in Holland, inspired by my faith, even in my nominally Christian state at the time. I joined an anti-apartheid inspired organisation to do voluntary work in Zimbabwe, and was interrogated by the SA police for my UDF/ANC sympathies at the border the first time I tried to enter SA. I ended up on a blacklist causing a work permit failure for a job in Namibia and in 4 failed visa applications. My wife is a person of colour. I own no house nor farm in SA nor anywhere else in the world and can not therefore be dispossessed of these properties. Not exactly the profile of a staunch apartheid supporter.

    Have you tried your hand at the Book of Revelations? Do you know simply reading it is considered a good work in the eye of the writer, John, and hence Jesus Christ? End time prophesies are fascinating! What is your take on them?

  • Truth first

    That’s a really Catholic choice, Eva. Does the monstrance mean a lot to you? Do like the music, though.

  • Truth first

    That is not necessarily a bad thing or accusation. Since when was relevance per se a virtue or something worthy to strife for? “Old time, old rugged cross” type faith may be irrelevant to many, but is therefore not less valuable. Ask God what he prefers! Old timer cars are irrelevant as a means of transport as virtually nobody uses them to commute, but are still nice to look at or to drive on a Sunday afternoon. The qualification of something or someone as irrelevant says at least as much about the pronouncer of that judgement as it does about the subject of the judgement…

  • Truth first

    Isn’t it rather exactly the converse? Isn’t it usually those who feel “led ” to become untrained pastors who are liberal enough to consider the veracity of both: the justification of the theologically unqualified leading of a congregation AND the legitimacy in God’s eyes of same-sex marriages and an active LGBTQ lifestyle?

  • Bones

    It’s good to see you were able to side with archliberals like Archbishop Tutu in defeating the scourge of your South African counterparts.

    The symbolism of the Book of Revelation has all been decyphered due to finding other apocalyptic works and Christian writings from the first century. None of it is futuristic neither did the writer have a vision. That was how you got your message across.

    It clearly is an anti- Roman imperialist war propaganda which also takes aim at Pauline Christianity- the false prophet.

    The writer was a Christian Jew most likely a Judaizer.

    See Elaine Pagels who has spent years studying the book.

  • Truth first

    Guilty as charged.
    I WAS a big Tutu-admirer, as I found that he could both refer to a common heritage (however distorted the NP saw that) with those within the apartheid government claiming to be Christians, and could do so with wit, appealing to common values they shared as Christians. Sadly he has done untold harm to the church afterwards and is running the danger of voluntarily chosing to spend eternity away from God through his liberal viewpoints. Apartheid has done so much harm to Christianity that my wife-to-be did not even consider the faith as a possible option and investigated all other religions instead. Only to find that none provided the answers she sought to the 4 main questions of life.

    Now you did some seminar work and must have done some study on it, be presented with a different story in those lectures. Why do you reject the literal option? Is it too confrontational to you? If these things are true we’ll all be in big trouble if we miss the boat (salvation)? If you dismiss this as human anti-imperialist propaganda, and it is INDEED the very word of God, you will be in trouble as well…!

  • Bones

    No kidding.

    Only after it embarrassed itself with the whole Galileo affair.

  • Bones

    I’ve met Desmond Tutu and spent time with him.

    If he’s eternally damned than we all are.

    Btw I never accepted the Old Testament as literal.

    Ever.

    Most Christians don’t accept that talking snakes and worldwide floods actually happened.

    As for Revelation, the antiChrist is Nero and the setting of Babylon the Great is Imperial Rome. It’s as clear as day what it means. Other literature from the time uses the exact same symbology as Revelation.

    Its not about Islam or One World Governments or the Pope.

    It is set squarely in the time of the writer.

    The author’s condemnation of the churches in Asia Minor are a direct refutation of the gentile churches.

    I always saw it as a problematic book because of the way I saw it interpreted from being anti-communist to the Y2K bug and the many silly theories people had about the future.

    If we honestly seek to live our lives by these books we need to study them honestly and intelligently instead of glossing over and accepting half hearted explanations.

    It’s bizarre because what Christians expect of other religions eg the Koran they won’t do to their own book.

  • Bones

    Let’s keep with apartheid theme.

    They agree with you.

    So do the segregationists and geocentric and flat earth groups.

    Views which cannot be maintained simply fall by the wayside and are found only in the ignorant sectors of society.

    People can still bold those views but they represent the fringe of society which no one listens to.

  • Bones

    Actually we were told last week not to judge others because God doesn’t judge us.

    I had to give an amen to that.

    So now gay people aren’t good.

    Well I know from my own experience working with gay people that that is untrue.

    In fact they had more good in them than many Christians.

  • Bones

    “Where in my last post does it say that.”

    But, when we choose the wrong path, goodness decreases within us.

    Yeah that’s gay people isn’t it.

    They’re like rapists and paedophiles right, going down that wrong path to hell.

    ” I have to say I find progressives very judgemental indeed.”

    For the umpteen time telling people not be judgemental isn’t judgemental.

    Telling a racist to sop making racist remarks isn’t being judgemental. Telling an antisemite to stop harassing Jews isn’t judgemental.

    When will you people understand that.

    I’m sure they feel victimised too.

    “it’s judging in an unloving way that the scriptures speak against.”

    You mean like God in the OT? Or do you think God was loving in commanding the death of gay people?

    I’ve spent most of my life in conservative Christian circles to know that gays are hated. I’ve heard everything including death threats from good conservative Christian folk who love Jesus.

    Because it’s in the Bible.

    “but there is no definite proof that people who are gay are born that way.”

    Who cares……They’re not hurting anyone. They are just being like you and me trying to get through this life with some love and happiness which you want to deprive them.

    God tells us to love our neighbour.

    And it is He who changes people….

    Just as He changed me, and maybe one day, if you let Him, you…..

  • Bones

    At least you’re admitting that like the segregationists, pro-apartheid, white supremacists, flat earthers and geocentrics, you are comfortable with becoming more and more irrelevant as the world moves further and further away from your insular views.

    Look how the world has changed religion to something more tolerable than when it was torturing people.

  • Bones

    I really love your contributions……

    I have my own hate club.

  • Bones

    “I generally don’t judge people.”

    Unless they’re gay people…..because they’re evil and God says deserving of death.

  • Bones

    Ah yes and you are praying if only gays could be criminalised so we can torture them again.

    Gotta love those loving Christians.

  • Bones

    I don’t get why you people are so embarrassed about God.

    He clearly said to kill gay people yet you seem to have a problem with that.

    But don’t answer for all I care, your posts and refusal to answer are here for all to see.

  • Libhunter

    I have no hard feelings for you.

  • Truth first

    Like relevance, tolerance is NOT a virtue per se. And like relevance, singing the praises of tolerance tells you as much about its praise singers as about the subjects condemned for their intolerance.
    In the context of religions, God is as intolerant as can be.
    After all he is a jealous God, who said:

    1) You shall have no other gods before Me.

    2) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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 nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

    3) “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

    Your preferred tolerance and relevance often goes against one of the first 3 of the Ten Commandments.

    Not surprisingly God does NOT appreciate religious diversity in the sense that most people make up their own gods and put him in the box that fits their comfort zones. He does allow it though, but hates it nonetheless. Of course there may be diversity in the WAY we worship HIM, but refraining from doing so we do at our peril.

    Tolerance has been made to look like a virtue, but is in fact diluting the faith to such extent that it has become inconsequential. Where holiness (= the state of setting yourself apart from an unbelieving world) is expected from God’s people, none exists among those Christians aligning themselves with the world. The tolerable faith you are professing is a lukewarm one, one that God despises. If we do not distinguish ourselves from unbelievers we have no hope, and,consequently will be lumped together with unbelievers when judgement time comes. As his children we are supposed to actively and wholeheartedly HATE sin and be intolerant against ungodliness.

    Irrelevance and intolerance in the eyes of the world are not worrying me one bit, Bones. It’s only if I were to glean from His Word that these things would be off the narrow path, that I would worry.

    Intolerant. Irrelevant. Bigoted. Narrow-minded. Blinkered. I am all of that and more, if it keeps me from straying from God’s narrow path.

    Make a stand, Bones. Be a man after God’s heart. Forget about the popularity polls and the browny points you score by bashing Bible believers. You can do much, much better than that. Be courageous and don’t howl with the politically correct wolves in the postmodern forest, and God will reward you!

  • Truth first

    Happy as a lark, Bones. There is no safety in numbers. On the contrary, I would say. What is loved by the world is at enmity with God. The truth never changes. God is immutable.

  • Truth first

    God is no respecter of man. You may have won the Noble peace price, but that does not mean you are a shoo-in for heaven. God does not condemn people to hell, they choose themselves to go there. When Tutu said he would not want to go to a heaven with a God who would not accept unrepentant homosexuals, he declared himself unwilling to accept God’s terms for entry. At the same time he, as a religious leader, led thousands if not millions people up the garden path. God deals harshly with teachers and preachers who declare him a liar and push their own fallible worldly ideas. I do hope sincerely he turns from his ways and refinds his first love.

    Once again, there is no safety in numbers whatsoever. if “most Christians do not accept a worldwide flood” this is of no consideration to me. There is enough data, as well as simple common sense, that are consistent with a worldwide flood. You do NOT have to be a Christian to consider that possibility.

    Eschatology is not anyone’s cuppa tea, but God expects us to be curious. Just howling with the wolves and singing along with the Deception choir is not going to be any defense to the God who knows all and expects us to think and reason. And believe! I do not see how anti-communist would fit in here. Is that where your sympathies lie at the moment?

    You do not have to be a prophet or Christian to see the convergence of religions and governments. The greatness of God is that he is outside of time and knew all along what was going to happen. He is warning us. The signs of the times are there. They are there for us to recognize them and to get your spiritual house in order before the end will come.

  • Truth first

    Lending him a ready ear during our daily counseling sessions. I should be paid for this big time! Must be doing something right that he keeps on taking place on my couch. Hungry for the truth, I guess…;)

  • Truth first

    Need some more time to digest this Herm. In the mean time, where do you stand concerning the Desert Fathers, Centering and contemplative prayer, and people like Manning, Merton, Mac Manus and Keaton?

  • Libhunter

    Am I wrong to like you because of what you express in words? Do you delete my like or is the government doing it?

  • Agree with you.

  • Bones

    I know you haven’t heard but God is not our enemy.

    You still haven’t answered if God changed his mind about killing gay people.

  • Bones

    That’s right you’re a better human being than all the Noble Peace Prize recipients and MLK joined together.

    Tutu was right.

    He sees your God as a complete and utter contradiction.

    Apartheid against gays is just an extension of apartheid against blacks.

    Eschatology is the realm of make believe.

    If I had a dollar for every lunatic theory I’ve heard, I’d be a millionaire.

    And if anything governments and religions are moving further away.

    You may not have remembered the religious states of the Middle Ages when priests held the power of life and death and bishops commanded armies and influence over kings and Emperors.

    You know the good old days when heretics were burned at the stake and gays were executed.

    God is revealing Himself to be above religion and above Bronze Age books in what the martyred Dietrich Bonhoeffer called a religionless Christianity – A christianity based on equality as was espoused by the original community in the Gospel of Mark.

    If you don’t get that then you are not born again but no different to the Pharisee.

  • Bones

    This is the same God who calls for the execution of gay people.

    Which we know is profoundly immoral.

    “Intolerant. Irrelevant. Bigoted. Narrow-minded. Blinkered. I am all of that and more, if it keeps me from straying from God’s narrow path.”

    And your apartheid friends thought exactly the same.

    Where are they now?

    It’s time for people to make a stand against those who seek to divide people based on Bronze Age tribal rules and as the great MLK said to look at a person’s character – not the colour of their skin, nor their sexuality.

    The one howling against the moon here, is you.

  • Truth first

    Thanks for the compliment, Bones. Just trying to be of service, really, but frankly I am not THAT much better than the rest. In fact there is no race of Christians and super Christians. You’re either in, or you’re out. What distinguishes saved Christians is degrees of maturity, differences in the level of sanctification. Once saved we grow in our faith, dare to be bolder and to confront misrepresentations of our faith. We do not need praise singers, which is perhaps the most liberating aspect of our conviction: we couldn’t care less of what those say who are believers in name only, but do not distinguish themselves in anything from unbelievers. All that really counts is that I am good enough in the eyes of the Lord, viz that I am accepting Jesus Christ as the one and only and obey his commands. No awards are required, no praise from man.

    Surprised to see you quote Bonnhoeffer, who is generally considered to be of the neo-orthodox school which values doctrines and dogma’s.

    Sometimes your obsession with gays gets the better of you, Bones. Your constant harping on the issue does not do justice to the issue of orthodoxy and conservatism, which is so much broader. You’re also harping on about apartheid as if I have been a supporter of it, which, I explained earlier, I am not. Have you even read that response?

    If I were to get a dollar for every liberal Christian considering himself a Christian while going against some of the basic tenets of the faith, I’d be not just a millionaire, but a multi millionaire one!

    God is not just above religion, he hates it with a passion! Only religionless Christianity will get you to heaven, as it is only via the realisation that we are born sinners and at the total mercy of a graceful God, that God can work with us. There is nothing we can do to get to heaven and no works are required. Religion equals works.

    Awake from your slumber, Bones. Start thinking for yourself and test everything with God’s word. Don’t take Tutu’s, MLK’s or anyone’s word for it, not even mine, whom you have just elevated above the illustrious two…;)

  • Truth first

    Are you ever really listening to people? Eva sent you a nice explanation about the OT. Let me explain it one more time: There are 3 types of laws in the OT:
    1) Civil Law
    2) Ceremonial Law
    3) Moral Law
    These laws were pressed upon the Israelites to make them stay away and set them apart from heathen nations who sacrificed kids and did all sorts of other gruesome things. These formed part of the Old Covenant from God with his nation of Israel. With the coming of Jesus Christ a new covenant was established between believers in Jesus Christ. The command to obey the civil laws (harsh punishment for transgressions) and ceremonial law (food, clothing, etc) did NOT apply anymore. Yet the moral law still applies and was confirmed in the NT. That’s why it is still wrong to lead a GLBTQ lifestyle, but nobody has to be killed for that, or (imho) be imprisoned for it.

    Who are YOU to call God immoral?! God is sovereign and what he says goes. That is why Tutu’s remarks were so incredibly stupid!
    You are doing more harm by your constant vicious condemnation of real believers than I could ever do with a biblical standpoint against homosexuality. You are so lost, Bones, that not even the best GPS could get you back into the God-inhabited civilisation.

    But I suppose such are the habits of closet communists with no real desire to really find out about the truth

  • Truth first

    Old Covenant-New Covenant. Do I have to explain you EVERYTHING?!

  • Truth first

    It’s good to be in the company of people who DO care about what God really expects from us. Thanks for your concerns, Eva. I am just about to throw up my hands into the air out of exasperation with the man. He is just not listening and totally obsessed, it seems, with homosexuality. You wouldn’t think that….? I think I have done my bit to talk some sense into him, but will advice him that he take the rest of his counseling sessions with someone else.

  • Libhunter

    Ok now I get it, take care girly, best to you.

  • Truth first

    The thing with Bones is that he seems such an incredibly angry person, who seems to find satisfaction in chiding everyone who does not agree with him. His comments are harsh, unforgiving, cynical, provocative and insulting, showing very little self-control. I see so little of the Fruit of the Spirit in him that he might as well be an agnostic or atheist. And yet he will probably deny that he is one. Apart from the method he uses to confront fellow Christians, he also does not seem to realise (and he is not the only one. Most liberal, nominal Christians will have to face that fact) that his siding with the world as a virtual humanistic freethinker makes his particular “brand” of Christianity inconsequential. His lukewarmness (at best) does not set him apart from unbelievers. He is not the salt of the earth as God asks us to be, not the light in the darkness pointing at the Cross. And yet, and yet, he accuses US of not being Christ followers. The deception in the churches has gone so deep, Eva, that indeed, even the elect are being deceived. His is NOT a Christian message, and as Bible believers we HAVE to tell him that. After that, we dust off our sandals and move on. I am close to that now.

  • Bones

    Clearly the disturbed one is the one who thinks God commands the killing of gay people.

    That is simply horrific.

    Btw I have a washburn and maton.

  • Truth first

    I must admit that I do not understand all what you say.

    You say:
    >All possible eternally sustainable values are spiritually based<.

    How does this compare with 1 John 4:3 which says:

    "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world."

    I would say: all people start life in the flesh as born sinners. After our rebirth (=justification) we still sin, but our identity is not that of a sinner anymore. We are now heirs to the Kingdom of God. We are now his children. The flesh is still there but during our sanctification process it will become less and Jesus and his Holy Spirit in us will become more.

    I do not quite know how that compares to what you say.

  • Herm

    The Desert Fathers: I will not judge what another does in pursuit of God. My personal feeling, based on experience, is that both Jesus and John the Baptist received the Spirit and then went into the wilderness to confront truth without distraction (no books, no group studies, and no social influences other than in their spiritual hearts and minds). Both then went into the real carnal world to work as the Spirit led according to our Father’s will. I don’t believe any of us are called to hermits or monks for the good of mankind or God’s will. Only based on my life and not the lives of the Desert Fathers.

    Centering and contemplative prayer: A great explanation of each I heard is: meditation is thinking about God, Centering Prayer is consenting to God and contemplative prayer is loving God. I am in continual prayer; an attitude of God-consciousness and God-surrender that I carry with me all the time. When I stop my constructive and productive life to meditate I still remain in reciprocal relationship with God thinking about us. When in Centering Prayer I rebuild my foundation, with the full help of the Spirit of truth, upon the rock that I may have over extended onto the sand in my childish exuberance. When in contemplative prayer I cleanse while bathing together in the love of God.

    Manning: a surname for a few pretty reasonable professional quarterbacks.

    Brennan Manning: a passionate writer of God’s love who remains unable to fully embrace the fullness of grace, as will I.

    Maurice Manning: pretty right daring to laugh in the face of Blasphemy.

    Thomas Merton: Has published an excellent quotable poem in Thoughts in Solitude going to God directly in the humility of self-acknowledged ignorance and dependence. God always answers such prayers.

    Erwin McManus: from what I know of him is daringly honest and knows what it is like to be in God and God in him. I do know that his most vocal antagonists only know God from what they term, “the unchanging and timeless Truth of God’s infallible and inerrant Word in Holy Scripture”. I believe you know which side I would live in.

    Jean Keaton: as a LDS Universalism proponent she does not speak as my heart and mind understand. One of her basis for why everyone must be saved is that, otherwise, the loss of their physical presence and the finality of the grave makes that separation almost unbearable. I know of 50,000 souls in the grave from my present perspective due to one USA conflict I was in with them and grieve them all.

    Unbearable? no

    Eternally responsible to each of them? yes

    I trust my God, in me, to know what needs to end and what needs to continue without end. Hell is not eternal but the scars from life are. Those scars can be reasons to make us stronger, more productive, and more constructive (Jesus was chosen for full authority over heaven and on earth for His) or they can be reasons to make us more destructive; always our responsibility of choice. God promises that those who choose to be more destructive will be destroyed (consumed) for all time after.

    Was I close to answering your query?

  • Truth first

    The “progressives” as you call them really have it in for the Bible believers. Check out people like Rob Bell (with his deceiving book Love Wins) and Brennan Manning’s A Generous Orthodoxy. They really almost threaten conservatives AND fool the flock with their thoroughly apostate teachings. I firmly believe the persecution of Bible-believing Christians will largely be executed by people who should be our brothers and sisters, but who will shame and chide us in the face of (other) unbelievers. They will side with the prevailing humanistic postmodern worldview and make us stand out as sore thumbs.
    We HAVE to tell the world of their misrepresentation of the faith, and make fellow Christians aware of their ungodly plans. You are doing your bit, but most are either indifferent or indoctrinated and do not want to rock the boat.

  • Herm

    I wrote, “All possible eternally sustainable values are spiritually based“. How can you disagree unless you believe there are carnal valuables that are eternally sustainable?

    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV2011)

    You wrote, “I would say: all people start life in the flesh as born sinners. After our rebirth (=justification) we still sin, but our identity is not that of a sinner anymore. We are now heirs to the Kingdom of God. We are now his children. The flesh is still there but during our sanctification process it will become less and Jesus and his Holy Spirit in us will become more.

    If being carnally born of no choice of your own ignorant, helpless and insisting on struggling to live makes one a sinner then the creator God has no heart and the truth is that just isn’t so.

    Sin is being destructive against another and/or destructive against God. What newborn do you accuse of being destructive? What newborn does your church doctrine adhere to that judges all newborns as sinners? Please, believe me in this one thing, also written, you cannot come to God except as a little newborn child in the example of those, maybe a little bit later in life, sitting carnally on the lap of Jesus not to be denied. We must each, as no more than a little child, acknowledge in all humility our ignorance, helplessness, and be willing to struggle to learn eternal life only from the Teacher while carrying our own cross according to the will of our Father in heaven to become children born of God today. I can only testify that there is no sanctification process to the whelming/filling/baptism of the Holy Spirit by our Lord Jesus. It is instantaneous and forever as we then become little children, bound inextricably in love, who at first are know nothing students excited to learn, play and work in the shared yoke of and with our Rabbi.

    What truly loving carnal mother or father do you know who would even pause to label their newborn child as a sinner? What child do you know who dotes in worship of their mother and father would you label as a sinner? Sin can only be if without true empathy, compassion and forgiveness for those we could even consider sinning against. We cannot sin against the Lord our God if we love Him with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength, with all our minds nor our merciful neighbors we love as ourselves. We just can’t muster the strength to intentionally do so. Can we each err out of ignorance to hurt something or someone inadvertently as all children will? (yes) Is such a sin? In my heart and mind it can only be a sin if without the bond of love for the other, or not in counsel with the Spirit of truth, to guide us each.

    I can no longer sin against God because I am in God’s love and God’s love is in me. I am right now an adorable little newborn child of God with the promise and anticipation of an eternity’s worth of learning and growth ahead of me. We in God are bound to one another as one so that we share the individual pains and joys of each other in each of our hearts and minds filled by the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit in me I love my God, my neighbor, myself, and my enemy with everything I am. I am growing with and in love more each day.

    I will in error only sin against you because I am not one in you and you in me but I do not choose to do so. If I find I have been destructive to you I will honestly seek your forgiveness, although no less than I would even my enemy, which in your grace extended to me you are not my enemy but my merciful neighbor, thank you!

    As a side note you brought up in 1 John 4:3:

    No other organized entity has served to be the anti-Christ, within the last 2,000 years, any more than those confessing “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh