Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lesson from RC

I was listening to R. C. Sproul today and he spoke on something I thought was relevant for me considering some of my opponents. Much of what he spoke about had to do with the idea of getting insight from the Holy Ghost (I'm feeling nostalgic for the term "Holy Ghost"). There are among these opponents those that have formed their positions on Christianity on Scripture, but also on their prayer meditations wherein the Holy Ghost revealed truth to them. Thus, for some, they have come to much different understandings regarding the faith, the Bible, and the concepts of right/wrong. Some have come to their pro-homosexual positions this way.

Well, the point Sproul was making was that God's Revelations to us can only be found in Scripture. He was saying that there have been no revelations since. And he clarified the difference between "revelation", which we received from Biblical study, and "illumination" which the Holy Ghost can provide. I found it humorous to hear him say how if he had a dollar for every time someone said they came to an unChristian or unBiblical notion after having prayed for answers or help. They don't seek the answers from the Bible, but convince themselves they've received revelation, which often is in contradiction with Scripture. It's the same thing I, and other conservative Christian bloggers and posters, have encountered in our debates and discussions. The bottom line is that the revelation needs to conform with Scripture, whether it comes from "prayerful meditation" or other sources.

Also in the same lecture, Sproul spoke of the early church restricting lay reading of the Bible. I've heard of this even in more modern day churches, mostly Roman Catholic. Some of the early churches would actually chain the Bibles to prevent their being taken. This practice is often held up as an example of the desire by the church to control people. Sproul explained that the practice was to protect the people from themselves. Martin Luther wanted to provide for the people the opportunity to read God's Word, but his opponents feared that the people were not educated in the proper way to read the Bible, and this could lead to numerous, perhaps countless, factions forming as everyone would come to different conclusions. This wasn't a looney fear considering how many different denominations exist today. And it's certainly what I have seen in these blog debates, that some feel that everyone needs to find what it means to them. I've always opposed this notion, not to tell people what to do, as I am often accused, but that the point is to determine what God means by Scripture. A true study requires removing one's self from the equation and simply determining what God wants. He has indeed revealed much in Scripure. Not everything, but plenty. Certainly all we need in living our lives here on earth.


ELAshley said...

Your detractors being for the most part MY detractors....

"The bottom line is that the[se]..." people are relying on a Ghost OTHER THAN the Holy Ghost. There are more spirits in the world than you can shake a stick at but only one of them is of God-- IS God. This is why we are admonished to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

I am convinced that our detractors, for the most part, are listening to ghosts OTHER THAN the HOLY Ghost. Because, as you've stated, any new "revelation" given MUST agree with the entire body of the "Received" and complete Revelation of God, FROM God, which is the Bible.

My pastor continually says from the pulpit that every verse of scripture has only one meaning-- in terms of context; to whom was it written, when, why, etc. --but many applications. The best thing is to allow the Bible to say what it says, where it says it. And if a contradiction seems to arise, we must understand it is our lack of understanding that is at issue.

To clarify, three rules I've devised for dealing with difficult/seemingly contradictory passages...

..::Axiom of Translation::..

1-- God cannot lie. (Num 23:19. Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18)
2-- The truth of one verse cannot negate the truth of another.
3-- If the truths of two or more verses appear to be contradictory, the verses must be viewed as possessing dissimilar contexts and/or dispensations.

The problem with our detractors is that they are relying upon their own human intellects, rather than relying on the guidance of the Holy Ghost for understanding. Jesus said the Holy Ghost would be a Comforter to us, a Friend who would guide us in ALL truth. If we are confused we are either not listening to the voice of the Holy Ghost, or worse, listening to the voice of some "other" ghost NOT of God.

I try to stay out of the kind of discussions that debate the validity of our numerous detractors own pet doctrines. But sometimes I have to wade in... mostly when I see that the Faith needs defending from spurious and specious attacks. God speaking through Jude tells us we are to "Earnestly. Contend. For. The. Faith. Which. Was. Once. [and for all]. Delivered. Unto. The. Saints!" [Jude 1:3]

Can't say I've heard R.C. Sproul speak. But I love Adrian Rogers, and Charles Stanley. I love Jack Van Impe as well.

Thanks for posting, it's been awhile since you've had anything to say.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Yeah, I'm caught. I actually pray through a "Liberal Anti-Christ Spirit", a gay, fetus hating spirit that wishes nothing but death and destruction upon the world. How astute of you both to have found out the truth.

I have no idea who R. C. Sproul is. From this little blurb, I can only say I am glad.

ELAshley, it would be a very shallow world indeed if the Bible had only one meaning. Fortunately, there are those who believe differently and yet, somehow, manage to live healthy, Christian lives.

Les said...

"The bottom line is that the revelation needs to conform with Scripture..."

And who determines that, Arthur? This is such a frustrating topic for me, because each denomination is absolutely convinced they're the ones who got it right. For example, the Church of Christ prohibits women from being church elders because of I Corinthians 14:34,35. Are we to believe this directive should be taken literally here in the year 2007, or was this simply an instruction Paul gave to the church in Corinth? I, for one, find it hard to believe such a rule is even remotely applicable today.

ELAshley said...

As usual, Geoffrey, you've misread. I said "every verse of scripture has only one meaning"... but now that I think on it, the Bible also has only one meaning; complex and many layered, but essentially... yes, just one meaning. That you can't see it speaks volumes.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

That I can't see what? Superficiality? Facileness? Ignorance parading as virtue? What am I not seeing here?

ELAshley said...

What you're not seeing is your poor behavior... your snide and rude comments, and condescension toward those with whom you disagree. Civil discourse is lost on you. As evidenced at ER's place.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Why should I be civil? What possible benefit is there for me to be civil with someone who honestly believes that I am not a Christian, and am destined for hell? I see no reason at all to treat you with anything but scorn and disdain precisely because
(a) you, and others like you, have refused to actually read what I write, and react to some caricature of the evil liberal who wants to surrender our country and our faith to heathens;
(b) you, and others like you, spout nonsense and ignorant gibberish and insist it is wisdom from on high, while those who are actually educated, thoughtful, prayerful, and hesitant in our faith are scorned as some dangerous anti-Christian elite bent on the destruction of the godly (just re-read Marshall's post where he talks about Sproul saying that the Bible should be kept away from the people for their own good; that there are still those who support such an idea tells me more than enough about you and those like you);
(c) I have yet to feel as if me, my family, my friends, or my thoughts actually mean anything to you or those like you.

Civility on terms set by those who don't know how to define words is a losers game. I don't play games. Sorry to break the news to you, but I am still fed up with nonsense, especially hate-filled nonsense spouted in the name of Jesus. Once you accept some kind of abstract rule set by others, you've already lost, and I don't plan on losing. In fact, I don't even plan on playing.

If you think you hurt my feelings with your words, you'll have to try harder than that.

ELAshley said...

I'm not interested in hurting your feelings, I am simply tired of your bad manners. I'll ignore from here on out.

Mark said...

yes, but what of those who continue to insist the Bible isn't exactly accurate? If they don't believe what is written, how do they receive revelation?

Dan Trabue said...

Well, the point Sproul was making was that God's Revelations to us can only be found in Scripture.

I will merely note that this is not a position found within the Bible. There is no verse anywhere within the bible that tells us that God's Revelation ended in the first century.

Now, what I think IS an acceptable conclusion is that no Truth would conflict with God's Word (ie, that which God says), but "God's Word," is much larger than just the Bible.

Having said that, I certainly think that any claimed "revelation" that does not conform - and is diametrically opposed to - sound biblical Truths are to be questioned.

Anyone who claims that "God has revealed" that it is okay to hate your neighbor or destroy God's Creation, for instance, should be counseled to reconsider their "revelation."

And even on less obvious biblical truths, where sincere Christians may have differences of opinion, I would not likely accept someone's "revelation" as having more credence than what we think the Bible says (realizing, humbly, that we may be wrong on our interpretation of the Bible - especially on less clear subjects).

Marshall Art said...

Disdain and scorn. Hmm. Frustration with opponents is one thing. Disdain and scorn, painting the opposition as ignorant and hateful? Sounds very unChristian to me.

I read your words very carefully, Geoffrey. You damn well know it, too. That you can't contend with my objections, criticisms or positions is the foundation of your arrogant condescension. Frankly, for all you studies, and yes, I'm impressed by the amount of reading for which you find time, it hasn't given you a whole lot in the way of wisdom. This is supported by the how often you miss the point of what you read here and in my posts at your own blog. For example, I never said Sproul supports prohibiting Bible reading from lay people. But you often spout such truthless statements in defense, or rather, in your aggression against the views of your opponnents.

With your expansive series on evil, it's surprising you wouldn't consider that evil can be so subtle as to influence even you in your Biblical studies. No. This you reserve for only your opponents. Yet, my side of the equation has a singular desire to understand on God's terms without any regard for how it might coincide with our own desires. I assume as much for you, actually, but find by your attitude towards us that you are, for all your studies, quite lacking. How can one who claims such superior efforts at educating himself not have come across such a prolific theologian as R. C. Sproul? I can only assume that you are not concerned with traditional theological practice in favor of the more enabling and self-driven liberal theology. That's fine. It'll all play out in the end.

But your disdain and scorn is telling. Your positions on issues in conflict with Scripture is as well.

Marshall Art said...

Yesterday I again had the chance to listen in on Sproul and he continued with his series. He spoke of those troublesome passages that seem in conflict with others. Eric has it right and Sproul spoke of viewing those in light of the overall message on the subject. It can be hard to align them, but that's where seeking out good scholars can help.

Still, it may frustrate, but that's more a problem within us than within Scripture.

Marshall Art said...

I meant to tie the last to Les' comments.

I think it's clear that the various denominations formed as a result of the differing interpretations. Whether it is always a good or bad thing is a separate debate, but such things as women in ministry or as elders, or things like child baptism or even baptism at all, are minor things, really. Saying one can what Scripture clearly says one shalt not is a different matter. It ain't the Holy Spirit informing those who say "maybe sometimes".

I'd also say that for your example, Les, that the world would not conform to that is troubling, even if still a minor issue. It suggests that some think they know better than God and those who had direct contact with Him. I'm not as hung up on women in ministry as I once was after hearing some fine, Bible centered preach-"ettes" on the radio. But I've heard some in person that I have no doubt are speaking from a postion of feminism primarily. Not good.

Marshall Art said...

"I will merely note that this is not a position found within the Bible."

Actually Dan, Sproul spoke to that point exactly, but I'm afraid I'm unable to coherently present his explanation. I wish I could remember how he presented it. It's an important point, I think.

Les said...

"But I've heard some in person that I have no doubt are speaking from a postion of feminism primarily. Not good."

It's also irrelevant. Any time a minister, male OR female, allows their own personal agenda to compromise the message of Christ, then that minister has failed in his/her duties. The gender of said minister doesn't matter in the least bit. I've seen plenty of male preachers succumb to the position of power that a pulpit and a captive audience can provide.

"...that the world would not conform to that is troubling, even if still a minor issue."

Just so we're clear - is it your belief, then, that women should NOT be allowed to speak in church?

Timothy said...

Good post and well laid out. Yes, we struggle with those who do not accept Sproul's explanation. But that is to be expected. The point being that if the Holy Spirit leads you to a conclusion that is contrary to Scripture, then it's not the Holy Spirit that is leading.

Marshall Art said...


I don't know really, as I haven't spent too much time in pondering the issue. Ideally, I would say that all other things being equal, that a man should lead the flock. Yet, as I suggested, I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of women leading, especially if the pickin's is slim. For example, if there were four candidates and three were men of lesser quality (as regards qualities of a good preacher), then it would benefit the congregation to have the woman candidate get the gig. More important than the messenger is the message. But one needs the messenger to deliver the messenger. I think that's pretty much in line with the spirit of Scripture regarding the issue. We each have our roles, they are different from each other's as we are different from one another, but some and I think Scripture generally puts male over female due to the whole "image of God" vs "the rib of a man" thing. It doesn't mean lack of equality.

In any case, your point actually matched mine as far as doing for God over doing for one's self.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, I don't contend with your position, because, quite honestly, it is rarely put in a coherent, rational form.

ELAshley, it is fine with me if you ignore me. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I think you need to toughen up a tad if you're going to venture on to the internet. It's rough out here, and people, real people, lead real lives that are at odds with whatever it is you believe. They are happy. They are healthy. They are faithful. They trust the the Holy Spirit is much larger and gracious than your tiny, literal fancies.

Marshall, you may read me carefully, but I doubt you understand. Honestly. I am not being condescending here. I have yet to read something of yours that was not tinged with anger, disdain for difference, and bloated with whatever fantasy du jour is applicable, whether it's fetus-hugging, Muslim-hating, LGBT-hating, or whatever. This is neither condescending nor liberal obfuscation, but an honest reading of things you have written here and over at my blog.

I harbor no ill-will toward anyone here; I return because the issues addressed are important, and I think that talking, even yelling, is better than ignoring what those whose views differ from one's own. This does not mean that I feel it necessary to play by someone's rules of what constitutes civility. Indeed, I don't play at all, because the stakes are quite high, and rules are for those who think that we should conduct ourselves with propriety when we are engaging in questions that are of vital importance.

I do think we both, Marshall, need to lighten up a tad and recognize when the other is making a joke. A sense of humor would go a long way to salvaging an on-going discussion.

Having said that, I think the games should continue. With the clarity that comes from a sense of one's own limitation, may I just repeat myself and say that ELAshley needs to toughen up a tad. People are going to disagree, even on what it means to do rhetorical battle. I honestly doubt if I hurt your feelings (that was a joke above, dude, in case you were wondering), and there is little you could say to me that would do the same. I do think, however, that you really do need to get over it a bit, and pay attention. I do. That's why I react the way I do!

Les said...

I gotta tell ya, Art - there are times I hear the ol' "we all have different roles to play" response, and it makes me cringe a little bit. Granted, men and women have inherent biological obligations to ensure the future of our species, but I'm of the opinion that such gender-specific roles serve no other purpose and are henceforth null and void beyond reproduction.

Think about it - "we each have our roles". Sounds a bit fatalistic, friend. I, for one, do NOT believe we each have our roles. I believe we MAKE our own roles. To limit even the spiritual role one is allowed to play because of one's gender seems a bit elitist to me. How 'bout it, ladies? You okay with I Corinthians 14:34,35? How about I Peter 3:1-5? How about Leviticus 15:19-31? Heck, how about Genesis 3:6, for that matter? You okay with takin' the blame for the fall of mankind?

It just seems to me like there's too much passive-aggressive woman-bashing in the Good Book. It's a bit too Ike and Tina for me. For example, Eve gets kicked around for introducing sin into our lives, but then Romans 5:12 tells us sin entered the world by one MAN. Furthermore, I Timothy 2:11 & 12 tell us women can't teach men, yet Galatians 3:28 says we're ALL ONE in Christ. Um - huh?

Look, having roles to play probably wouldn't even be an issue if those so-called roles didn't entail a certain level of power or social stigma. To invoke an admittedly extreme example here, society felt black folks had certain "roles" to play a couple centuries ago. Is this apples and oranges? Yes, it is, so save the e-mails, folks. Yet it illustrates a point I'm trying to make here. Role designation based on things like race and gender simply don't fly these days, which is precisely the problem I have with the relevance of certain Biblical tenets.

ELAshley said...

""God's Word," is much larger than just the Bible."

I reckon it depends on what you mean by this. If you mean that God has revealed Himself elsewhere for other religions then you are flat wrong. If you mean that our hearts contain His Law-- not his word --or that that the heavens declare His glory, then fine. "Glory revealed" is not so much His word as it is a physical demonstration; a culmination of proof OF His glory. But again, if you mean that other religions can come to know God without coming to faith in Jesus; and the only book in the world that teaches this is the Bible --then you are wrong. Terribly wrong.

ELAshley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ELAshley said...

Get over yourself Geoff, I'm not hurt in the slightest. My skin's just fine.

ELAshley said...

Allow me to clarify the Axiom I offered.

Taking point one as THE foundation... that God cannot lie... If then any verses seem to conflict or contradict each other, the problem is not with the verses-- that the Bible has made a mistake --but with the reader's interpretation.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

ELAshley, I am honestly curious here. What of those religions that existed long before Christianity, and continue to thrive along side it in the world. What of our sibling-faiths, Judaism and Islam. What of all the millions of human beings who never lived to hear the word of God in the Bible. Is God so cruel and awful that all those folks are doomed to eternal torment for the historical accident of having been born in the wrong time and place?

Since I don't subscribe to the kind of exclusivity you put forth, and also because I have serious doubts about the whole afterlife thing, these aren't issues I personally find either interesting or important. Yet, you insist rather vehemently that your way is the only way, so I sincerely want your views here.

mom2 said...

Since I don't subscribe to the kind of exclusivity you put forth, and also because I have serious doubts about the whole afterlife thing, these aren't issues I personally find either interesting or important. (This by Geoffrey).
Am I mistaken or do you classify yourself as a Christian with these kind of doubts? I am not being sarcastic, I am puzzled. The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are essential to saving faith, which makes us Christians.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I agree, Mom2 - what is your point about my questions? I'm not sure I expressed "doubt". The closest I came was saying I had questions about the whole afterlife thing.

In any event, my question remains unanswered.

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, Go back and read your own post. I copied and pasted that.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I know you pasted those words of mine. I was agreeing on what it takes to be a Christian.

I am still waiting for an answer to my question.

ELAshley said...

My response, as straight-forward, honest, and succinct as possible, requires that I first describe the foundation upon which everything else is built. I'll be as brief as possible.

1-- If God has truly revealed Himself through the nation of Israel, through the centuries of the Old Testament, and has, as the psalmist suggests 'preserved His word' for us-- in which ever translation --then we (or I) have to accept what He has said about sin, redemption, loving one's enemies, etc. I can't pick and choose the ones I like while discarding those I don't.

2-- To reiterate what I said earlier in this discussion; as God, by definition, cannot lie, if I therefore encounter a verse or two that seem to contradict each other, the fault is not in the body of scripture, but in my own understanding of scripture.

So, why not Islam, or Judaism? Or other religions and their legion of adherents who have never heard the name of Jesus?

Because of Exclusivity.

The only payment possible for sin is blood. Blood for sin. From the very beginning it was blood that covered sin debt. Fig leaves were insufficient, so God killed and provided animal skins. The work of one's hands and the yield of his labor is insufficient, so Cain's offering was refused, and Abel's accepted.

The wilderness tabernacle is a perfect picture of the redemption process, with Christ being the express figure portrayed in every aspect of the tabernacles construction and function... it would take too much time here to fully defend this position, so I'll add this to my foundation.

After the Law was given, there was thereafter no other means acceptable by God by which sacrifice for sin could be made. It had to be at the altar in the tabernacle or later within the Temple. The sinner had to come through the door of the tabernacle (Jesus), kill the offering on the raised altar (Jesus on the cross), then washed in the basin (symbolic of Christs blood) before the sinner could enter the holy place...

Anyway. This is the only means by which a sinner could find remission for his sin. And the Tabernacle is the ultimate type of Christ... in every detail, down to the threads that adorned the curtains in the holy place.

Throughout Israel's history God repeatedly warned His chosen people to stop worshiping strange gods in the groves and on hilltops. One of the first Commandments was to have no other god before Him. Even Solomon failed in this respect allowing his many foreign wives to worship other gods and, unless I'm mistaken (I'm at work and do not have my Bible in front of me) he ALSO sacrificed to these other gods. This is why God judged Solomon and declared that his kingdom would be divided after his death. That Solomon found grace with God before his death is not at issue, but God's pronouncement of Judgment upon Solomon's idolatry is. God punished Solomon for worshiping other gods.

Leap ahead a thousand years, and Jesus Himself claims to be God in human flesh. The prophets told of this, whether they fully understood it then or not. But Jesus said... I am the door... and... anyone who comes through me will be saved (paraphrased). Then there's Acts 20:28 (? I may be off a verse or two)... God has purchased the church with HIS OWN BLOOD.

Throughout the history of the Israelites, Blood was the only payment for sin, and that transaction had to be made in the tabernacle or later, in the Temple.

Every other nation at that time, according to God, were Gentile nations; heathens, idol worshipers.

Logically speaking, if God did indeed come to earth, take on mortal flesh, and willingly die for the sin of all mankind, would He not so esteem His own sacrifice as to make it the only way to find salvation? Why would Jesus, if He was God, say "No man comes to the Father, but by me" if He didn't mean it.

Salvation is a very exclusive club. But ANYONE can join. All they have to do is accept the blood of God (Jesus) as payment for their sin. They have to believe that he rose again from the grave (this is from 1st or 2nd Corinthians). So Christianity IS exclusive, but anyone can join the club.

As to why not Judaism? The early church was comprised almost solely of Jews until what? 5-10 years after the resurrection? Throughout the centuries Jews have converted to Christ. As have Muslims, and Hindus, and so on.

No other god has died to save man from his sin. Only Jesus has done this.

I admit, as I have elsewhere, that it does seem cruel to me that people who have NEVER heard the name of Jesus should be consigned to Hell. But this is my finite, HUMAN mind thinking. I choose to believe that something is in place for such people, Just as the "other" compartment of hell, Abraham's Bosom, was for the righteous dead, awaiting the slain savior to arrive and preach to the captives and take those who accepted his payment to heaven. I don't know if this is scriptural... I have nothing concrete to base this on. It just seems fair to me.

But the Apostles, after Paul goaded them, finally spread out into the world. One Apostle went to India and preached there, where he was martyred. Think also about the children of Noah, who knew God, but spread out over the world nonetheless and promptly forgot Him. They all have the Law of God written on their hearts, and they will all be judged by that Law. The only escape from that judgment is the blood of Christ.

I don't believe God would have allowed Himself to be scourged, spit upon, stripped naked and nailed to a cross only to die a humiliating death, if there were "other" ways by which men might be saved. Why would God waste His blood on such an endeavor if men from other religions could find salvation in their own beliefs? I submit that He wouldn't. Jesus therefore is the ONLY way to God, Salvation, and Life Eternal.

That you aren't even sure you believe in an afterlife, says clearly that we are on two different paths. They may look alike, but they are clearly (to my mind at least) different. I don't toss that statement out there lightly, or as a jab at you.

I want everyone to hear the Gospel... that God loves them so much he was willing to put on mortal flesh and die in their place, just so they could one day be with Him. But they still have to choose Him.

There are missionaries all over the world preaching the Gospel, and all these people have to do is turn from the false gods and accept the genuine sacrifice of Love from the One True God.

I apologize for the lack of coherency in this-- I am at work and don't have the luxury or time to polish this up... perhaps later. But thank you for the opportunity to express my position.

Ezekiel says that if I don't warn the sinner that his sins will earn him a one way ticket to Hell, then his blood will be on my hands... I don't like the idea of that kind of burden being on my hands.

On a side note: in the news today, the pilot of the Enola Gay died today. Just imagine standing before God without your sins paid for, with the blood of 80,000+ on your hands.

What a chilling, truly frightening thought!

Marshall Art said...


"Marshall, I don't contend with your position, because, quite honestly, it is rarely put in a coherent, rational form."

This wouldn't be such a reflection of your own inability to comprehend plainly spoken opinions if my words weren't so easily understood by so many others. Oh, I can ramble. Sure. Read what it says on the top of my home page. But I choose my words as carefully as I can to insure that they reflect my thoughts. But it's easy to see that based on your responses that you are not really reading my words carefully. Case in point:

"...just re-read Marshall's post where he talks about Sproul saying that the Bible should be kept away from the people for their own good;"

You re-read it. It doesn't say that at all. It says that Sproul spoke of how the church felt that way at one time. And they felt that way to protect the faith from thousands or millions of interpretations that could easily be in conflict with Scripture to the lack of understanding of the lesser educated masses. It's typical for some to assume this means oppression and control by the church, but the point is they wanted, as scholars who DID study Scripture and understand it on that level, that the masses not be led astray.

"I have yet to read something of yours that was not tinged with anger, disdain for difference, and bloated with whatever fantasy du jour is applicable, whether it's fetus-hugging, Muslim-hating, LGBT-hating, or whatever."

If I appear angry, it is you who is misreading and short on understanding. There are areas where I might manifest some passion, but that doesn't equate to anger. If a comment angers me, I will usually say so in some way. I will concede your seeming indifference to human beings whose only fault is not yet being born. If you want to call it "fetus hugging", so be it. I enjoy hugging infants. I love children of all ages to the point of being protective. Sue me.

I don't hate anybody, be they different, be they Muslim, be they the entire panapoly of LGBT personnel. I may hate when those who are different insist on special consideration, as if they automatically have it coming no matter how anyone else feels. I may hate when certain Muslims feel they are doing God's work by hacking off the head of someone bound and helpless to resist. I may hate that LGBT insist they are just like everyone else when clearly they aren't and as such cannot expect identical privileges or support by the state just because THEY think so. None of this is hate, not of this is oppression, and saying it is pisses me off.

In any case, Geoffrey, I am more than willing to continue on. I am generally of good humor as it is, so lightening up any further would mean a nap.

Marshall Art said...

Well done, Eric. As the Book says, the wages of sin is death. Blood is a symbol of death, of the payment for sin. But no blood is truly good enough save God's own. Hence the Crucifixion.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Thank you, ELAshley. Your comment was thorough, precise, and exactly why I could not possibly subscribe to such a set of beliefs. Blood? Grace, sir, grace.

I am familiar, in outline, with most of the points you make, and have never thought they had anything to do with the Bible, with what I was taught in church growing up, or with what I believe. I accept that you find this meaningful, fulfilling, and vital to both faith and life.

Yet to deny to the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived the possibility of God's grace through the accidents and contingencies of time I find outlandish and un-Biblical. I have always believed in the words spoken by Ben Kingsley as he portrayed Mohandas Ghandi in the bio-pic: "Only God decides who goes to hell." I leave all those decisions in those more-than-capable hands, or the Divine facsimile thereof.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, a nap, indeed. With fluffed pillows.

Marshall Art said...


I gotta tell YOU, that the cringing isn't out of line considering how the concept can be and has been so easily manipulated for selfish reasons. But that doesn't remove the fact that the differences between men and women are beyond biology. You can be father AND mother to your kids, but you'll not be the level of mother that the kids' real mother would be. (This is a general statement and I'm aware that some men can be better mothers and some women better fathers than the kids natural folks.) You weren't made for mothering, but for fathering. You weren't made for being a wife, but for being a husband. There are traits lacking in each sex with which the other is flush. Thus, one sex may be better suited than the other for a given task and it's true despite the fact that either can perform the task.

But as regards one's role based on Scriptural teaching, it would seem to me that a Christian is compelled to consider Scripture first. My point is that some consider themselves first, and from that consideration, they put Scripture beneath themselves.

As for how it would go over today, I have no doubt it wouldn't go over well. But that's because of the very thing of which I spoke: they put their own desires first. That's basically why, in my opinion, so many people disregard the sexual laws of the Bible. It would mean putting themselves out, or rather, they couldn't put out, so they disregard them or pretend they were only meant for ancient peoples.

But roles (they want you to take the roles!) of one's own choosing is all fine and good, but I'm only referring to roles we are to play by virtue of Scriptural teaching. And if it's women-bashing, or power grabs, it seems one needs to consult with the Big Guy, or perhaps a Christian counselor to explain what it means to adhere to such roles.

I point to the Paul's teaching that a woman should submit to her husband, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. And husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved His church, giving Himself up for her to make her holy. Different roles to play, but not a grab for power or women-bashing. It's not an issue of equality or inequality, just roles to play.

Marshall Art said...

"Only God decides who goes to hell."

Naturally. But to speculate on the chances of some native in the jungle is only that: speculation. It's not a salvation risking belief either way.

But your unwillingness to consider that what Eric says is true is less a matter of it being false as it is with your attaching human qualities to God's Judgement.

Grace yes, but "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption made by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His Blood." Romans 3:23-25

Erudite Redneck said...

Wow. Glad I missed this one, too. ... ON the other hand, realize that I would perceive anything that starts out "I was listening to R.C. Sproul ..." the same way my conservative brethren would perceive it if I started out with, "I was reading some Marcus Borg and he ..."

Different wavelengths.

Hey! Guess what? My pastor has been invited to become a fellow of the Jesus Seminar!

(ducking ...)

P.S. Yes. Grace. Grace! God's GRACE! MERCY!

Blood, perhaps, seen once as the mechanism for meeting Grace, about as critical to a relationship with God as "walking the aisle" or saying "the Sinner's Prayer" is is today. But: GRace. Mercy.

KEEP JUSTICE. God's JUSTICE will kill us all dead.

ELAshley said...

The Blood of Christ made Grace Possible sir...

And it is the Blood of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible.

The entire Gospel is summed up in two points... that God shed His own blood to pay for the sin of Mankind, and that He rose again from the dead. Blood is essential for the remission of sin. And without said blood, there could have been no Grace.

ELAshley said...

Interesting... the words of Ben Kingsley over the words of Jesus Himself.

ELAshley said...

Art, I personally have no problem with women in the pulpit provided they're preaching the truth. The problem perhaps that some men have is the fact that a woman may be instructing them... which is sexist.

I also recognize that there are certain verses that suggest women should keep quiet in church. How to reconcile that with the reality of women in the pulpit? Are women never called to ministry? What about Deborah? Anna the prophetess? It seems God does use women, but maybe because there wasn't a decent man worth calling at the time... I don't know.

But back to the other... My point about the blood of God is to demonstrate the great importance and value placed upon it. God, having sacrificed so much of Himself, insists that we come to Him through His son alone, and NO other.

Whether you choose to believe that is not important in terms of your OWN salvation, assuming you've accepted His sacrifice in payment for your own sin. But what you believe is VERY important in terms of your sense of personal responsibility toward the unsaved; to see to it that they hear the Gospel message. For if the Gospel, and "coming to Christ for the remission of sins" was/is not important, why did Jesus bother to tell his Disciples to go into all the world preaching the Gospel and Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

If we can't even agree on this much, is there any sense in calling each other "Brother"? For it seems to me that this is foundational to every genuine believer in Christ.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

So, what Eric says is True and God's judgment, whereas mine is just opinion. Based upon . . . what criteria exactly? I prefer to think of it as two people who believe different things and live happy, productive lives without either one of us having anything remotely resembling "the Truth". Were it so that others accepted that having "the Truth" or believing "the Truth" was simply a nonsensical idea, we might all be able to get along.

I much prefer this to the insistence that one of us is right, and everyone else is wrong. That is wrong on its face, and I find it the height of folly to suggest that any human being anywhere, stuck living seventy-odd years, could somehow even remotely grasp timeless Truths. I would never even think that I did. I can accept that ELAshley believes differently from me; I celebrate that he finds not just comfort, but abides within this faith. I do not demand that he believe as I do. I only ask that he recognize my own position as (a) faithful; (b) productive both for my own faith and instructive in my own life; (c) not subject to the judgment of others because all of us only know in part.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

ELAshley, I have no sense of responsibility toward "the unsaved". I wouldn't even know who such a person was. Salvation is God's business, not ours. That is part of my point. I do not recognize, as you obviously do, some distinction that seems clear to you between "the saved" and "the unsaved".

As for taking Ben Kingsley's words "over" Jesus, they reinforce each other, rather than contradict one another, so I'm not sure what the point of your criticism is.

By the way, this is a good conversation. Much better than others we have had.

ELAshley said...

Much better.

Les said...

"...it would seem to me that a Christian is compelled to consider Scripture first."

Answering a question in the third person is a good way to side-step controversy, but I asked if YOU - Marshall Art - believe women should not be allowed to speak in church.

Les said...

Allow me to expand on my previous comment...

If you "don't know" the answer, as you stated previously, would such an issue then qualify as one of those "gray areas" you're convinced don't exist?

Marshall Art said...

No, Les. More like a matter of small consequence. I believe it's an ideal. If the ideal isn't possible, you get as close as possible. Personally, I don't believe women should be prohibited from speaking in church. Not any more than they should be prohibited elsewhere. If you can enforce it.

However, as I look at the passage you offered, in my NIV Study Bible, it seems we're looking at Paul's opinion rather than him relating God's Will.

Les said...

"...it seems we're looking at Paul's opinion..."

That's one of the more striking statements I've ever seen from you in all these years, Art. You might want to explain it a bit further, because if you're opening the door to the possibility that the directives outlined in the Bible might only be the opinions of their authors, you're opening a Pandora's Box that I'm confident you'd much rather avoid.

Marshall Art said...

That may be, Les. Indeed, it felt that way when I typed it. Yet, and again, this is after reading how it is worded in the Bible I have before me, it seems that way. I think it's not a stretch to question whether such is a mandate requiring absolute adherence since it isn't Paul who is a part of the Trinity. As worded, it seems to be coming from him rather than from on high. As it's such a minor point, and as I haven't spent an inordinate amount of time studying this specific tract, I just have to say that he's referring to an ideal, but that the ideal isn't absolute and binding.

I once sat in on a regularly held Bible study that preceded a Baptist church's regular service. The guy in the front of the room made the statement that there are no suggestions in the Bible. He felt everything in it is a hard and fast rule to be followed without exception. I believe this tract is an example of how that isn't necessarily true. As I said earlier, given that some candidates for a church's preacher vacancy might be of poor quality, choosing an available woman of high quality would benefit the congregation.

ELAshley said...

The problem, IMHO, appears to be your NIV Study Bible. A wholly UNreliable translation.

And I agree with Les-- going down that road will lead you to compromise in an untold number of other areas.

Les said...

The problem, as I see it, lies in the fact that the major component that constitutes the absolute truth of the Bible must include an understanding among believers that the directives of its authors are divinely inspired. If even one of its guidelines falls short of that requirement, then the credibility of the entire document must be called into question. Such seeds of doubt would prove fatal to the very foundation of Christianity itself, and as a clear consensus among the various factions of the faith is nowhere to be found, I feel such issues are not merely "matters of small consequence".

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "Such seeds of doubt would prove fatal to the very foundation of Christianity itself,"

So doubtless belief in the Bible is the very foundation of Christianity?

I thought Jesus Christ was Lord.

MA, don't be alarmed, but I think that thinking about what various biblical authors wrote, and why, and to whom, rather than accepting it all without question as if written to us right here right now, is the beginning of Christian wisdom.

Erudite Redneck said...

Going down that road is the adventure of spiritual growth and Christian maturity itself.

Les said...

"So doubtless belief in the Bible is the very foundation of Christianity?"

Depends on who you ask. To the majority of the readers of this blog - including Art, as I undertand it - this is, in fact, the case. It's also the source of much consternation amongst those of us who find virtue in Christianity, yet question the 100% authenticity of the Bible as a final authority.

Marshall Art said...

The authority of the Bible is not in question here. Rather, it's whether or not every word constitutes an absolute mandate or command. So the best we can say about this tract is that it is an absolute Christian ideal to have men lead in the church, just as it is in a marriage, but not always feasible in every situation.

Les said...

No offense, but I'm not buyin' it, Art. If the status of the tenets outlined in the Bible are in question - namely, which ones are absolute rules and which ones are merely "ideals" - then how can you prioritize them? This goes back to our old homosexuality argument. If you can dub women speaking in church as only a "minor" element of doctrine, then how can you place such importance on the gay issue?

Marshall Art said...

OK, Les. You insist on pinning me down on a tract for which I have already claimed a lack of knowledge and insight, but let's try it this way: If you want to compare this to Levitical law, I'd say that God was speaking more directly in the OT through Moses, but was also in the presence of the entire nation of Israel throughout the time the law was given. Not so with Paulian directives. In addition, the Levitical law against homosexual behavior is set up as a sinful practice, along with other sexual prohibitions, whereas the prohibition of women speaking is not. Again, it seems merely to be an ideal to which any congregation should aspire. Even if we are to view traditional marriage and any sexual relations that go with it as an ideal, those sexual practices falling outside of the traditional marriage are all considered sinful behavior to avoid, whereas the same cannot be said for women speaking in church.

Besides, to what exactly is it referring? Does he mean talking of any kind during service? in the building? or perhaps only as it involves leading the congregation? and if so, does that mean only leading them in prayer and instruction of the faith or church business as well?

I don't think you have a real argument here, but it does kinda point to the value of leaning on the knowledge and experience of learned Biblical scholars in order to get a handle on such a "gray" area. Perhaps I'll drop a note to Sproul or Hank Hanegraff.

Marshall Art said...

BTW Les,

I regretfully concede braggin' rights for the time being. Damned Bucks.

Les said...

"I don't think you have a real argument here..."

Why am I not surprised? ;-)

Marshall Art said...

You mean you WANT to argue?

Les said...

Who, me? Never.

Neil said...

Hi Marshall - good points. I learned a lot by listening to R.C. He is a tremendously well informed and talented theologian.

blamin said...

It’s easy to believe that if one portion of the bible can be legitimately questioned, that the whole can be called into question.

But, one has to remember this is a document for the ages; a resource that’s supposed to cover or encompass all situations throughout the history and future of mankind. What complexity, such a document must have!

I’m reminded of one part of the bible that admonishes us to not worship idols that cannot see, or hear, or walk.

Many years ago it was common practice for charlatans to hide in the background and throw their voice, thus deceiving the gullible into believing an idol was actually talking to them. Fast forward 4000(?) years and observe the countless number of peoples that are reduced to a stupor sitting in front of television every day and/or night.

they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk”

Idols that can neither see, nor hear, nor walk! How archaic, yet how current!

Much that seems irrelevant or maybe even incorrect in the bible, is just our own perception limitations keeping us from understanding that which is or will be relevant in due time. Imagine the complexity of a document that is supposed to be relevant “across” the ages, and addressing all situations. It’s no wonder study and reflection is needed to have even a small comprehension. It’s also no wonder that many who can’t comprehend use that incomprehension to mislead themselves and others.

My point? Our perceptions define how we interpret everything we encounter. It’s much easier to verify preconceived notions than it is to experience an epiphany.

The bible is a timeless document that is simple or complex according to your needs and abilities. It has answers for the simple that are unwilling or incapable of questioning that which they’ve been taught, and it has answers for the self-confessed complex – if they have the time and ability to open themselves to the truth. Those who consider themselves learned and complex have one major enemy to defeat before they can truly consider the bible with an open mind – that’s the ego of man… which can be traced back to the garden of Eden and the slickest most suave King of Liars. After all, how hard is it to convince a man of a falsehood that he wants to believe?

Marshall Art said...


Nicely said.