Sunday, November 08, 2009

Question for Barry Supporters

I got this in an email and thought I'd put it here for Barry O supporters to respond:

!If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position 32 or more Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America , would you have approved.

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had spent more than all the Presidents combined since George Washington, would you have approved?
So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 10 months -- so you'll have 3 years and 2 months to come up with an answer.

648 comments:

1 – 200 of 648   Newer›   Newest»
Dwight said...

Neil's deleted a whole swath of posts and has not been allowing my posts to go through so I figure that you're not likely ever to get my response unless I responded on your blog.

----------------

Yes even non believers can be good. Where does good come from? God. So somehow these non believers are relating to God in an efficacious manner. Thus we come to have a basis for religious pluralism.

I think sin is far more serious then your treating it. I don't think we need to be rescued by God from God. I think we have to be rescued by God from our own sin, destructiveness that we act out against one another, ourselves, and our world.

Marshall Art said...

It's a simple concept Dwight. Answer his question to his satisfaction and then things can procede. I don't know how his blog format works technically, but he said he's holding your comments in moderation until you answer his question regarding aborting female babies.

But I'll respond to your response. The way you put it, you could say the thing about nastiness. If someone can be nasty, where did the nasty come from? Well, heck, God created everything. So even if we say that nasty comes from Satan, well, who created him?

Further, to say that God is good, is different than saying my kid is good. Jesus said there is none good but God (and did so after being called good Himself). From a Christian point of view, one is "good" because one lives in accordance with Biblical descriptions of right and wrong. And there's nothing that's more "right" than belief and faith in God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit. Non-believers can be nice, but they fall short because of their lack of belief. Nice cannot lead to salvation in and of itself. There's no Biblical basis for an "efficacious" manner entitling the non-believing to salvation.

Regarding sin, I don't know how much more seriously I can take it. After all, the wages of sin is death. I consider that very serious. You speak of sin destroying us. How exactly? If I'm cheating on my wife with some beautiful babe, and we're just diggin' it no end, and in the meantime, my wife's none the wiser, never finds out, how have I hurt myself or anyone? Remember, my wife doesn't know so she's not hurt. The babe and I are diggin' it, so we're not hurt. My destruction will come from God for my rebellion against Him. David asked for forgiveness from God for killing Uriah because by killing Uriah, David sinned against God. When we put our faith in Christ and accept Him as our Savior, we are then spared God's wrath for our sinfulness. Again, more basic stuff.

If any of this sounds foreign to you, then following people like Currie should be suspended forever and a real Christian teacher found.

Dwight said...

Marshall

Some posts were held in moderation. Others were simply deleted. It's his blog to do what he wishes with. But it seems a bit dodgy to demand that I answer this and that only to have my responses disappear. He can do that but I needn't spend time writing responses either.

I do think there is something about goodness that is intrinsic to who God is and what it means to meaningfully talk about God. And that whatever that is in degree it still is recognizable to what we experience as good in our life and world. That is, God's goodness is greater than our own but one can recognize why there is a relation between the two. Otherwise what would it mean for us to praise God's goodness? We do so precisely because it's recognizably good.

Nice as a term seems to suggest keeping up social appearances and not rocking the boat. But can atheists be good? Sacrafice one's own life for another kind of good? Of course they can. Does it mean that they or we've arrived? No. But does it mean we are relating to God in that? Certainly. Does that mean salvation? If it's is that turning to the good, yes.

The adultery example you gave I think can be recognized by both of us as wrong and it's not a question of whether everyone knows it is happening or not. It involves the character that is being built by someone who lies to their partner. All of our actions can have moral significance to the degree that they are building the kind of person we are. And the kind of person we are will flow into our other areas of life (witness how Clinton's infidelity seem to open up dishonesty in other areas or maybe his dishonesty in other areas opened him up to infidelity. Those kinds of lines of what started what is not always easily ascertained)

And I have my doubt that belief and goodness can be that tightly bound. I think that is why lifting up the good has been a problem in the Christian tradition, to remind folks that belief by itself doesn't cut it. The book of James does this, Calvin, Aquinas, Paul Tillich...American culture is stuck on religion as propositional belief but unless those beliefs solicit certain responses (openness to God, to good, etc) then they are as Paul says, clanging bells, wortheless really.

Marshall Art said...

I don't know about praising God's goodness. I know about praising God because of His goodness, but mostly because He is God. He is the Creator. If He were just a supreme jerk, we could choose not to love, honor or serve Him, but He would still be the Creator, the one true God and our ultimate end would depend upon Him. So again, the praise is for simply being God, His goodness notwithstanding. This is the basis of the relationship between us. Creator and created. Creator makes the rules. We obey or not obey and suffer the consequences of either.

One of His attributes is His Holiness. He is Good. He is Love. But He is also Wrathful and Jealous. We are to be holy because He is Holy. We are to be loving and as good as possible but we are neither love nor good.

Good is God, sin is no God. Atheists can act in a manner that we call "good", but that doesn't mean they are relating to God at all because the type of good the atheist is is a human definition, an eartly manifestation of a wordly form of good. It is not necessarily a Godly form if God is not a part of the atheist's life. If I am to any degree good, it is to God's glory. His glory is the reason I choose to be as good and holy as I can be (though I'm not very good at it). But the atheist is only good for earthly reasons that give glory to no one, no one but his own concept of who benefits by that attempt. In both cases, if we act in the same manner, we might benefit those in our immediate circle of influence, but only one of us has anything to do with God and/or His glory. The atheist's "goodness" has no value from a spiritual sense. So if the atheist does anything, even lay down his life for another, none of it, no matter how good WE think it is, and it can mirror the most pious person who ever lived, none of it will guarantee salvation without faith in God and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior. To believe it will is a human invention. That's not to say it can't happen for that is God's business. But there's no Biblical justification for it, so we are left to assume the atheist is lost.

Marshall Art said...

As for the adultery bit, I wasn't concerned with the right/wrong of it. We were talking about salvation. That it is sinful is not in question, but the manner of harm is. I put forth a scenario by which a sin was committed but harmed no one in the scenario. That is, no direct earthly harm. The harm is to the soul and the sin against God for having engaged in the sinful behavior will cause the sinner harm in terms of Judgement. It's like the hypothetical of doing something wrong if one will not be caught and no one will ever know about it. Of course God will always know about it and we will answer for it. When we sin, or simply because we are born into sin, we need atonement because God will not tolerate sin in His presence. Christ is our Atonement and our imperfect selves are saved from God's wrath because of Him.

At the end of your last you suggest faith without works being dead. I agree with that since it is taught in Scripture. Works without faith is worse and no amount of good work will bring about salvation no matter how holy it looks to every observer. Faith in God needs to be the first priority.

One more thing about Neil's blog. Look again at the question he asked. Say nothing save giving a direct answer to the question, then ask if he's satisfied with the answer. We have found it difficult to provoke direct answers to simple questions from our less conservative opponents.

For my part, I agree with him totally regarding the heinous and sinful nature of abortion and the notion of Christians supporting the practice. It is unChristian to support such a practice. People like Currie are dead wrong to do so and should be spending their time stressing the benefits of chastity among the unmarried and responsibility among the married. Self-control and discipline are imperative and spinning the lack of same as an expression of love when the child that results will only be put to death is about as sinful and worthy of Hell as anything can be. One doesn't show support for women by providing the means of killing their child and calling it a viable choice. One doesn't show support for anyone by enabling their bad behavior. Anyone who does is in fact complicit in the death of that child.

Marshall Art said...

By the way Dwight, you are welcome to visit here anytime you like. I must warn you that I Neil and I are of like mind, but I'm more likely to seem nasty or less tactful in my responses to that which I disagree. Though my intention is never to piss people off or insult them, because I'm certainly not beyond either, it is for sure that I no longer choose to concern myself with offending, but only to make sure my point is made and understood beyond a shadow of a doubt.

For everyone else, you can join in this discussion which has nothing to do with the post, or you can comment on the post itself. Since Dwight is new here and seeking to continue a discussion started elsewhere, I'm going to let his off-topic stuff continue within this thread. Please don't anyone add a third topic.

4simpsons said...

Dwight,

I saved all of your comments. They were non sequitors and red herrings you threw out to avoid backing up your claims that I was a woman hater for opposing abortion, while you simultaneously support legal gender selection abortions, virtually all of which crush and dismember females for the sole reason that they are female. I always use that example to expose the petty ad homs of pro-aborts who pretend that they are feminists and that pro-lifers are misogynists (never mind that the demographic most in favor of abortion tends to be single men -- go figure!).

Here is an example of what you left: "Ok..so God is not good in your eyes. I see. Why do you worship God again?" You had no foundation for that. You were just running away from your fallacious arguments. Those tactics may work on others, but I see right through them. The post was on the moral freaks who claim to follow Christ but think it is immoral to oppose taking money from pro-lifers by force to pay for abortions. Pro-legalized abortion views are bad enough, but forcing pro-lifers to fund your culture of death is beyond sick.

It is illustrative how you selectively quote Paul and the scriptures you like as authoritative but ignore the obvious themes like only worshiping God and how Jesus is the only way to salvation. Or the fact that we can identify false teachers by their views on scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:13 "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers" (that's just one example).

Religious pluralism -- in the "all religions lead to God" sense -- is completely foreign to the Bible. Anyone who has read the book and takes it seriously at all should see that. You don't have to be a "literalist" to catch that theme.

Dwight said...

Marshall

I think the difference is that I believe there is still a continuity between human goodness and divine goodness, no matter how different they are by degree. That's why we can recognize it as goodness. If God was just God the powerful, I don't think that would be sufficient basis for worship and adoration. In fact if such a power was evil, even if it was far more powerful then us, then we would be bound to fight it.

I think religious beliefs operate in ways to point us to said good. When they fail to do it, even if we formally hold the same beliefs they are of little avail. But if we are able to relate to goodness with different concepts, beliefs that strikes me as more significant. Which is why "all roads" don't lead to God. Some do though in that we've seen people in other religious contexts who have been transformed, led to a better life.

4Simpsons

I just posted on your site on this. Look, we have big differences. Though not always the ones you claim exist. I said repeatedly that I oppose gender based abortions. And you keep on claiming that I love it. So at some point you're not debating my views. Actually I'm not sure whose views your debating. Some stock caricature at this point.

I said that God is the source of goodness. You said this was gibberish. But we never were able to follow that up. But I get the impression that if God was the divine bully, as long as he's powerful you'd go with it. I think as a topic, how do we know what we know about God, God's character, etc. is worth a discussion. And you raised the question of authority and how do you know what you know but then just dropped it.

Which is fine. It's your blog. I have had a blog too. You can remove what posts as you will. But then don't expect me to follow up or jump to your demands to answers all your questions. Btw Marshall was gracious to let me respond off topic on here. Thanks!

One last thing. I oppose the war in Iraq and in some measure Afghanistan. But my taxes pay for that. I'm not sure what your stances are on those conflicts but should I as someone who opposes these wars be forced by my taxpayer dollars to pay for them? In other words is there a general principle your appealing to in opposing public funds for things we find worth opposing?

Marshall Art said...

Dwight,

Whatever continuity you believe exists, the point is that goodness in a person alone is worthless and insufficient for salvation and life eternal with the Almighty. One can be as good as we on earth judge goodness to be, the kindest Mother Theresa figure imaginable, and without faith in Christ, it does him no good in the eternal sense. THIS is why all roads don't lead to God. There must be some acknowledgment that God is the goal, that one is attempting to be good and holy for His sake and eternal glory. This is what is taught in Scripture and no similarity in other religious traditions is meaningful as a result apart from it's impact on human relations here on earth. Now, I will not be so bold as to suggest that God has no benevolent plan for otherwise righteous people, i.e. those who act like Christians without believing in Christ, but there's no precedent for it in Scripture so to preach anything else is extra-Biblical at best and heretical at worst.

If God was a complete bully, the same dynamic would exist unless such a god promised salvation and eternal life anyway. But a malevolent god would likely still provide only two options, follow and live or live apart and die. Fight him if you wish, but there is no victory in doing so since he's still the creator with all the power.

Once again, and I'm going paragraph by paragraph from your last, leading a better life, being transformed, if either is not better or transformed to belief and faith in Christ, then they are worthless in the spiritual and eternal sense.

For your comments to Neil, it seems as if you are addressing individual comments apart from the context in which it was lifted. For example, the part he described as gibberish I don't recall be assigned to only your statement that God is the source of goodness, but everything else that went with it in that comment box. The same for the gender selection abortion issue. I don't believe he was saying that you support it, but was attempting to provoke a response to the paradox of your support for women, that is, the harm to them in restricting abortion, while at the same time supporting gender selection abortions (which you do when approving abortions at all) which is a direct assault on females. Truly, for my part, no Christian can support it. Real help for women is in preaching the Word as regards sexual relations and celebacy for single people, and other qualities that do not lead to such choices. That there has been a push for separation of church and state is a leading cause of the cultural decline that brought about these troubles in the first place. But fixing the issue by the destruction of innocent human life is without a doubt the most unChristian path to take and support. Indeed, support for abortion is to be complicit in those killings.

The old "you can't oppose abortion and support war/capital punishment at the same time" angle won't work here or at Neil's. It's totally apples/oranges and points to the weakness of your position.

Dan Trabue said...

The old "you can't oppose abortion and support war/capital punishment at the same time" angle won't work here or at Neil's. It's totally apples/oranges and points to the weakness of your position.

I'm sure you think so, but for many of us, it remains a huge hole in your position and points to the weakness of your position. At least for some of us.

Interesting off topic conversation going on here. Neil refusing to post comments? How out of character! (ha!)

I have a question for you, Marshall. You are a rarity in your circles, as you are one of the few who actually does not seem to fear discussion or disagreement. Why do you think so many of your comrades choose to ban, edit and otherwise limit who can say what at their blogs?

Do you suppose it's just cowardice or the fear that someone would post something "inappropriate"? Or do you think it's a control issue - they don't want anyone to be able just to put anything without their consent? Or do you think it may be the notion that having people claim to be Christian and yet daring to disagree with them offends their notion of Christianity? Or something else?

I don't see this in so-called liberal circles, only in so-called conservative (and typically, religious conservative) circles and it is an interesting phenomenon. Thoughts?

4simpsons said...

Marshall, thanks for the clarifications. You were right.

"Interesting off topic conversation going on here. Neil refusing to post comments? How out of character! (ha!)"

Yes, very consistent with my character of following my commenting guidelines -- http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/comments/ - and specifically this part: "For Believers – An intentionally different standard applies to those who name themselves followers of Christ: persons who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ yet bring manifestly false teaching on basic doctrines of the faith, and/or promote evil acts are not welcomed into discussion here."

I was being my usual charitable self in letting Dwight comment at all. Dan "only" got to leave 398 comments at my site, so you can see what an awful Stalinist I am. You all must be going absolutely insane over Obama's media policies.

With Dwight's case, I was simply getting him to answer a very specific question that he kept dodging. The comments he left were just whining and repetition. Always funny when those who advocate legal baby killing whine about comment moderation! No, wait, it isn't funny, it is sick.

Capital punishment, under particular circumstances and with particular elements of justice, was God's idea.

Abortion was not God's idea.

Number of capital punishments per week in the U.S.: 1

Number of abortions per week in the U.S.: 20,000

The condemned killers are virtually certain to be guilty and typically survived 10+ years of appeals.

The unborn are 100.00000% innocent yet are crushed and dismembered without anesthetic, all with the blessing of Liberal "Christians."

Dwight and Dan = separated at birth. I even referred to Dan's disingenuousness in my comments today.

Jeff Street Baptist Community said...

Neil said....

"For Believers – An intentionally different standard applies to those who name themselves followers of Christ: persons who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ yet bring manifestly false teaching on basic doctrines of the faith, and/or promote evil acts are not welcomed into discussion here."

1. If I'm not mistaken, that was not a part of your "requirements" when I was posting.

2. I NEVER brought "manifestly false teaching on basic doctrines of the faith," nor did I promote evil acts. This is a misrepresentation of reality. Anyone can go back and see (that is, unless you've deleted those comments as well).

I am, in terms of essentials, a fairly orthodox Christian. Saved by Grace, through faith in Jesus, son of God, died and rose again, etc, etc, etc.

We disagree on a few non-essential ideas and actions and this, not my "false doctrines" not my impolite behavior, nor any other thing appears to be why you started not posting my comments.

And I would ask you the same question I ask Marshall: Why the problem with disagreement? Why the fear of letting people comment? Yes, we disagree on a few topics (a dozen? maybe a few more?) - what of it?

I'd suggest that we'd all do better to be more gracious (for instance, it wasn't very gracious of me to make a joke about you behind your back up above. I'm sorry for that...). What do we have to lose in listening to one another, even when we disagree? Especially when we disagree?

Dan Trabue said...

Sorry, that was me, Dan.

4simpsons said...

"Why the fear of letting people comment?"

Question begging. If you have a neighbor or co-worker who has said roughly the same thing to you 400 times, then ignoring him isn't a sign of fear (other than fear of wasting time).

And not giving a forum to what one considers to being deceptive teachings and endless equivocations isn't fear, it is a good practice.

4simpsons said...

PART I

I hate to remove Dwight's faux martyr status, but here are all his comments I put in moderation while he was repeatedly dodging my very specific questions about gender selection abortions, such as What is wrong with the gender selection abortion itself? Are you really saying it isn’t the fact that a female is ripped apart just for being female, but the fact that her destruction re-enforces attitudes harmful to women? Uh, isn’t crushing and dismembering them for their gender a form of harm?"

He played the typical "you're pro-life because you are anti-women card" which takes about 10 seconds to annihilate. Just bring up gender selection abortions and watch 'em scurry like cockroaches when the lights are turned on.

If they approve of gender selection abortions they reveal their fallacies and hypocrisy in claiming to be pro-women.

If they admit gender selection abortions are wrong then they have removed their foundation for abortion-on-demand. They can never demonstrate why only those abortions are wrong. If the unborn aren't persons, then why would anyone care if they were female "non-persons?"

Here are his comments in quotes. Keep in mind that in between each one I told him to answer the questions and he dodged them. Yeah, I'm a real Stalinist here:

“I did respond but you deleted them, repeatedly. So no. There’s much better ways of spending an evening like reading a book or spending time with my cats or helping to promote the homosexual agenda.”

Pointless whining.

“You’ve just deleted my two responses. So no, you’re not interested in discussing this. And in that you lie. But like the women’s reproductive health that you want to control, like the church doors you want to control, this discussion is something you want to control as well. But I’m not interested in feeding that anymore. Go back to your monologue.”

Straw man / ad homs -- Eek! We oppose crushing and dismembering innocent human beings so of course we want to control women! And that's why so many of the volunteers and employees at CareNet are women! Oh wait, that would be the opposite of what they'd expect . . .

And the church doors bit is tired. I point to the Bible as the final court of arbitration, so to speak. It labels the doors.

“Ah another response deleted. You don’t want to discuss this issue obviously. You want to hear yourself talk. But to repeat myself:
I’m not pro-abortion. But I believe there are better and less coercive ways of reducing abortions. And they have worked consistently in every nation that has tried them. A social support system, health care, prenatal care, access to contraception and sexual education. The fact that these are opposed and that the one route (criminalization) which led to the deaths of tens of thousands in the US (and is the second biggest killer of women in Latin America) is the only one allowed for doesn’t bode well the well being of women.”

B.S. on not being pro-abortion. The whole point of the post was fake Christians wanting Caesar to take money from neighbor A to abort neighbor B. That's pro-abortion, not pro-choice.

4simpsons said...

PART II


“I’m not pro-abortion. But I believe there are better and less coercive ways of reducing abortions. And they have worked consistently in every nation that has tried them. A social support system, health care, prenatal care, access to contraception and sexual education. The fact that these are opposed and that the one route (criminalization) which led to the deaths of tens of thousands in the US (and is the second biggest killer of women in Latin America) is the only one allowed for doesn’t bode well for a non girlie man like yourself or at least it doesn’t indicate much concern for the well being of women.
And if you are demanding that I respond to this or that issue and then you delete my responses at will there’s not much point in continuing this. Christianity has become a means for you to control things; who is in and who is out, women’s reproductive lives, the whole gamut. That’s soul destroying in the end but unfortunately other folks get harmed too in the process. And that’s the problem.”

What is soul destroying is crushing and dismembering innocent human beings.

“Two quick things
When you use the term woman, or girlie as an insult, what does that say about your views about women? And for someone who claims to want evidence, you haven’t given me a definition of God. Or a means to validate it.”

As Marshall noted, your God definition and the bit about God not being identified with good were just poor reading on your part.

“So God is not to be identified with the good? Is that what you are sharing with atheists these days? Could you define the nature of this non good entity that your proposing is God?”

Same.

“And what is this non good entity that you are sharing aith atheists? What are some of its features? And what sort of evidence could you make for it?”
“Ok..so God is not good in your eyes. I see. Why do you worship God again?”

Same.

There, the world is right again for Dwight! His magnificent, pointless, non sequitor, mistaken, fallacious comments are there for all to see and enjoy.

Now, if you'd like to answer the questions about why gender selection abortions are bad but others are not, then feel free to come back.

There, now I trust that all the non-Dwight/Dan/ER/etc. people can see why dialogue with them is such a poor use of time.

Dwight said...

I responded to Neil's post on his site. I already feel like I imposed a bit in having this discussion migrate. I appreciate Marshall in allowing it to happen.

The only issue I was raising about the war was that I have to pay for it. It may be good, it may be a bad thing but clearly people who are opposed are paying for it. Is that by itself troubling? Because if so we're dealing with a wider principle.

I would say that a God who was not good but who was all powerful should be rightfully opposed. Promethean defiance has a value in itself. But I think if it was possible to divorce God and the good, we wouldn't be dealing with God. I think by definition, in the west, they go hand in hand. That is God is an evaluative term of whatever is *worthy* of highest praise, devotion, giving one's whole life too.

I'll admit that I'm a liberal Protestant which is different from Dan. But when orthodoxy like his has no place then again I'm worried. I think Neil defines the vast majority of Christians as fakers to be opposed and that seems to be mostly what he writes about. I can't imagine anything good happening for the church if one operates out of that basis.

And one last thing in terms of the topic you posted on. I'm not a fan of Obama. Just to throw folks for a loop. But it's true. I could be convinced to vote third party next time around.

Marshall Art said...

Beginning with Dan's 2:29PM comment from today, the 11th.

There's no hole in my argument regarding abortion vs war/capital punishment unless you're referring to wars started by evil people rather than wars to defeat evil people, such as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those of us who are not anti-science understand that a human embryo is a human being, and those of us who are Christian on God's terms rather than our own understand that there is no difference in the worth of a person at the moment of his conception and any other person in any other stage of the human life cycle. We simply don't abide the subjective and self-serving arguments to the contrary.

Capital punishment is not anti-Christian unless someone is rewriting Scripture to make it so. A gov't has the right and duty to protect its people against evil people and punish those convicted of capital crimes using capital means. War, as employed by the US so far in its history, is generally been used for good, to defend the nation, or allies of our nation, or those who are unable to defend themselves against despotic or oppressive regimes. I totally support such a use of military force. It has it's place. (Wise leaders know when the time has come. Unwise leaders have no clue.)

I don't believe Neil is cowardly in the least. I do believe he has a limit as regards how often he'll entertain certain arguments. I have a limit as well that simply has yet to be reached. Feodor likely has come the closest, but his arrogance adds to the compulsion to jettison his ass from the world wide web. Neil also seem busier than I am. I will say that of late I've grown quite tired of caring for the feelings of my opponents and the tedious search for words that both carry my meaning and spares those feelings. I won't be limited in that manner as it puts me at a great disadvantage. I think to be accused of being offensive is just a ploy. I will no longer be governed by such concerns. Shame on those who assume I mean ill in my comments. There will be no doubt when my intention is to insult should it be so.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

continuing---

As far as censorship by blog hosts, I would direct your attention to your buddy Mike with the three names from Levellers who banned me after a couple dozen comments with a lame claim of my "monopolizing" the conversation, as if that's even possible to do with the written word. It was the reason he gave me for banning me from his blog. The real reason of course was that he could not respond to my shredding of his ridiculous six-part series of posts in support of inclusion and homosex marriage. He's a punk and showed true cowardice.

Just for fun, I wish to relate a comment he deleted during that monopolizing of the conversation.

I had made a comment regarding sex in general as basically a selfish act, that few would engage if it didn't feel good and that pleasure is what drives people to do it, not "love". (This is backed by the great lack of any use of the word "eros" in any of the early manuscripts where ancient Greek is used. I looked it up.) Dan, you may recall that you responded to this by saying words to the effect, "I'm glad I'm not your wife." To which I responded, "I'm glad you're not my wife, too. But as for pleasing my wife, she's more than satisfied, if you don't mind me blowing my own horn. Of course if I could blow my own horn, I'd have never gotten married!"

The part in bold resulted in Mikey deleting the entire response to Dan. The strange irony for me was that a great one-liner like that would be offensive to anyone involved in supporting homosex behavior. But Big Mike 86'd it.

Compared to what Neil does, well, there is no comparison. Neil's explanation for his actions should suffice. And he always warns before doing it, so the fault lies in you guys.

Marshall Art said...

Now for Dwight, and then we'll drop it here in the off chance that someone wishes to comment on the topic of the thread.

Here's the problem with your objecting to tax money for war. As I mentioned above, war has its place. You may disagree with either war as a legitimate strategy ever, or specifically object to a specific war. In either case, it has its place and I don't believe its typical in our history that war was fought for anything but sincerely held principles and beliefs. That would be, sincerely honest and noble. I'm not going to get into whether that was the case in Iraq or elsewhere, even though it was in Iraq.

Complaints that Iraq was an unjust and/or illegal war are weak and lacking evidence and support. Whining because one is a Bush hater is also an illegitimate position. Crying that one's tax money shouldn't be spent on the Iraq war is thus illegitimate as well.

Abortion, however, is murder in about 99% of the cases. This is based on the above mentioned science, Christian principles, as well as any commonly held definition of the word "murder". I don't see how I should be expected to approve of tax money going to support murder of innocent babies. I know people don't like the use of the word "murder" in discussions about abortion. Even Dennis Prager doesn't believe it's really murder even though he is strongly anti-abortion. But I use the word without guilt or hesitation because it's accurate and no one has been able to support an argument against such a term, because they can't provide an argument for why it isn't a human being being put to death, a human being equal in worth and value to any other human who is further along in the human life cycle.

That should explain the distinction as far as conservative Christians are concerned.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

continuing---

Regarding a god who is not good:

If the only difference between the God that exists and the hypothetical is that the latter lacks goodness, it plainly wouldn't matter for us. In both cases we're talking about the creator and that gives both all the power. Thus, to oppose the god lacking goodness will have the same result as opposing the God who exists: death. Living life on our own terms will get us nowhere in either case, based on what Scripture teaches.

But the real question was the idea of God being goodness. Goodness isn't God, but it is an attribute of His. But the "type" of goodness in God isn't the same as a human being good. THAT goodness is based on human perception of human goodness. Remember, Christ said there is only One who is good. Therefor, a human, particularly an atheist, who is "good" is only good in relation to human concepts of "good" behavior of one human towards another. Such behavior in and of itself is not a ticket to salvation. In fact, it is worthless as far as salvation goes. One needs faith in God for that. And as far as giving him praise and devotion, that's what we're here for, whether He's the God that exists, OR the god sans goodness. (Unless you wish to alter the scenario of your hypothetical god.)

Dan's not orthodox. That's where the debate between he and Neil (and myself) come in. For that matter, neither are you. That's a whole 'nuther issue of debate, but for the purpose of this explanation, it's what drives Neil's actions and words, that you are not perceived as orthodox and in fact are perceived as radical in your beliefs and interpretations. Same goes for Dan. Neither Neil nor I speak in terms of the "vast majority" of Christians. We're specific in speaking of particular people who call themselves Christians but speak of beliefs and interpretations that cannot be supported by an objective perusal of Scripture. In that case, nothing BUT good comes from our exposing such people, particularly if it leads someone toward a better understanding of Scripture and God's revelation to us therein. We are equally bold in our defense of a more accurate, if still imperfect, understanding of Scripture and thus God's will. We are equally thankful to have the opportunity to defend the faith and do so for His Glory and the hope that He may work through us to draw more to Him.

Dan Trabue said...

Neil said...

If you have a neighbor or co-worker who has said roughly the same thing to you 400 times, then ignoring him isn't a sign of fear (other than fear of wasting time).

And not giving a forum to what one considers to being deceptive teachings and endless equivocations isn't fear, it is a good practice.


So, I wasn't banned because I was rude (per your instructions) nor for being unorthodox (since I am on the essentials) nor for promoting evil (since I don't), but for writing too much?

It certainly WASN'T for deceptive teachings, since there was nothing deceptive in what I write. I'm just explaining my honest point of view. That's not deceptive, that's discussion.

And since you kept getting my position wrong and misrepresenting (I'm not saying intentionally) my point of view, I wrote often to correct those misunderstandings. That's a dialog. There's nothing unorthodox, deceptive, rude or evil in all of that, it's how we communicate, right?

But when you cut off that communication, it SEEMS to be fear of discussion or something that I can't quite put my finger on.

As to the question of orthodoxy, I believe the Apostle's creed, what are you using to define orthodox? That I disagree with you on maybe five behaviors/sins? That I am not an inerrantist, as you would define it?

Christians don't always agree with each other (ha! that's an understatement, yes?) on everything, but if we start defining "unorthodox" as merely disagreeing with others on an action's sin nature (or not), then none of us will be Christians in the minds of others.

What is the problem with discussions on areas of disagreement?

Dan Trabue said...

As to your ONE example of a so-called liberal blogger, that is ONE example. Since I have been blogging, it has been my experience that much more often than not, conservative Christian bloggers kick me off/ban me/refuse to publish posts and/or moderate posts.

It's happened so many times I have lost count, but somewhere between 15-20 blogs have done this to me with maybe 7-9 more-conservative blogs having NOT done it to me. What's up with that?

4simpsons said...

"So, I wasn't banned because I was rude (per your instructions) nor for being unorthodox (since I am on the essentials) nor for promoting evil (since I don't), but for writing too much?"

You were banned for being a deceiver, sorta like you are being now by pretending you don't know why you were banned. You did the "Bible is the word of God except when it isn't" bit one too many times. You were uncorrectable, so I leave you and your seared conscience and hardened heart just like I do people like Chuck and Dwight. I put you all in the same category: People who need the Gospel and to have a right view of God's word. But you are so steeped in falsehoods that I question if there is hope. But I leave that to God.

Shame on me for breaking my "ignore Dan" rule. I give you a chance and you blow it. Again.

Marshall -- LOL re. your blow your own horn comment. Too ironic that the pro-gay guy got wounded over that.

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

Marshall

I think the problem in the discussion is that there has been a collapsing of what Christians believe and do (now and historically) and how Christians *ought* to believe and act. I think having such a distinction may make it easier to discuss some of these issues. I clearly represent a significant stream of Christian thought and practice, one in which my beliefs and actions are fitting within my church context. The fact that Neil, for instance, thinks I ought to believe otherwise and act differently doesn't make me deceptive or not a Christian. It does mean that I have failed to be what he believes Christians ought to be. But half of the discussion is figuring out what he thinks that oughtness lies.

But since he just deleted my last response over on his site, I'm done responding. He can casts stones at liberals such as myself and Chuck. We make good enemies for him and that performs some role in his religious life that escapes me. But there's nothing I can do about that.

I won't discuss the war except to say I oppose it and therefore am not a fan of Barry. And the civil liberties concerns raised; well I treat the fact that Gitmo is around, Obama still goes with Bush's state secret arguments, indefinite detentions without trials are still around, kidnapping of suspects to be sent to foreign nations (where they can be tortured in prisons from Egypt to Iraq) still continues. For all these reasons I'm no longer a supporter of Obama.( Btw I'm not a Bush hater, I oppose specific policies which seem to define folks in both parties.)

As for God's goodness..I'm too much of a Platonist to go with you on that discussion. But I appreciated your responses nonetheless.

4simpsons said...

Also re. the 400 comments: Just as I would note ER's 600 comments, I pass along that number to demonstrate that it wasn't like I didn't try to discuss your heresies with you at length. For people to act like I'm immune to discussion is silly. I have long time regulars who are atheists and agnostics.

Dwight, your comment is in moderation. It wasn't deleted. But since you are whining again maybe it should be.

Dwight, great closing comment. It is clear that you aren't looking to the word of God as a foundation. That's the problem. Otherwise, you'd know why I oppose people like you, Chuck and Dan so strenuously and do not pretend that we are in the same organization.

And LOL about Dan wondering why blogs kick him off.

4simpsons said...

At the risk of actually commenting on your post, I think it brings up many excellent points. It is no surprise, of course, but the media bias has been on steroids since '08. The media created Obama and now they have to prop him up. Even if you took the criticisms of Bush at face value (as if they were all true), Obama has done far worse in less than a year.

Dan Trabue said...

It's a good question that your sort of person ought to consider. If a person can't be a Christian, believe in the traditional basics of Christianity and have a disagreement with you on a few topics and still be a Christian and not be labeled "a deceiver," then what does that say about your own faith, about your own witness, about the way you show love to the saved and the not?

Neil said...

You were banned for being a deceiver, sorta like you are being now by pretending you don't know why you were banned.

The problem is, by "deceiver," you mean (correct me if I'm wrong) that I disagree with you on some topics, that you did not like my explanation for my position and you were afraid that other people would see our two arguments and decide that mine was the stronger, more biblical, more reasonable argument and you feared they would agree with me and, from your point of view, be deceived. Is that it?

That's what I'm getting at. It seems that way too many so-called conservatives blog in fear of being disagreed with too strongly. They don't mind a little disagreement, but if you keep disagreeing and aren't willing to eventually agree that the conservatives are right and the Leftists are wrong, then it's deleting/banning time.

I have further come to suspect (you tell me if I'm right) that I was banned from places like yours NOT for not being Christian - since I am by any orthodox measure - but for not being a Calvinist. Yes? No?

Dan Trabue said...

Neil said...

LOL re. your blow your own horn comment.

Here, I actually agree with Neil and Marshall. I thought it was very funny.

It's ironic, though, that the supposed liberal is being excoriated here for being too prudish (if I'm not mistaken, that was the problem with the comment - that it was not family-appropriate material), while the conservatives are digging the risque jokes. Sorta switching roles, huh?

Marshall Art said...

Really, Dan. If that many conservative blogs have booted you, I can only imagine that the reason quite possibly lies in you. I know that from those with whom I'm familiar, complaints regarding debate with you are very similar.

As far as only being banned by one liberal blogger, part of that is due to the fact that I don't visit that many liberal blogs. (Lately, I've only been visiting conservative blogs due to time constraints together with the fact that there's enough liberal thought to oppose on the conservative sites.)

My banishment was due to my direct opposition, how I pointed out the obvious flaws in the host's argument, flaws he was unable or unwilling to address. Your troubles stem from your style, which is seen as evasive and lacking in the area of supporting your claims and interpretations. Questions go unanswered or answered in a manner that doesn't really provide clarification. It becomes tedious for some. It does suggest a lack of real conviction on your part to carry on without more direct explanations. Your recent back and forth with Bubba at Craig's blog demonstrates this point. In my case, I just keep seeking ways to elicit a response that satisfies the questions put forth. Others prefer to bail and move on, feeling they're only spinning their wheels. So be it. I don't see that as a shortcoming any more than Neil does. It's merely a preference.

4simpsons said...

"If a person can't be a Christian, believe in the traditional basics of Christianity and have a disagreement with you on a few topics and still be a Christian and not be labeled "a deceiver," then what does that say about your own faith, about your own witness, about the way you show love to the saved and the not?"

It says I know how to read the Bible and that I know equivocations when I see them (The net position of Dan: "the Bible is the word of God, except when I say it isn't"). That has been so well established that further evidence is not required. Go find some of the classic posts where Bubba annihilates Dan's views.

"I have further come to suspect (you tell me if I'm right) that I was banned from places like yours NOT for not being Christian - since I am by any orthodox measure - but for not being a Calvinist. Yes? No?"

Wow, what a strong delusion. False teachers have vivid imaginations. I have great respect for Reformed theology and am probably 60/40 that direction. But I go to a Methodist church and hang with mostly non-Calvinists. I like listening to debates on the topic. It is one of those issues that highlights how truly liberal I am -- in the good way, not the God-mocking Dan / Dwight way.

Contrary to convenient stereotypes, I'm entirely flexible on things like baptism, communion, worship music, etc. I have my preferences, but I don't divide over them. As long as you don't make me come to meetings to talk about them I'm fine.

But with people like Dan who undermine the authority of scripture or people like Dwight who make a complete mockery of Christianity, I don't pretend that we're on the same team. And that is an entirely Biblical place to be.

Dan Trabue said...

Dwight said...

It does mean that I have failed to be what he believes Christians ought to be. But half of the discussion is figuring out what he thinks that oughtness lies.

Indeed. And in my experience, that is where the trouble lies.

I mean, clearly in their mind, we "ought" to agree with them. But if not, then what? We're not Christians? We're deceivers? We're banned? That's how it has tended to flow in my experience.

Marshall Art said...

Dwight,

"For all these reasons I'm no longer a supporter of Obama."

Ah, but you were a supporter at one time. That's troubling enough. The reasons you now reject him, though folks can disagree on those, still leave the reasons you found favor. While I find his current position on those policies of Bush to be in his favor (I think too much is made of possible discomfort to prisoners of an ideology seeking our destruction. Much is based on the word of prisoners which must be taken with a grain of salt.), it is that which is left over that truly makes him unworthy of support. Much of that are positions no decent Christian can support. Indeed, no decent American can support them, either.

Dan Trabue said...

Neil said...

The net position of Dan: "the Bible is the word of God, except when I say it isn't"

Net position of Dan: Neil is mistaken when he tries to guess what my position is. He is certainly mistaken here.

More in a second, but first, this related comment from Marshall:

Your troubles stem from your style, which is seen as evasive and lacking in the area of supporting your claims and interpretations. Questions go unanswered or answered in a manner that doesn't really provide clarification.

It would seem hard to believe that anyone could honestly believe this. Do you honestly know of anyone in our little corner of the blogosphere who has answered more questions, addressed more false charges, corrected more misunderstandings than I have?

By Neil's own witness, I commented 400 TIMES at his blog, trying to address questions and misunderstandings. Were there STILL misunderstandings at the end of that? Yes (see Neil's comment above), you all still misunderstand me.

Is some of that my fault? To be certain, it must be at least partially my fault. I have tried and tried to explain myself and you all still can't correctly tell me what my positions are, oftentimes. You all still offer false representations of my thought (again, see Neil's comment above).

Obviously, I have not explained my positions on some topics in such a way as to help you understand. I am more than willing to have some ownership in that. BUT, it is certainly not from a lack of trying, I am certain that any honest person who looks at the record would agree.

Marshall, you are an honest person, right? Certainly you would agree with me that I have at least TRIED strenuously to answer questions and address misconceptions, yes?

Back to Neil's comment, now...

4simpsons said...

False teachers will mock and discount the Bible as the word of God, even as they attend “Christian” seminaries and stand in pulpits of “Christian” churches. That is a clear sign that they are fakes. If they were true believers they would accept the word of God as the Thessalonians did. Read this carefully:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

That is one of the many commands for me to reject "brotherhood" with people like Dwight and Dan. Dan can pretend that he doesn't undermine the authority of the Bible, but that just piles up more evidence against him.

4simpsons said...

I can see I'm back to feeding Dan's insatiable desire for attention so I'm going to bow out. He can have the last word.

Dan Trabue said...

Neil said...

The net position of Dan: "the Bible is the word of God, except when I say it isn't"

1. My position is that God is God and we do well to strive to understand God.

2. My position is that the Bible is one source for revelation about God.

3. We also have the witness of the Holy Spirit, the witness of the Church, the witness of all of God's creation, the witness of God's Word written upon our hearts, the witness of our God-given reasoning abilities.

4. My position is that we have to use our reasoning to understand the Bible. I do. Neil does. Marshall does. We all do.

If the Bible says the world has four corners, we have to use our reasoning to know if that is literal or metaphorical. If Jesus says to pluck out your eye or that the poor are blessed, but woe to the rich!, we have to use our reasoning to understand if those are literal or imagery or hyperbole or what.

We ALL have to use our reason to understand the Bible, to understand anything. I'm not the only one who uses reason (although sometimes in this crowd it seems like it... - that's a joke!).

5. And so, my net position is that the Bible is a revelation of God, but we need to use our reason and prayerfully work to understand it. No different than your net position, I am quite sure.

Dan Trabue said...

Neil said...

False teachers will mock and discount the Bible as the word of God, even as they attend “Christian” seminaries and stand in pulpits of “Christian” churches. That is a clear sign that they are fakes.

And yet, I have never once done this. Not once. And Neil can't point to any evidence to support such a claim.

What is it called when someone makes a false charge like that? Bearing false witness? Slander? Both of which are clearly condemned in the Bible which Neil does not mock.

Brother Neil, I'm not looking for attention. I'm trying to correct misunderstandings. Are you opposed to me for doing so? I'm sure you're not. I'm sure you wish to have clarity in what we say about one another and that you wish NOT to slander or bear false witness.

So, I would hope that this is an area on which we could come together. Your call, though. I can't force you to address misstatements you have made or support claims that you have made that aren't supportable. That's up to you.

Dan Trabue said...

Neil also said...

Wow, what a strong delusion. False teachers have vivid imaginations. I have great respect for Reformed theology and am probably 60/40 that direction. But I go to a Methodist church and hang with mostly non-Calvinists.

Brother Neil, I said, "I SUSPECT" that your problem was that you had a problem with me not being a calvinist. I further said, "CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG."

That is not a delusion. That is a hunch about which I asked for clarification.

No need for hateful, divisive language. I'd hope we could agree that such is not of the Kingdom of God?

Dan Trabue said...

I think Neil has checked out of this conversation, but if not, I have a question about something that I don't understand. Neil quoted Thessalonians...

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

And then said...

That is one of the many commands for me to reject "brotherhood" with people like Dwight and Dan.

I am looking at the passage Neil quoted and I'm simply not seeing any commands in the passage at all. There is nothing that says, "Do this..." or "You ought to be..." or anything like a command. Paul is commending the Thessalonians for accepting the word of God that they heard from Paul. Okay. Good for the Thessalonians. What command is there and how does that have anything to do with a supposed command to "reject brotherhood" with Dwight or myself?

It's just not there in the text and I'm wondering what Neil is talking about. Marshall, do you see it?

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

"Do you honestly know of anyone in our little corner of the blogosphere who has answered more questions, addressed more false charges, corrected more misunderstandings than I have?"

I know of no one who's made that claim. The problem is in how little you've accomplished toward that end in the time spent. I won't deal with questions of sincerity of effort, but only in degree of success, which is quite low. Questions to you have been as direct as yours above, if not more so. Responses have not been in kind or they would not have had to have been repeated, reworked and reworded as often as has been shown. It has resulted in the common feeling that you are purposely being evasive and deceitful despite you continually insisting that you aren't. We act strictly based on the words you choose to put forth and cannot be held responsible for conclusions those words provoke. You take offense and accuse us of slander and such. That seems like a ploy to us, particularly when you invoke pleas of more Christian tone between us. But even Paul gets a bit snarky now and then dealing with the learning curve of early Christians. Goodness, even Christ's patience wore a bit on occasion with his apostles.

Regarding your five point list, points two and three indicate whence some of our disagreements stem. The Bible is THE source for revelation about God. Without it, if we had no Bible, could we as imperfect humans understand or even perceive of God through the revelations of the universe without the Bible to point us to it, to tell us that the world around us indicates His existence? I submit it would be impossible to have a sense of God as He is revealed to us in Scripture by nature alone. As isolated tribes do, we'd suspect some kind of supreme being, but would it be God or a mere suspicion of a god? I insist it would be the latter. The Bible is THE source of revelation against which all others must be judged. Even Scripture insists upon this.

So if the witness of the Spirit conflicts with Scripture, as it does for you regarding for example, homosexuality, it ain't the HOLY Spirit speaking to you, but something else. If the church also witnesses in such a way, it is heretical and should be shunned if not corrected with extreme prejudice. What you think is written on your heart must also match what is written in Scripture and as to your ability to reason, well, I'll leave that one alone for now.

My suggestion is to respond to direct questions directly, or rather, more directly than you have to date. When asked for Scriptural evidence or support for your positions, provide it. Do not offer something unrelated or at least explain why you think it is answer enough. Then the discussion can proceed more swiftly and smoothly. Then you will not be accused of deceit and evasiveness and you might actually open eyes to a perspective not yet considered. I'm open to any possibility explained properly. I'm of the opinion that Neil, Mark, Eric, Bubba and damn near every conservative you've ever encountered on the blogosphere feels the same way.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

I won't deal with questions of sincerity of effort, but only in degree of success, which is quite low. Questions to you have been as direct as yours above, if not more so. Responses have not been in kind or they would not have had to have been repeated, reworked and reworded as often as has been shown.

If two people are having a discussion and, despite repeated answers to repeated questions and repeated clarifications, the second person is still not understanding the first person, is it reasonable to assume that the responsibility lies solely with the first person? Is it not a more reasonable position to take that, simply, there is a misunderstanding and misunderstandings, by their very nature, involve all involved? Not just one or the other.

For instance, you were part of one such discussion on another blog very recently and one of the problems is that I kept referring to "free will," and "sovereignty" and eventually it came out that the other person was using non-standard English definitions of those terms. Is it not surprising that we were having a difficult time communicating and that some of my answers seemed confusing to him? Well, of COURSE it sounded confusing to him. He was using non-standard definitions of words and I was not.

Mis-communication is a two way street, seems to me. I have never been intentionally vague or confusing, giving the best answers I can to questions asked of me. If someone does not understand my answers, perhaps it would behoove them to ask me further questions rather than leap to false conclusions?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

Regarding your five point list, points two and three indicate whence some of our disagreements stem. The Bible is THE source for revelation about God.

This may indeed be a source of our problems. I would ask you, though, based on WHAT would you say that the Bible is THE source for revelation about God?

Is that authoritative and exclusive claim a biblical claim? Has God said it?

I don't believe so.

Since we both respect and love the Bible, perhaps you will understand that I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make?

Does that seem unreasonable?

Marshall said...

The Bible is THE source of revelation against which all others must be judged. Even Scripture insists upon this.

Oh? Where? I was unaware that the Bible ever referenced itself.

Marshall asked...

if we had no Bible, could we as imperfect humans understand or even perceive of God through the revelations of the universe without the Bible to point us to it...?

I suspect so. I suspect God is wholly capable of revealing God's self to us in multiple ways. After all, God DID reveal God's Self to the world prior to any scriptures, is that not correct?

And, after all, the Bible itself says that God reveals God's Self to the world through all of creation, so that no one can say that they don't know about God.

So, again, since the Bible does not make that claim (that God is dependent upon a Bible to reveal God's Self), I'm not willing to make that guess, either.

I WILL say that I am extremely grateful for the existence of the Bible. I think it is extremely helpful in understanding God and striving to learn how to walk in Jesus' steps.

My suggestion is to respond to direct questions directly, or rather, more directly than you have to date. When asked for Scriptural evidence or support for your positions, provide it.

I have strived to do so and will continue to strive to do so. Feel free to point out if I have not answered a question and follow it up with a clarifying question. As is true for all of us, I have limited time, but I generally try to answer most serious questions asked of me.

I would suggest, in response, that when I say X, that you'd do well to assume I mean X or at the least, say, "But when you say X, do you also mean Y? It sure seems that way!!" or words to that effect. From my point of view, it seems you all often misunderstand my point because you are seeing some point other than my actual point.

Fair enough?

Dan Trabue said...

Regarding this...

My suggestion is to respond to direct questions directly, or rather, more directly than you have to date. When asked for Scriptural evidence or support for your positions, provide it.

Perhaps it would help if you could provide even one example of such confusion. The only one I can think of is when some have asked for biblical "proof" that gay marriage is a good thing.

My answer to that, which some may have claimed was evasive, seems spectacularly clear to me.

My response has been:

The Bible is SILENT on gay marriage. It does not speak in favor of it and it does not speak against it.

This is a factual truth. It is not evasive, just the way it is. I can't provide a scripture for something the scriptures don't speak of, can I? If I were to ask you to provide proof that God is okay with nuclear annihilation, you couldn't provide that, since it does not exist in the Bible.

I can think of no major questions that I have not been forthcoming in answering as clearly as I know how.

Bubba said...

Dan, you conclude your list of claims thusly:

"5. And so, my net position is that the Bible is a revelation of God, but we need to use our reason and prayerfully work to understand it. No different than your net position, I am quite sure."

What goes unsaid is whether you actually put in any effort to reveal the reasoning behind your often radical positions on what the Bible teaches.

You don't.

In fact, you do just the opposite, writing untold thousands of words to hide the substance of your arguments, perhaps because that substance is either unpersuasive or non-existent.

For instance, on the subject of "gay marriage" you make two broad claims.

1) God blesses marriage.

2) "Gay marriage" is marriage.

The first point is ENTIRELY uncontroversial, but you spend all your time quoting passages of Scripture that supports this point AND ABSOLUTELY NO TIME actually arguing for the second point, on which your controversial position utterly depends.

When pressed for an actual argument, you appeal to your personal life-story: why, you MUST have found a compelling argument, because you used to be steadfast in your opposition to "gay marriage", you weren't looking to change your mind, but now you have changed your mind.

Since few of us here think you're a remotely trustworthy person, your testimony is worthless: what matters is the argument that actually led you to change your mind, and this, you never actually produce.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

The first point is ENTIRELY uncontroversial, but you spend all your time quoting passages of Scripture that supports this point AND ABSOLUTELY NO TIME actually arguing for the second point, on which your controversial position utterly depends.

AS NOTED, the Bible is entirely silent on the notion of gay folk getting married. And so I don't make a biblical argument for gay marriage any more than you can make a biblical argument against gay marriage.

My argument, therefore, would be that...

1. since marriage is (or at least, can be) a good thing,

2. since marriage provides accountability, encourages fidelity, and can come with the support of community,

3. since I have no reason to think that marriage between gay folk can't be as good as it can be between straight folk,

Therefore I support marriage, whether between gay folk or straight folk.

If you have been looking for that defense and missed it, there you go.

This does not get to the question of whether or not we use reason to sort out what God would teach us through the Bible. I suggest you probably agree with me that we do need to use our reason, you just disagree with my reasoning (as I do yours) on some points.

Such is life.

But we need not demonize one another merely because we have disagreement on biblical interpretation. Especially on topics on which the Bible does not speak.

Bubba said...

Marshall is right that one major difference is that we believe the Bible isn't just "a" revelation of God, but the authoritative revelation of God.

We do so, in part, out of an attempt to conform to Jesus Christ, who affirmed the authority of Scripture in His teachings and in His example.

In rejecting this conclusion, you write:

"Since we both respect and love the Bible, perhaps you will understand that I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make?

"Does that seem unreasonable?
"

That position is reasonable, but it's not honest, since you have speculated that the Old Testament's record of divine commands to wage wars of annihilation were the result of revenge fantasies; since you have written that the account of even THE PASSOVER isn't "historically factual;" and since you have even suggested that Paul's canonical epistles contain evidence of bigotry.

"[I Timothy] is one of those letters (and they're not all this way) where Paul comes across quite negatively. A straightforward read makes it appear that Paul was a sexist, insensitive, homophobic, condescending, patriarchal pig.

"And, given the culture in which he sprung, doubtless some of that is true.
" [emphasis mine]

You're really eager to limit claims about the Bible to what Scripture itself teaches? That would beg the question, why does it matter that we don't add to the Bible's teachings, if the Bible isn't divinely authored and authoritative?

But it's clear that you're not really interested in keeping to what the Bible says about itself: your posturing is bullshit.

Bubba said...

Dan, you write, "The Bible is SILENT on gay marriage."

I'll remind you that, by that logic, the Bible is also silent on compulsary charity, and you have STILL not explained how you would rebut the argument I presented for such a foolish notion.

While I'm at it, the Bible is likewise silent on promiscuous chastity and misleading honesty.

Your position on "gay marriage" isn't just an argument from sheer silence, it's an argument that contradicts every relevant teaching of the Bible.

The Bible consistently condemns homosexual behavior every time it's mentioned; the Bible consistently presents marriage as the union of husband and wife; and -- MOST CRUCIALLY -- the Bible teaches (and Jesus Christ Himself affirmed) that we were created male and female so that a man (male) would leave his family to become one flesh with his wife (female).

Your position flies in the face of all of this.


You write, "we need not demonize one another merely because we have disagreement on biblical interpretation. Especially on topics on which the Bible does not speak."

This is rich coming from a guy who has repeatedly invoked the spectre of idolatry in criticizing inerrancy.

But the problem is not AND HAS NEVER BEEN about mere disagreement.

It's about the content of that disagreement. The problem is not just that you disagree with us, it's that the positions you hold aren't clearly enunciated, are supported by very weak arguments, and are ultimately contrary to the Bible's teachings.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry you feel that way. It is my sincere positions, as best as I can explain them, that I have been talking about.

You are free not to agree with them. I'll use that same freedom not to agree with your position when I think it is mistaken.

Are we in agreement, then, that the Bible does not make the claim that the Bible is "THE source of revelation" for us, indicating that it is a sole and primary source, more important than any other sources?

And I hesitate to push this further and further off topic, but as to your problem with my position on Paul - that he was likely a product of his times and likely sexist, at least as we would judge it today - is that because you think Paul was some sort of perfect person, free of all cultural influences? It seems an odd position to take for someone who believes in the utter depravity of humanity (if you do, indeed, believe thusly).

Our Bible heroes were not perfect people - David the adulterer and murderer, Saul the murder-turned-Christian, etc, etc - and I could not help but to presume that they were products of their culture. Do you suspect otherwise?

Or is it the case that you don't think that ancient cultures could rightly be called sexist? Treating women as chattel, to be given away, or sold, or segregated, or relegated to doing only what the men in their lives wished for them to do because of their gender? I mean, that IS the definition of sexism and, by that definition, don't you agree that society back then was sexist?

I'm not sure I understand your problem with that understanding of Paul.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

Your position on "gay marriage" isn't just an argument from sheer silence, it's an argument that contradicts every relevant teaching of the Bible.

I understand that is your feeling about it. I have an entirely different opinion. Is it okay if I don't share your opinion?

Bubba said...

Dan, you write, "I can think of no major questions that I have not been forthcoming in answering as clearly as I know how."

I can think of a few from our recent, lengthy discussions -- particularly at the end of the last discussion at Craig's -- that you never answered AT ALL.

You claimed that Romans 1 prohibits homosexual behavior only in limited circumstances, and you listed your reasons for doing so, but none of them had anything to do with the text itself.

I pointed this out and asked you to substanitate your position by providing an actual exegesis of the text. You never did and you never responded to my analysis. Instead, you wrote first that you were too busy, then that you had lost your interest.

You also never persuasively rebutted my argument for "compulsory charity."

You never provided a clear answer to the simple and straight-forward question, is there a causal relationship between Christ's death and our forgiveness?

You didn't explain in what way the Atonement is "valid" as imagery. (You also didn't justify the conclusion that Atonement is mere imagery, except by ripping passages out of their immediate context.)

And you didn't explain how the bodily Resurrection is an "essential" doctrine if a person can abandon the doctrine yet remain in the faith.

On the most crucial issues, you have been quite evasive.

Craig said...

Dan,

You say that you agree with the elements of the apostles creed, and yet your comments would suggest that there are some parts that you (at best) aren't too clear about. So would you mind explaining how you can support the following.

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,..."

You have clearly and repeatedly argued against the creation account in Genesis as being inaccurate, so in what sense to you believe that God is the "maker of heaven and earth"?

"Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,..."

You have also repeatedly argued that the virgin birth is not an essential. Yet the creed (author{s}) clearly treat it as such.

"The third day He arose again from the dead;..."

Next, you have argued that a physical resurrection is not an essential doctrine. Can you expound on that?

"he shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

This is another area you seem to be a little dodgy on. What exactly do you see as Christs judgment?

Here would be an excellent chance for some clear and unambiguous answers/responses.

Bubba said...

Dan:

"Are we in agreement, then, that the Bible does not make the claim that the Bible is 'THE source of revelation' for us, indicating that it is a sole and primary source, more important than any other sources?"

No, we're not in agreement, and I defer to the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, as recorded in (ahem) the Bible.

Christ affirmed the lasting authority of scripture to the smallest penstroke, even deducing the resurrection from a single verb tense from Exodus.

He frequently appealled to Scripture as the final authority, e.g., during His temptation and in addressing the questions posed by His critics and enemies.

He taught that Scripture taught about Him, and -- in one of your favorite passages, in Luke 4 -- He claimed to fulfill Scripture.

In light of Christ's disdain, in Mark 7, of upholding "human tradition" above the word of God, we can only conclude that Christ Himself affirmed Scripture only because it is divinely authored.

Does the Bible teach "the Bible is THE source of revelation for us," in precisely those specific words? No, but that doesn't matter.

The Bible doesn't need to use the word "existence" to teach that God exists, or use the word "omniscience" to teach that God knows everything.

You invoke nearly impossible standards for positions with which you disagree but -- inconsistently and HYPOCRITICALLY -- you don't apply those standards to your own positions.

Otherwise, you'd never be able to conclude that the Bible endorses pacifism: on subjects like that, you're willing not only to draw conclusions rather than insist on a verbatim statement of "God requires pacifism," but even to draw question-begging conclusions from passages such as "overcome evil with good."


About Paul, I certainly don't think that Paul was perfect, but I do think his epistles -- from which he taught with the authority of an Apostle hand-picked by Christ Himself (Gal 1:1) -- are authoritative.

Paul commanded that his letters be read to the churches (Col 4:16, I Thess 5:27) as if they were Scripture, and we all know his opinion of Scripture: all of it, all of it, is God-breathed.

Paul's letters aren't records of his merely human ideas, subject (or not) to the biases of the surrounding culture: they are the teachings of God Himself through Paul.

If it were the case that some of what Paul wrote was cultural bias, it's quite impossible to sift the wheat from the chaff.

Jesus came from the same culture, so shall we conclude that it's quite important that the Twelve included fishermen and tax collectors, but that His decision to choose only Jewish men was the result of cultural racism and sexism?

I bring all this up because of what you wrote earlier:

"Since we both respect and love the Bible, perhaps you will understand that I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make?

"Does that seem unreasonable?
"

This is not only passive aggressive, it's dishonest. Or does the Bible itself claim that Paul's writings include evidence of the bigotries of the surrounding culture?

A theologically conservative Christian (which I increasingly believe to be a redundant term) believes that the Bible is uniquely authoritative and divinely authored.

You reject this: "I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make."

But this supposed unwillingness to go beyond what the Bible says about itself doesn't stop you from concluding that Paul's letters contain evidence of bigotry.

That's because you're a hypocrite and a liar.

Dan Trabue said...

If Marshall does not mind, I'll be glad to clarify yet again.

Craig's are the easiest to address, so I'll start there...

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth,..."

You have clearly and repeatedly argued against the creation account in Genesis as being inaccurate, so in what sense to you believe that God is the "maker of heaven and earth"?


I have argued that the world seems fairly clearly not to have been created in six 24 hour days. That does not mean that I don't think God created the world, just that the Creation account is not a literally correct representation of the process.

"Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary,..."

You have also repeatedly argued that the virgin birth is not an essential. Yet the creed (author{s}) clearly treat it as such.


I DO believe that by the accounts as best we have them, Mary was likely a virgin.

I don't find that to be a terribly critical point of Jesus' teachings (seeing as how he never taught that as an important point, or taught it at all, so far as I can remember). I am a Christian and concerned primarily, then, with the teachings of Christ.

I don't seriously think that Jesus would say that "You MUST believe my mom was a virgin." Do you? Really?

If so, then we disagree.

"The third day He arose again from the dead;..."

Next, you have argued that a physical resurrection is not an essential doctrine. Can you expound on that?


I've said that it is an essential teaching of the church, but if I were to find out that Jesus did not literally physically raise from the dead, I could not conceive of letting that cause me to cease believing in Jesus as the son of God.

Would you cease believing in Jesus and all he taught if you found out that he did not literally raise from the dead? That, if all that was intended to be taken metaphorically, would it lessen the truths that Jesus taught?

It wouldn't for me, even though I agree it might rightly be called an essential teaching of Christianity.

"he shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

This is another area you seem to be a little dodgy on. What exactly do you see as Christs judgment?


We all are held accountable one way or the other for our actions. For example, Jesus roundly rebuked the religious folk of his day for their hypocrisy and their insistence on observing a set of rules one must follow as a primary step to salvation. Jesus went so far as to suggest that their decisions and life-choices meant that they would have no/were having no part in the Kingdom of God.

That's a pretty serious judgment. I think we all are judged by our actions and decisions.

Now, to me - even though I was striving to be concise - each of those answers are quite explicit about what I believe. I have not attempted to sidestep any questions, they are direct answers to those questions, nor do I find them confusing.

I believe that God DID create the world. Is that clear enough?

I don't believe it happened in six literal days, nor do I think that in any way conflicts with the Truths of the creation story. Is that not clear enough?

I'm not sure where there is any confusion or indirectness in that answer.

If you could show me where or who that is NOT a direct answer, perhaps that would help in our communication efforts.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

Does the Bible teach "the Bible is THE source of revelation for us," in precisely those specific words? No, but that doesn't matter.

Okay. We agree that the teaching is not found in the Bible in those words. You look at your verses and YOUR OPINION is that those verses indicate the validity of the notion of the Bible as THE ONE authority.

My opinion is that your opinion is a stretch and not good biblical exegesis.

May we disagree on that point?

Bubba said...

you'd never be able to conclude that the Bible endorses pacifism

You're correct, that would be a hard conclusion to make. Unfortunately for your position, I have not made that conclusion.

I think the most reasonable take on the Bible's teachings on matters of war and peace is that Christians ought not engage in war and that we ought to be peacemakers. I have made the further decision that, for me, the most logical, biblically appropriate conclusion is to be more of a pacifist.

That is not the same as my claiming the Bible teaches pacifism. I have not done so. It is MY conclusion on the topic for me, I have not said that this is the one and only possible conclusion to reach (as you all seem to be saying about the Bible as THE ONE authority). I have not rejected those who disagree with me on this point as pagans, or Christ-haters, or as heretics. Instead, I would say, simply, "we disagree."

My problem is not with you reaching a conclusion different than mine. My problem is your apparent claim that yours is the One True Way to interpret God's Will.

Perhaps, though, I am mistaken. Perhaps you share this same philosophy. IS IT the case that you think there is room for disagreement on the question of whether or not the Bible is THE ONE authority?

I think perhaps not and that's the difference between you and I, but you tell me.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

But this supposed unwillingness to go beyond what the Bible says about itself doesn't stop you from concluding that Paul's letters contain evidence of bigotry.

That's because you're a hypocrite and a liar.


This would be an example of an area of a lack of clarity on your part. HOW am I a hypocrite?

About WHAT have I lied?

I can tell you fairly authoritatively that I have not intentionally spoken a lie on anything I have said today (or, really, on anything that I have ever said to you). Why would I? What do I have to gain by lying to a complete stranger? Instead, I have merely tried to explain my view point.

If you have evidence of a lie, by all means, show it that I may recognize it, repent and be corrected. OR, conversely, that I might point out your misunderstanding of what I have said that made you draw that conclusion.

If you don't have evidence of a lie that you can produce, is that not a bearing of false witness? As you know, if you're familiar with the Bible, bearing false witness is an extremely serious charge. I'd think it would behoove all of us for you to present your evidence or back off and apologize for such a claim.

Dan Trabue said...

As to my claims that Paul was likely a sexist, I think the Bible does support this conclusion. Consider that Paul said...

"Women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says." (1 Cor 14:34)

WHY should one particular gender keep silent and not be permitted to speak? On what basis? Merely because they are women? That's what seems to be the claim, here.

Is that not the definition of sexism ("prejudice or discrimination based on gender" -Merriam Webster)?

Now, it may be the case that you think GOD endorses sexism (ie, "discrimination based on gender"), and that, therefore, sexism is a moral good, but that would not change the reality that this is a sexist-sounding comment, would it?

For my part, I don't think God is sexist (ie, that God does not endorse discrimination based on gender), and I don't think Paul was especially sexist. Just that he was a product of his times.

Just like Washington or Lincoln or my grandmother or most anyone from prior generations, who all may very well have made racist comments (thoughts about the inferiority of certain races), they were products of their times and we need not hold them to standards that weren't realized at the time. But that doesn't mean that their positions would not be recognized as racist or sexist today.

Why is that a disturbing thought? I repeat an earlier question: Is it your position that these were NOT sexist societies in biblical times? That women weren't discriminated against because of their gender?

That would seem to be a hard to believe or support position, but you tell me.

Bubba said...

Dan, about my belief that your position on "gay marriage" flies in the face of what the Bible teaches, you write:

"I understand that is your feeling about it. I have an entirely different opinion. Is it okay if I don't share your opinion?"

(You repeat the question, about the unique authority of the Bible: "May we disagree on that point?")

My conclusion isn't a mere feeling, and your freedom to disagree has NEVER been in question.

None of us here have ever tried to coerce you into agreeing with us.

(We have tried to induce you to be more honest and more clear, but that shouldn't really ever be necessary.)

So, to answer your question:

Of course it's okay, but I find the question insulting -- a distraction, and just another bit of passive aggressive behavior.


About Genesis, you write "the world seems fairly clearly not to have been created in six 24 hour days."

You forget or do not realize that this "fairly clear" conclusion is based on the assumption that miracles don't occur, which begs the question.

I wonder how you would address someone who thinks the dead "fairly clearly" are not raised. Oh, that's right, the bodily Resurrection isn't important...


About the Virgin Birth, you have frankly vacillated on whether you believe it to be a clear teaching of the Bible.


And, about the sole authority of the Bible, you chalk up my "opinion" on bad exegesis. Funny how you don't ever get around to an actual rebuttal of my points OR your presentation of an alternative exegesis that would permit some other conclusion.


Now, once again, it's not just that we disagree, it's the substance of what you believe, the incredibly weak and inconsistent arguments you invoke to support your beliefs, and your apparent unwillingness to be clear about what you believe.

Our disagreements go far beyond what the Bible teaches as it applies to questions of modern politics -- marriage, war, and social welfare.

And they go beyond the question of what to make of the Bible, whether the Old Testament contains divine commands to commit atrocities (it doesn't) or the New Testament contains evidence of Paul's bigotyr (it doesn't) -- and whether the Bible is divinely authored, uniquely authoritative, and inerrant.

(To deny the Bible's inerrancy is to affirm its errancy, which is not something the Bible itself teaches: where does the Bible teach that it contains errors?)

Much of your worldview, from the nature of death to God's sovereignty, seems to be at odds with what the Bible teachs, but more than this, our disagreements include even the most fundamental claims of Christian faith.

You seem to believe that Christ did not die for our sins. Despite the New Testament's repeated, emphatic assertion that our forgiveness is possible only because Christ died, you dismiss this claim as mere imagery -- somehow still "valid" imagery, but imagery nonetheless.

And, more than that, you clearly believe that the bodily Resurrection is not essential to the Christian faith. You believe that it is not one of the "Big Truths" about which all Christians must agree.

The Bible is clear: Christ died for our sins, and if He is not raised, we are still dead in our sins.

You disagree profoundly, and the chasm between your beliefs and Christianity is so great that, if you can still be considered a Christian by appealling to the minimalist definitions of some (extra-biblical) creed, you cannot be considered a trustworthy Christian.

Dan Trabue said...

Now, once again, it's not just that we disagree, it's the substance of what you believe, the incredibly weak and inconsistent arguments you invoke to support your beliefs, and your apparent unwillingness to be clear about what you believe.

Once again, I would suggest that IF YOU would show ONE POINT about which I have been unclear, I could address it. I just did that with Craig's points and I think each of those positions is quite clear.

ONCE AGAIN, about the creation, I think God created the world.

IS THAT CLEAR? YES, NO, otherwise?

About the creation: I see no valid reason to presume that the evidence that the world was created over billions of years ought to be set aside in favor of believing it was some six day miracle. I find it entirely plausible that the writers of the Bible would use mythical language to describe the Truth that God created the world. What reason would I have for believing otherwise?

And now, WHAT ABOUT that position on creation is "not clear?"

You have said I've been unclear about what I believe. IN THIS CASE, am I being unclear? I feel I have been abundantly clear. What words could I possibly use to be MORE clear?

I understand that YOU THINK my argument is weak. Obviously it is, or otherwise, you might agree with me.

Similarly, I think your arguments are weak. If I thought they were valid, I would agree with you.

That is sort of the nature of disagreements. The two people tend to think that the others' argument is weak. Hence the disagreement.

What of it?

Bubba said...

Dan:

You can point to passages like I Cor 14:34, which you think are evidence of Paul's sexism, but that's hardly proof that THE BIBLE ITSELF dismissed these passages as sexist.

You have not yet pointed to any passage that teaches that the Bible contains sexist passages.

You can't, because no such passage exists.

And yet, you insist that the Bible does contain passages that are "doubtless" evidence of the writers' bigotries.


When others affirm the Bible's divine authorship and its unique and inerrant authority, you demand that they point to a passage that teaches, for instance, the inerrancy of all 66 books of canon.

You don't hold yourself to your own high and ridiculous standards when it comes to your own positions about the Bible.

THAT is the hypocrisy.

And you write, "I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make."

But you are quite clearly willing to claim that the Bible contains passages that demonstrate Paul's bigotry, even though the Bible makes no such claim.

THAT is the lie.

Unless you're an imbecile, you are making statements that you must know you do not really mean. I give your intelligence the benefit of the doubt, but not your character.

Bubba said...

Dan:

"Once again, I would suggest that IF YOU would show ONE POINT about which I have been unclear, I could address it. I just did that with Craig's points and I think each of those positions is quite clear."

I already listed quite a few topics that weren't addressed clearly and conclusively at Craig's.

You didn't provide an exegesis of Romans 1 to demonstrate that its condemnation of homosexual behavior was in limited circumstances, nor did you respond to my analysis of the text.

(You were too busy and too bored, remember?)

You haven't explained how the Atonement is "valid" imagery, nor have you explained how the bodily Resurrection is "essential" if a person can deny the doctrine and remain a Christian.

(I missed this one, but I forgot to note that you ALSO didn't answer whether an outright atheist could be a Christian.)

But let's keep this to one issue.

YES OR NO: IS THERE A CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST'S DEATH AND OUR FORGIVENESS?

Everything you've written points to "no," but you have NEVER provided an unambiguous and clear answer to this question, despite my asking it over and over and over.

So, clarity.

Answer the question.

Dan Trabue said...

Glad to answer that. I WOULD ask that you would address the answers I've already given, though.

You have said I'm not clear in my answers. I responded with some answers that I thought were pretty clear. On my view of creation, am I being clear? If not, in what way am I not being clear?

Before throwing two dozen things at me to answer on an off topic free for all at Marshall's place, how about answering my question?

Am I unclear on my position on creation?

To answer your question, yet again:

YES OR NO: IS THERE A CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST'S DEATH AND OUR FORGIVENESS?

As I have repeated ad nauseum...

1. I believe that we are saved by God's grace, through faith in Jesus. How are we saved someone might ask? By God's grace, I would answer.

2. Are we saved by Christ's death? Christ's life and death are all part of God's grace towards us, so yes, in that sense, we are saved by God's grace as demonstrated in and through Christ's death.

3. Is there a "Causal relationship" between Christ's death and our forgiveness? MY answer is that there is a causal relationship between God's grace and our forgiveness. God, in God's grace, wishes to forgive us if we but ask. God, in God's grace DOES forgive us. God, in God's grace, came to earth via God's son, Jesus to live a life of grace and forgiveness, teaching us the Way to grace and forgiveness. In that sense, I would imagine one could rightly say that there is a causal relationship between Jesus' life and death and our forgiveness.

4. Do I think Jesus literally paid a price of blood to "purchase" our forgiveness? I think the Bible uses such language sometimes to talk about Jesus' life and death, and when it does, I think the authors were using metaphor, imagery that a society which was steeped in concepts of sacrifices would understand.

It's not a direct Yes or No response to the question becauses I think it bears some clarification.

YES, there is a causal relationship, one could say, between Jesus' life and death and God's grace and our forgiveness. The KEY POINT, in my mind and what I think the Bible teaches ultimately, being "GRACE."

No, Jesus did not literally "purchase" our forgiveness with a payment of blood. That is imagery, seems to me.

Is that STILL unclear? I don't know how to make it clearer. THAT is my position on the point.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

And you write, "I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make."

But you are quite clearly willing to claim that the Bible contains passages that demonstrate Paul's bigotry, even though the Bible makes no such claim.

THAT is the lie.


Understand what I have said, Bubba.

"I AM NOT WILLING TO MAKE A CLAIM ABOUT THE BIBLE THAT NEITHER GOD NOR THE BIBLE MAKE."

I go on to make the claim that I, Dan Trabue, think that the Bible shows Paul making sexist statements. I am not making the claim that THE BIBLE makes the claim that Paul is a sexist. I have not done that. I have made the claim that Paul was likely a sexist (living in a sexist culture) and find the Bible has passages that support MY THINKING that way.

Do you understand the difference?

I have not made a claim that THE BIBLE makes a claim that Paul was sexist. This is consistent with what I stated.

So, there is no lie on my part.

You need not apology to me in person, a simple acknowledgement that you made an error will suffice (ha! no hard feelings).

Bubba said...

Oh, for fuck's sake.

"YES, there is a causal relationship, one could say, between Jesus' life and death and God's grace and our forgiveness."

1) That's not what I asked. By inserting things I didn't include -- Christ's life and God's grace -- you change the question.

You not only change the question, you introduce complications. I understand that you believe God's grace saves us, and that you believe God's grace led to Christ's death, but THAT DOES NOT IMPLY that His death saves us.

Some rainstorm could cause my neighbor's roof to leak and my garden to grow: that doesn't mean my garden's growth caused the leaky roof, or vice versa.

Likewise, this claim...

"Christ's life and death are all part of God's grace towards us, so yes, in that sense, we are saved by God's grace as demonstrated in and through Christ's death."

...does not make clear that you believe that Christ's death not only demonstrates God's grace but actually causes our salvation.

2) Even if you were answering my question instead of a different but vaguely similar question, you still had to go and insert this "one could say" bit.

One could say that... so does that imply that YOU DO say that, or should we infer that you don't say that?


To answer your question, no, you are not unclear about your beliefs regarding creation.

You're not persuasive, but you are clear on that issue. You're also clear that your name is Dan Trabue, that you live in Kentucky, and that you changed your position on "gay marriage" after a season of careful and prayerful Bible study.

What was it that convinced you the Bible even allows the conclusion that God blesses "gay marriage"? On THAT you haven't been clear.

But your 4-point NON-ANSWER to my question is yet more evidence that you're not clear on everything.


Yes or no: is there a causal relationship between Christ's death and our forgiveness?

From everything you just wrote -- and everything you've written earlier about the same subject -- I must conclude that the answer is no.

But you cannot bring yourself to provide that clear answer.

Dan Trabue said...

But your 4-point NON-ANSWER to my question is yet more evidence that you're not clear on everything.

It IS an answer. Just because I don't phrase things as you do does not mean it is not an answer.

My answer IS my position on the question. My short answer would be, Yes, there is a causal relationship between Jesus' life and death and our forgiveness. I would have to put that "life and death" in there because I think that too often some Christians minimize Jesus' life and focus only on his death, as if that were the one most important thing.

I don't believe that. I believe that Jesus' life and teachings are every bit as important as his death. Do you disagree? (Yes or no?)

I expand my short answer because too often you all misunderstand my meaning if I don't define some terms and phrases.

So, I'm not sure what the problem is: Am I being TOO specific and clear in my answer to suit your needs? If so, I apologize for being overly specific.

Given your (not just you, Bubba, but many of your friends, as well) history of misunderstanding what I've said, I hope you'll understand my desire to speak with clarity and not hold that against me.

Bubba said...

Now, Dan, about claims about the Bible, and claims about what the Bible claims about itself, it appears that you're changing the subject.

"Understand what I have said, Bubba.

"'I AM NOT WILLING TO MAKE A CLAIM ABOUT THE BIBLE THAT NEITHER GOD NOR THE BIBLE MAKE.'

"I go on to make the claim that I, Dan Trabue, think that the Bible shows Paul making sexist statements. I am not making the claim that THE BIBLE makes the claim that Paul is a sexist. I have not done that. I have made the claim that Paul was likely a sexist (living in a sexist culture) and find the Bible has passages that support MY THINKING that way.

"Do you understand the difference?
"

I do understand the difference.

The problem is that this claim is COMPLETELY contradicted by the context in which the comment was first made.

Let's review that comment, shall we?

"Marshall said...

"'Regarding your five point list, points two and three indicate whence some of our disagreements stem. The Bible is THE source for revelation about God.'

"This may indeed be a source of our problems. I would ask you, though, based on WHAT would you say that the Bible is THE source for revelation about God?

"Is that authoritative and exclusive claim a biblical claim? Has God said it?

"I don't believe so.


"Since we both respect and love the Bible, perhaps you will understand that I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make?

"Does that seem unreasonable?
" [emphasis mine]

Look at what I highlight in bold: you ask Marshall whether his belief in the unique authority of Scripture is rooted in what Scripture itself teaches -- or what God directly reveals.

"Is that authoritative and exclusive claim a biblical claim? Has God said it?

"I don't believe so."

That question's irrelevant IF -- as you (now) argue -- it's quite alright to believe, for instance, that the Bible contains evidence of Paul's bigotry even if you don't think the Bible itself makes that claim.

By asking Marshall whether his belief is rooted in what is biblical or the result of direct revelation, you imply that one's beliefs about the Bible MUST BE limited to what the Bible claims about itself or what God Himself claims about the Bible. THAT was the context of your comment, "I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that neither God nor the Bible make."

Indeed you are quite willing to do just that, as you theorize that the Bible contains evidence of Paul's bigorty.

If what you meant is what you now SAY you meant, THE ORIGINAL COMMENT NO LONGER MAKES SENSE.


What am I supposed to believe?

Do you have such a bad memory that you don't remember the point you were trying to make THREE HOURS AGO?

Or should we conclude the obvious, that you're trying to reshape -- dishonestly -- the point you were making so that you can avoid owning up to your hypocrisy?

I think it's extremely premature to discuss whether I owe you an apology or merely an acknowledgement of making a mistake: unless you're a literal idiot, you're now lying to cover up your hypocrisy.

Dan Trabue said...

By asking Marshall whether his belief is rooted in what is biblical or the result of direct revelation, you imply that one's beliefs about the Bible MUST BE limited to what the Bible claims about itself or what God Himself claims about the Bible.

I could be wrong, but I think you're missing the point. You or me, one. Let's slow down and review what we're saying.

1. I asked Marshall if his claim ABOUT THE BIBLE could be supported by the Bible. Are we agreed so far?

2. My claim about Paul was that he was likely sexist and I based that on biblical text supposedly written by Paul that is, by definition, sexist.

3. My claim was about PAUL, not about the Bible. I was not saying that THE BIBLE SAYS THAT PAUL WAS SEXIST. THAT would be a claim ABOUT the Bible. I was not making a claim ABOUT the Bible, I was making an observation about Paul's writings.

4. So, when you say, "you [Dan] imply that one's beliefs about the Bible MUST BE limited to what the Bible claims about itself," how is that a lie, based on what I think about Paul?

a. First, I don't know that I believe what you find to be implied. It certainly wasn't my intention to imply that. Since I don't think I even believe that, I certainly wasn't trying to imply it.

b. Second, my purpose in asking Marshall that was simply what I asked, "WHY would I believe something ABOUT THE BIBLE that the Bible does not say about itself?"

There was no agenda in the question. It was a question. There may be an answer ("because it is obviously implied indirectly," "because logic demands it," etc). By asking the question, I was not trying to imply anything. I was asking a question.

Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.

I just am not following your logic here. I was not making a claim about the Bible and I was not implying what you think I was implying.

Glad to clarify. Perhaps you can clarify your point, too.

Bubba said...

Dan, about Christ's death and our forgiveness, you write:

"My answer IS my position on the question. My short answer would be, Yes, there is a causal relationship between Jesus' life and death and our forgiveness. I would have to put that 'life and death' in there because I think that too often some Christians minimize Jesus' life and focus only on his death, as if that were the one most important thing."

When you do that, you go from answering the question I asked, to answering a question I didn't ask.

Even if they're equally important, it doesn't follow that they're both causually related to our forgiveness.

Yes or no: is there a causal relationship between Christ's death and our forgiveness? You still haven't answered that question.

Instead, you continue to answer different but vaguely similar questions.


About whether Christ's death is uniquely important, you write:

"I don't believe that. I believe that Jesus' life and teachings are every bit as important as his death. Do you disagree? (Yes or no?)"

Yes, I do disagree, at least on the claim that Christ's teachings are as important as His death.

For one thing, everything that Jesus taught could have been communicated to us by mere prophets rather than God's Son: much of it ALREADY WAS communicated in just that way, as Christ's two great commandments were first given to Moses, as recorded in Deut 6:4 and Lev 19:18.

And, further, the New Testament is clear that we are saved by faith and not works, which implies that Christ's ethical teachings -- important as they really are -- are subordinated by the salvation He provides through His death.

Christ's life... that's a more interesting question, because we share in His life just as we share in His death. Had Christ's life not been perfect and sinless, His death could not have effected our forgiveness.

But even if they are all equally important, it does not follow that they have equal roles in our forgiveness.

While I would like to be absolutely clear that Christ's teachings, life, and death ARE ALL IMPORTANT, I believe the Bible is absolutely clear that we are saved by His death.

"But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith." - Rom 3:21-25

According to I Cor 11:26, when we partake of the Lord's Supper, what is it that we proclaim?

The Lord's teachings? His life?

No, we proclaim the Lord's death.


As much as you emphasize Christ's teachings, I will remind you that Christ also taught that we are saved by His death.

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Mt 26:28

"For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." - Mk 10:45

Jesus taught that He came to fulfill Scripture, and that not a single penstroke would pass away until all was fulfilled. You don't seem to put a lot of stock in that teaching.

Jesus also taught that God made us male and female so that a man would leave his family and become one flesh with his wife: you don't seem very interested in that passage, either.

I agree that Christ's teachings are important, but I'm not sure how seriously I should take that claim coming from you.

Dan Trabue said...

And with that, Bubba, I shall end the inquisitorial phase of this conversation. If you would like to participate in an actual conversation, answer some of my questions so that it is a two way street. And do so, please, with a respectful tone appropriate for a fellow human being, rather than with accusations and name-calling.

Perhaps you can see why I decided to end our conversation (literally book-lengthed!) at Craig's place. Endless questions and accusations often in an aggressive and belligerent tone does not make for pleasant conversation.

I don't mind answering questions, honestly. I think our years-long relationship is testimony to that. But I have little use for the sort of belligerence you drop back to too often.

The only reason for engaging in those conversations, for a while, are to demonstrate - by bad example - to Others the lack of respect too often found in these kinds of discussions. I think we've sufficiently shown that.

I've answered your questions. You find them lacking in clarity. Your hunch that I'm lying (without any proof) and that I'm not being clear enough is not evidence in themselves that I AM lying or not being as clear as possible. It IS possible that you're simply not understanding, despite my repeated answers to your repeated questions.

If you'd like to talk with me, Bubba, do so respectfully and answer my questions, like normal adults would in a normal conversation. Otherwise, I'll pass.

Thanks.

Bubba said...

Dan, seriously.

You write, "I was not making a claim ABOUT the Bible, I was making an observation about Paul's writings."

His writings. In the Bible.


You write, "my purpose in asking Marshall that was simply what I asked, 'WHY would I believe something ABOUT THE BIBLE that the Bible does not say about itself?'"

You mean something like, "The Bible contains sexist teachings from Paul"?

Or how about, "The Bible's record of divine commands to wage wars of annihilation were the result of Jewish revenge fantasies"?

Or, "The Bible's account of the Passover is not historically factual"?

You're not remotely consistent when it comes to questioning claims about the Bible.

You're being a hypocrite.

Dan Trabue said...

I WILL address this comment, as I think it is quite important. Bubba said...

Yes, I do disagree, at least on the claim that Christ's teachings are as important as His death.

If Jesus came living a life of murder and hatred, teaching rape and child abuse and then "died for our sins to pay for our forgiveness," that would NOT be the same God we worship.

THIS is why I would say that we are saved by God's grace and that one could say that there is a causal relationship between Jesus' life and death and our forgiveness.

It's all of one cloth. To try to separate out Jesus' death as uniquely "causing" our forgiveness, it seems to me to reduce our salvation to a mere blood payment for a vengeful god who can only be appeased by blood sacrifice.

We are saved by God's glorious grace, through faith in Jesus. Our forgiveness is CAUSED by God's desire to forgive us, it is a gift, a grace. That is what causes our forgiveness.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace...

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God


Yes, the Bible uses blood sacrifice imagery, but it does so as a metaphor for God's grace and the degree to which God was willing to be patient and desirous of our repentance so that God may bestow us BY GOD'S GRACE with forgiveness.

The forgiveness comes by GRACE, not by blood sacrifice. That part is imagery.

And therein lies our difference. You prefer to insist that the one and only way to take that is sort of literally (no, you admit that it isn't a literal payment of blood for redemption, but almost so, or something like that) and I, I believe we are saved by God's grace. Period. Through faith in Jesus. Period.

Bubba said...

Dan, I've answered at least ten of your questions, quite directly.

1) "Are we in agreement, then, that the Bible does not make the claim that the Bible is 'THE source of revelation' for us, indicating that it is a sole and primary source, more important than any other sources?"

I answered, "No, we're not in agreement," I provided a somewhat lengthy response.


2) "And I hesitate to push this further and further off topic, but as to your problem with my position on Paul - that he was likely a product of his times and likely sexist, at least as we would judge it today - is that because you think Paul was some sort of perfect person, free of all cultural influences?"

In the same comment, I answered, "I certainly don't think that Paul was perfect, but I do think his epistles -- from which he taught with the authority of an Apostle hand-picked by Christ Himself (Gal 1:1) -- are authoritative."


3) "I understand that is your feeling about it. I have an entirely different opinion. Is it okay if I don't share your opinion?"

I answered, in part, "Of course it's okay, but I find the question insulting -- a distraction, and just another bit of passive aggressive behavior."


4) [About whether my exegesis is persuasive, we disagree.] "May we disagree on that point?"

I answered that question en passant to answering the third question, above.


5) "HOW am I a hypocrite?"

I concluded my answer, "You don't hold yourself to your own high and ridiculous standards when it comes to your own positions about the Bible."


6) "About WHAT have I lied?"

In the same comment I answered that question, pointing out that, despite your protests to the contrary, "you are quite clearly willing to claim that the Bible contains passages that demonstrate Paul's bigotry, even though the Bible makes no such claim."


7) "On my view of creation, am I being clear? If not, in what way am I not being clear?"

I answered, "no, you are not unclear about your beliefs regarding creation."


8) [About your beliefs re: Christ's death and our forgiveness.] "Is that STILL unclear?"

From the same comment it should be obvious that I believe you're still being unclear, that "you cannot bring yourself to provide [a] clear answer."


9) [About the difference between claims about the Bible and claims about what the Bible claims] "Do you understand the difference?"

I was quite explicit, "I do understand the difference." The problem is that this explanation is contradicted by the original comment.


10) "I believe that Jesus' life and teachings are every bit as important as his death. Do you disagree? (Yes or no?)"

I replied, "Yes, I do disagree, at least on the claim that Christ's teachings are as important as His death."

[continued]

Bubba said...

[continued]

Now, Dan, you write, "If you would like to participate in an actual conversation, answer some of my questions so that it is a two way street."

I've already answered ten questions that you've raised. I know that you're aware of some of these answers, because you've responded to my answers.

It's completely dishonest to act as if I haven't answered any of your questions.


The only question that I missed, that you asked more than once, and that actually seems worthwhile is this:

"Is it your position that these were NOT sexist societies in biblical times?"

No, it is not. I do readily concede that there was sexism in the societies in which the books of the Bible were written.

But, in part because Paul claimed to teaching with the authority of being an hand-picked apostle of Jesus Christ Himself, I am not willing to attribute any of his teachings to cultural sexism.


That makes eleven questions I've answered. If there are any others that you demand that I answer, ask 'em again.

As with the multiple conversations here and at Craig's, I will continue jumping through your ridiculous hoops -- remember that conveniently timed test of our moral reasoning ability? what fun -- in order to demonstrate that you're not actually willing to argue in good faith.

But I will not abstain from calling you a hypocrite and a liar until you actually begin holding yourself to the standards that you demand for others, and you stop engaging in flagrant dissembling.

You're frequently guilty of passive aggressive behavior. I will not apologize for calling you out for it, and I will no longer pretend that civil discourse is possible with you.

And for what it's worth, this claim isn't strictly accurate:

"I don't mind answering questions, honestly"

You don't mind responding to questions, but it's not always the case that those responses can be accurately described as answers.

For all that you've written, nowhere can a clear answer be found to my repeated question, is there a causal relationship between Christ's death and our forgiveness?

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba, I've literally written a book for you. I am sorry you can't reach a reasonable understanding of my positions after all of that explaining. It is quite obviously not from a lack of trying on my part.

I think our little foray into my answering your question about forgiveness which you still think I have not answered and I think is clear that I HAVE answered about says it all.

I shall probably choose to pass on further communication with you until such time as you behave with a bit more decorum and respect. At least, that's my thinking today.

Thank you for answering my questions. It was not meant to imply you hadn't answered any of them, just some of them. I am glad to clarify that last misunderstanding of yours. I am sorry if it sounded to you like I was implying you hadn't answered any questions.

Dan Trabue said...

I guess I do have one more line of questions that I didn't clearly ask but would like to clarify, if you're game.

Paul's passage about not allowing women (specifically because of their gender) to teach IS a sexist statement, by definition.

Do you agree with that?

Is it your position, then, that God is sexist, by definition, because God thinks women should be silent in church?

You don't think that teaching was a product of its time? And you think the one and only way of reading that passage (and others like it) is that THAT sort of sexism is a moral good that we ought to embrace today, is that your position?

Bubba said...

With one of your latest comments, Dan, you still have not provided a clear answer to my question.

I believe the reason for your obfuscation is obvious. You desperately want to be seen as saying "yes" to my question when the reality has always been that your actual answer is "no."

Even now you write, "one could say that there is a causal relationship between Jesus' life and death and our forgiveness."

(Again, you muddle the question by inserting Christ's life into it, and you don't even answer it, saying only that "one could say.")

But ultimately you believe that the blood sacrifice of Christ's death is mere imagery.

If Christ's death is merely "a metaphor for God's grace and the degree to which God was willing to be patient and desirous of our repentance," why not say what's obvious? Why not give the answer you obviously believe that, no, there is no causal relationship between His death and our forgiveness?


Everything you quoted points, not only to God's grace, but also to Christ's death.

You quote Ephesians 1:7 which includes (what you do not highlight) the claim that we have redemption "through His blood."

You quote Eph 2:4-8, but the same chapter makes clear that we were brought near "by the blood of Christ" (2:13) and that we were reconciled in one body to God "through the cross" (2:16).

Our salvation is not only through God's grace but also through Christ's death: this the clear, repeated, and emphatic teaching of the New Testament, and there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that justifies dismissing the efficacy of the cross by chalking it up as mere metaphor.

There are all sorts of difficulties in the Gospel accounts of Easter week that are reconciled only by the Atonement.

If Christ's death was only "of one cloth" with everything else, why did Christ make His death central to the one ordinance He commanded His followers to practice?

Why was Christ so anguished in the garden of Gethsemane, when His future martyrs, starting with Stephen, have been positively giddy to face death for His sake?

And what explains the cry of dereliction on the cross? Why was the Son forsaken by the Father?

The answer is that He died for our sins.

I really wish you would seriously tackle all that the Bible teaches about why Christ died, because -- at a minimum -- I don't think your relationship with God can be what it is with the beliefs that you hold.


But if you want to dismiss Christ's death as merely a metaphorical demonstration of God's love, go for it, and be honest about it: that will make your treachery against the Christian faith all the more obvious.

Heh. Maybe that's why you're being so coy about it.


If you're not interested in any further discussions, that's fine by me. It's not as if I think truly civil conversation is possible: I think you frequently argue in bad faith, that you're dishonest and hypocritical, and that you seek to undermine the Christian faith for your own political agenda.

I've wrapped up what I had to say to you at Craig's. I remain free to criticize your behavior as is warranted and time allows; it's your call whether to respond.

Dan Trabue said...

I believe the reason for your obfuscation is obvious. You desperately want to be seen as saying "yes" to my question when the reality has always been that your actual answer is "no."

Nothing so sinister. The reason is because there is a sense in which the answer is "yes." You see, unlike so many on the religious right, we on the so-called religious left are able to see more than one answer at a time. My ultimate answer is we are saved by God's grace. We are forgiven by God's grace. It is God, in God's grace, who forgives us and by whose grace we can enter into God's kingdom.

Disagree or agree, that IS my opinion.

But, clearly the Bible uses that language of metaphor to suggest that Jesus "paid the price" for our sins so that we may have forgiveness. So, IN A SENSE, one CAN say that there is a causal relationship between Jesus life and death and our forgiveness.

Just not in a LITERAL sense. Jesus did not LITERALLY pay 100 ounces of pure blood to "purchase" forgiveness for all of humanity. God does not literally require actual "holy blood" in order to forgive us. God LITERALLY forgives us because it pleases God, because of God's good grace.

And so, if you want more clarification yet, or if you're looking for a "No" answer from me, then ask it another way: Did Jesus LITERALLY "purchase" our forgiveness with his shed "holy blood," because that is the price that God literally required in order to literally forgive us?

If that is your question, then the answer is No, I don't think that.

But can it be said that Jesus' life and death have a causal relationship with our forgiveness, well, then I honestly believe that one could say that and be correct. As long as we remember that ultimately, we are saved by God's grace.

Dan Trabue said...

No answers from you on my final question?

Is it your opinion that God is sexist, using the standard English definition of the word?

Dwight said...

"Ah, but you were a supporter at one time. That's troubling enough."

I am on the left politically so yes I found somethings to go with in Obama. But I did vote for Nader so I've been known to go off the reservation before. See, instead of health care reform we get a $1.2 trillion dollar income transfer to insurance companies, instead of regulating the banks Obama has been working overtime to undo the regulations that even Bush eventually signed on to after Enron. The list goes on but we have a strikingly similar government to the last one. And well, I didn't vote for that.

I'll avoid the theological discussion because even though I'd like to participate, I have a political conference I'm going to this weekend in Chicago and I'm far behind on what I need to accomplish before I take this trip.

Marshall Art said...

I will be commenting on this discussion following the game between my Bears and the 49's. I'm in the mood for comedy.

Enjoy Chicago, Dwight. Too bad you're going to spend it on politics. Is it lefty politics? That seems like a waste of time since real solutions never come from that direction. Perhaps you're up for comedy, too.

Bubba said...

Blogger's server ate my first two attempts at a reply earlier today. If this test message posts successfully, I'll follow up with my substantive replies as soon as I can.

Bubba said...

Dan, I did see that question and tried to type a quick reply, but Blogger ate both attempts, and I had to step away.

If I may say so, that amount of impatience is obnoxious, far beyond the common courtesy of online discussions.

It's particularly obnoxious in light of the tail end of our discussion at Craig's. On October 7th, you relayed that you were too busy to answer my questions in any detail, and you gave no indication about when you expected to be free enough to reply, and I still didn't "ping" you for a full week. Even though it was quite clear you're weren't too busy to pester Stan or post on your own blog, you ultimately didn't post one word for over two weeks.

I will be out of pocket until the middle of next week, but I will address what I can.


Now, about your latest question:

"Is it your opinion that God is sexist, using the standard English definition of the word?"

Let's ignore the Bible for a second.

God clearly gave women the sole ability (privilege? duty? burden?) of bearing children. Human beings aren't built like some fish, where the female lays unfertilized eggs and swims away, and where the male fertilizes them and swims away. Instead, the mother must carry the child for nine months and then nurse the child for about as long.

Was it sexist, "using the standard English definition of the word," for God to have created men and women with these sometimes obvious and significant biological differences?

I don't think so, nor do I think it's sexist for God to acknowledge the innumerable differences He Himself created -- for instance, by structuring His church with those differences in mind.


Originally you asked:

"Paul's passage about not allowing women (specifically because of their gender) to teach IS a sexist statement, by definition.

"Do you agree with that?
"

No, I do not, and I refer you back to a three part comment I made on July 1st, here at Marshall's.

My larger point (which is still quite germane) is that, where the Bible accords with its surrounding culture and disagrees with ours, it is not logical to presume that those teachings were the result of that culture and can therefore be discarded.

I quoted at length a very strong argument by Norman Geisler and T.A. Howe, about the very passage you mention, arguing that the Bible itself (and even Paul's own witness) precludes the possibility that Paul forbade women from teaching or speaking in all circumstances.

I defer your questions to that article I cite, about how one could possibly understand that passage. Read it, and if you have any questions it doesn't answer, feel free to ask.


In the meantime, I have my own questions.

QUESTION: Again, was God sexist for giving men and women significant biological differences, including giving women the sole ability to bear children? If not, why not?

QUESTION: Was Jesus Christ Himself sexist for limiting His twelve closest followers to men? If not, why not?

The Synoptic Gospels all emphasize and list the choosing of the twelve (Mt 10, Mk 6, Lk 9) and all of them list twelve men.

The Old Testament records that there was a female judge -- namely Deborah -- and yet there are no women among the Twelve.

Do you think that's sexist, using the standard English definition of the word? If you don't, I'd love to know why it's perfectly okay for Jesus Christ to choose only men to be the founding pillars of His church, but it's not okay for Paul to teach that this very same church is ultimately patriarchal.

Marshall Art said...

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The above speaks of the authority of Scripture. If all things are to be judged by Scripture, as is plainly shown, how can anyone say that it is not THE source of revelation? God is indeed capable of revealing Himself in multiple ways, but thus far those ways are limited to a few.

The first way is direct contact, which is how it was done before Scripture on through various characters until Acts, either as the Father or the Son and then the Holy Spirit in a visible manner. Another way is by the mouths of His servants, such as the prophets and apostles.

Of course He is also revealed through His people (the church) via word of mouth, but this has always been supported by Scripture. And without Scripture, who would discern the revelation of God via His creation? You really think you would had there been no Scripture? You have trouble understanding plain and unequivical statements on blogs and you think you'd pick up the subtle message of creation and by that know the God of Moses, the Christ OR the Holy Ghost? The same goes for whatever is written on our hearts. It is Scripture that tells us that the knowledge of God is there. Would we have any clue otherwise? And again, I won't speak to your or for that matter, anyone's ability to reason.

You assume that without Scripture that the existence of God, the God we speak of when referencing the Bible, would be blatantly apparent without Scripture. Could He make Himself known? Of course He could. But here in reality world, we DO have Scripture and it is THE source and makes the claim through tracts such as that which I have presented at the top of this comment. (I have a better example in mind, but I can't remember where to find it or what keys words to use to Google it. I'm sure I'll stumble across it while looking up something else for a near future post. That's how it always happens.)

The bottom line is, if a belief cannot be supported by Scripture, we cannot, by your own admission, put much stock in it. Your homosex marriage support is an obvious example of a belief you cannot support. You believe you've made the case, but there are still unanswered questions surrounding that issue. We know that there is NO verse that supports homosex activity whatsoever. We know that only sex between a husband and his wife is the only context for any sex that is in any way sanctioned (as Bubba has repeatedly shown). We know that the only places where homosex behavior is mentioned, it is referred to as sinful in the same manner other practices are, such as adultery. So since all marital references are to the traditional, and all references referring to homosex behavior regards it as sinful, the reasonable and logical conclusion can only be that homosex marriage would be an unholy alliance. When the Bible speaks of homosexual behavior, it does NOT specify ONLY ritual pagan practices, or any other context at all. It only says "thou shalt not..." Your arguments are extra-biblical and likely based originally on pro-homo sources.

Bubba said...

Now, Dan, about my repeated question about the causal connection between Christ's death and our forgiveness, you write, proudly:

"You see, unlike so many on the religious right, we on the so-called religious left are able to see more than one answer at a time."

I wouldn't exactly gloat about this unless the question is one that actually permits multiple answers.


There are questions that involve figurative language and these questions may thus involve multiple answers.

Is the Lord our shepherd? Yes in the sense that He guides; no in the literal sense, since we are not literal sheep.

Are we Christians salt and light? No in the literal sense, sincere we're not bioluminescent sodium chloride; yes, in the sense that we are supposed to prevent moral decay and broadcast the truth about God and man.

Is Washington the father of our country? Yes, in the sense that he led the revolutionary army and was the first president; no in the literal sense, because he wasn't that, um, productive.


The problem is, Dan, I didn't ask a question that involves any sort of figurative language.

"Is there a causal relationship between EVENT A and EVENT B?"

Regardless of what events are being invoked, there is only one possible answer to this question: the answer is yes, or the answer is no, and it cannot be both in two different senses.

I defy you to give me any other pair of events -- discribed literally -- which permit multiple answers to the question of whether there's a causal relationship between the two. I'm quite certain you can't find one.


Here, you kinda change the subject -- focusing on a related but different point -- and your doing so is crucial to the discussion.

In the New Testament, what Christ's death accomplished is described in at least four metaphors from four different earthly settings:

1. Propitiation in the temple. Christ appeased God with His death. (Rom 3:24-25, I Jn 2:1-2, I Jn 4:10)

2. Redemption in the marketplace. Christ purchased our ransom with His blood. (Mk 10:45, I Pet 1:18-19)

3. Justification in the court of law. We are declared righteous (not only by God's grace) by Christ's blood (Rom 5:9)

4. Reconciliation within the family. Through His blood Christ made possible reconciliation (or atonement) with God. (Rom 5:11)

All these images emphasize our need -- our being under God's wrath, enslaved to sin, guilty before God, and at enmity with God -- and the initiative of God in His grace.

And they all point to Christ's death as the literal cause for what was really accomplished as described by these figurative images.

You confuse things by replacing the event of His death with at least two of these figurative descriptions.

Invoking our being redeemed or ransomed, you write, "Jesus did not LITERALLY pay 100 ounces of pure blood to 'purchase' forgiveness for all of humanity."

I wasn't asking that.

Invoking propitation, you write, "God does not literally require actual 'holy blood' in order to forgive us."

I wasn't asking that either.

I was asking whether His death actually did cause our forgiveness. Introducing figurative descriptions of what His death accomplished in order to dismiss that accomplishment as itself figurative is a cheap and frivilous way to answer my truly simple question.


Drop the metaphors and figurative language.

Let's stick only to the literal actual facts.

FACT #1: Jesus Christ died on the cross.

FACT #2: God has forgiven our sins.

Are these two facts -- these two events -- causally related? What you write suggests that you believe the answer is no:

"God LITERALLY forgives us because it pleases God, because of God's good grace."

If "because Christ died" is not in that equation, then your answer to my question really is "no," no matter how much you obfuscate.

Marshall Art said...

"Jesus did not LITERALLY pay 100 ounces of pure blood to 'purchase' forgiveness for all of humanity."

You're right. It's more like 169.07 ounces (5 liters of blood in the average human body). Plus, he gave His entire body, sacrificing His life so that we may live (eternally speaking).

All througout the OT, sins were atoned for by the shedding of blood. This is because the wages of sin is death. Sin IS death. God requires it because He won't abide sin (and frankly, He really doesn't have to being God and all). Some sins required the death of the sinner, such as for engaging in homosexual behavior. For other sins, an animal substitute was sufficient, the blood of which was poured out on the altar.

But the problem was that even with an animal without blemish, the burning of which would produce an aroma pleasing to God, no sacrifice was perfect. It was always a matter of living perfectly according to Mosaic law or atoning according to it. Christ's purpose was to be the perfect sacrifice by which we would all be saved from the wrath of God, wrath we deserve as sinful imperfect beings. His death on the cross was why He was born. God, being the only perfect being, sacrificed His own self in order to provide us the atonement perfect enough to totally please Him thereby allowing us the privilege of salvation. It's to what the entire OT is leading from the time of Adam's fall. There is nothing that could be more basic regarding Christianity than that.

Bubba said...

Dan, I reiterate that I'm out of pocket until the middle of next week, at the very earliest.

I conclude this evening by presenting another way you might be able to provide a clear and coherent answer to my very easy question. It has long since been clear what that answer probably is, and I cannot conceive of a good reason why that answer hasn't been provided, but let's try it again.

In its most common formulation, the original question is the following:

Yes or no, is there a causal relationship between Christ's death and our forgiveness?

If you can (finally) provide a clear and coherent answer, do so by all means, but let's see if I can induce that answer through a different question.


You write:

"God LITERALLY forgives us because it pleases God, because of God's good grace."

Those two phrases are close enough to synonymous to allow me to ignore the first one, and calling God's grace "good" is accurate and alliterative but not very descriptive.

Simplified, I get this claim:

"God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace."

I agree.

But my question is this.


QUESTION: Which of the following two sentences best describe reality, so far as you understand it?

OPTION 1: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and because of Christ's death."

OPTION 2: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and NOT because of Christ's death."


Notice I'm not using any figurative language to describe Christ's death, and I ask you not to muddy the waters by introducing such language. Christ died. That's a literal fact, not to be obscured in the least by references to what was purchased by Christ's blood.

I believe that the reality is Option 1, and I believe the Bible is absolutely clear on this fact.

God's grace is the source of salvation -- why God saves us -- but Christ's death is the ground of our salvation: how God saves us, the righteous basis for our salvation.

Without that basis, you would have to explain what has happened to the penalty of our sin: if our sins eternally go unpunished, you would have to explain how God could still be considered holy and just.

(To say nothing of your having to explain Christ's anguish in Gethsemane and the Father's refusal to relent...)

But first things first.

I think it's obvious that, contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture and the consensus of two thousand years of church doctrine, you believe Option 2.

But I really want to see an actual answer, one that is clear and concise.

(Heck, one keystroke would do it: 1 or 2.)

It's not a difficult question to understand, and if you really don't have problem being honest and open about what you believe, it shouldn't be difficult to answer.


I'll be back next week, no earlier than Wednesday. Until then, I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba re-asked his question this way:

QUESTION: Which of the following two sentences best describe reality, so far as you understand it?

OPTION 1: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and because of Christ's death."

OPTION 2: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and NOT because of Christ's death."


I can't honestly answer either of these. My answer remains "God literally forgives us because of God's grace, and out of that grace, God came, lived amongst us and died, and rose again, all for us."

THAT IS my answer to that question.

I don't know, perhaps I would agree with that second one, but it seems to be missing the point. God literally forgave us because it pleased God to do so. LITERALLY, BECAUSE OF God's grace, God came, lived, died and rose again. So it is associated with God's grace and I'm not sure that I would separate it from God's grace.

Perhaps I would say we are not forgiven by Jesus' death, but his death is all part of the literal demonstration of God's grace by which we are saved.

If that is my answer, why can't you accept it? It just seems a bit nutty, "No, that can't be your answer, you have to answer one way or the other!" Says who?

Have you stopped beating your wife, Bubba? Yes or no? Well, the answer is, it requires more than a yes or no response. That is the case with some questions. For me, that is the case with this question.

Get over it.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba, let me apologize for the rushing of an answer. Poor form.

Marshall said,

The above speaks of the authority of Scripture. If all things are to be judged by Scripture, as is plainly shown, how can anyone say that it is not THE source of revelation?

The scripture speaks of "the authority" of scripture?

What it actually says:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof,
for correction,
for instruction in righteousness


I agree with what it actually says. Scripture is profitable for learning doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction.

Does it SAY that scripture is THE ONE source? No.

Does it even IMPLY that scripture is THE ONE source? No.

Setting aside for a minute the jump you make from "all scripture" to assuming that the 66 books of the Bible = "all scripture," you are making a leap from what the text ACTUALLY says to what you want it to say.

Yes?

Dan Trabue said...

In fact, I am relatively sure that none of you think that the Bible is "the ONE SOURCE."

Allow me to demonstrate. Assume someone is reading that the Bible fairly literally and they reach the conclusion because "of the clear teaching of the Bible - our ONE SOURCE," that Christians SHOULD drink poison to prove they are Christians, as the Scriptures say.

Because this person believes this and believes he got it from the one source, must we then all agree with him? OR, as I think, are all of us are obliged to seek the Spirit's guidance ourselves and use our OWN God-given reasoning to sort out the legitimacy of his conclusion?

We ALL have to use our reasoning to come to any conclusions about the Bible and that has to come before what the Bible says. We can't read and draw conclusions without using our reasoning. The Bible can't be "the one source" for authoritative teaching. At the least, it must be referenced in conjunction with our reasoning.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

You're last is ridiculous. Poison? Is there any possible, rational or logical way such a belief can be justified? Try to find a verse that suggests such a thing. Oh, YOU might suggest it as another argument from silence, but the fact would remain that such an interpretation CANNOT be legitimized in any way. In addition, your lame example is besides the point. Lame interpretations has nothing to do with the concept of Scripture being THE source of our revelation of God, and, I might add for the sake of clarity, His will.

Again, you're making an assumption that other methods God could employ to reveal Himself to us WOULD be used were Scripture not available to us. Still the fact remains that it is available and as such is THE source, the source against which all other beliefs and concepts of God and His Will for us must be compared and judged.

"Does it SAY that scripture is THE ONE source? No.

Does it even IMPLY that scripture is THE ONE source? No."


If it is in any way a leap to assume so, it is a mere baby step compared to YOUR Evel Knieval jump across the Grand Canyon sized leap called homosex marriage. Evel failed at his leap, too. You believe that God would bless a union defined by its sinful behavior, behavior always mentioned as so in Scripture, but MY tract, (just one of others like it) isn't specific enough? And you wonder why people doubt your credibility, passion for the Bible and ability to reason!

Again you show evasiveness in your response to Bubba's options. What's alarming is that your explanation makes a mockery of Jesus sacrifice on the cross, as well as making the Father an incredible sadist/masochist. To put anyone through such suffering, even Himself in human form, without necessity makes Him totally illogical and God does not act without logic. Might there be some unrevealed reason for putting Jesus through that if not as a literal sacrifice for our sins? I would expect not. Not for something so singular as a torture and crucifixion of an innocent man. Could God provide salvation without sacrificing Christ? Of course He could have, being God and all. But the fact is He didn't. Once again, the whole point of Christ's existence was to be the Lamb of God who washes away the sins of all mankind, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life. It is ESSENTIAL that one understand and believe this.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

The above speaks of the authority of Scripture. If all things are to be judged by Scripture, as is plainly shown, how can anyone say that it is not THE source of revelation?

I'm interested where you get the "all things are to be judged by Scripture" notion?

As far as I can tell, that's not in the Bible.

Here are all 52 times the word "scripture" appears in the NASB version of the Bible. Never once does that line or anything like it appear that I can find.

Where did you get that notion? Did you read that passage AND THEN use your reason to conclude that "scriptures are good for doctrine and education..." MEANS that ALL thing will be judged by scripture? If so, you did so based on your reasoning, not on scripture, is that not the case?

If you got that "all things judged by Scripture" from your church tradition, on what basis did you decide that the church tradition is sound and not a false teaching? Your reasoning?

It almost seems inescapable that we all begin with our reasoning to sort things out - whether we're talking about how to interpret the Bible, how to understand God's revelation in nature, how to understand church tradition or how to best discern the leading of the Spirit of God.

I suspect that we would all have to agree on this point, as there seems no where else to go but agreement. Am I mistaken?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

Once again, the whole point of Christ's existence was to be the Lamb of God who washes away the sins of all mankind, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life. It is ESSENTIAL that one understand and believe this.

Well, you are free to think that. I and the anabaptists have read the Bible and we take it quite seriously and we have concluded that this is ONE way to talk about God's grace but not the only way, and that ultimately, we are saved by God's grace.

Do you reject all the Amish and Mennonites of the world as being beyond orthodoxy, too, since none of us (well, most of us, anyway) buy into your notion of atonement as the one and only way of thinking about Jesus' death?

Marshall Art said...

Without taking time to study the Amish, Mennonite or anabaptist traditions, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you are likely quite mistaken on their position regarding Christ's sacrifice. And tonight, I will peruse your link as well as put forth my own search and we'll see about the authority of Scripture. I'm guessing there's more support for my position in your link, but as we know, you hold to a higher standard arguments that oppose your position, so I might not find words that pass muster for you. Yet, as I have stated in my last, there is likely a shorter leap for what I'm saying than for your stance on homo marriage.

Marshall Art said...

BTW, don't you work?

Dan Trabue said...

Noting that anabaptists are not a monolithic group, rather we hold a diversity of beliefs. However, it is my understanding that the anabaptists tend to accept three views of atonement - your penal substitutionary view, the moral example view and the Christus Victor view - as all having some validity.

Anabaptists on atonement...

here

Where the author notes...

"The Anselmian “satisfaction” or substitutionary model of the atonement, emphatically articulated by the Magisterial Reformers, was not wrong in the Anabaptist’s view for they agreed with most of it. In their direct references to the atonement, they affirm biblical themes and use the general language of substitution. But to them, that model was inadequate or insufficient...

To the Anabaptists, however, atonement meant much, much more. According to Pilgram Marpeck it was far more than a legal transaction in the heavenly court. It meant “at-one-ment” with God and referred to ALL the ways in which God and humans have been reconciled through the work of Jesus Christ. It points not only to Christ’s death, but to all the various phases of his activity on behalf of humanity including his ministry, his death, and his resurrection."


So, you can see, I come by this honestly, as it is part and parcel of the group with which I most closely identify.

And now, yes, I have to work...

Marshall Art said...

Apparently, Christian Scientists also redefine the word that way. But as you like to use Merriam-Webster, it says,

"2 : the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ"

It also mentions reconcilliation as a distinct definition and one other more in line with my view than yours. Thus, it seems that "at-one-ment" is extra-Biblical and an example of shakey reasoning. It is clear from Scripture that sacrificing animals and capital punishment were necessary as payment for the commission of sin, the penalty for the crime, as it were. Though there's much to mirror in the life of Christ, not the least of which is relying on Scripture as THE source of revelation to us of God's Will, it is His death that has the most meaning for us as it is our atonement for our sins if we accept Him as our Savior. Once again, this is a most basic and ESSENTIAL belief upon which Christianity is based.

Dan Trabue said...

And yet, WITHIN Christendom, there are many who don't share your view. Not all Christians share the view that the Substitutionary Penalty atonement THEORY of atonement is the ONE TRUE way to think of atonement.

The Bible does not tell us ONE TRUE WAY to view Atonement or even that one needs to believe in Atonement, as a theory.

Are you familiar with the many Theories of Atonement found within (and without) Christendom? There are many and it is an ongoing discussion in the church.

I am closer to being a Mennonite in my views on Atonement than most faith traditions - and I'm certainly not a Calvinist. Thankfully, God has not told us in the Bible or without that one must be a Calvinist in order to be saved or that one must believe in whatever theory of Atonement that Marshall holds in order to be saved.

I shall, with the Mennonites, fall back on God's grace, ultimately.

Again I ask, do you reject most Anabaptists as brothers, since we don't agree with Bubba or Calvin exactly on this point? Are the Amish and Mennonites also missing out on "essential" doctrine?

Dan Trabue said...

It IS interesting that MW Dictionary offers only the Calvinist view on this. I guess, at least in the west, Calvin rules?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

Poison? Is there any possible, rational or logical way such a belief can be justified?

Ummm, a literal reading of the Bible?

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs WILL accompany those who believe...:

...they WILL pick up snakes with their hands;

and WHEN [not "if"] they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all


Are you not familiar that some inerrantists DO take this literally? And I am quite sure they would classify you as a milquetoast liberal if you suggested that IN YOUR REASONING of this passage, your conclusion is that this is not a literal command that we SHOULD be doing this (even though it can certainly be taken that way IF you read it literally).

So, given that reality, on what biblical basis would you choose to NOT drink poison or handle snakes to "prove" you are a Christian? Or, as I suspect, do you use your reason to decide that this is not a literal command?

Edwin Drood said...

As far as Scripture being the one source or not.
Jesus settled this in the parable: "The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus" (Luke 16:19-31). When the rich man was in hell he pleaded with Abraham to allow him to go back and warn his friends about the judgement of God. In the parable Abraham replied

'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

In Jesus's day the jews had one source for learning God's will, nothing has changed except that we now have the New Testament also.

Dan Trabue said...

That passage does not say that "scripture" - much less the Bible - is THE SOURCE for revelation from God about God.

What it says is, "If they didn't believe the prophets, they won't believe your ghost."

That does not address the topic nor does it imply that the Old Testament scriptures are "THE SOURCE for revelation." It certainly DOES outright say that the scriptures are A SOURCE for revelation, a point which I have agreed repeatedly.

You all seem to be reading something into the Bible that isn't there or even implied. My guess would be (and it's just a guess) that you've been SO indoctrinated by the traditions of your belief system that you have a hard time separating fact from opinion, objectivity from subjectivity.

Dan Trabue said...

Edwin also said...

In Jesus's day the jews had one source for learning God's will, nothing has changed except that we now have the New Testament also.

I doubt that the Jews of Jesus' day or of today would support this hypothesis. Jews would always know that God had told them, "'After those days,' says the Lord, 'I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts...'," as we read in Jeremiah.

Or, "Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the Book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart," as the Psalmist said.

They would know that "The Spirit of the LORD came upon" them, as is referenced oftentimes in the OT.

They would know God from God's own creation, as Paul tells us...

" ...that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."


The Bible does not say anything about "one source of God's revelation," of which I am aware. Do you have a biblical reason to hold that position or is it just a hunch on your part, outside of what the Bible has to say?

Marshall Art said...

"The Bible does not tell us ONE TRUE WAY to view Atonement or even that one needs to believe in Atonement, as a theory."

Of course it does. Bubba'a listed a host of verses that attest to that fact. Salvation via Christ's death on the cross is the definitive event upon which the entire faith is based! I don't know, nor much care, nor really need to know what Amish, Mennonite or Anabaptists believe. I'll leave it to the Lord to decide if they're Christian enough to satisfy Him, but on this point, if you are presenting their position properly, and your understanding of that is in question, they're wrong.

Further, there may be a billion different theories about the cross within Christendom. So what? There are a lot of fools who believe that God would actually bless same sex unions. The statement is meaningless. For all those theories, only one is correct. It so happens that I believe in the correct one and you don't.

BTW, before I forget, I was brought up to believe that everyone is my brother, even the worst in the world. It's something I've accepted long ago. I am NOT, however, required to accept and/or respect every cockamamie theory, opinion, position or belief that comes down the pike.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

And speaking of cockamamie, you haven't helped your cause by elaborating on the poison bit. A literal reading shows that people WILL handle snakes and drink poison, not that they MUST. It's a prediction, not a mandate. This is why I question you ability to reason: silly suggestions like that. I'm also not so sure that Pentecostals, and others who routinely handle snakes, do it out of a sense of obedience to Scripture but as a Biblically suggested test of faith they wish to mirror. But to say it is a mandate is NOT a literal interpretation at all.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

As to the Bible being THE source for us to learn of God and His will for us:

Throughout human history, there have been millions of people who have never seen a Bible or had the Word preached to them. This could mean NT or OT Scripture, it doesn't matter for my point. Of these people, some are naturally kind-hearted people. Put them to the side for now. The remaining people however act in a variety of ways unChristian. Some are completely horrible people. I find it hard to believe that these people have any idea that God's revelation is obvious to them. I can't buy that they see it, know it and merely ignore it. I say they are totally unaware and remained so if they weren't told or read otherwise. So despite what might be written on their hearts or revealed to them in God's creation, they need someone to point it out to them, or some text from which they can learn about it.

Assume that some of them convert from unChristian behavior to a more Christ-like way of life. Without the Bible, they still lack particular knowledge essential to the faith. Will they know that Christ is the only way to the Father if no one tells them of it or there is no text from which to learn it? The text does not say belief and faith in Christ is optional.

So in kind, even with those who are naturally kind-hearted, peaceful, loving, and a collection of other sweetie-pie stuff, we cannot assume their salvation is assured. The Bible teaches us basically two options: perfect adherence to Mosaic law or faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. And again, He saved us not by His life, but by His death on the cross. Basic stuff.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

For all those theories, only one is correct. It so happens that I believe in the correct one and you don't.

Wow. When did God die and make you omniscient?

1. How do you know you can't possibly be wrong? Are you not a fallible, imperfect human? Have you come upon some source for perfect understanding?

2. Which theory of Atonement DO you believe is THE ONE and only way to correctly believe?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

As to the Bible being THE source for us to learn of God and His will for us

So, just to be clear, we agree that the Bible does not make the claim that the Bible is "THE source of revelation" for us, indicating that it is a sole and primary source, more important than any other sources?

We agree that you are using your reasoning to create a theory that the Bible must be THE source of revelation because that is what makes sense to you?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

A literal reading shows that people WILL handle snakes and drink poison, not that they MUST. It's a prediction, not a mandate. This is why I question you ability to reason

You DO understand that this is not MY conclusion? I am not the one who says that taking that passage literally means we OUGHT to handle snakes. But SOME people do.

I'm suggesting YOU use your reasoning to decide that "WILL" does not mean "ought" or "must." IT IS YOUR REASONING that led you to that conclusion, not the Bible. The Bible offers the word, YOU have to reason it out using your own noggin.

That's all I'm saying.

And again, I'm sure you agree, don't you?

Marshall Art said...

"When did God die and make you omniscient?"

It's not a matter of being omniscient. It's a matter of knowing how to read.

"How do you know you can't possibly be wrong?"

Because I know how to read. For example, we've been disussing atonement. Or at least we've been using that word. I've shown it's definition, so there's no confusion as to what it means. You seem to be talking about salvation. We're not even on the same page. I got this by reading your comments and comparing them to mine. I've not strayed from the point, but you have.

"Are you not a fallible, imperfect human?"

Of course. But that understanding is irrelevant to being able to read and understand simple English. The Bible states that we are saved by faith in Christ as our Savior. Get it? He saved us from the wrath of God for which our sinful selves deserve enduring. He did this through His sacrifice on the cross. Why is this basic and essential fact so foreign and hard for you to understand?

"Have you come upon some source for perfect understanding?"

Yes. THE source. It's called "the Bible".

"So, just to be clear, we agree that the Bible does not make the claim that the Bible is "THE source of revelation" for us, indicating that it is a sole and primary source, more important than any other sources?"

No. We can only agree it dosn't use those exact words to make the claim.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

"We agree that you are using your reasoning to create a theory that the Bible must be THE source of revelation because that is what makes sense to you?"

No, we don't. I didn't creat any theory. I read the Bible and that's what it says. At worst, the implication is quite clear. It is clear in a way that your beliefs about homosexuality can never be and most decidedly aren't.

Regarding your last paragraph, I'm suggesting that stupid interpretations are worthless except for mockery. They have no value and are not in any way deserving of respect equal to real interpretations. Words mean things and people are free to think, decide or make them mean anything they want. Liberals prove this all the time. But as with liberals, they are wrong for doing this and I am justified in pointing out in a very public manner their falsehoods.

Further, pointing out it happens does not help your case at all. You do so to justify your own improper interpretation to which you insist on clinging. Knock yourself out. You're free to be wrong as well. You just won't get very far doing so, and in some cases might put your own salvation at risk. It's one thing to say, "this is what I believe", it's quite another to have your beliefs so exhaustively rebutted yet still cling to them stubbornly. Again, you are free to do so. I don't have to pretend that you're without a doubt on equal footing with everyone else.

Dan Trabue said...

"Are you not a fallible, imperfect human?"

Of course. But that understanding is irrelevant to being able to read and understand simple English.


But you overlook the reality that I, too, can read. As can the whole of the anabaptist community. As can the whole of progressive Christianity. (Or, at least the bulk of us).

We BOTH read and come to different conclusions. And you know why? Because we BOTH are using your reason to try to discern the Bible's meaning.

That is my point. Reason is a starting point for reading the Bible or understanding ANYTHING because if we can't reason, then we can't read, we can't understand.

Now, of course, reason is not perfect. We WILL make mistakes. But it's all we have when it comes to understanding.

That is all I am saying. YOU are using your reason to understand what the Bible says. I am, too. It's how humans work.

Right?

Marshall said...

The Bible states that we are saved by faith in Christ as our Savior. Get it?

Yes, we agree on that point. That is HOW and WHY we are saved. BY GOD'S GRACE. Get it?

Marshall continued...

He saved us from the wrath of God for which our sinful selves deserve enduring. He did this through His sacrifice on the cross. Why is this basic and essential fact so foreign and hard for you to understand?

No problem in understanding it at all. Clearly the Bible uses that illustration to demonstrate God's grace for us. The questions, then, are:

1. Did God LITERALLY purchase our forgiveness on the cross by Jesus' blood payment?

2. Or, is that an allegory, a way of explaining God's love to a people familiar with the concept of sacrificing to pay for sin?

3. Or, does it not mean LITERALLY "purchasing" forgiveness like one would a used car, but symbolically Jesus stood in our place receiving punishment due us SYMBOLICALLY?

4. Or, does God actually REQUIRE somebody to literally be killed to "pay" for sins - that God literally CAN'T or WON'T forgive us without that kind of human sacrifice?

5. Or perhaps some other atonement explanation?

No one is saying that the Bible doesn't contain "Jesus died for our sins as an atonement" kind of language. The question that Christians have tried to figure out over the years is WHAT does that mean? In what sense was it an atonement? Allegory? Literal? Referring to a required human sacrifice? Something else?

Which is your view on the various atonement theories, one of these or some other?

Dan Trabue said...

Oops. Where I said...

Because we BOTH are using your reason to try to discern the Bible's meaning.

Of course, I meant, "we both are using OUR reason..."

Dan Trabue said...

I asked...

"Have you come upon some source for perfect understanding?"

And Marshall replied...

Yes. THE source. It's called "the Bible".

Okay, slow down a little bit. Consider what you are saying. Do you REALLY MEAN that by reading the Bible, Marshall can obtain "PERFECT UNDERSTANDING?" You can understand ALL THINGS PERFECTLY and with no confusion or error by reading the Bible?

Because that is what you seem to be saying, I just want to clarify. I'm guessing you wrote that too quickly and spoke in error, but you tell me.

I mean, after all, that statement would contradict the Bible, which clearly tells us, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

You don't really think you have perfect understanding, do you?

If so, I guess you HAVE become a god.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

In your last is an example of what troubles most of us who debate with you. You're mixing the idea of literalism in ways that aren't compatible to muddy the issue. A literal reading of the Bible is different than me using words in their literal meaning. So to this:

"Do you REALLY MEAN that by reading the Bible, Marshall can obtain "PERFECT UNDERSTANDING?""

I respond thusly: by reading the Bible I can obtain as perfect an understanding of the BIBLE as I can, and assuming my understanding of the Bible is perfect (which I don't---but "perfect enough" on most parts discussed in our debates), I can still not have a perfect understanding of God. This is what your verse offering is covering. I can certainly have a perfect understanding of "thou shalt not murder" for example. But no matter what I learn about God, that is, what I come to understand about Him, though I'm confident it is a far more accurate understanding of Him than is yours (based on what the Bible teaches), I am still worlds away from the ultimately perfect understanding of Him. That's because of human limitations.

But what He has revealed to us in Scripture is far less mysterious than progressives like to pretend it is. The more mysterious, the easier then to justify personal desires that might conflict with God's Will. Let's keep it tough to figure so we can take liberties and claim "that's how we interpret Scripture". That's bunk and I don't buy it.

"But you overlook the reality that I, too, can read. As can the whole of the anabaptist community. As can the whole of progressive Christianity."

Then they are liars and heretics because the Bible doesn't say anything like what they claim to believe it says. Words mean things. Though some words can mean multiple things, context points to specific meanings which are plain to detect to the objective reader seeking truth as opposed to seeking permission or loopholes.

"We BOTH read and come to different conclusions. And you know why?"

Because the truth makes you uncomfortable. You can't handle the fact, for example, that God would sanction the total annihilation of a town. You need some explanation that isn't given or isn't given clearly, so you reject the truth as being "unGodly", when in fact it is representative of His true nature.

"Now, of course, reason is not perfect. We WILL make mistakes."

And you have. And blatantly so. This is generally the impetus for debates between you and the rest of us conservative commenters. But we have hope for you so we continue.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

"1. Did God LITERALLY purchase our forgiveness on the cross by Jesus' blood payment?"

No. Technically, Jesus did. Jesus is God, but let's not confuse the issue.

"2. Or, is that an allegory, a way of explaining God's love to a people familiar with the concept of sacrificing to pay for sin?"

No, or else it makes God a sado/masochist to put Christ through the torture and death for "allegory". It's illogical to assume that God would do something so painful to anyone, even Himself, without a more solid reason than "allegory". Just so that I'm not missing your point, I'll also say that I fully doubt that anyone recording such events or teaching something about God would be so sloppy in not explaning that Christ didn't really die for our sins.

" 3. Or, does it not mean LITERALLY "purchasing" forgiveness like one would a used car, but symbolically Jesus stood in our place receiving punishment due us SYMBOLICALLY?"

I'm sorry, but this is just incredibly stupid and counter to the basic notion of why Christ existed. His death as a sacrifice of atonement on our behalf is the one definitive message of the entire faith. It is not some foolish allegory or metaphor, but a reality upon which we place our faith in order to share in that atonement and thus be saved from God's mighty wrath.

"4. Or, does God actually REQUIRE somebody to literally be killed to "pay" for sins..."

DUH! Reread the entire OT, or at least the first five books. That was the whole point of putting some sinners to death and requiring of others the sacrifice of animals. The wages of sin is death. Christ died for us so that we might have eternal life. Absolutely basic and most essential to the faith.

"5. Or perhaps some other atonement explanation?"

Uh, no.

"The question that Christians have tried to figure out over the years is WHAT does that mean?"

Only idiot Christians. The rest of us down with the obvious. The rest of us have no trouble with the truth. The rest of us don't play games with what is so clearly and blatantly revealed, and in the case of Christ's sacrificial death, repeated over and over in Scipture both before and after the fact and confirmed by Christ Himself.

So I think my view is clear as well. It's no theory, it's fact. Christ died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to the Father so as to atone for the sins of all of mankind who believe on Him and accept Him as Savior and Lord. Pretty simple. Easy to understand as it was clearly explained in the Bible over and over. As to the other "theories", they're crap.

Dan said...

I tried to get Dan Trabue to show me a blog where he expended this much energy witnessing to atheist in this sting. He demonstrated his Christian love by calling me a liar and a coward and that "I wouldn't recognize a Godly or brotherly conversation if it kicked [me] in [my] ass." He never did produce evidence that he "witnesses" to atheist. I guess he's to busy "witnessing" to his "brothers".

4simpsons said...

Nicely done, (Good) Dan! I'm glad you see through Trabue. Great call about asking him to demonstrate his witness to atheists. Like so many other Liberal Christians the only religious views they think are dangerously wrong are those of orthodox (read: authentic) Christians.

LOL how Trabue likes to play the "brother" card as if we're on the same side then acts like you need to be converted to his views.

Dan Trabue said...

So much misrepresentation, so little time.

"Good" Dan said...

I tried to get Dan Trabue to show me a blog where he expended this much energy witnessing to atheist in this sting. He demonstrated his Christian love by calling me a liar and a coward

I called you a liar because you misrepresented my position after I had corrected your false statement. What would you have me do if someone is bearing false witness? Pat them on the head and say, "good job!"?

I called you a coward because you don't publish comments from those who disagree with you. Add to that, that you talked about what I said (misrepresenting it all the while) and would not allow a response.

That strikes me as cowardly in the extreme and not in keeping with the sort of honor and courage and willingness to engage that I believe to be part of Christian ethics.

If you don't like being called on the carpet for your sins, repent and turn away from those sins. Or better yet, don't speak falsehoods in the first place and don't speak about others and misrepresent what they say and then cowardly not allow them a chance to defend themselves.

Neil continued the misrepresentation by saying...

Great call about asking him to demonstrate his witness to atheists. Like so many other Liberal Christians the only religious views they think are dangerously wrong are those of orthodox (read: authentic) Christians.

Blatant falsehood. You make a false accusation that you can't hope to support and that is called bearing false witness. You do so publicly and that is called slander.

Do you all not read the Bible at all? Are you not familiar with some basic teachings that you don't even need the bible to recognize? You shouldn't misrepresent people. It's wrong.

The Bible says that those who engage in such behavior are on a path that leads to death, is that really the road you wish to travel?

How many atheist groups have you visited online, Dan, Neil? Does the amount of time you go to such places (or not) have anything to do with whether or not we should hold each other accountable as members of the Body of Christ?

If you see a fellow Christian lying or slandering, don't you think it appropriate to correct such behavior?

For my part, I go to all sort of websites and I don't tend to ask if they are Christians or atheists. Do you?

If so, by all means do for me what you ask me to do for you: Provide a list of the atheist websites you frequent and have "witnessed to." Does your "witnessing" at such places include treating them as shamefully as you treat your fellow Christians, misrepresenting their positions and ignoring their questions?

If your witness to the lost is half as awful as your witness to the saved (or even those you consider heretics), you're doing a piss-poor job, brothers. I see very little of God or God's love in your behavior towards those who disagree with you.

If all I knew about Christianity is what I've learned from you, I'd be RUNNING from your religion as fast as possible.

Consider that prayerfully, brothers.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

As to the other "theories", they're crap.

So, here is what I have read...

Catholics tend to believe the Satisfaction Theory of Atonement.

Eastern Orthodox groups tend to believe the Ransom Theory

Conservative and some mainline Protestants tend to believe the Penal Substitution Theory

(I am assuming THAT is the one you believe, you've never answered directly)

The Protestant Word-faith Movement tends to believe the Ransom Theory

Liberal Christians tend to believe the Moral Theory or a non-violent theory

Anabaptists tend to believe some combination of Penal Substitution, Christus Victor and Moral Theories of atonement.

I assume that you believe the Penal Substitution theory of atonement. So, everyone else but Evangelicals believe in, as you so elegantly put it, "crap." Well, except for the fact that anabaptists like me tend to allow for SOME legitimacy to Penal Substitution, so I guess we're only part crap?

I'm glad that you have settled on what you know and there's no need for you to think much about it anymore, Marshall. You got it right and everyone else is just crap.

Good for you.

You'd think someone who is as right as you are would also know that with great wisdom ought to come great humility and grace. The same grace that God has shown you, it seems, might ought to be extended to others who aren't as wise as you are and able to perfectly understand everything.

Pray for me, will you, that one day I might be as wise as you?

Marshall Art said...

Of course I answered directly. I said that Christ died for our sins. By His death we are spared the deserved wrath of God. As the "Lamb of God", He was the perfect sacrifice by which all who believe in him are saved. Our sins are forgiven due to our belief in Christ and acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior. Is there something you're missing in this very direct description of my belief that I've already typed more than once? I don't care what you call it. I don't need Aquinas or Anselm or anyone else telling me what I believe. I read the Bible without preconceived notions and abide the clear message contained therein.

"You got it right and everyone else is just crap."

Now you're catching on.

Humility and grace? Get over yourself, Dan. Humility and grace results in extra keystrokes, repeating myself over and over again. So with humility and in the most graceful manner possible, I cut to the chase and say what I mean in terms far too hard to misinterpret. And I'll say it yet again: the Bible is clear about Christ's death and why it took place.

You can cut the crap about wisdom, too. For I believe your humility is false and that your beliefs are an example of your own inflated sense of your own wisdom. So who are you kiddin'? How else could you come up with nonsense such as your stance on homosexuality? It takes a lotta gall to think that you could divine something like that from the words of Scripture while at the same time chide others over what the Bible does or doesn't say as regards their own beliefs.

So spare me the hurt feelings crap and let's get back to the game. My beliefs are based on what the Bible says, not what I think it says. I'm more than willing to listen to other notions, but that doesn't mean I have to respect them. You need to show me why I'm wrong, or why you're right. I don't need to keep hearing crap about how many different views there are, that other might not see things my way, yada, freakin' yada. Of course other theories are crap. How convicted in my faith would I be if I waffled like a freakin' Democrat? Jeez, man up, dude.

Dan said...

How many Atheist blogs do I visit? None. But then again I don't expend myself exclusively on Christian blogs preaching to my brethren that they are wrong either.

As to Dan and my conversation, it is open and available for all to see and judge.

Dan Trabue said...

Good Dan said...

As to Dan and my conversation, it is open and available for all to see and judge.

Actually, no. "Good Dan's" words are there and then there are his false interpretations of what I said that he didn't print. That's not open, that would be a misrepresentation of reality.

Marshall is wrong more often than not, but he is at least man enough to print actual responses and not hide behind false representations.

Marshall Art said...

"Marshall is wrong more often than not,"

Well, I'll admit that in my life I have indeed been wrong, but I don't think you could show where I've been wrong in any of the blogs where my comments can be seen. And even if you could, which I dare you to try, there's no way you could ever prove I'm wrong "more often than not".

Marshall Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edwin Drood said...

"Good" Dan summed up Dan T's comments perfectly. One word "Obfuscation".

Any time he tries to attack or defend a position its always done through ambiguity and re-definition. Dan T can't help it though he tries to fit his religious view through a political party that wanted to redefine the word "is"

Dan Trabue said...

Drood, I have never deliberately been confusing. I state my position in as clear a manner as I know how.

I am sorry I have not been able to do so in a way that does not result in your understanding my position. It is not from a lack of effort, though, and certainly not deliberately obfuscating, as you have misrepresented.

I have attempted to be quite clear about my position, for instance, on atonement. I have asked Marshall to define what he means by that and to what theory he ascribes. I have done that in an effort to be clear, not to obfuscate.

I'm sorry you don't understand, but don't respond, please, by misrepresenting what I have done. Obfuscation implies deliberate acts to confuse and that has simply not been the case and it would be an actual obfuscation for you to suggest it is.

If you MEAN to say merely that I have not been able to convey my beliefs in a manner that you can understand, then say that - there has been a lack of understanding and communication - but don't twist the truth, please. Such is not Christian or adult behavior.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

Well, I'll admit that in my life I have indeed been wrong, but I don't think you could show where I've been wrong in any of the blogs where my comments can be seen.

I was speaking in hyperbole to make a humorous point, brother. I am sure that in life, you are right on some matters at least some of the time, probably a majority of the time (although don't ask a Calvinist that, or he'll assure you that you are doubtless a wrong sinful worm ALL the time, since there is "no good in man.")

But it may be an interesting thing for us to look at what you have said and dig at what you really mean/think. If I may...

Here are some terms/quotes either from the Bible or church tradition:

1. "No one does good."
2. Biblical inerrancy.
3. The Atonement.
4. "The four corners of the earth."
5. "Blessed are you who are poor... Woe to you who are rich."
6. "All the winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to you."
7. If a brother dies and his wife is childless, the dead man's brother must marry the widow and get her pregnant. If not, the widow shall "come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face." Presumably (ie, literally) he would have to get his sister-in-law pregnant even if he had a wife already.
8. God sometimes might command people to slaughter the enemy, even their children and babies.
9. "If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out."

I could go on, but you get the idea. My question is, how do you know when to take these passages literally and when to take them figuratively, when to assume that it is not talking about a universal law for all time, when it is talking about a one time situation, etc?

What process do you use for deciding "four corners of the earth" is not to be taken literally? What process do you use to decide that the Bible must be considered "inerrant?" What process do you use to decide how to best understand the Atonement?

No obfuscation here. Just questions offered in an attempt to understand and clarify.

The reason I ask is because - while we all recognize that there is MUCH imagery in the Bible - hyperbole, parable, poetic license... imagery, I have no clear idea when you think it is appropriate to consider a line to be imagery and when IT MUST be taken literally, nor have I heard you say what process you use, other than "reading" or "it's obvious!"

So, rather than continue attacking me, why don't we engage in conversation and get down to how we study the Bible and understand right and wrong?

Dan Trabue said...

Dan the Good said...

How many Atheist blogs do I visit? None. But then again I don't expend myself exclusively on Christian blogs preaching to my brethren that they are wrong either.

1. Oh, so YOU don't do what you crucify me for not doing? Can you understand how that might seem a bit hypocritical to some?

2. I don't "expend myself exclusively on Christian blogs," I go other places. In fact, I often don't know if the sites I go to are run by Christians, at least not initially. It's not a criteria for whether or not I go someplace.

3. I don't tend to "preach to my brethren that they are wrong." Rather, I tend to raise questions that tend to be treated as hostile by folk of your sort. I raise questions not to accuse, nor to "preach," but to get to how and why someone is holding their position.

4. You seem to equate asking questions with hostility, and my expressing my beliefs that I hold for myself as condemnation for your beliefs when you differ. I may well say that I believe on this point or that point that you may be mistaken, but that's just conversation (ie, "when you say, 'I think the one and only proper way "atonement" can be thought of is Penal Substitutionary atonement,' I think you write off too many other Christians on a topic on which the Bible is not clear" - by saying something like that, that's not an attack, it's just conversation and disagreement. People can and do disagree all the time without taking it personally. Why can't we?)

5. In fact, I would guess that you would rarely find me telling someone they are "wrong," as you accuse me of doing, with the exception of when people like you misrepresent my position. In that kind of situation, I DO tend to say, "You're wrong when you say I...," but that is an effort to clarify, since I am the one who knows what I believe and not others, I would want to correct their false understanding of my position.

Just as I have done just now with you. Glad to help. And I did so without attacking or belittling or accusing and with a minimal amount of snark. See? It can be done.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

I don't know that I rely on any particular "process" to understand what I read. I certainly don't to understand any other book, magazine or, for that matter, anything else in print. I use dictionaries for words with which I'm unfamiliar, and I read the opinions of other, more scholarly and learned people for insights to anything that I might find troubling or difficult to fathom. This usually isn't required until someone else, like you for example, puts forth a notion that never made itself known before by my own reading. Even then, I do so generally out of a sense of fair play and an acknowledgment of my own limitations, that I might indeed be missing something. Can't recall that it's ever resulted in a change of mind on my part.

In addition, I do listen to preachers and scholars on the radio, as well as read their words in books and such. I even check out the words of people that impress my opponents. Geoffrey, for example, has presented the words of people that impress or interest him regarding the faith, though typically I feel I've wasted my time doing so. Those guys are usually too deep for their own good.

The bottom line is that though I enjoy reading all sorts of stuff regarding Christianity, I don't rely on too much to help me process what I find to be for the most part, quite simple to understand. I don't think the Bible is all that mysterious or complicated, nor do I believe it was ever intended to be. Thus, separating the literal from the figurative doesn't seem to be a problem requiring any special process other than common sense.

I'm not gonna say that I'm expert in the original languages of the Bible and speak only of the English translations. For original languages, I rely on the experts, let them hash it out between thm, and decide for myself on who's making the best case. Robert Gagnon, for example, is one guy who makes a lot more sense in explaning his understanding of original languages than do those with whom he debates. He hasn't the holes in his arguments that his opponents do. I know a weak argument when I see one.

For example, your argument in favor of homo marriage is about as weak as it gets. That's due to the fact that everything in support of homo marriage and the greater homosexual agenda is based on falsehoods, weak assumptions and outright lies. Take for example, your belief that ancient peoples didn't have any concept of monogomous homosex relationships. Upon what is this based? You think that the Bible only speaks of pagan rituals and oppressive behaviors, but this is an assumption that you haven't supported. That is, that there could be no possibility that homos weren't living as married back then, or simply that they didn't ever enjoy or willingly participate in pagan rituals. The fact is you need it to be true to support your angle, but you can't really prove it. (Doesn't matter as that's only part of why the argument fails.)

Marshall Art said...

So, if you want to discuss how I read the Bible, I can only say that I open it and get to it. It's message is more often crystal clear than not and over analyzing is a waste of time. Again, if you can prove anything about your point of view, go for it. I'm all ears (or eyes, as the case may be) and more than willing to adopt what makes more sense over something that no longer does in light of your strong argument. So far, you've been woefully unable to come close. Whether it's your ability to articulate your position, or that the position itself is crap is beside the point.

In addition, calling an inferior point of view crap wastes no time in getting across the point. When dealing with the eternal, anything that gets in the way of enjoying it with the Lord is indeed crap, wouldn't you say? You mentioned grace and humility in getting my point across. I can be very Christ-like and use terms like "hypocrite" or "brood of vipers". Is that more or less civil than "crap"?

Craig said...

Dan,

Your 11/15 12:35 post is a great example of why conversing with you can be so frustrating. The misrepresentations are such that I must ask the question. "Are you being difficult, obtuse, or just ignorant.

First, your comment about Calvinism is at best a simplistic generalization, and at worst an out right misrepresentation. Either way it shows a total lack of understanding of the Calvinist position and/or nuance.

Second, the fact that you even ask the silly questions demonstrates that you are either being intentionally provocative and/or obtuse. It also call into question your understanding of what someone who is a "literalist" actually believes. I know this topic has been addressed with you numerous times before. However, I know how you roll on this, so I'll play along and answer your questions. With the caveat that the non biblical bits obviously are not inerrant.

1. "No one does good."... Appears to be so out of context that it is impossible to categorize.

2. Biblical inerrancy. The doctrine that the autographs of scripture are without error. It also includes the concept that the text we have communicates Gods message accurately. (You can't seriously expect a comprehensive answer here.)

3. The Atonement.... Again to big a topic to cover in depth, but.

4. "The four corners of the earth."... A figure of speech.

5. "Blessed are you who are poor... Woe to you who are rich."... Again, so out of context as to be meaningless in terms of trying to analyze it. However, (if you are referring to Matt 5) I would say that the text accurately reflects the content of what was literally said.


6. "All the winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to you."... (again context) It seems to be from the law promulgated for the Israelite theocracy. Since we don't live under the theocracy, it is a literal representation of the laws in force at that time.

7. If a brother dies and his wife is childless, the dead man's brother must marry the widow and get her pregnant. If not, the widow shall "come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face." Presumably (ie, literally) he would have to get his sister-in-law pregnant even if he had a wife already. (see #6)

8. God sometimes might command people to slaughter the enemy, even their children and babies. (see #6) It appears (in context) to be treated as if it was a literal command from God.

9. "If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out."... Clearly hyperbole.

The answer to your "question" is to look at the context, when you are referring to a text from scripture. For the rest, no one is arguing that those are to be held in the same regard as scripture. Therefore they should be judged in light of scripture.

The fact that you do not understand (or want to appear as though you don't) what is meant by the term(s); inerrant, literal,inspired, authoritative,(I think they are all kind of interchangeable or at least complimentary), questions about how seriously you want to be taken.

So, having jumped through your hoops, I raise the obvious questions for you.

What parts (if any) of the Bible do you believe to be literally true? How do you determine which sections are literally true and which are otherwise? What is your process for determining the meaning for those passages you deem figurative?

Craig said...

It has been interesting to follow this thread for 2 reasons.

!. I have been getting a secondhand seminary level look at hermeneutics for the last several weeks. The main point the professor keeps making is that the Bible is a meta narrative. So, if we fail to look at it as anything else we lose both context and a valuable hermeneutic lens. As I read Dan's comments, I can't help but wonder if he/you see(s) the Bible in that way.

2. I have just come back to N.T. Wright's "Evil and the Justice of God". Wright spends a fair amount of time on the atonement as well as some other things related to this thread. I will probably be throwing in some excerpts somewhere for what they are worth. (I know Dan has already dismissed Wright as kind of a lightweight, but I think he's got some good stuff)

Craig said...

Marshall,

In our nearly simultaneous comments you raise an excellent point regarding listening to and reading those who are more learned than we are. Dan puts much stock in Reason, yet his Reasoning is so often completely out of sync with a majority of thinking on so many issues. Interestingly enough a great example of this phenomenon is that Dan's stance on how the Bible treats Homosexuality goes against even those who support his position on "gay marriage". The most recent addition to this trend is Spong.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

First, your comment about Calvinism is at best a simplistic generalization, and at worst an out right misrepresentation.

It was merely a joke. Sorry if you took offense. I've run into some who would self-identify as Calvinist who had a pretty set view of humanity as wretched and wholly sinful in each and every way. You haven't? Okay. I have.

Craig said...

the fact that you even ask the silly questions demonstrates that you are either being intentionally provocative and/or obtuse.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this at all. I ask the questions because I seek an answer. Not trying to be provocative, certainly I don't consider myself obtuse.

How does asking the question: HOW do you decide what is literal and what isn't either provocative or obtuse? I'm not getting your frustration or problem, here.

Craig said...

1. "No one does good."... Appears to be so out of context that it is impossible to categorize.

Again, I'm sorry, but I'm missing your point. Let me explain again what I'm asking and perhaps we can figure out where our misunderstanding is happening...

I was asking, when, in the Bible, you come across a verse that says, "No one does good," how do you interpret that? Does that mean literally, no one does good? Does that mean "No one except the saved?" Does that mean "No one but Jesus?"

Is that to be taken literally or not? And, if not, why not?

And in either case, what is your reasoning for taking it literally or not?

I'm not sure what you mean "taken out of context," The Bible says in Romans 3 (and possibly elsewhere), "No one does good." If the context helps you explain why you take that literally or not, please tell me the context and why it means you ought to take it literally or not.

I'm just asking

1. Is it to be taken literally?

2. If not, why not?

3. How did you reach that conclusion?

Forget the others, for now, if you'd like. What I'm looking for is THE PROCESS you use to decide if something ought to be taken literally or not.

I'm not sure why the apparent venom and distrust. They're just questions.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig asked...

What parts (if any) of the Bible do you believe to be literally true? How do you determine which sections are literally true and which are otherwise? What is your process for determining the meaning for those passages you deem figurative?

I use fairly orthodox hermeneutic strategies, I believe I have covered them before, but will repeat again...

1. Interpret individual passages in light of the whole Bible;

2. Interpret the whole Bible in light of Jesus' specific teachings;

3. Interpret the obscure and unclear through the clear and apparent;

4. Strive to understand the original language and text;

5. Strive to understand the context;

6. Seek God's guidance;

7. Consider the teachings of those who've gone before;

8. Use your own God-given reasoning (if something is literally impossible and we have no significant reason to expect a miracle, it may well be that the line in question is being figurative - in the case of "the four corners of the earth," we KNOW that the earth is not rectangular and we have no reason to expect that it used to be but has been miraculously changed, so therefore, it is quite likely a figure of speech or some other imagery);

9. Keep in mind the Greater Truths being taught (in the Jonah story, the truths being taught include the notion that you can't outrun God, that we ought to love everyone, strive to reach everyone, even our enemies; that God is a God of second chances, etc, etc... All of these Greater Truths are not impacted one way or the other by the literal veracity or not of Jonah being actually swallowed by a great fish);

This is generally the process I use for striving to understand the Bible and seeking God's will (I may be missing some other criteria, but that's generally it).

Dan Trabue said...

...So, using these criteria, I tend to think that the stories in the Bible are generally true stories that happened to real people.

I have no great reason to expect that the stories told are factual in every way, nor does that greatly impact the greater truths being taught, but I think, for instance, that it is obvious that the world WAS created (here we are, after all), that there were/are a people called Israel that are quite literally descended from Abraham and Sarah, David was a great and troubled king of Israel, etc, etc.

In general, I believe the stories are real stories based on real people. It is my understanding that the story-telling conventions of the day were not wholly dependent upon literal adhesion to strict facts, but that they were more interested in teaching truths in ways that could be remembered and handed down.

I think the great majority of Jesus' teachings ought to be taken fairly literally and way more seriously than they usually are. I think the example of the early church was probably fairly factual and ought to be taken fairly literally and seriously.

I take a good deal of the Bible literally. Just not every line of every story. Nor does anyone. No one takes Jesus' eye-plucking literally. No one takes the "four corners" view literally (any more).

Obviously some of the Bible uses imagery and some of it is using literal teachings and some may be somewhere in between. I don't think anyone here disagrees with that.

The problem, it seems to me, is that Marshall may not "rely on any particular "process" to understand what I read." He just takes it as what seems obvious to him, as I understand what he's saying.

And the problem with that is then, what criteria do we have for deciding who is right and who is wrong? Marshall reads one verse and thinks it "obviously" means 1,2,3. Dan reads the same verse and thinks it "obviously" means A,B,C.

Simple "obviousness" of a passage's meaning is entirely subjective. What is obvious to one person is not to another. It is for this reason that I think we would do well to be gracious in our disagreements over these sorts of topics.

It may be interesting and helpful to try to get to the "Best" understanding of the atonement, of Jesus' death on the cross, but coming to "ONE RIGHT ANSWER" may be difficult, since we might all have different opinions.

If Marshall finds significance and meaning in the notion that God requires a literal killing to literally pay for our sins, then okay, he believes in the atonement and that's what it means to Marshall. If Dan thinks there's some merit to that view, but thinks a better way of looking at it is that Jesus lived and died as a moral example, well I believe in the atonement in both sense to some degree.

We don't have God here literally saying, "Okay, on this matter, DAN is the closest to being right, although he's still wrong in that..." We're all striving to understand it the best we can. Why not extend grace in the process?

(And understand, I am absolutely NOT saying that "ALL answers are equally good," just that it can be difficult to resolve this side of perfection.)

Craig said...

Dan,

The reason why I referred to you questions as silly, is that anyone who was familiar with what "Biblical literalism" means would not have needed to ask them.

Having said that (and without getting an answer to my questions, and also without rehashing our previous conversation) here's the readers digest version.

First, I actually looked up the context of Romans 3 and a few things jump out at me that would bear on my interpretation.

1. Your snippet is a part of a larger passage which quotes/references the Hebrew scriptures in several locations. All of the referenced passages seem to be in the order on a lament to God.

2. Paul's larger context is sin and the law. His point is that we are all equal in our sin. No one has ever perfectly kept the law (except Jesus). The first line of the quote is "There is no one righteous, not one." He goes on to contrast this to the righteousness that Jesus death imparted to us from God.

3. It seems fairly clear that our "good deeds" don't come off well in the comparison.

4. Later in the chapter Paul says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". As we look at the world we live in the truth of this claim is manifestly obvious. This is not significantly different in intent that the passage he quotes earlier.

So, in summary. if I was to pluck these four words out of their context and try to interpret them as you have presented the question. I would conclude that it would be reasonable to believe that Paul was doing one of the following.
1. Using hyperbole
2. Using symbolic language
3. Expressing his opinion that no one actually does good.
Based on the limits you imposed any of those three could be deduced.

However, by looking at the context we can gain additional insight into what Paul (as well as the OT writers) was/were trying to communicate. Given the nature of these types of lamentations there is a degree of hyperbole to be expected. When we compare what we would consider to be our "good" deeds with God's ours could certainly look like nothing.

If you look at the even larger context (ie the passages being quoted/referenced) you would find that the writers were referring to what the authors refer to as fools, evildoers, or those who are corrupt and do vile deeds.

So, given that brief look at the 4 words in context it seems logical to draw a some conclusions in answer to your questions.

1. "Is it to be taken literally?" It (in the context of Romans 3) is certainly to be taken as a literal route of Psalms and Ecclesiastes. Is a lamentation a form of literature that is treated in the same way as history, no. Is it logical to suggest that fools and evildoers don't do good, yes. Is it logical that Paul was communicating that no one ever has or will do anything good, no. Do I think Paul (or the mystery author) literally wrote the words, yes.

2. "If not why not?" I think I answered this.

3. "How did you reach that conclusion?" To begin with, context, context, context. I helps to have some familiarity with the over all narrative of both the NT and the OT. I certainly could have used some outside resources (commentaries etc.) that would have added some more to the answers, but in context the point seems fairly clear.

To reiterate, the PROCESS is that I look at what is written, what is referenced, and if need be I will go to outside sources. I would suggest that you start with a good study Bible, and some commentaries for some additional references. But most of all CONTEXT.

Not sure why you are so quick to assume venom and distrust. I meant nothing of the sort. However, if you aren't going to treat me the same way you expect to be treated, I will certainly begin to have grounds for distrust.

One more question.

Do you see the Bible as a unified whole, or as a series of random writings?

Dan Trabue said...

Dan puts much stock in Reason, yet his Reasoning is so often completely out of sync with a majority of thinking on so many issues.

I'd suggest we might make more progress in these discussions if we just discussed what the process is, rather than denigrating down to personal attacks, don't you think?

But as to your point, here, I'm sure we both agree that just because the majority thinks a way on any given subject does not make it right. The majority may have reasoned wrongly, yes?

And yes, I DO put a good deal of import on our God-given reasoning. It IS how we interpret the Bible, make sense of it and strive to seek God's will through it all, isn't it? If not, what are you using besides your reasoning to understand the Bible?

Is our reasoning perfect? No. Not mine. Not Marshall's. Not Craig's. Not Billy Graham's. Not Jonathan Edwards' or the Pope's or St Augustine's. I'm sure we can all agree upon that much.

But it is the means by which we make sense of our world and by which fallible and finite Christians strive to understand an infinite and mysterious God. Why knock it just because it's not perfect? What's our other option?

Marshall Art said...

"Simple "obviousness" of a passage's meaning is entirely subjective. What is obvious to one person is not to another."

That may be true to some extent and with some people. But I am willing to go more in depth on a given issue and explain why it's obvious if I think it so. Just as importantly, I expect some explanation for an opposing position. And as long as there are holes in that explanation, it would fall in or near the crap file. That's just the way it is. It's not a matter of graciousness, it's just a couple of guys debating. Don't be such a wuss. As long as you are making a logical argument, grace is automatic. As the argument gets thinner and weaker, it also gets crappier at the same time. It ain't my fault. I call 'em as I see 'em. You think my argument's crappy? Say so. I don't care. You won't see me wettin' my pants over it. I won't waste my time over it other than to insist you show why.

Now I explained my reason why the crucifixion looms large as the central reason for Christ's appearance, why any example He set for us by the manner in which He lived, or why any lesson He taught during His ministry is secondary to His main purpose, which was to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice in atonement for our sins. The entire "story arc", if you will, of the Bible points to it and the Epistles confirm it.

Craig said...

Dan,

The fact that the 2 strategies that you devote the most space to revolve around you and your interpretation is interesting to me.

Once again, you seem to be misusing the term literal when used in this context. If you are going to argue against someone position at least state it accurately, please.

"If Marshall finds significance and meaning in the notion that God requires a literal killing to literally pay for our sins,..."

You may or may not be aware that the concept of sacrifice (of a living being) to cover sin is a something that God established as early as Genesis 3, and continued through the Pasach and the Temple system. This is why Jesus referred to himself as the Pasach lamb. This theme is a central theme of the OT culminating in Christs death on the cross. For you to denigrate this as merely a notion seems to be dismissing a significant theme of the Bible.

Dan, my comments on your use of Reason, and the way you refer to it, are more in my sense that Reason is your trump card. You seems to give Reason the final say in how you interpret scripture. Why I find this problematic is that there are a number of things in scripture that run so contrary to human reason, that reason doesn't seem like it should be the final arbiter.

I agree that the majority does not always make something correct, but there is a point where you realize that the majority has come to the conclusion because the conclusion is correct, not the majority.

I intend no offense by this, but I am much more impressed by the reasoning ability of people like Sproul, Hannagraff, Wright, and Scheaffer, than I am with yours.

I really don't understand why you take everything as a personal attack. It could just be that we disagree, and I am expressing my disagreement. Maybe, not jumping to conclusions would be a good start.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

This is why Jesus referred to himself as the Pasach lamb. This theme is a central theme of the OT culminating in Christs death on the cross. For you to denigrate this as merely a notion seems to be dismissing a significant theme of the Bible.

How so? What am I denigrating? The notion that God requires a literal blood sacrifice in order to forgive us?

I don't find that literal notion believable, from a logical point of view. If someone has sinned against you, do you require a blood sacrifice in order for you to forgive them? OR, do you simply forgive them if you wish to?

That is, if someone says, "I know I've wronged you and, gee, I'm awfully sorry. Can you forgive me, please?" do you at that point require them to offer some sort of sacrifice in order to be forgiven?

OR rather, do you simply forgive them.

The Bible says...

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25).

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven..." (Luke 6:37)


I don't see the slightest bit of suggestion in there that WE need to demand a blood sacrifice. Paul says (commands?), in Colossians 3, simply "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Am I safe in assuming that you don't think that we ought to demand a blood sacrifice when someone asks our forgiveness. Do you think then, we are to "forgive as the Lord forgave you," means the same thing in reverse? That God expects you to simply forgive as an act of will, because God has as an act of God's divine will, forgiven you?

Craig said...

Dan, my comments on your use of Reason, and the way you refer to it, are more in my sense that Reason is your trump card. You seems to give Reason the final say in how you interpret scripture.

Well, God's will be done is the final say, but HOW do we determine God's will if we don't use our reason? What are you suggesting we use instead? Human tradition? Which ones and how will you decide which ones? What you've always been taught? How would you know if what you've always been taught is right if not by using your reason?

I'm just not sure what you mean by denigrating reason, what are we to use in its place?

Let me put it this way: We have a passage that says QUITE CLEARLY "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Does this mean that the one and only way for us to talk about atonement, then, is that Jesus death paid a ransom? And if so, to whom was the ransom paid? The Devil? God?

And in all of that, HOW DO YOU KNOW which is the best answer if you are not using your reason?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

But I am willing to go more in depth on a given issue and explain why it's obvious if I think it so. Just as importantly, I expect some explanation for an opposing position. And as long as there are holes in that explanation, it would fall in or near the crap file. That's just the way it is. It's not a matter of graciousness, it's just a couple of guys debating. Don't be such a wuss.

Well, I guess that's a difference between our two ways of interacting on the internets. For the most part, I don't engage in debates. I usually am just trying to briefly explain my positions and correct misrepresentations when I see them, with the goal of better understanding between folk.

If you want to read someone give the anabaptist view of Atonement, there are much better, wiser folk out there that have already done that. Why would I rehash that?

Rather, what I am offering is just my take on things and, when people misrepresent the position that I and like-minded folk have, I will correct that, but it's just as a matter of clarification.

So, for instance, when someone says, "Liberals (or "Dan" or "anabaptists," etc) hate the Bible," I am here to say, "Well, that's simply not the case. Just because I/we don't take it literally or consider it inerrant in no way means that we don't love it or take it seriously."

In saying that, I'm not necessarily making my case against inerrancy, I'm just clarifying my position.

If you would like to see someone talking about the relative merits of the anabaptist position on Atonement, Marshall, you could read here and get a better idea than I could offer in a brief description.

Generally, I don't find comment boxes the best place to discuss deeply matters of theology or philosophy.

And, generally, I don't find describing the views of other brothers and sisters as "crap," especially on debatable matters.

Now, when we start directly opposing direct teachings of Jesus - that we ought to hate our enemies, or that we ought NOT turn our cheek, but smack back fast and hard when struck, or that the poor AREN'T blessed..., when someone starts directly opposing the direct teachings of Jesus, THEN some stronger language may well be called for.

But do we really want to engage in a pissing contest over every little action and supposed "sin," over every little non-essential difference between catholics and lutherans and mennonites and baptists?

I'd much rather have those kinds of conversations with a bit of light-heartedness and grace. And perhaps your "crap" WAS offered in that sense - as a fun little snipe at a brother with whom you disagree on smaller issues - I did not perceive it that way.

Dan Trabue said...

So, when Marshall says...

Now I explained my reason why the crucifixion looms large as the central reason for Christ's appearance, why any example He set for us by the manner in which He lived, or why any lesson He taught during His ministry is secondary to His main purpose, which was to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice in atonement for our sins.

I might ask, "Says who?" to gain clarification. Marshall has asserted something as if it were a given, ie, Jesus' "main purpose" was the cross and his life and ministry are "secondary" to that "main purpose." Yes?

But the Bible never says that Jesus death and his death alone was his main purpose.

Jesus himself said that he had come to preach good news to the poor, healing for the sick, liberty for the captive and the day of God's good favor. That SOUNDS like to me, a pretty clear declaration of why JESUS thought he had come.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Jesus also gave these reasons for why he'd come...

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Matthew 9:13 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 18:11 “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 20:28 “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”


As a sampling. So, according to Jesus, he came to preach good news to the poor, healing for the sick, freedom for the captive, to save the lost, to give his life as a ransom, and to call sinners.

In none of that does Jesus say, "This is the PRIMARY reason I came. Everything else is secondary."

So, when Marshall makes an assertion like that, I am inclined to ask "Says who?" to clarify what he means by that and on what basis he makes such an assertion when Jesus himself made no such assertion.

That is not an attack, it is not calling his reasoning "crap," it's just a question which may or may not get answered. If he wishes to make his case for why he believes that, I'm okay with it. I may point out that I wouldn't put it in those words, that if Jesus didn't claim it, I would not feel adequate to the job of speaking for Jesus in such a way and, if it's okay, I might have a different opinion.

In doing so, I haven't really made my case. I'm not really debating Marshall, I'm just pointing out there is room for discussion on the topic. This does not seem unreasonable to me.

Craig said...

Dan,

Are your really serious, have you not read the OT, are you unaware of the sacrificial system implemented by YHWH, are you unaware that this goes back to Genesis 3, through the Pasach, then to the temple system, until Jesus. For you to write off a major theme of the Bible, and a significant teaching of Jesus as merely a a notion is beyond my understanding.

No I don't require a blood sacrifice when someone sins against me. I'm not God, and we're not under the temple system any more.

Do you understand what you actually celebrate at communion? Do you really write off such a central teaching of both Judaism and Christianity so glibly? Could you please try to compare apples to apples?

I have already addressed your second "point" I'll not waste much more time except to say the following.

1. I have not weighed in on the "atonement" debate, and I will thank you to allow me to speak for myself.

2. Anyone who views the atonement in such a strictly one dimensional way as you seem to, does not seem to have a grasp on the fullness of the atonement.

3. Since Jesus said that he came to give his life as a ransom for many, I'll go with Jesus. He seemed to be comfortable with that. You will also not that His final word from the cross telestai is a word that the Greeks used to indicate full payment of a debt.

You seem to put great stock in the words of Jesus, except when they interfere with what you have Reasoned, curious that.

"Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”"

A direct reference to his role as the pasach lamb without blemish that was slain for our sins.

"Matthew 9:13 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 18:11 “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

The road to salvation runs straight through the cross.

"Matthew 20:28 “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”

Once again a direct reference to Christs atoning death on the cross. Hence the phrase "give his life" and "ransom for many". Unless you have Reasoned out some sort of figurative interpretation.

Maybe part of the problem here is your refusal to actually make a case or to lay out your reasoning in a way that we can see what led you to a conclusion. Rather than dodge debate why not bring your best Reasoning and see what happens.

So, I answered you in some detail, yet you blow by that and ignore my earlier questions, is this really your idea of reasonable exchange?

Marshall Art said...

Craig,

It's what I've been telling him. The entire Bible before, during and after the life of Christ points to His sacrifice as paramount. It's really what the whole book is about: His sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world. It doesn't seem possible that anyone calling themselves Christian could have trouble with this very basic concept.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, but if we're just using our best guess at what is "obvious" and someone does not happen to think that your conclusion is "obvious," then what's the problem? It's why I ask what criteria you have for how one must read the Bible.

You can't on the one hand say that the criteria for reading the Bible is "just read it" and understand "what's obvious," since that will always be subjective. What's "obvious" to Marshall is not obvious to everyone.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

Maybe part of the problem here is your refusal to actually make a case or to lay out your reasoning in a way that we can see what led you to a conclusion.

Okay, so I pointed to an anabaptist website that explains my view on Atonement. Where is it wrong?

No dodge. I told you what I believe and pointed to a source that explains it in some detail without being overly long. So, you disagree with the anabaptists on this point?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig asked,

So, I answered you in some detail, yet you blow by that and ignore my earlier questions, is this really your idea of reasonable exchange?

What questions have I blown by? I have had limited time but tried to hit at least the big ones I saw. Am I missing a particular question?

Now let me ask you fellas this: Suppose someone comes into Marshall's Sunday School class and offers the anabaptist opinion on Atonement. Will you say to that person, "Huh! Well, you know what? Your opinion on the matter is crap. Just crap. You just need to READ the Bible to understand. It's obvious that your opinion is crap."

And if the anabaptist fella lets you know that he's read the Bible from his youth, studied it prayerfully and repeatedly - probably more than you have, in fact - and that is his assessment. Will you respond by saying, "I expect you're just being hard to understand. It's crap!"

And, if the anabaptist fella asks some questions to clarify your position, will you say, "the fact that you even ask the silly questions demonstrates that you are either being intentionally provocative and/or obtuse."

Is that how you would run your Sunday School class? In what realm is asking questions stupid, silly or obtuse? I agree asking questions CAN be provocative, but that's not a bad thing, in the sense of provoking thought.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig asked...

Are your really serious, have you not read the OT, are you unaware of the sacrificial system implemented by YHWH... For you to write off a major theme of the Bible, and a significant teaching of Jesus as merely a a notion is beyond my understanding.

Yes, I am serious (I guess, I'm not sure what you're asking about). Yes, I have read the OT. Yes, I am aware of the system of sacrifice described in the OT - as I am aware of how God repeatedly told Israel they were missing the point - "TO OBEY is better than sacrifice..." "I desire MERCY NOT sacrifice."

I don't know that I am "writing off" anything. What do you perceive me to be writing off?

Or is asking that question silly and provocative and obtuse?

Dan Trabue said...

Continuing to try to address some of Craig's latest questions, he said...

No I don't require a blood sacrifice when someone sins against me. I'm not God, and we're not under the temple system any more.

Okay, we agree that we don't require a sacrifice in order to forgive. We're just expected to do it as a matter of will, because it's the right thing to do.

Do you think that God doesn't/can't also simply forgive us as a matter of will? Because God in God's grace has decided to show us mercy?

Do you think that the notion of sacrifice is a great and important SYMBOL, not the actual implement of forgiveness?

Craig asked...

Do you understand what you actually celebrate at communion?

Yes, I do. We remember the life and death of Christ and the communion/community of the Body of Christ, in as oft as we do this. The sacrifice Jesus made in leaving heaven to be in community with us so that we could be in community with God.

What do you actually celebrate?

Craig asked...

Do you really write off such a central teaching of both Judaism and Christianity so glibly? Could you please try to compare apples to apples?

Again, here I don't have the slightest idea what you're speaking of. Write off what? WHAT apples to what oranges?

I have not written off the notion of sacrifice found in the OT, nor of the sacrifice of Jesus. I just strive to understand these in context of the whole teaching of the Bible - that these are symbols to REMIND us of what IS important - that God desires MERCY and OBEDIENCE, not sacrifice. That God desires lives poured out in love to and with and for the community.

How important those symbols are!

How is that writing off anything?

Dan Trabue said...

Continuing...

Craig said...

1. I have not weighed in on the "atonement" debate, and I will thank you to allow me to speak for myself.

I'm not sure what you're speaking of here. When have I spoken for you??

Craig said...

2. Anyone who views the atonement in such a strictly one dimensional way as you seem to, does not seem to have a grasp on the fullness of the atonement.

I'm not sure what you're speaking of here. In what way is my view of atonement one dimensional? If anything, I'd think you'd complain because my view is TOO dimensional. I have stated that we anabaptists tend to believe that there is some validity to the Substitutionary Penal view of atonement, as well as the Christus Victor and Moral example views. How is that one dimensional?

I'm not at all what you're talking about here.

One problem is that we have allowed ourselves to get into a sprawling free for all here and it can be confusing to figure out what the Other is referring to in any given comment. That is the case here. I have no idea what you mean that my view is one dimensional.

Craig said...

3. Since Jesus said that he came to give his life as a ransom for many, I'll go with Jesus. He seemed to be comfortable with that. You will also not that His final word from the cross telestai is a word that the Greeks used to indicate full payment of a debt.

No one is disputing that Jesus said he gave his life as a ransom nor that "paid in full" terminology is used. What we're discussing in a rowdy roundabout way is what do those terms mean? Did Jesus LITERALLY pay a price with blood? Does it mean that figuratively, but still that he paid a price? Was the price to "purchase" our salvation or was it a price paid in the sense that he laid down his life - all his life, and teachings and time with us on earth - in a sacrificially giving way?

This would come closer to what I believe but I'm still not sure what you all believe. It may have been stated and I've lost it in the many words, but I've missed it if it has been stated.

Again, the problem seems to me to be NOT what the words in the Bible say, but what they MEAN.

Dan Trabue said...

Because you asked for it...

Addressing Craig's concerns that I am somehow "writing off" or "glibly" misunderstanding the notion of "sacrifice" and "sacrificial offerings" found in the Bible, why don't we look at what the Bible does and doesn't say about sacrifice?

Early in the OT, we see the idea of an offering appear for the first time in Genesis 4, when Cain "brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground." Later, Noah brings an offering to the Lord, when he "took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar."

We see the word, "sacrifice" appear for the first time in Genesis 31, when Jacob offered a sacrifice following the creation of a covenant/promise with his Uncle Laban...

Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.

In each of these early instances of sacrifices and offerings, God has not told the believers to do this. In the context, it appears naturally, as if this notion of sacrifice was something common to the culture, not specifically God-related.

Interestingly, the first time that we see God requesting a sacrifice is in Genesis 22, when God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac! And, of course, in this first instance, we have God stopping Abraham before he kills Isaac and substitute the ram as a sacrifice in Isaac's place. This, of course, is referred back to in the NT as a prototype for the Jesus story of sacrifice.

Also interestingly, God does not say WHY he wants Isaac sacrificed. God just requests it. "Oh, by the way Abraham, why don't you sacrifice Isaac?" (Or, as the text actually reads, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."

To which Abraham responds, "Oh, okay..."

Strange story. Makes you wonder what's in between the lines, there.

Actually, all of these are sort of strange to modern eyes. So, Cain is trying to please God and he decides to make an offering of fruit/veggies - why would he think that is something that would please God? Jacob is making a promise/covenant with Laban and, following this, he sacrifices something - apparently something that can be eaten - and he and his family eat the sacrifice.

Now, I don't recall ever reading up on this angle before, but does this not sound fairly "obviously" (or is that just me) like some common practice amongst the people at the time? That perhaps we're missing some context in the story, but that the notion of offering a sacrifice of either an animal or plants/fruit of some sort is a common practice? It strikes me that way, anyone else? Or does anyone else know?

Anyway, moving on...

Dan Trabue said...

We have many instances of this practice of making a offering unto the Lord in Genesis and Exodus - from Adam and Eve through Moses - all without any request from God that they do so. It appears to be a cultural tradition/practice of the time, not a God-instituted practice in these first 2500-ish years of human history recorded in the Bible. As far as I can see, other than the Isaac story, there is not a single instance of God requesting a sacrifice before Moses came along and they began codifying their laws/rules.

Other than the Isaac story, I believe the first time you have God sort of requesting a sacrifice is in Exodus 3, when God tells Moses to go to Pharoah and request that the Israelites be released for a three day journey in order to make sacrifices to their God. In that story, it's not so much that God is telling Israel to make sacrifices, rather, he's just saying that would be the reason that they offer to Pharoah for leaving.

So, the first time God begins to implement the formal practice of sacrifice is with the beginning of the law-giving, found in Exodus 20, where God says...

"Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

" 'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle..."


In this first example, the sacrifice and offering does not appear to be a sin offering, but a "fellowship offering." So, we still have not gotten to the notion of a sin offering, which those who are stronger on the notion of the Penal Substition or Ransom theories of atonement are talking about.

With me so far?

I believe the first time the notion of a sin offering/sacrifice appears is Exodus 29:36...

Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to consecrate it.

This is also the first time this notion of atonement appears in the Bible, I believe. This process of sacrificing a sin offering as an atonement in this case (Exodus 29) was specifically for the "Consecration of priests."

But as the rules start adding up, we soon get to instances of sin offerings to "pay" for a sin done by an Israelite so that they may be atoned for. Leviticus 4 has it this way...

The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands-

" 'If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.


And so, the notion of offering a sacrifice to "pay" for sin was instituted formally amongst all the laws given in Leviticus.

more...

Dan Trabue said...

However, apparently the Israelites missed the point, because throughout the OT you have God offering rebukes of such offerings, suggesting that what God wanted WASN'T a "sin offering," but rather a "LIFE offering," as in a life poured out in obedience to God and in love and service to humanity, especially and specifically the "least of these."

We see this reimaging of the notion of a sin offering in 1 Samuel 15, where Samuel is rebuking Saul for missing the point...

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice...


The psalmist echoes this thought...

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."

~Psalm 40:5-8

In Isaiah 1, we read...

Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me
...

learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.


"Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land


The same theme - it's NOT your sacrificial offerings that God desires - God detests them! It is mercy that God desires. Seeking justice, standing with the oppressed, the orphaned the widowed, the poor and marginalized.

more...

Dan Trabue said...

Micah 6 puts it this way...

With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

God has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.


Again, it's NOT the sacrifice that God requires, it's the seeking of Justice, the practice of Mercy and walking humbly with God.

In the NT, Jesus picks up on this theme...

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

~Matt 9: 11-13

The author of Hebrews repeats the thought...

For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.' "First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


Here we see that the SACRIFICES were not what CAUSED forgiveness or brought righteousness, they were only "an annual reminder" - a SYMBOL, IMAGERY.

What God literally desires is MERCY and OBEDIENCE, not sacrifices. The sacrifice of animals was just imagery to remind us to - AS JESUS DID - sacrificially lay down OUR lives in obedience and in acts of MERCY.

We are made holy through that sacrifice and in following that sacrifice in obedience and mercy/love. This would be the anabaptist vision of atonement and understanding the notion of sacrifice. "Offering sacrifices" - killing something to "pay for sin" was just imagery. The REAL literal sacrifice desired is the sacrifice that Jesus offered, a life poured out in obedience.

Which is not to say that there's no validity to the imagery of Jesus as a sacrifice or as a ransom, or that the ideas behind the Penal Substitution or Ransom theories of atonement are invalid, just that they are incomplete if we don't also include the (in OUR opinion) much more clear and pronounced notions of the atonement as moral example, of a life sacrificially poured out in mercy and seeking justice and in obedience to God.

And now, you have a more fleshed out version of what I think about the atonement and the notion of "sacrifice."

Craig said...

Dan,

Sorry, I'm not going to cut and paste for you any more, just realize that if you're not going to play by your own rules no one else will either. Your call.

God instituted the sacrificial system (precursor in Gen 3) as the means for Israel to remain in a right relationship with God. If God instituted the system why would he not expect it to be followed. Re "to obey etc" I don't have time to double check, but (in context) this verse is about people who were going through the motions without actual obedience. Not establishing a hierarchy of obedience over sacrifice.

I don't have enough time to go into the rest of your stuff, but I will agree that the OT sacrificial system ( which was about literal sacrifices of literal living things, to expiate literal sin [hence the referral to "sin offerings" among other types]), is a symbol. But it is a symbol pointing toward the ultimate offering the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the word. So it foreshadows the final sacrifice of Christs death on the cross.

I think that your version of the Anabaptist view tilts too heavily toward the figurative and ignores the literal side. You said earlier that you personally favored a non violent view of the atonement. I'm not sure how you take away the manner of Christs death to make it fit with a pacifist view. I also think that you are to fixated on sacrifice and atonement as symbols. Symbols are great because the point to some objective reality. In this case you don't seem to be willing to take the step and connect the symbol to the reality (or at least you want to define the reality "of a life sacrificially poured out in mercy and seeking justice and in obedience to God." in a way that supports your position.). Your formulation also seems to leave out the basic fact the Jesus was/is God.


That's all for now. I've got to get back to work.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, you write as if you suspect I'm dodging questions. I told you I believe I have answered most, if not all of your questions (certainly more than my questions have been answered by Marshall). I have now gone back and I can find exactly TWO of your questions that perhaps I have not addressed directly in all of this. Every other question (ie, every time you have written something ending in a question mark), I have answered/addressed.

The two that I missed...

1. Next, you have argued that a physical resurrection is not an essential doctrine. Can you expound on that?

and

2. "he shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

This is another area you seem to be a little dodgy on. What exactly do you see as Christs judgment?


I HAVE answered elsewhere and, given that we have covered dozens of topics/ideas here, I did not adjudge it as critical to re-answer what I have answered before.

But if you wish...

1. I have said that Jesus' resurrection is a CORE teaching of Christianity. It is part and parcel of part of what makes Christianity different than other religions.

I have further stated that I don't know that IF I were to find out that Jesus did not physically raise from the dead, I don't believe I would cease to be a Christian, a follower of Christ.

As I stated elsewhere, it might depend upon the circumstances. For instance, if God appeared to me and said, "You know, don't you, that when I inspired the author to write that Jesus rose from the dead, I was speaking metaphorically. Jesus' body DID die, but his SPIRIT rose. Jesus IS my son and IS God, but his body was just a human body, prone to wear out eventually," well, I can't say that this news would shatter my faith in Jesus or the teachings that comprise Christianity.

In that sense, Jesus physical resurrection is probably not essential to my belief in Jesus as God's son. I DO believe in the resurrection and it IS a core tenet of Christianity, but I would not cease to be a Christian if I found out the resurrection was metaphorical or referring to Jesus' spirit, not his body.

Perhaps you missed it when I answered this before elsewhere. Now you know.

2. I don't know what Christ's judgment will look like. Do you?

I believe that we ALL are judged by our actions and that our actions have consequences and that our actions must be accounted for in some manner. This is what I feel I KNOW.

What Jesus' judgment in the future actually looks like or how it will take place - if that's what you're asking - I simply don't know.

Also, I'm not entirely sure what your question means:

"What do I see as Christ's judgment?"

I think God wants us to follow God. I think God wants us to make right decisions. I think God offers us salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus and we are free to accept it or reject it. IF we reject God's presence, well, the judgment is that we are allowed to live in the hell that is life without God or love or good or grace.

That's about the extent that I feel I'm able to answer the question as I understand it.

Nothing "dodgy" about admitting when you do and don't know something. It's just the way it is.

Dan Trabue said...

Oh, I found one more question that I may have missed earlier. Craig asked...

Do you see the Bible as a unified whole, or as a series of random writings?

And this one (as opposed to the previous two) is a question I haven't already answered elsewhere.

My answer is... I dunno.

I see the Bible as a collection of writings from over thousands of years and from many different writers inspired by God that help reveal God's nature to us. Does that mean they're random? Unified?

I don't know the answer to that. It is a collection of disparate writings. I guess, with "random" meaning "having no specific pattern," I would not call these books "random," as there IS a pattern. It is the story through the ages of God's relating to the world, first through Israel, then through the church.

So, I guess my best answer would be that the Bible is not a collection of random writings, but a collection of writings on a unified theme. Is that reasonable?

Dan Trabue said...

If you're asking, on the other hand, if I think God planned a "bible" as a collection of 66 books and no more and no less, written by these specific authors, I don't know the answer to that.

The bible does not tell me so and God has never told me that and I wouldn't know how else to find that out, so I don't know the answer to that question.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

I don't know what questions I've not answered unless they are questions posed since my last comment. I'll be reviewing those real soon. But it may simply be that since I answer so directly, so emphatically and so much as one convicted in one's faith that it might seem like I haven't done enough. Just guessing here. But again, I'll review your latest more in depth to see what I may have missed.

But as to this:

"Did Jesus LITERALLY pay a price with blood?"

You've GOT to be kidding! He literally died on the cross, didn't He? He took the beatings and torture before doing so, didn't He? He foretold that He was going to be doing so, didn't He? That was kinda the message with the whole Last Supper thing: "This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for the many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matt 26:28) THAT was symbolism. It was symbolic of the suffering and death that was to come but it explains the reason for it: for the forgiveness of sins.

You want more specific language for the fact that Christ's primary purpose was to sacrifice Himself on our behalf. Yet, you think you see something clearly enough to justify homo marriage. This kind of nonsense is difficult to take seriously. Could God choose to forgive us without Christ having to die? Of course. He's God and He can do what He pleases. But that's not the issue. The fact is that He didn't do things that way. He established death and sacrificing of animals for the penalty of sin. Doesn't matter when He instituted it officially, but that He did at all. But from the time of Adam's first sin, it has been sin which has cut us off from God. Only perfect behavior could change that and few in the history of man have so pleased Him so that they didn't need to be perfect. The rest of us have to pay. I, as a believer in what Christ did for me, am saved by virtue of HIS act of sacrifice. He LITERALLY paid the price of my sins by LITERALLY sacrificing His own life, by the shedding of His own blood.

Your suggestion that we as human beings do not or cannot require blood in order to forgive others is just incredibly stupid. You've done this before, comparing what God might do or expect of us, with what we should do or expect of each other. That's a foolish way to make an argument, as if we are equal to God or even close enough to have the same demands and expectations.

I have to go. Any more questions for me, feel free to ask.

Dan Trabue said...

Your suggestion that we as human beings do not or cannot require blood in order to forgive others is just incredibly stupid.

Again, I would ask, is this how you treat visitors in your sunday school class? "Well, thanks for coming you twit, but you ask some of the stupidest questions and your positions are crap! Won't you please come again next week, dope?"

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

He LITERALLY paid the price of my sins by LITERALLY sacrificing His own life, by the shedding of His own blood.

So, you think God won't forgive without literal shedding of blood, that God requires living being sacrifice as the LITERAL way to "buy" forgiveness?

How is that forgiveness, then?

If your child says, "Daddy, I broke the window" and you responded by saying, "Well, son, I can forgive you, but first I have to break your arm because a sacrifice has to be made...," is that forgiveness or retribution?

If we can just forgive someone as an act of will (indeed, we are REQUIRED to do so), why do you think God, in whose image we are created, can't and won't do the same?

Dan Trabue said...

Your suggestion that we as human beings do not or cannot require blood in order to forgive others is just incredibly stupid. You've done this before, comparing what God might do or expect of us, with what we should do or expect of each other. That's a foolish way to make an argument, as if we are equal to God or even close enough to have the same demands and expectations.

How is it stupid? We, who are created in God's image, are expected to follow in the steps of Jesus, yes?

IF Jesus requires a human sacrifice (or even just a blood sacrifice) before he can forgive, are we to follow in his steps in that regard? I don't see how it is a stupid comment.

So, your answer, then, is NO, God does not expect us to kill something or someone before we can forgive, but that this IS what God requires for God's Self, is that right?

If that is your response, then my follow up question is, Why? Why does God expect us to do something that God can't/won't do?

Here's what the Psalmist has to say about God and forgiveness...

God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God's love for those who fear God; as far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear God...


No mention of requiring a sacrifice there. Just that God has compassion and is willing to forgive, AS A FATHER WOULD FORGIVE HIS CHILD.

Do you require a sacrifice from your child before you will forgive him? IF you, who are sinful, do not require such a guilt offering, why do you think God will?

After all, "God does NOT treat us as our sins deserve."

Or, as Isaiah says...

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

No mention of a sacrifice, there. What God asks in this covenant is that we seek forgiveness AND THEN God will have mercy upon us, if we ask, God will "abundantly pardon!" Hallelujah!

Not unlike a parent would do with their child.

More passages where God talks about forgiveness and yet does not mention any required sacrifice...

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses...

Matt 6

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven...

Luke 6

"'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now."

The LORD replied, "I HAVE forgiven them, as you asked."


Numbers 14

[again, NO mention of a required sacrifice - God had ALREADY forgiven them as Moses spoke]

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Mark 11

[If anything, in this passage, you might say that we are required to offer a sacrifice of a forgiving heart. THIS would be what the symbolism of sacrifice is referencing, it seems to me. Not a literal sacrifice because God can't/won't forgive without some blood...]

I could go on if you'd like, but perhaps these will give you an idea of the Biblical and logical foundation on which I stand.

Marshall Art said...

"Again, I would ask, is this how you treat visitors in your sunday school class?"

First of all, I don't teach Sunday School (though I'm sure I could do an acceptable or better job of it). Secondly, if a child made such a statement it would be more palatable. But from someone who claims to have studied the Bible, it's stupid. John Shelby Spong is considered a scholar by some, including himself, I believe. Most of what HE says is stupid. If I heard such a statement by an adult in a Bible study gathering I would definitely say the same thing if that person persisted in putting forth such stupidity. Why do you think it's necessary to use a different word when confronted with a stupid statement? To be kind? In matters of salvation, I prefer to cut to the quick and not beat about the bush. Take offense if you choose. Christ wasn't "Christ-like" in admonishing the Pharisees and He was plainly dissappointed in the failure of his apostles to understand all they were hearing from Him.

And BTW, you once again embellish to attack. How hypocritical. Describing someone's statements as stupid, or their positions as crap is not the same as calling them a dope.

"So, you think God won't forgive without literal shedding of blood, that God requires living being sacrifice as the LITERAL way to "buy" forgiveness?"

I've answered this already, but I'll do it again to spare you the search. What God could do and what He did are two separate issues. He could forgive me even if I preach against His existence and lived every moment of my life counter to His Will. I don't think He does forgive such people. Do you?

The fact is that He sent Christ to us to be the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. It doesn't matter if He is capable of forgiving us without doing so. What is stupid about your position is to think that He allowed Christ to suffer and die as a mere symbol which would be rank sadism on His part as the Father, and sick masochism on His part as the Son.

continued---

Marshall Art said...

"How is that forgiveness, then?"

It's the price paid for sin. Remember, the wages of sin is death. What part of this aren't you getting? By your position, repentance would be unnecessary because nothing need be done for salvation, why repent as well? You've taken our sinfulness totally out of the equation with your angle. It has no meaning and all the instruction to obey is worthless because by your understanding, God just forgives. Doesn't work.

""Well, son, I can forgive you, but first I have to break your arm because a sacrifice has to be made...,""

Here's where the stupidity comes in. You seem to have real trouble separating what we as human beings are to do, and what God as Supreme Being and Creator of all things has ultimate privilege to do. God does NOT have to act the way He expects US to act. There is no correlation between the two. He is the final judge over who lives and who dies. We cannot murder, but He can snuff anyone for any reason, even if we cannot understand what that reason might be.

In the same manner, for you to suggest that it wouldn't make sense for me to demand blood in order to forgive is a stupid suggestion because I am not God and have no right to make such a demand. We are told to forgive because that's the way He wants it. Forgive. Period. The point here is where do we get off expecting forgiveness from Him if we have never shown forgiveness to others. Are we God that we can be so offended as to deny forgiveness? But to offend God is worse than offending each other. Indeed when we offend each other we DO offend God. David asked forgiveness for the death of Uriah because of the offense it was to God, not to Uriah.

"If we can just forgive someone as an act of will (indeed, we are REQUIRED to do so), why do you think God, in whose image we are created, can't and won't do the same?"

I don't. But the point is that He didn't. And doesn't. If we deny Christ, we deny ourselves salvation and our place in Heaven. No one comes to the Father except through Him. What does YOUR Bible say? He died so that we won't have to. Basic and essential truth.

Marshall Art said...

In your last you offer verses, but I think you totally misunderstand what's going on in them. I'm going to pass by the Psalm because I would need to study the context which provoked it by the psalmist. But the Isaiah verse only speaks of the forgiveness for those who turn to God. Seeking forgiveness? How is that done, by simply asking for it? That's certainly one way to seek it, but though it doesn't speak of what might be expected, it doesn't necessarily follow that there might be some further action to take. It is focussing on God's mercy, not our obligations to Him for the granting of that mercy. So that verse doesn't seal the deal for you like you think it does. If the Jews pre-Christ were bound by the Law, but no one was perfect enough to follow it to God's satisfaction that Christ was needed to save them, then from what was Christ to save them and how? By merely walking around and acting like a nice guy? If so, why put Him though the suffering?

continued---

Marshall Art said...

Your NT passages are Christ explaining how we're to treat each other, how the spirit of the Law was meant to be understood. He is not dealing with the total protocols of atonement. And your Numbers tract is not in context. God forgave them because Moses asked Him to. As I recall, he and the Lord were kinda tight. Without Moses' asking, it doesn't appear forgiveness was forthcoming. And further, God insists that those who disobeyed would not see the Promised Land and goes on to speak of punishments for the disobedient. You're going to have to find someone to qualified to teach you what the Bible is saying. You consistently have trouble doing it on your own. And I mean that in the best possible way. Dope :D

Craig said...

Dan,

Not much time to address all your volume, I'll just say many of the scriptures you cut and pasted support my position not yours. But it's all good.

I do want to address your communion comments. Here's what I celebrate.

As recorded in Luke.

"7Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."

"'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"

"14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

"20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."


As recorded in 1 Corinthians

"23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord."

As recorded in Mark.

"22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

23Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

24"This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."

Also in 1 Corinthians.

"For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."

In John.

"29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"


To be very clear. Jesus and His disciples were to celebrate Pasach together at Jesus' request. Pasach is the commemoration of the release of Israel from Egypt, which was precipitated by YHWH sending an angel of death to kill all the firstborn children in Egypt. The Hebrews were spared by painting the (literal) blood of a (literal) lamb on their doorposts.

Jesus (you will note that he is referred to as the Lamb and Pasach Lamb), apparently had no qualms about celebrating an event commemorating the death of thousands of "innocent" children. Not only that he appears to be eager to celebrate this with his disciples.

It seems to me that Jesus, not only took this celebration seriously, but he identified Himself with/as the sacrificial lamb.

If you do a little more research, you will find that the early church took this very seriously as well. This is what I celebrate at communion.

My question to you is this.

If Christ had lived to 70 and died of old age, do you believe that would have been sufficient to provide the "ransom for many" that Christ said he was?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig asked...

If Christ had lived to 70 and died of old age, do you believe that would have been sufficient to provide the "ransom for many" that Christ said he was?

If that's the way it was, why not? It is NOT just the crucifixion or death or resurrection that saves us. It is God's grace. It is God's grace lived out in Jesus' life and teachings and community and death and resurrection.

It is all of one cloth, as I like to point out. There's not a "primary cause" for God's grace (ie, Jesus' death) and a "secondary - not as important" - part of God's grace (Jesus' life).

There IS God's grace and it is one thing and it was acted out and exemplified in the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus. It seems to me and the anabaptist community. We don't separate out Jesus' life from his death.

We are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus. And if Jesus lived to be 70 and died of old age, we would STILL be saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus.

Do you disagree?

Dan Trabue said...

You see, where I fear that some may get off on the wrong track is the same place that Israel often got off on the wrong track - the sacrificial offerings were symbols. Reminders of God's grace and how it overcomes the ugliness and awful consequences of sin.

The sacrifices weren't what CAUSED God's forgiveness and their embrace into God's kingdom, just a reminder OF God's grace, which saves us.

We are and always have been saved by God's grace, as the writer of Hebrews talks about. Not by sacrificial offerings, not by works, but by God's grace.

If you disagree, so be it. I don't think you do, but whatevsies. As for me, I will always hang my hat on God's grace.

Bubba said...

Dan Trabue:

I notice you haven't continued the discussion about whether Paul's teachings contain definitional sexism. I also notice you didn't answer whether God was likewise sexist for giving women the unique ability to bear children, or whether Christ was sexist for choosing only men to be His twelve closest followers.


In my last comment before the weekend, I originally mentioned loaded questions -- including specifically the famous "have you stopped beating your wife?" -- but removed that section over concerns about length.

I'm glad to see my original instinct was right, that in talking to you I really must be thorough rather than concise.


I reformulated my very simple question, and you reply:

"Have you stopped beating your wife, Bubba? Yes or no? Well, the answer is, it requires more than a yes or no response. That is the case with some questions. For me, that is the case with this question."

Just because some questions require more than a simple yes or no, it doesn't follow that my question required more.

(Likewise, just because you're honest that your name is Dan and you live in Kentucky, it doesn't follow that you're always honest.)

"Have you stopped beating your wife" is a loaded question because it assumes that the person being asked the question presently beats his wife.

To use a non-derogatory and theological example, "Is Jesus human or divine" assumes that humanity and deity are mutually exclusive natures.

Seemingly simple yes-or-no questions are shown to be complex by the wrong or presumptuous assumptions that they make.

Does my question make any unnecessary assumptions?

--

QUESTION: Which of the following two sentences best describe reality, so far as you understand it?

OPTION 1: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and because of Christ's death."

OPTION 2: "God LITERALLY forgives us because of God's good grace, and NOT because of Christ's death."

--

No, it does not, and I defy you to point out what underlying assumptions make it impossible to answer the question simply -- just as I have challenged you to list any pair of literal events which are causually connected only "in a sense."

The question I have asked, repeatedly and in a number of ways, is quite straight-forward.


You answer...

"I can't honestly answer either of these. My answer remains 'God literally forgives us because of God's grace, and out of that grace, God came, lived amongst us and died, and rose again, all for us.'

"THAT IS my answer to that question.

"I don't know, perhaps I would agree with that second one, but it seems to be missing the point. God literally forgave us because it pleased God to do so. LITERALLY, BECAUSE OF God's grace, God came, lived, died and rose again. So it is associated with God's grace and I'm not sure that I would separate it from God's grace.
"

But I'm not trying to separate salvation from God's grace. I explicitly agreed with you that grace saves, and I CLEARLY INCLUDED GOD'S GRACE IN BOTH OPTIONS.

I'm not trying to separate salvation and grace; I'm trying to see whether you separate salvation and the cross. It's clear that you do -- "God literally forgave us because it pleased God to do so," implying that Christ's death wasn't a necessary component -- but I cannot see a good reason for why you cannot clearly say so.

[continued]

Bubba said...

[continued]

"Perhaps I would say we are not forgiven by Jesus' death, but his death is all part of the literal demonstration of God's grace by which we are saved.

"If that is my answer, why can't you accept it? It just seems a bit nutty, 'No, that can't be your answer, you have to answer one way or the other!' Says who?
"

I actually would accept that answer as a clear statement of what is patently obvious to everyone -- that you believe that "we are not forgiven by Jesus' death" -- if you would remove that equivocating "perhaps" that introduces it.

The answer raises all sorts of questions...

- Why would Christ's death be a demonstration of God's love if it doesn't accomplish anything?

- How do you explain, among other things (including His institution the eucharist), Christ's anguish in the garden and cry of dereliction on the cross?

- What happens to the penalty of our sin, and if nothing happens except its curt dismissal by God, in what possible sense is God just and holy?

- And where in the world does the Bible justify this position?

...but it is an answer.

Marshall Art said...

"If that's the way it was, why not?"

Except that it is NOT the way it was. We can only go by the the text and it's description of what happened and what it meant. It clearly shows that Christ's purpose was to be the perfect sacrifice in atonement for the sins of all. Bubba's list of questions at the end of this last shows the major hole in your, or the anabaptist thinking (if you're understanding the anabaptist position correctly--sorry, but that's in doubt for now).

For me, I can't get past the implication of your position as regards the torture and killing of Jesus. You like to say that you don't buy the OT stories describing God's command to wipe out entire towns and villages and everyone in it. You don't think such things are in line with what you think the Bible says about God's nature. Yet here, you're willing to believe that God would unnecessarily mandate the torture and killing of a being for mere symbolism? You gotta be kidding me! We believe God ordered the destruction of towns to wipe out an unholy people. YOU believe He's capable of sadistic and whimsical torture and killing! ("I don't NEED to have anyone suffer and die, but I'm gonna do it because I can.") How is THAT "God-like"?

Bubba said...

Dan Trabue, in arguing your position that "perhaps" it's the case that we are not saved by Jesus' death, you rip a few passages out of context.

You have a bad habit of doing this.

In order to justify your pacifism, you routinely invoke Romans 12's "overcome evil with good" and ignore the very next passage where Paul writes that the government is an agent of God's wrath that does not bear the sword in vain. In order to argue that God would not command wars of annihilation, you invoke Psalm 106's condemnation of shedding innocent blood, even though that very psalm condemns Israel because "They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them" (106:34) and even connects this disobedience with their later child sacrifices.

Here, you invoke, among other books of the Bible, Isaiah, Matthew, and Hebrews.


You quote bits of Isaiah 1 to note, correctly, that God desires mercy and justice -- never mind your tendentious but politically convenient summary, which arguably contradicts Lev 19:15 -- but that begs the question, what if we don't or indeed cannot do what God requires? He forgives us, He washes our sins white as snow (Is 1:18), but how?

Nowhere does Isaiah -- or any other book of the Bible -- justify your position that He just does.

Instead, in one of the most famous passages of the Bible, Isaiah prophecied that forgiveness would come through the suffering and death of God's chosen Servant.

"He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.
" - Is 53:3-8

Christ fulfilled this passage; we know He did so because Philip taught so about the last two verses, in Acts 8.


You quote Matthew 9, and Christ's teaching that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, but that begs the question, how does God forgive us when we have been unmerciful?

Christ Himself gave that answer in the upper room, recorded in the same Gospel.

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Mt 26:28


And you quote Hebrews' claim that the Old Testament system of sacrifices were symbolic, but you entirely miss the writer's point: they were symbolic of Christ's death, which is itself the real reason we are saved.

The writer quotes the same teaching from Matthew that you do, Dan, and draws an entirely different conclusion. You even quote that different conclusion, from Hebrews 10, and seem to miss it entirely.

"When [Christ] said above, 'You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings' (these are offered according to the law), then he added, 'See, I have come to do your will.' He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." - Heb 10:8-10

[continued]

Bubba said...

[continued]

"It is by God's will..."

His grace, even.

"...that we have been sanctified..."

Sanctified through what, Dan?

"...through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

If that weren't clear enough, the writer continues (in 10:19) by saying that "we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus."


The Bible is clear that the old sysemt of sacrifices was symbolic, and the Bible is clear that the system symbolized and anticipated Christ's death on the cross.

You take that clear teaching to draw the opposite conclusion, that because the OT sacrifices are symbolic, Christ's sacrifice is, too.

"We are and always have been saved by God's grace, as the writer of Hebrews talks about. Not by sacrificial offerings, not by works, but by God's grace."

You simply don't know what you're talking about. The writer of Hebrews denied that we are saved by yearly animal sacrifices, yes, but he is quite clear that we are indeed saved by Christ's once-for-all sacrifice of Himself.

You are mangling Scripture to make it say what it doesn't say.

Dan Trabue said...

In response to Bubba, I repeat:

You see, where I fear that some may get off on the wrong track is the same place that Israel often got off on the wrong track - the sacrificial offerings were symbols. Reminders of God's grace and how it overcomes the ugliness and awful consequences of sin.

The sacrifices weren't what CAUSED God's forgiveness and their embrace into God's kingdom, just a reminder OF God's grace, which saves us.

We are and always have been saved by God's grace, as the writer of Hebrews talks about. Not by sacrificial offerings, not by works, but by God's grace.

If you disagree, so be it. I don't think you do, but whatevsies. As for me, I will always hang my hat on God's grace.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said...

I notice you haven't continued the discussion about whether Paul's teachings contain definitional sexism.

Paul says, in effect, "You women, because you are women, you can't preach." That is sexism by definition.

Am I mistaken?

Bubba said...

I also notice you didn't answer whether God was likewise sexist for giving women the unique ability to bear children, or whether Christ was sexist for choosing only men to be His twelve closest followers.

I don't see how the fact that men and women have different bodily functions can possibly be sexist. It's just the way it is. So, no, because we are created male and female, that is not an indication of sexism.

As to Jesus' 12 apostles being all male, does that mean that Jesus was sexist? I'd say that it is clearly a nod to the sexist society in which he lived. But Jesus DID have women followers who were highly important to his ministry and whom he treated in a manner that stood out as different from the sexist society's norms.

Paul taught us that in Christ, there is no male nor female, another stab against the sexism of that culture. So, for that reason, I say that Paul MAY have been sexist, as a product of his society, but clearly the notion of not allowing women to preach because they were women IS sexist by definition.

I tend to think that Jesus and Paul BOTH stood out as highly inclusive in regards to gender roles in their society - in ways that were doubtlessly shocking to the culture at large. That does not mean that their ministries were not impacted by the sexism of the day.

So, my answer in regards to Jesus and sexism is NO, I don't think Jesus was sexist, but I do think that his ministry was limited by the sexism of the society. Just as his miracles were limited by the lack of faith of the people around him, so too, I think it reasonable to see that his inclusivity was limited by society's lack of faith in the equality of men and women.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

You're going to have to find someone to qualified to teach you what the Bible is saying. You consistently have trouble doing it on your own.

You realize, of course, that the feeling is mutual? I'll pass on being instructed by Marshall on what the Bible is saying as Marshall seems to have trouble understanding it on his own.

I'll stand by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and, to a much lesser degree, John Howard Yoder, Art and Peggy Gish, Walter Wink, Cindy Weber, Ched Myers, Hubmaier, Simons, etc, etc. No offense.

Bubba said...

Dan, I repeat my reply to that comment: you don't know what you're talking about.

The writer of Hebrews is clear that the OT sacrifices weren't merely symbols reminding us of God's grace: they anticipated Christ's sacrificial death on the cross.

It seems to me that, if anyone here is repeating the errors of ancient Israel, it's you: you pick at and edit out God's word for the sake of human understanding -- yours, specifically. Matthew 15 condemns your behavior.


On the same subject, you seem to be guilty of a gross anthropomorphism. Just because God forbids us from taking innocent human life, it doesn't follow that He's forbidden from doing the same: after all, the act might not be immoral per se but only immoral FOR US because it's the Creator's prerogative to have the final say over what He Himself created.

Likewise, just because God teaches us to forgive simply, it does not follow that He forgives us simply -- that is, without dealing with the penalty of our sin.

God is perfectly just; we are not.

God is holy; we are not.

In Romans 12, which you invoke so often to justify your pacifism, we are NOT taught that vengeance is wrong, saith the Lord.

Instead: vengeance is MINE, saith the Lord.

If He can deal out wrath where we are forbidden to do so, it's also entirely possible where, in forgiving us, He deals with sin where we don't (and can't).

You never do explain how God deals with sin, and until you do, your conception of God is fundamentally unjust, unholy, and frankly a blasphemous idol.

Marshall Art said...

I don't know those people, Dan, so in good conscience I cannot speak to their intelligence. I would, however, have no trouble believing you misunderstand them as you have shown such a poor understanding of Scripture. Bubba's last was indicative of your unwillingness to truly be open to other points of view, particularly when they are far more sensible and logical than yours. That God might be willing to forgive is not the issue at all, but what is required in order to get that forgiveness. Animal sacrifices were the requirement in the OT and for particular sins, only death of the sinner could wash that sin away to God's satisfaction. Death is a requirement because sin is death. Christ's death was the only perfect sacrifice and it saves us all by our faith in Him and belief that He is our Savior. The way in which He saved us was to offer Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice. Once again, basic and essential Bibical teaching.

Craig said...

Dan,

Just because you repeat something doesn't make it so. The OT sacrificial system pointed to Christs death, or to put it another way Christs death was the final sacrifice. He fulfilled the law which eliminated the need for further sacrifice.

I can't believe that you don't understand that your position runs counter to the vast majority of Christian thought and scholarship over the past 200 years or so. While agreeing that that preponderance of agreement is not what makes something correct or not. The burden is clearly on you as the minority view to present some sort of cogent argument for your position. You have linked to some Anabaptist sites and said that that is your statement. My concern is since you so frequently pick and choose (ie you believe the Baptists are right on original sin, the Ana baptists on something else, Paul is right in one paragraph but wrong in the next. Paul is sexist, except when he is not etc.) that it is hard to know what parts of a third party statement you have chosen to buy into. So if it's not too much trouble could you just articulate your own beliefs, in simple clear language. It would be much easier to follow and allow us to react to what you actually believe and articulate.

Sorry, this got a little long, but it's hard to keep track of the leaps.

Bubba said...

About sexism, Dan, you write:

"Paul says, in effect, 'You women, because you are women, you can't preach.' That is sexism by definition.

"Am I mistaken?
"

I actually think you're mistaken in your summary of Paul's teaching; again, see Geisler's essay that I quoted elsewhere, to which I provided a link earlier.

But if you're not mistaken, you're not being consistent, because by your own logic, God must be sexist, too.

"I don't see how the fact that men and women have different bodily functions can possibly be sexist. It's just the way it is. So, no, because we are created male and female, that is not an indication of sexism."

Dan, "It's just the way it is" is unsatisfactory, because God is responsible for the way it is, and He could have done things differently. Things didn't have to be as they are.

Instead, God made us male and female and gave us different bodily functions. If what Paul taught is definitionally sexist, so is what God DID, because it fits the same pattern.

You say:

"Paul says, in effect, 'You women, because you are women, you can't preach.' That is sexism by definition."

Well:

God says, in effect, "You men, because you are men, you can't bear children."

God says, in effect, "You women, because you are women, you have the sole responsibility of bearing children."

By the way you argue, these divine declarations are sexism by definition. It's only conveniently sloppy thinking that keeps you from seeing and/or admitting this.


Now, about Christ and the Twelve, you attribute Christ's behavior -- His choosing exclusively twelve men to be His closest followers -- to the sexist culture in which He operated.

"I'd say that it is clearly a nod to the sexist society in which he lived."

"Just as his miracles were limited by the lack of faith of the people around him, so too, I think it reasonable to see that his inclusivity was limited by society's lack of faith in the equality of men and women."

Well, who died and made you God Incarnate?

You're being incredibly inconsistent: on the one hand, you proclaim that Jesus was a courageous preacher whose message was such a radical, revolutionary threat to the powers that be that they killed Him over it.

On the other hand, you believe that the cultural mores were so powerful that Jesus couldn't really have chosen even one woman to be counted among the Twelve.

The only consistency is what's always consistent with you: your political progressivism. What Jesus taught regarding wealth, you can subvert to your political radicalism, and so you celebrate it. But what Jesus did in choosing the Twelve, you dislike as it confounds your fundamentally androgynous worldview, so you dismiss it as a nod to the surrounding sexist society.

What you do to the entire Bible, you now explicitly do to Christ's words and teachings, even though you pay such slimy lip service to Jesus' Way.

You do not accord Christ true sovereignty over His own words and deeds. You do not defer to Him in all things as the perfect and holy God Incarnate.

When Christ does things you don't accept, you essentially deny His deity in those actions and treat Him as a limited, fallible human, trapped by the mores of the surrounding culture.

This is dangerous behavior because no one is qualified to sift through His words and deeds like this, just like no one is qualified to sift through the Bible.

But, more importantly, is disobedient behavior.

It is not behavior that reflects true deference to "Jesus' Way" and especially what Jesus taught about Who He is.

Bubba said...

Dan, you write, "I'll stand by Jesus and the Holy Spirit..."

This is the sort of bullshit that makes you so contemptible.

Jesus affirmed the authority of Scripture to the smallest penstroke, but you speculate that even the record of the Passover is ahistorical, and that records of divine commands to wage wars of annihilation are really the result of Jewish revenge fantasies -- that whole sections of Scripture are less records of divine revelation to man, and more records of human experiences of God.

Jesus chose Paul to be His Apostle and to preach in His name, but when you don't like what Paul teaches, you dismiss it as sexism and bigotry.

Jesus taught that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin, and you dismiss this -- and the rest of the Bible's emphatic, repeated claim that Christ actually did die for our sins -- as mere imagery.

And, Jesus chose twelve men to be His closest followers, but you dismiss this act as a nod to the surrounding sexist culture.

Don't tell us you stand by Jesus Christ, when you very frequently undermine His authority and His teachings.

It's bad enough for you to be a traitor to His cause and His kingdom: you're adding to your sins by being so dishonest about it.

Dan Trabue said...

Dan, "It's just the way it is" is unsatisfactory, because God is responsible for the way it is, and He could have done things differently.

You appear to be making the assumption that women can't preach is "just the way it is." I have heard women preach and I know for a fact that this is not the way it is. Not in the real world.

However, in the real world, women ARE different biologically. They can have babies and we can't. They have vaginas and we don't. No one is making the argument that men and women being physically different is sexist. It's just the suggestion that women can't do some things because they are a woman - THINGS THAT AREN'T biological in origin, but cultural - THAT is sexist.

Understand the difference?

Marty said...

"I don't know those people, Dan"

Too bad perhaps.

What's going on here is quite simple. Dan has repeatedly given you all his statement of faith. Which, by the way, is quite conventional. But none of you will accept it because it doesn't contain the wording that you think is necessary for him to be a christian in your eyes. You have a set formula for how one becomes a christian and you will have it in your wording and through your hoops and no other.

You have now become the oppressor and consider Dan lower than yourselves even to the point of judging him as a traitor.

Jesus has established a third way to deal with folks like you. Dan has showed you that way, yet you can't see it. You have been blinded by your own superiority and self-righteousness. You have made Dan your underling. Your constant slaps and his turning of his cheek have rendered you powerless over him. He has made himself equal to you. And you can't stand it.

Dan has made you impotent. The only thing you have left to do is to call him a traitor.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

I can't believe that you don't understand that your position runs counter to the vast majority of Christian thought and scholarship over the past 200 years or so... The burden is clearly on you as the minority view to present some sort of cogent argument for your position...

...this got a little long, but it's hard to keep track of the leaps.


No leaps, nothing hard to understand from where I stand. I'm fairly anabaptist in my faith tradition. I come from the line of reformation radical Christianity that has its roots in a desire to return to the Early Church/Jesus model spoken of in the bible. Roots that go back to the 16th century.

I am fairly consistently anabaptist in my belief system, with the acknowledgment that many anabaptists would disagree with my position on gay marriage.

I guess perhaps you all have more sympathy for the Catholics and the Protestants who chose to put the Anabaptists to death for heresy? It's just that you're civilized enough to not want to kill us anymore, but you are perfectly willing to treat us as heretics.

Go for it. We have a long tradition of turning the other cheek. We learned that from Jesus' teachings which, by the way, we tend to take fairly literally.

That last being a bit of a joke/dig, but with a light-hearted intent (just pointing it out because such things don't translate well in comments like this.)

Seriously, if you want to know more about my position, just read up on the Anabaptists. We are simply striving to return to roots of radical Christian teaching as found in the NT and informed by the OT.

More on anabaptism...

here

here

here

here

Dan Trabue said...

Wow, Marty. How kind.

They ain't that bad, for all the disagreement, though. As long as they aren't calling for a burning of the heretics, I'm fine with them not liking me or my beliefs.

Dan Trabue said...

Just a small note on "holiness." Bubba said...

God is holy; we are not.

Peter expected us to be holy...

Be holy in ALL you do...

1 Pet 1

Peter even tells us that God expects us to be holy...

"Be holy, because I am holy."

Zechariah said the prophets were holy...

as he said through his holy prophets of long ago

Luke 1

Paul, speaking of the people of God...

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11

Paul expected us to be holy...

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Romans 12

and...

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy

1 Cor 1

Paul says flatly that the children of believers are holy...

Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

1 Cor 7

Paul says that God chose us to BE holy and blameless in God's sight...

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Eph 1

over and over, Paul describes us as holy, "holy and blameless," "holy and faithful," "holy in God's sight..."

I think it's possible that sometimes we misunderstand the term "holy." It simply means "set apart for a special or sacred purpose." In that sense, we certainly can be and, as is obvious from Scripture, are expected to be and ARE holy.

I point this out to point out how easy it is for us to get our cultural traditions mixed up with what the Bible says. I know for me, it was this way. I used to think the same thing about holiness. "If God is holy, well then it's obviously something I'm not!" I thought.

And someone else agrees and a pastor preaches on that theme and on and on and soon, we all are "certain" that it is "obvious" that humans aren't and can't be holy, as Bubba suggests. We become convinced of it and are certain that anyone who disagrees with us is trying to subvert the Bible and is acting against God because of how "obvious" the Bible is on this point.

The problem with relying on mere subjective "obviousness" is just that: It's subjective. And when we become convinced that our subjective opinion is the one and only True Way to believe, and begin to equate our positions with God's and becoming sure that if anyone disagrees with our subjective opinion they must be disagreeing with God and that simply is not how things are.

A little humility and grace always seems expedient and wise to me.

Marty said...

Yeah they are that bad Dan. Just calling it like I see it.

Bubba said...

Marty, as best as we can tell, Dan Trabue does not believe that the Bible is the authoritative written revelation of God, and he does not believe that marriage is the union of man and wife -- that, as Christ Himself put it, God made us male and female so a man would become one flesh with his wife.

Much more crucially, Dan apparently denies that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and he apparently believes that the bodily Resurrection of Christ isn't one of the "Big Truths" about which all Christians must agree.

In many significant ways, his beliefs are the very opposite of conventional, and we are not wrong to point this out.


And, for what it's worth, Dan invoked the inquisition to attack me -- inaccurately -- for not having answered his questions, at a point when I had explicitly addressed nearly a dozen of the questions he's raised in this thread.

Just like your accusation of our "oppressing" Dan, his invocation of the Inquisition is hardly evidence of some mystical third way by which the two of you turn the other cheek.


Dan, I understand, "No one is making the argument that men and women being physically different is sexist."

The inconsistency is that you're not.

God made us physically different so that we would have different biological roles within the family, and you agree that that's not sexist.

So what is sexist "by definition" with the idea that God intends different social roles within the biological family and His adopted family, the church? There's nothing inherently sexist with that idea, but if you're going to argue that, you should be consistent.

Bubba said...

Dan, I misspoke: we Christians are certainly called to holiness and are being made holy.

My larger point still stands: just because God commands us to forgive others without an atoning sacrifice, it does not follow that the Father forgives us -- or that His justice permits such forgiveness -- without the death of His Son.

Your apparent position, that our salvation is not causally linked to Christ's death, has no support in Scripture.

The Bible is clear that Christ died for our sins.

He Himself taught that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins.

Craig said...

Dan,

At the risk of being thought of as "that bad", I will reiterate. I had hoped that you would articulate what you believe, not simply post a bunch of links. I guess, that's just not you.

Despite your little note, your joke about burning Anabaptists was in poor taste. No one is suggesting that Anabaptist theology is out of the bounds of orthodoxy.

I think there is some question whether what you have said represents Anabaptist thought accurately.

Your theology reminds me of some of the stuff you hear from the word-faith folks. It just seems slightly out of whack. You use the same terms, but seemingly pour different meaning into them. That's what makes me personally uncomfortable. I am NOT questioning your salvation, I am questioning your grasp of theology.

I'm not sure what (if any) role you play in your church. If you were in a position of teaching or preaching I would probably be a more concerned. As it is, it seems like it's just you and your opinions.

Speaking for myself, this is NOT about you using the correct words or believing exactly the same as I do. It is more about you being willing to articulate clearly and unambiguously what exactly you do believe, and being able to demonstrate some degree of scriptural support for your belief. To be succinct, when you are asked a yes or no question, answer either yes or no.

I'm not even sure where things stand with you addressing my questions, I'm sure there are a few out there, but I'm increasingly unsure I will get an answer that is as clear as I would prefer. So, I'll just watch how this plays out unless something pushes a button. I still think Wright has some good stuff to say, but this is getting to long to add a bunch of excerpts here.

Thanks

Dan Trabue said...

So what is sexist "by definition" with the idea that God intends different social roles within the biological family and His adopted family, the church?

You're begging the question. WHO SAYS God intends different social roles for men and women?

Men and women are obviously biologically different. There's no question about that.

SOME people read the Bible and think that some passages like Paul's indicate that GOD SAYS men and women have different social roles. OTHER people read the Bible and don't think that is what is being indicated at all. We think that the Bible reflects some cultural traditions and that it existed within a specific time period in which these CULTURAL traditions affected some of what the Bible has to say. But we don't confuse the CULTURAL norms as being one and the same as GOD'S WILL.

That is what is in question here.

Paul's statement about not allowing women to preach is sexist by definition. Whether or not God is endorsing that is the question being asked. You can't answer that question by saying, "We know God opposes women preachers because God opposes women preachers." That's begging the question.

Let me ask you fellas these related questions:

1. DO YOU THINK IT POSSIBLE that God, in all of God's glory and power, could choose to create a Bible that was largely metaphorical, allegorical, parabolic and figurative if God so chose? That is, could God create a Bible that relied largely on imagery to teach Important Truths?

2. IF God did so, would arguing over literal lines and their literality be missing the point?

3. What makes you think that the Bible we have is not of this nature? That is, that the Bible is intended to teach us Big Truths - That God loves humanity, that God wants all of humanity to be saved, that God created this world to be good, that we are sinners in need of Grace, that we can partake in and share of God's grace, etc - and that God has nowhere told us to take lines like "Don't let women teach men" as a literal truth for all ages, and that we shouldn't do so because we'd be missing some of the Big Truths that the Bible DOES teach - that in Christ, there are no male/female, Jew/Gentile, Greek/Roman?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

I had hoped that you would articulate what you believe, not simply post a bunch of links.

Brother Craig, for YEARS now, I have been posting what I believe. I have been answering questions. I have been explaining my position and correcting others when they have inadvertently misrepresented my positions. Regardless, many have not understood my position, apparently. (Some have. Marty, for instance, who I believe hails from a Methodist/Baptist background has, for instance). And, my explanations failing, I have also referred you to some sites that go into more depth, perhaps, than I have in explaining my anabaptist position.

I am no theologian nor do I claim to be especially wise and so I thought hearing from a more authoritative source might be helpful.

But here - I'll repeat a bit more of what I believe, if it helps. I have my doubts, but...

I believe:

I believe in God, the creator of the world;

I don't believe that God created the world in six literal days, but I do believe that God set forth the laws of nature and put things into action so that the world was created by God's hand;

I believe that Jesus is God's son who came to earth to live WITH US, to reach out to us, to show us by word and by example the Way to live and that this Jesus so infuriated the powers that be that they killed him and three days later, Jesus rose from the dead;

I believe that Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, healing for the sick, liberty for the captive and the day of God's good favor (which sounds rather like a reference to the OT Jubilee Laws), I believe Jesus came to seek and save the lost, I believe that Jesus came to set humanity right with God, I believe Jesus came teaching us some fairly specific and fairly literal ways to live - turning the other cheek, overcoming evil with good, to be wary of the trappings of wealth, to not worry, to live simply, to give when asked, to give to and side with the "least of these," etc, etc. All of which I take fairly literally;

More...

Dan Trabue said...

I believe that humanity is prone to sin, to jealousy, to hatred, to murder, to debauchery... ie, we are prone to make our lives into a hell apart from God;

I believe that we ALL need grace and that forgiveness and grace can ultimately only be found in God;

I believe God desires that no one be lost in their hells of their own making, apart from God, but that all would repent and join in the community of God;

I believe in the communion of saints - in gathering together for worship and work and support and outreach, especially outreach to the least of these;

I believe in the community of faith living with an eye towards God's justice and working against oppression;

I believe God stands ready to forgive and embrace if we will just acknowledge our lost nature and accept the forgiveness found in Jesus and embrace the Way of Jesus;

I believe that Jesus has made it possible for us to be saved by his life and death and resurrection, were all together how God expressed that grace in a tangible, literal manner - and that we can know viscerally the depth of our sin in seeing how we treated Jesus in his time here on earth and in his embodiment in the least of these - sin IS a problem and Jesus' persecution and death shows the depth of that sin in all of us and his life and resurrection show the truth that life is stronger than death, that good is stronger than evil, that love is stronger than hate;

In short, I believe that we are sinners in need of grace and that we are being saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus;

I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, one way in which God has made God's Self known to us - that the Bible itself identifies many ways in which God makes God's Self known, through nature, through God's Spirit, through the "least of these," through the community of faith, through Scripture, through God's law written upon our hearts and minds and through our God given reasoning;

I do believe the TRUTHS of the Bible, rightly understood ARE inerrant - we ARE to love each other, we ARE to love our enemies, we ARE to turn the other cheek, we ARE to be wary of the trappings of wealth, etc;

However, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant in the manner that word is usually used - I don't think that each little line ought to be considered literally factual and without error (I don't think anyone thinks this), I think clearly that some of the Bible is figurative and we are to prayerfully reason our way through the Bible to discern God's Will, along with the other ways that God reveals God's Self;

I don't think it's that hard to do, especially if we keep in mind the Biggest Truths - do unto others as you would have them do to you, the fruit of the Spirit are love, patience, goodness, gentleness, etc, etc;

I believe there is a consistent biblical theme of bewaring the trappings of wealth and power and a consistent call for us to literally watch out for, side with, tend to, care for the least of these, the poor, the widowed, the lonely, the sick, the marginalized, the foreigner, the enemy and that True Religion is when we do this;

There you have it once again: A lot of what I believe (not everything, but a bunch of the important stuff.)

Marty said...

"Marty, as best as we can tell, Dan Trabue does not believe that the Bible is the authoritative written revelation of God"

That is simply NOT true. I have seen no evidence of that in ANYTHING that Dan has written. What I've gleaned from Dan's comments is that he disagrees with the authority you have placed upon yourselves to interpret scripture and that your interpretation is the only way to understand it.

"and he does not believe that marriage is the union of man and wife -- that, as Christ Himself put it, God made us male and female so a man would become one flesh with his wife."

That isn't true either. I've never seen Dan deny this. What he has done is say that he sees no condemnation of gay marriage in scripture.

"Much more crucially, Dan apparently denies that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and he apparently believes that the bodily Resurrection of Christ isn't one of the "Big Truths" about which all Christians must agree."

Are we reading the same comments? Again I don't remember ever seeing Dan deny this, even though you try and try as you might to make it so. Dan has said repeatedly that the salvation story is from Jesus' birth to his resurrection "all one cloth" through the grace of God. Why is that so hard for you to see? Clear as day for me.

"In many significant ways, his beliefs are the very opposite of conventional, and we are not wrong to point this out."

I just don't see it that way.

"And, for what it's worth, Dan invoked the inquisition to attack me -- inaccurately -- for not having answered his questions, at a point when I had explicitly addressed nearly a dozen of the questions he's raised in this thread."

I must have missed that one. 196 comments and counting.

"Just like your accusation of our "oppressing" Dan, his invocation of the Inquisition is hardly evidence of some mystical third way by which the two of you turn the other cheek"

Nothing mystical about it Bubba. It's right there in scripture. He who has ears to hear. I've seen Dan do it time and time again with you guys. As for myself...well...it's something I finally recognize in others when they do it, but I've not mastered it. I've only begun to understand it.

Craig said...

Dan,

1. Yes, He could do anything He chose.

2. Yes,

3. Because there is no reason to take it as such. There are clearly passages that purport, and have been supported by archeology etc. to be other than allegory. Because, there is no reason to suppose that 2000+ years of theologians, scholars and thinkers have completely gotten this one wrong. Because you have offered nothing that remotely approaches proof that this is the case.

Thanks for the list of beliefs, as I said before it reminds me of listening to Benny Hinn or someone like that, it just sounds a touch off to me. It's like you use the words, but pour different meaning into them.

In short it's fairly standard liberal theology.

Thanks anyway.

Craig said...

Marty,

If one takes Dan's comments, both here and elsewhere, as a whole it becomes reasonable to come to the conclusions that Bubba has. It also seems reasonable that you might be slightly predisposed to agree with Dan's opinion on these matters. Be that as it may, to accuse anyone of trying to oppress Dan is laughable, especially in this forum. I know it can be frustrating to talk to Dan and many times that frustration comes through in unpleasant ways, but if you were looking at the whole picture you would see that Dan is capable of giving as well as he gets (see the burning Anabaptists comment earlier). So lets not take too much from this.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said...

3. Because there is no reason to take it as such... Because you have offered nothing that remotely approaches proof that this is the case.

Well, this might be one area where we disagree. I tend to think there is no significant reason for taking much of what you seem to take fairly literally as such.

Proof?

What of this illustration: The story of Jonah and the whale has several Big Truths it teaches: You can't run from God, that God loves everyone, that we ought to obey God, etc, etc.

Now, HOW does insisting on a "literal" interpretation of Jonah actually being swallowed by a big fish have anything to do with the POINT(S) of the story?

My contention would not be that the story is fiction, my point would be that the literal veracity of a great fish swallowing Jonah is NOT THE POINT of the story and to get hung up on that non-issue is to lose sight of the point of the story.

It has not been my position so much that the Bible is "errant," but rather that "inerrancy" as many use the term is besides the point. Or, in other words, I'm not saying we ought not take the Bible literally, I'm saying that too many take all the wrong points literally and FAIL to take the important points and big truths literally.

Craig said...

reminds me of listening to Benny Hinn

Ha! Probably the first and last time my name has been found in the same sentence with his!

Thanks again for the support Marty. You are correct in that you have understood my positions. I don't think I'm that hard to understand, but I am sure for some people I am.

If I was my own 25 year old self listening to me now, 25 year old Dan might sound amazingly like Craig or even Bubba, on my more strident days.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 648   Newer› Newest»