Saturday, March 13, 2010

Still Another Shows His True Colors

As anyone knows who has bothered to follow the post entitled "A Mature and Reasoned Objection", little Danny Trabue has now taken his ball and left. Oh, he'll respond to Craig's comments, but that won't last for I detect Craig experiencing the same frustration as anyone of common sense who seeks to engage with Dan. Lil' Danny will soon level charges of slander and false witness when Craig doesn't buy Danny's poor defense for his indefensible positions.

So again we see that as always, the lefty bolts when he can no longer defend his position rather than admit that, at the least, he might have to back off and reconsider either his argument or ours before proceeding. No. It would be catastrophic to have to admit being wrong, even if being wrong puts one's salvation at risk.

As I seek to better understand my God and the world around me, I offer this blog as a vehicle for all who wish to not only express their opinions, but defend them so as to enlighten those who might need enlightenment, myself in particular. What I get instead is leftist bloviating, condescension, and an overall unwillingness to consider the opinions of others. This is something, ironically, of which we are so often accused by them. The hypocrisy of the liberal/progressive/marxist/socialist/etc (terms that are interchangable in reality, if not definition), knows no bounds.

But Lil' Danny is a special case. Unlike the other leftists who have booked from these welcoming confines after having failed to plug the holes in their arguments, Dan has gone a step further by leaving after the usual whinefest with a slew of lies left to sully the furniture. He then chose to ignore any further comments by Bubba and myself, except for one begun by calling me "the man of slander", as if I actually slandered anyone.

So I took my responses to his charges to his blog where he then proceeded to blatantly mistinterpret them. When I took the time to correct THOSE lies, he deleted my comments, leaving one of his own suggesting that I was lying some more. Dan Trabue has proven himself to not only have a poor understanding of the Christian faith, but that he is a hypocrite, liar and a slanderer.

He's a contemptable and pathetic figure and really has always been so, seeking to present himself as pious and sanctimonious, but always revealing his true self when others expose the errors of his understanding, casting aspersions on the critic's character and motivations not suggested by his words. Yet, his own words are the basis of the conclusions of his critics. His clarifications cement rather than alter those conclusions. Nothing that is said of him has ever come from any other source than himself.

Here at Marshall Art's, I have only deleted the comments of those who's language was severely profane or offensive (in MY opinion). The only exception would be the comments of Feodor, who is a special case because of his pompous arrogance and condescension not supported by any evidence of higher intelligence and the fact that his comments so often bear no relation to the topic. (He doesn't stray toward a tangent, he jumps to something totally unrelated---and he bores me.)

But real discussion is always left as it stands for the reader (should there be one) to decide for himself who is being logical or illogical, truthful or untruthful, sensible or nonsensical. I have no fear of being shown to be lacking in any area of thought. I wish I could say the same for my opponents. I have no need to lie about anyone or anything as I have the truth on my side and the truth speaks for itself.

Good luck to you Dan. Like all the others who have run like wussies, you are always free to return. I'll probably leave more comments for you to delete or dismiss without an intelligent rebuttal, which is apparently what you do now. And anytime you think you can demonstrate that I truly owe you an apology, that you can demonstrate that I have truly lied or slandered either you or your church, feel free to do so and an apology will be quickly offered. The fact is, no lies or slanders came from my mouth and if you had any courage, you would have let your readers see that instead of depriving them the truth.

66 comments:

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

It's another open invitation, the post entitled "Once Again - An Open Invitation". I'll invite Eric and Mark, too.

Marshall Art said...

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Geoffrey once again reaching out to at least ask of conservatives their opinions, if not to actually discuss those opinions. I am hopeful such a move on his part will dispel much of the stereotype images and notions of conservativism he now holds. I've been visiting there again lately and finding much to which I take exception on behalf of every conservative I know personally, as well as those of celebrity who seem to be all to often disparaged without any real investigation.

Mark said...

I have no interest in expressing myself on Geoffrey's blasphemous blog.

Contrary to my own blog's title, I don't cast my pearls before swine.

Mark said...

Besides, every time Geoffrey has commented on anything I've posited, he implies (and sometimes flat out proclaims) that I am stupid. If he really thinks I am so stupid, why would he bother to ask me for my opinion? As usual, he shows himself to be hypocritical.

Marshall Art said...

I totally understand your reluctance, Mark. So far, he has only gotten snarky on posts other than those in which he's made these invitations. Can't say as much for friends of his, but the last two were snark-free.

I don't much care whether he or they counter with crap anyway. Who knows who's reading what we post? Not all visitors post comments. It also gives me the opportunity to be challenged with something I may have never considered before (a less than likely possibility, but one that exists nonetheless). In this, it forces me to be sure of what I believe, OR alters what I believe if what I believe should be shown to be lacking.

And of course, it gives us an opportunity to expose bad arguments and the people who espouse them. It's all good.

Feodor said...

I always knew I was exceptional. At least in these destitute confines.

Jim said...

Or it could be that after 497 comments, Dan realized the futility of the effort and decided to make better use of his time.

Marshall Art said...

Jim,

You're probably exactly right. After all the attempts to get him to answer for the many and varied holes in his belief system, the futility of trying to dance around the issue had to be burdensome. One either has to run away, which he did, or actually be honest and answer the questions without pretending one is a victim of bad behavior that never existed.

Bubba said...

I think Dan's behavior can be summarized from a few facts from that last thread and its predecessors, compared against recent comments made elsewhere.


Throughout the Old Testament, we are told that God occasionally commanded the nation of ancient Israel to annihilate His enemies. Dan insists that these passages must be reinterpreted figuratively, that to do otherwise "UNDOES the notion of God as a God of justice... and as a God of love." (3/11, 8:20 am)

In Exodus 12:14, the Bible records God's command to Israel to observe the Passover as an everlasting memorial of His rescuing them from slavery by killing the firstborn of Egypt -- a divine ACT of judgment through supernatural means, not a divine command of judgment through human agency. Dan nevertheless denies the historicity of the Passover.

The Gospels record that, in the week leading up to His death, Jesus Christ transformed the Passover into a commemoration of His own death, of His blood which was shed for the forgiveness of sin (Mt 26:28). Dan believes that Christ's death did not cause our salvation but is rather only a "representation" or "manifestation" or "acting out" of saving grace: he has gone so far to assert, in defiance of Christ's prayers in Gethsemane and the Father's implicit answer, that we would have been saved even if Jesus had died of natural causes in old age.

Paul's first letter to the Corinthians makes clear that the church's partaking of the bread and wine is a practice that is traced all the way back to the Lord's own commands. Dan has no problem downgrading the Lord's Supper to a mere church tradition.

But compare all that to a recent thread at Dan's blog.

The conservative but Mormon Glenn Beck has the audacity to criticize the thread of political progressivism running through some churches in the guise of so-called "social justice," and Dan Trabue doesn't hold back in his response.

He says that Beck "attacks the church" and is guilty of "hostile attacks on people of faith" -- specifically, "those that believe in Jesus' word and the prophetic voice as found in the Bible."


Dan has no problem twisting Scripture so that many of its clear teachings simply evaporate, all while he advances his political agenda by dishonestly invoking Christ's name.

He evidently doesn't give a shit about what the Bible really teaches, and what Jesus Christ actually taught.

It's clear that, for him, Christianity is a transparent veneer behind which lies his true faith of political progressivism, and this subversion of the Christian faith is a despicable form of treason against God, His written word, and His church.

Mark said...

Dan never realizes the futility of his efforts. That's why he keeps coming back over and over and over and over again only to have his arguments blown completely out of the water.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You have to respect the guy for his tenacity.

Bubba said...

No, you don't.

Bubba said...

What I mean is that pretty much any otherwise admirable quality can be misused and abused. Tenacity is good, except when it is tenacity in the face of the clear teachings of Scripture and in the face of strong arguments that obliterate one's positions. Dan's tenacious efforts are in advancing an obvious lie -- his political progressivism in the guise of Christianity -- and that lie requires a gaping hole in his conscience and has led to behavior that at least borders on the literally pathological.

For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse
:

That tenacity has wasted untold hours of all our time, and it does not deserve our commendation.

Mark said...

It only wastes our time if we continue to respond to his inanity.

As I said previously in this thread, I don't cast my pearls before swine.

Dan Trabue said...

Sorry you feel that way, Marshall. I am reducing the amount of time spent talking with you all because it is increasingly clear that I am unable to communicate my thoughts to you in a way that you have been able to understand. I am sorry for that, it's not from a lack of trying.

I'd suggest, in the meantime, that the more Christian thing to do would be to keep these sorts of comments to yourself, or email the person you're troubled with, rather than engaging in demonization online. Slander and all that, you know. Gossip.

It's all in the Bible, but then, I'm sure you know that.

In the meantime, peace to you all and may God's wisdom be revealed to us and, more importantly, may God's grace be evidenced in our lives. I am sorry for how lacking it has been in mine some times in our dealings.

I'm not saying I'm going away for good, just that I'm not seeing much good in trying to keep these conversations going. Perhaps I'll try again sometime, but perhaps not.

If every other thought I have expressed is misunderstood and misrepresented, then we have a communication problem and I'm unsure of how to resolve that.

Marshall Art said...

According to the fetching Mrs. Marshall Art, I'm already wasting my time blogging at all.

As always, my hope is that if an opponent does indeed prove himself to be a swine, my "pearls" may be of worth to any anonymous reader. It's also why I take time now and then to visit THEIR blogs and leave a few "pearls" there as well.


Perhaps it doesn't speak well of me, but I have a bit of a problem leaving silly comments go without responding. For example, I've gone a few days trying to respond to a comment at a liberal blog only to be distracted by other silly comments he made in other posts. Distortions, falsehoods, mistinterpretations, and outright nuttiness deserve and need corrections and clarifications. It serves everyone to get the other opinion out there so that the best one appeals to the most possible people.

I also feel that the conservative side has too long allowed issues to be framed by the other side to the detriment of our society. We need to be speaking out to friends, neighbors, the blogosphere and our representatives in all levels of government in order to turn things around in a lasting way. This is merely taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, even if the opportunity only represents, or seems to, pissing in the wind.

Bubba said...

Mark, very well put.


Dan, our conclusions about you aren't slander and -- again -- it does not seem that we misunderstand your positions, nor does our discussing them here qualify as gossip.

And reminding us that the Bible condemns the act doesn't accomplish anything in arguing that we're actually guilty of gossip: the Bible is also strongly critical of bearing false witness, as you well know.


Marshall, I certainly understand the desire to correct the record, but we should probably do a better job keeping our priorities straight, and I think there must be better ways to defend the truth than continuing to waste hours with passive-aggressive liars who pretend to be Christians.

For myself, I'm going to redouble my effort to following Mark's lead, because he's absolutely right about the situation here.

Bubba said...

A couple other, possibly concluding thoughts...


Albert Mohler has blogged about an anecdotal study co-conducted by the militant atheist Daniel Dennett, about five ministers -- three from theologically liberal denominations, the other two from conservative denominations -- who reveal "a level of heresy, apostasy, and hypocrisy that staggers the mind."

As the study describes them, they're all "Preachers Who Are Not Believers," some who remain in the vocation explicitly for the money.

Two things stand out.


First, there's a self-described "progressive-minded" pastor in the Presbyterian church, an acknowledged pantheist "who wants to see his kind of non-doctrinal Christianity 'given validity in some way.'"

Mohler quotes a statement of his beliefs.

" 'I reject the virgin birth. I reject substitutionary atonement. I reject the divinity of Jesus. I reject heaven and hell in the traditional sense, and I am not alone.' "

There's at least some overlap with Dan's stated beliefs, in his (admittedly erratic) claim that the Bible doesn't teach the virgin birth, and in his rejection -- in any meaningful sense -- of the substitutionary atonement: he rejects the doctrine that Christ's death caused our salvation, in favor of the belief that it was nothing more than a representation or "acting-out" of God's saving grace, and an extraneous representation at that.

Given Dan's hedging on God's judgment and the eternal consequences of sin, is it too far to wonder whether he also rejects heaven and hell "in the traditional sense"?

It should be noted that, so far as I know, Dan has never denied the Christ's deity: he has instead affirmed that Jesus is God. But, as with the early extrabiblical creeds, the areas where Dan's beliefs overlap with orthodoxy simply **DO NOT** diminish the troubling fact that his beliefs deviate from the Bible's clear teachings and Christianity's essential doctrines in many, very significant respects.

[continued]

Bubba said...

[continued]

Second, Mohler quotes a UCC campus minister who discusses the ambiguity of language, a topic that really highlights the problem that I have with Dan.

"In the pulpit, his mode is to talk as if he does believe, because 'as long as ... you are talking about God and Jesus and the Bible, that's what they want to hear. You're just phrasing it in a way that makes sense to [them] ... but language is ambiguous and can be heard in different ways.' " [emphasis mine]

I believe Dan routinely takes a similarly dishonest approach, to craft his words so that he can hold to what he really believes, and so that well-meaning Bible-believing Christians can infer that he stands within orthodoxy, even though his beliefs don't ACTUALLY align with their inferences.

I believe Dan is careful (though not careful enough) in avoiding statements that are outright false, but his statements are still deliberately deceiving.

I grant that language is ambiguous, though not nearly so unclear that the Bible can be made to say anything: it's ambiguous enough that one can easily choose to deceive without explicitly lying. Being truly honest -- communicating with a single-minded desire for clarity and transparency -- requires a moral choice, and I believe Dan routinely chooses against the spirit of the law (see Mt 5:37) to cram, e.g., his radical theological beliefs into the most innocuous box he can find, even though there are *FAR* more honest ways to describe those beliefs, and though some of us here have spent literally years trying to ask JUST the right question to force him to reveal what he really believes.


Beyond the Mohler article, the only other I know that's really worth saying is that choosing to ignore the lying weasel isn't a surrender -- not for me, it isn't.

It's moving to fronts where I can be more effective.

For everyone's sake, including subversive radicals like Dan, the truth of God's good news will not be squelched or obscured. With my meager talents I hope to be counted among those who fought valiantly for the sake of the truth, not only because we will win, because the truth ought to win.

With a fully justified hatred of their behavior, along with a pity for the individuals involved and a hope for their repentance, I can say with a clean conscience that I look forward to continuing the fight to expose and crush the subversive treason of those who falsely claim to serve Christ in an effort to advance their radical political ideology.

Mark said...

I truly believe that if Dan were to clearly state his belief (which, of course, he won't), he would deny the existence of a Hell. Everybody goes to Heaven, regardless of their beliefs.

This is the feel-good type of gospel to which he apparently adheres.

He has plenty of company, though, He joins the likes of Oprah Winfrey, L Ron Hubbard, uh...what's-his-name Tolle, "Bishop" Shelby Spong, etc.

Dan Trabue said...

Just 'cause I have a little time and it seems you all are intent on guessing (incorrectly) what I believe...

I deeply believe in my heart of hearts that this old world was created by the God of the universe, the God of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac.

I truly, honestly believe that this God is all powerful, all knowing, omnipresent and yet, despite all that power, that this God's CHIEF attribute is Love.

I really believe - amazing as it may be - that this almighty God of the universe loves each of us deeply and wants the best for us.

I truly believe that this God loved us so much that God's own son willingly came to earth to be born in some of the most oppressive conditions, to live right here amongst us, loving us to the marrow of our bones, wanting nothing more than to share God's grace with us.

I believe that there is a problem with humans - we tend to sin, we tend to be self-destructive, we tend to hurt ourselves and the ones we love. We tend, in short, to make our lives hell.

I believe it is not God's will that ANY should perish, but that all should have eternal life in God's presence.

However, I believe that God created us as autonomous creatures, able to make up our own minds, to choose right and wrong - we, being created a little lower than the angels. It's not God's will that ANY of us should separate from God and receive the Hell that is separation from God, but I believe that we can and too often DO choose that hell.

I believe this breaks God's heart, but God won't force God's Self on anyone. God, in God's grace, stands ready to forgive and receive, but God won't make us repent, won't make us receive God's grace.

Does that mean those who reject God's grace go to a burning hell full of sulphur and demons with pitchforks tormenting souls burning alive forever? No, I think that is a metaphor for the much worse reality of being separated from God's grace, God's love, God's justice.

THIS, in part, is what I believe. As I have stated repeatedly. It is HONESTLY what I believe, I don't know how to make it more plain. You can come see me in my every day life, if you wish. You can ask my parents or my old pastors and friends - even the traditional ones who disagree with some of my positions. They'll tell you that this is what I believe (the ones who still know me).

I DON'T reject the virgin birth, I believe that Jesus was honestly, actually born to a virgin - a woman who had not "been with a man."

I don't reject the substitutionary atonement, I just don't think that imagery represents the full representation of God's grace and atoning love as found in the Bible. I accept it in part, as imagery. This is not the same as rejecting it, it's just not interpreting it the same way as you do.

I certainly don't reject heaven or hell, but I don't take hell as the fiery pit at least some of you all take it to be - I think it's much worse than any eternity burning alive in fire.

Because I am a Christian, saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus, I plan to spend eternity with God in heaven - whatever that may look like.

THESE are what I actually believe.

You don't have to believe it, but whether you believe it or not, it IS what I believe. I've got no reason or desire to lie to you.

Bubba said...

Dan:

What you now write continues to raise questions about the details of your beliefs.

(For one thing, "Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac"? That's an interesting and more gender-inclusive formulation, but it's a noticeable deviation from how God repeatedly revealed Himself in the Bible you claim to revere, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But this is small potatoes.)


About Hell, I don't think any of us here believe that Hell necessarily involves literal hellfire or that it's theologically important to believe so.

But I notice that, first, you don't actually affirm Hell, at least in a straight-forward manner.

You write, "We tend, in short, to make our lives hell."

And you write, "It's not God's will that ANY of us should separate from God and receive the Hell that is separation from God, but I believe that we can and too often DO choose that hell."

You refer to "the Hell that is separation from God," and "that Hell," but not Hell as simply Hell.

You might believe in Hell as an actual reality, and you say enough to leave that impression, but also you leave enough unsaid to leave open the possibility that you don't.


The other thing about Hell is that you don't actually affirm God's judgment. Everything you write has God active in His love (sending Jesus to us) but passive in His holy, righteous, just wrath.

"I believe this breaks God's heart, but God won't force God's Self on anyone. God, in God's grace, stands ready to forgive and receive, but God won't make us repent, won't make us receive God's grace."

All of this is true, but what's left unstated is that God also stands ready to condemn us as sinners. Instead you write about how we "tend" to make a hell for ourselves and how we separate from God. You even write about how we "receive the Hell that is separation," but you never say FROM WHOM.

As in our most recent conversation, you consistently and easily write about the natural consequences of sin, but you rarely if ever affirm God's active judgment against sin.

[cont]

Bubba said...

[cont]

About the virgin birth, Dan, you have been very inconsistent about whether the Bible clearly teaches the virgin birth. I've documented this on more than one occasion.


About the other end of Christ's earthly ministry, the Bible doesn't stop at claiming that, in His love, God sent Jesus to live among us: it is clear -- AND JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF IS CLEAR -- that God sent Jesus to die for us.

Jesus Himself claimed to have come to give His life a ransom for many, and He taught that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin.

"I don't reject the substitutionary atonement, I just don't think that imagery represents the full representation of God's grace and atoning love as found in the Bible. I accept it in part, as imagery. This is not the same as rejecting it, it's just not interpreting it the same way as you do."

It appears that you reject the central doctrine that Christ's death caused our salvation. To affirm Christ's substitutionary atonement AS IMAGERY, is to reject it as reality, to reject it (as I've said) in any meaningful sense.

It's not a question of whether Christ's death accomplished something more than our forgiveness -- it did -- but whether it accomplished something OTHER than our forgiveness.

Toward many of Christ's own claims about why He came and about what His death would accomplish, you genuflect with vague words about imagery, but it's quite clear you deny the actual substance.


If you were honest about your beliefs Dan -- saying something like, "Of course I deny Christ's atonement and judgment, because those doctrines are an affront to God's justice and mercy" (a position you have implied) -- then I could at least respect you for your honesty while I would reject your clearly heretical beliefs.

Instead, what you write here is precisely the sort deceptive and ambiguous writing that I find so contemptible.

Mark said...

Bubba, as I said, Dan won't clearly state his belief. ("Clearly" being the operative word)

But look at how he refers to Hell.

Jesus Christ, whom Dan claims he follows, referred to Hell as a physical place of eternal punishment.

You may have noticed, Dan doesn't refer to Hell as being either physical or eternal.

But I do agree with Dan that Hell is separation from God, except I add the word "eternal" as in Eternal separation from God.

Dan seems to be implying that we make our own Hell here on earth. And life after death no longer applies to Hell. Perhaps I'm wrong, but from his ambiguous writing, he seems to be making that implication.

But really, if Separation from God was all that Hell is, then one could make the case that when we die, we only return to the earth physically and spiritually and become so much compost. After all, being dead and not resurrected constitutes separation from God, also, without all that pain and torture and fire and brimstone and all that.

But if that were true, why would a dead man ask Lazurus to bring him a drop of water?

Mark said...

Oh...Eckard(sic?) Tolle. One of the "many paths to God" guys. That's the guy I was trying to think of. I bet Dan appreciates his writings.

Dan Trabue said...

More clarifications:

1. I've never read any of Tolle nor do I know anything about him/her other than recognizing the name.

2. My best guess about the less than clear topic of hell is that it is both physical and eternal, unfortunately.

3. I don't deny the atonement. Like other anabaptists, it's not a forefront issue with me. I believe we are saved by God's grace. Period. However, I think there is plenty of biblical and logical reason to think that various views of atonement have some great validity. Like many/most anabaptists, the three takes on atonement that I find most reasonable are the moral example, the Christus Victor and (for me, to a much lesser degree) the substitutionary view of atonement (although much less so the Penal Substitutionary view).

4. Since none of these are biblical terms but, rather, are later, extrabiblical attempts to explain the notion of atonement and about which there has been much division in the church, I'm not very worried about any of them. I'm more concerned with what the Bible does and doesn't say and what to take literally and what NOT to take literally.

5. On the virgin birth, I believe the main thing that I've tried to convey is NOT that I don't believe in a virgin birth, but rather, whether it's necessary to believe in the VB as any kind of essential tenet of Christianity. The Bible never even comes close to suggesting that one must believe in the VB in order to be saved or that it is a Big Hairy Deal, so I'm not very concerned about it. I do, as I have always stated, believe that Mary was a virgin.

Sorry for any confusion. There are some further clarifications and they ARE what I truly believe. Whether you think you know better than I do what I believe, I'll let the readers be the judge of that. However, in the real world, these things are what I believe.

Bubba said...

Dan, whether a term itself appears in the text is irrelevant if the Bible clearly teaches the concept behind the term.

Or shall we argue that we shouldn't be "very worried" about terms like "monotheism" or even "theism"? You still have not clearly said whether you believe an atheist can become a Christian while still denying the existence of God.


Whatever "great validity" you find in the doctrine of Christ's substitutionary atonement, it's clear that you **DO** deny that doctrine, and to say that you don't is simply dishonest.

The term doesn't appear in the Bible, true enough, but the term refers to the very simple claim that our salvation is caused by Christ's death.

**THAT** claim is found throughout the Bible. Jesus Christ Himself taught that He came to give His life as a ransom for many, and that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin.

The Bible DOES NOT teach that there is some conflict between our being saved by God's grace and our being saved through Christ's death. The two are affirmed together, side by side, in Galations 2:21 and Romans 3:24-25.

You've made clear what you mean when you say, "I believe we are saved by God's grace. Period."

After literally months of asking you very simple questions to clarify what you mean, you admit that you believe we're saved by God's grace BUT NOT Christ's death.

That is in defiance of the Bible's clear teachings, and it sets you outside of orthodoxy.

Bubba said...

About Hell, I'm quite surprised that you affirm Hell as physical and eternal: I don't know if you've every written anything that would point in that direction.

I appreciate that clarification, but it's still not clear whether you affirm the Bible's clear teaching that Hell is the result of God's active judgment (and even Christ's judgment, seen, e.g., in Mt 7:23), or whether you think Hell is the result only of man's "tending" to choose Hell.


And about the Virgin Birth, the question is not and has never been whether belief in the Virgin Birth is necessary for salvation, and even whether it's essential to Christianity is somewhat secondary.

The issue has been your statements about whether it's clearly taught in the Bible. You've been inconsistent, certainly, but on more than one occasion you have gone so far as to denigrate the claim as EXTRA-BIBLICAL.

In what I think is our earliers encounter, at Daniel Randle's blog, you wrote about how the Virgin Birth is an "extrabiblical" doctrine.

"I don't have a problem with the virgin birth. I just don't have a problem with Mary NOT having been a virgin.

"In short, I don't think it's a biblical principle at all - and certainly not 'incontrovertible.' It's a moot point.
" [emphasis mine]

On June 18th of last year, in one of our discussions here, you changed your position, writing, "I happen to believe that Mary was a virgin - it seems clear from the text and I have no problem with that." [emphasis mine]

Just a couple months later, on August 27th at Craig's you went RIGHT BACK to denigrating the doctrine as extra-biblical.

"The virgin birth, the trinity, to a lesser degree, substitutionary atonement, these are tenets that we have derived from biblical teachings, but they are not direct biblical teachings."

Regardless of its importance to salvation or orthodoxy, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin, but you have denied this repeatedly, albeitly inconsistently.

You have never accounted for these vaccilations in your stated beliefs.

Dan Trabue said...

Just to clarify one thing and then I've got to go.

On Mary:

As I have always stated, I believe Mary to have been a virgin. What I've failed to communicate in my repeated attempts on that topic is that there is NO place in the Bible where the notion of Mary's virginity is a central tenet of Christianity. THAT is what I have tried to communicate and failed apparently to do.

NOT that I believe Mary is not a virgin. I've always stated that I believe this.

My point has been that I don't see it as a central, core, vital Christian teaching. Jesus did not put any emphasis at all that I can think of on the notion that he was born of a virgin. The places in the Bible where it is mentioned, it is mentioned in passing, as a proof, for some, but hardly anything suggesting that it is a critical teaching of Christianity.

I hope that is clear. I'm sorry I have been unable to communicate that more clearly.

Dan Trabue said...

Another clarification:

The Bible DOES NOT teach that there is some conflict between our being saved by God's grace and our being saved through Christ's death.

I agree: The Bible does NOT teach that there is some conflict between being saved by God's grace and those places where it sounds like it's saying that we are saved by Jesus' death. I don't think there's a conflict at all.

I believe that we are saved by God's grace. Period. And that God demonstrated that grace while, we were still sinners, Jesus was willing to come and die for us. I believe BOTH, but that they are all of one cloth, all one thing - the death is the bodily enactment of the grace.

I believe Jesus' death is an outpouring result of God's grace, and it is GRACE by which we are saved, not blood sacrifices.

You appear to want to believe that we are saved by God's grace AND by Jesus' blood sacrifice. I believe we are saved by God's grace which was demonstrated in Jesus' death. NOT that Jesus' death CAUSED our salvation, but God's grace.

We DO have some difference of opinion there, it would appear. But I don't think it's that big a difference (I realize you do). Still, it's not that I reject the notion that Jesus' death saved us (in a sense), but it is only in the sense that it was God's grace being demonstrated in that life and death.

Bubba said...

Dan:

First, you write, "As I have always stated, I believe Mary to have been a virgin."

That isn't what you implied in our early conversation at Daniel Randle's, which is linked above.

"I don't have a problem with the virgin birth. I just don't have a problem with Mary NOT having been a virgin."

And that statement isn't obvious from what you wrote in a later thread at Neil's.

"You are presuming that we MUST interpret [Isaiah 7:14] to mean that God is saying a virgin in the normal sense. As we all know (and has been referenced here) this word could be translated 'Maiden,' – a young woman."

It doesn't seem entirely accurate to say that you've always affirmed that Jesus was born of a virgin.


Second, I will reiterate what the issue is.

Just as the issue isn't whether the Virgin Birth is essential to salvation or Christianity, it ALSO isn't whether you believe it.

The issue is, as I've written earlier today, this:

"The issue has been your statements about whether it's clearly taught in the Bible."

Addressing THAT issue, you should have said something like, "Of course I believe the Bible clearly teaches the Virgin Birth," or you ought to have stood by your rigmarole about room for interpretative disagreement.

Mark said...

Dan says,

"1. I've never read any of Tolle nor do I know anything about him/her other than recognizing the name.

2. My best guess about the less than clear topic of hell is that it is both physical and eternal, unfortunately.
"

1. You don't have to read Tolle or know anything about him to espouse the same heretical "many paths to God" theology he preaches.

2. Props to you, Dan, for finally making yourself clear and for being correct. Thank you.

Dan Trabue said...

Further clarification:

2. You're welcome. I'm sorry you couldn't understand my earlier explanations.

1. I don't believe I have ever uttered anything about "many paths" to God. I DO believe we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus. Is that more than one path?

I suppose I DO think that there are many ways to finding God's grace through faith in Jesus. Some people find God in musty grand cathedrals. Some people find God in broken down old country churches. Some people find God in God's glorious creation. Some people find God through the speaking of the Spirit's still small voice. Some people may even find God in argumentation and hostility.

God reveals God's Self in many ways and I am not bold enough to suggest a limit as to how God might reveal God's Self. Many paths? Possibly, as long as they all enter through the door of God's grace through faith in Jesus.

Bubba said...

Dan, with your reiterating that Christ death saves us "(in a sense)" I'm reminded of a comment I made just two months ago, in an earlier thread here at Marshall's.

I'll excerpt at length.

---BEGIN---

I believe that we are saved by faith and NOT by baptism, that baptism is only an outward sign of inward faith, and it's the inward faith that saves.

If someone were to ask me whether I believe we're saved by baptism, I would be completely clear that I DO NOT believe that.

If I were to take your approach -- and here there's a VERY good fit in the analogy, between your position on Christ's death and my position on baptism -- I would say this:

"I believe we are saved by faith AND because of that faith, we profess our commitment through baptism. In THAT sense, one might say that our salvation is caused by baptism (as it is a representation of our faith)."

This is a COMPLETELY dishonest formulation, which basically says "our salvation is caused by baptism" but means **THE EXACT OPPOSITE** -- that our salvation ISN'T caused by baptism but is caused by faith, for which baptism is a mere representation.

If we are saved solely by faith, and so if baptism is merely a representation of that faith, THEN WE'RE NOT SAVED BY BAPTISM, period, full-stop.

Likewise, if we are saved solely by God's grace, and so if Christ's death is merely a representation of that grace, THEN WE'RE NOT SAVED BY HIS DEATH, period, full-stop.

The only "sense" that you think we're saved by Christ's death is THE OPPOSITE SENSE, that you think we're NOT saved by Christ's death, because you think we're saved solely by God's grace and so you think His death is only "a representation of God's grace."

Unless you're trying to be ironic, or unless you have no grasp on logic and language, your phrasing here can only be the result of deliberate deceit.

----END----

You didn't respond to the substance of this point in that thread, and so far as I know you never did elsewhere, either, and you soon withdrew altogether from the discussion shortly after I made this comment.

[cont]

Bubba said...

[cont]

The point is still valid, and it applies just as well to your comment here.

"I believe that we are saved by God's grace. Period. And that God demonstrated that grace while, we were still sinners, Jesus was willing to come and die for us. I believe BOTH, but that they are all of one cloth, all one thing - the death is the bodily enactment of the grace.

"I believe Jesus' death is an outpouring result of God's grace, and it is GRACE by which we are saved, not blood sacrifices.

"You appear to want to believe that we are saved by God's grace AND by Jesus' blood sacrifice. I believe we are saved by God's grace which was demonstrated in Jesus' death. NOT that Jesus' death CAUSED our salvation, but God's grace.

"We DO have some difference of opinion there, it would appear. But I don't think it's that big a difference (I realize you do). Still, it's not that I reject the notion that Jesus' death saved us (in a sense), but it is only in the sense that it was God's grace being demonstrated in that life and death.
"

Your explanation of how Jesus' death saved us "in a sense" is fatuous and deceitful, and it wouldn't fly with someone who (rightly) denied that we're saved by baptism but then *dishonestly* claimed that baptism saves us "in a sense."

We're saved by our faith apart from works. Baptism and good works are the result of saving faith, but they do not save us. It's would be dishonest for me to say that baptism saves us "in a sense," because the only "sense" I mean is THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the obvious and widely held understanding of the phrase.

Likewise, if you think we're saved by God's grace apart from Christ's death, you should say so outright. There IS NO SENSE in which you actually believe that Christ's death saves us, so don't try to muddy the waters by saying otherwise.


I believe that baptism is merely a demonstration of saving faith, so I believe that we're not saved by baptism IN ANY POSSIBLE SENSE.

You believe that Christ's death is merely a demonstration of saving grace, so you believe that we're not saved by His death IN ANY POSSIBLE SENSE.

I believe that your saying otherwise stretches the ambiguity of language to an outright lie.

[cont]

Bubba said...

[cont]

Dan, your twisting of the very purposes of language -- using whatever tools are at-hand to obfuscate what you ought to be clarifying, making every effort to make your beliefs appear mundane and orthodox EVEN at the expense of good faith and frank honesty -- is as serious an issue as the actual content of your beliefs.

You frequently and consistently play games with language in advancing and defending your beliefs, religious AND political.

On the political side, you defend Obama as a capitalist by sticking to the strict definition of the belief in the private ownership of property, but you have no problem with approvingly quoting others who denounce capitalists as oppresive, and doing so both before AND after.

Just yesterday you write about the efforts of your supposed church to push for what appears to be leniency on young criminals. You mention that "they get introduced early on to prison life for horrible mistakes they've made and actions they've committed," but you don't actually call those "mistakes" and "actions" by name: they're CRIMES, but you can't say so, and to complete the Orwellian abuse of language, you wrap the injustice of criminals' not paying for their crimes in the mantle of justice -- "restorative justice."

(About Jeff Street you also admit, "yes, sometimes, we take what might be called political action." What are the odds that you have an example about such action taking "just this week"?)

(Jeff Street "sometimes" engages in political activism. In other news, Catholics "sometimes" pray to the saints and Mary.)

So much of what you have to write requires parsing to discern what you're trying to hide. You so rarely speak plainly that you simply have no business complaining about being *so* misunderstood.

Dan Trabue said...

A further point of clarification, on this off-topic comment...

to complete the Orwellian abuse of language, you wrap the injustice of criminals' not paying for their crimes in the mantle of justice -- "restorative justice."

It would appear that you are unfamiliar with the notion of restorative justice. The point is NOT "leniency," nor is the point "not paying for crimes." FAR FROM IT.

In fact, the point is EXACTLY paying for their crimes. It's about restitution AND restoration.

But if you're unfamiliar with the notion, you may be simply speaking in ignorance. Here's a chance to learn more about restorative justice...

Restorative Justice: Restorative justice is a way of seeing crime as more than breaking the law – it also causes harm to people, relationships, and the community.... Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime.

Restorative justice is exactly about paying for the crime, in a way that tradition criminal punishment fails to do.

In fact, what it reminds me most of is the way of dealing with crimes in the early days of Israel - Israel was a people with no jails in which to throw offenders. They had in place, instead, a system of making things right that did not require a jail. Now, I don't think that all their methods translate well (at all) to a modern setting (killing disrespectful children does not seem just or apt). But the general idea - having a system to punish crimes that don't involve the huge gov't expense of jails - that is quite appealing, at least in many cases.

Read more about it, it's quite a cool, tough-minded idea. I'd suggest it's rarely a good idea to knee jerk criticize an idea about which you are wholly unfamiliar.

Bubba said...

Dan, because your writing is so ambiguous, I must ask what you mean by "faith in Jesus" -- though, because I believe the ambiguity is deliberate, I can have no reasonable expectation for a clear answer.

Here, as you have elsewhere, you emphasis salvation through "faith in Jesus."

"Because I am a Christian, saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus, I plan to spend eternity with God in heaven - whatever that may look like."

And:

"I don't believe I have ever uttered anything about 'many paths' to God. I DO believe we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus. Is that more than one path?

"I suppose I DO think that there are many ways to finding God's grace through faith in Jesus. Some people find God in musty grand cathedrals. Some people find God in broken down old country churches. Some people find God in God's glorious creation. Some people find God through the speaking of the Spirit's still small voice. Some people may even find God in argumentation and hostility.

"God reveals God's Self in many ways and I am not bold enough to suggest a limit as to how God might reveal God's Self. Many paths? Possibly, as long as they all enter through the door of God's grace through faith in Jesus.
" [emphasis mine]

Why the focus on Jesus in particular, and not God in general?

If you believe that we are saved by the grace of the triune Godhead APART FROM the death of Second Person, why must saving faith be in that Second Person specifically?

I could understand "faith in Jesus" if you believe Jesus has had a unique role in our salvation: to appropriate salvation, we must have faith in the Savior, we must have faith in Jesus AS Savior -- rather than faith that Jesus merely existed or even faith that Jesus is Who He claimed to be.

But since you don't believe that, why the emphasis on the Son?

Is it that His coming and His death were demonstrations of saving grace? The Father sent Him, and the Spirit confirmed Him. The Spirit later came to dwell within us, to draw us into all truth, and surely that's a demonstration of God's grace, too. Why not say that we're saved by "faith in the Father" or "faith in the Holy Spirit"? Or why not the more comprehensive, "faith in God"?

The teaching that we're saved by "faith in Jesus" or "faith in Christ" is certainly found in the New Testament -- e.g., in Rom 3:26, Gal 2:16, Phil 3:9 -- but that just punts the question: why did the Bible's writers emphasize salvation through faith in Christ specifically, if NOT because He is uniquely our Savior through His death and resurrection?


It's a phrase which I'm not quite sure you understand. If you do have a detailed idea about why saving faith must be "in Jesus," I don't know what it is, and so I would love to hear it.

Dan Trabue said...

Another clarification:

I could understand "faith in Jesus" if you believe Jesus has had a unique role in our salvation

Faith in Jesus, because he had the unique role to be the one who taught us the way to salvation, you know, in his teachings and in his life. I believe in the teachings of Jesus, thus, I believe in Him.

There WERE other teachers who taught many of the teachings of Jesus, but none who came and lived the life that Jesus lived, sacrificially living and dying and raising from the dead, the risen son of God. That is why I say specifically, through faith in Jesus, who makes us At One with God, through his life, through his teachings, through his example, through his sacrificial death and through his resurrection.

Marshall Art said...

And that indeed sums up the problem faced by all who hope to engage with Dan. I suspect that some of those Dan has claimed (who are supposedly conservative or right-leaning) are satisfied with his explanations, are simply newer opponents who are not yet familiar with Dan's "style" of debate and discussion, or are not capable of seeing through it.

Truly, there does not seem to be the honest and straighforward demonstration of conviction in Dan exhibited by those like Bubba, Neil, Eric, Mark, Craig and myself, to name a few for there are surely others, the lack of which leads to posts with over 500 comments that never provide satisfactory answers. If, Dan, you do NOT believe Christ's death was necessary to provide to us an access to God's saving grace and forgiveness, just say so. This, "in a sense" nonsense only confuses. I believe it is obvious, BECAUSE OF clear Biblical support which has been laid out in a variety of ways by both Bubba and myself, that Christ's death was key in my ability to access that grace. That without Christ's death, I would still be bound by the Law given to Moses and without the means to offer a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sins. I further believe that any other belief that departs from this requires clear Biblical support, and to offer verses that speak of being saved by grace alone without them also mentioning Christ's death on the cross does NOT make the argument since other verses clearly make this point.

As this understanding impacts beliefs of God's nature, Christ's purpose and indeed the entire point and uniqueness of the Christian faith, to suggest it is not essential to the faith is to admit a truly poor understanding of the faith in general and makes one an extremely poor advocate, ambassador and evangelist for the faith.

Dan Trabue said...

Another clarification...

Jeff Street "sometimes" engages in political activism. In other news, Catholics "sometimes" pray to the saints and Mary.

Jeff St sometimes engages in speaking with a prophetic voice, acting out against injustice, as we're taught to do in the Bible. As God clearly says in Micah 6:

what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

We are to be a people who take actions in support of Justice. I would hope that any Christian would agree wholeheartedly.

The troubling thing would be to find a church that DOESN'T take actions in support of justice.

So, I'm not sure if there's any problem with what we've actually done there, there's nothing I can see at all biblically incorrect with our actions.

Bubba said...

Dan, about "restorative justice," I'm not sure how tough-minded the idea is, considering how you originally described it.

"The concept is that for many of our children, they get introduced early on to prison life for horrible mistakes they've made and actions they've committed. The problem is that, statistically, once that happens, these children will tend to become lifelong problems, with many repeat visits to prison and thus leading an unproductive life.

"Restorative justice is a way of intervening early to stop that cycle of a school-to-prison pipeline. I won't go into the details here, because that's not the point. The point is, we have researched an existing justice problem, one we know well because of our own families and friends, and found a positive, productive solution. In this case, that solution can only be implemented by schools and courts. We can believe that restorative justice is a good idea, but it is only a good idea if the powers that be implement it.
"

1) You didn't write one word about crime...

2) ...or punishment. Only now that I mention it do you bring yourself to discussing "paying for the crime."

3) Your emphasis at your blog wasn't on the actual victims of crime or society in general, but on the criminals.

4) There and here you avoid using the word "criminal" to describe the person guilty of committing crime. At your blog, you repeatedly call them "children," a term that acquits them of most personal responsibility altogether.

I think I can question the tough-mindedness of the program based on your support for it.


And, anyway, it's hilarious that you would look to the Old Testament for inspiration regarding criminal justice.

"In fact, what it reminds me most of is the way of dealing with crimes in the early days of Israel - Israel was a people with no jails in which to throw offenders. They had in place, instead, a system of making things right that did not require a jail."

No, they didn't. Those books weren't actual history; they were revenge fantasies dreamed up after the restoration from Babylonian exile, written in a mythic style that has no clear relation to history as it actually happened.

At least, that's the approach you take when those books assert things you don't like, so you have no business changing your approach when you find individual passages to be more agreeable.

Dan Trabue said...

Another clarification:

If, Dan, you do NOT believe Christ's death was necessary to provide to us an access to God's saving grace and forgiveness, just say so.

I believe I have said so before. I believe God is God and thus, can save us any way that God wants to. God could put on a Jeannie outfit and fold God's arms and blink and wish it into being. God is God and I'm not willing to say God can't do anything except that which is outside of God's nature.

Does anyone here believe God is somehow limited in what God can and can't do? I wouldn't have thought so (other than, as we agree, I think, God being unable to do what is not in God's nature - you know, command us to do evil, for instance).

I think the difference between some here and folk like me is that we anabaptists and progressives tend to not speak as definitively on what we perceive to be less important/critical teachings.

Do I have opinions about Mary's virginity? Sure, I believe she was a virgin, but what difference does it make? God isn't limited to being birthed through virgins, God is God and could be birthed through a lump of mud, if God so desired.

And so, I speak with a bit of what we anabaptists and progressives would consider humility. I will strongly state that I believe that we are all sinners - there's just no getting around that. I will strongly state that we sinners can only be saved by God's grace. I will strongly state that we are to love God and love humanity. I will strongly state that we are to look after and side for and stand up with the least of these, that we should always stand for justice against injustice.

These clear teachings, I will strongly state and stand behind.

But what the "mechanism" of our salvation is? HOW does God bring atonement? HOW many virginal angels can dance on a head of a pin?

I just don't care that much about these questions. I have opinions, but to spend too much time focusing on these more frivolous issues rather than how we are saved by God's grace, how we are to live lives of grace and mercy and love and justice... it's just not as big a deal to me (and most anabaptists and progressives, I'd guess).

Bubba said...

Dan, unless your church's members would be willing to be subjected to the biblical standards for God's prophets -- and the Biblical punishment for false prophecy -- you should probably stop trying to aggrandize your political activism as "prophetic speech," because you run the risk of literal blasphemy by doing so.

About Micah, I would remind you about the teaching involving motes and specks.

A PERSONAL commitment to justice is more important than political activism in the name of justice, personal justice requires honesty, and I simply do not think you take that responsibility seriously.

Your defense of Jeff Street's priorities is just another indication of a lack of integrity on your part: our problem is not and has never been political activism, PER SE, performed by Christian individuals or congregations. Our problem is with the emphasis and the priorities demonstrated by all the available evidence about Jeff Street.


About why you believe salvation is by "faith in Jesus" specifically, I appreciate the fact of a timely response, but not the incoherence of its content.

You write that Jesus "had the unique role to be the one who taught us the way to salvation," but you then immediately admit that others also taught what He taught.

You go from His teachings to His life, but why does His perfect and (literally) exemplary life mean that salvation is only by faith in Him instead of, say, the Father who sent Him? You don't say.

And you say Jesus is "makes us At One with God, through his life, through his teachings, through his example, through his sacrificial death and through his resurrection," BUT YOU CAN'T REALLY MEAN THAT, DAN, not if you keep saying that we're saved by God's grace -- "period" -- apart from anything that Jesus specificially did, including His death.

Your apparent position is that we're saved by God's grace APART from anything Jesus did: what He did is merely a demonstration of God's saving grace, NOT any actions that actually save.

So you cannot honestly mean that Jesus "makes us At One with God." The logic of your position requires that to be a phrase devoid of any real meaning: you must think Jesus makes at one with God "in a sense," which is really THE OPPOSITE SENSE of the clear and widely held understanding of the phrase.

Dan Trabue said...

Yet another clarification:

about "restorative justice," I'm not sure how tough-minded the idea is, considering how you originally described it.

Then I am sorry that my very brief account of it did not provide enough information for you to correctly understand it. I wasn't trying to fully describe the notion, just give an example of what we're doing in standing for justice.

Now, I have provided a link to some information about it and anyone who is open to learning can read about it for themselves.

The point of the post was taking a stand for justice, which is something churches SHOULD be involved in. I would hope we could all agree, even if we disagree about specific approaches.

And I would further hope we would all be wise enough not to speak out authoritatively on topics about which we are ignorant. Condemning a program about which we are ignorant would be an example of graceless-ness of the sort we should avoid, I'd hope we could agree.

Bubba said...

Dan:

About the Virgin Birth, you still haven't said whether you affirm or deny that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.

You say, "God is God and could be birthed through a lump of mud, if God so desired."

Funny enough, Genesis records that God made man from a lump of mud, but you're adamant that that passage is clearly not historical fact because -- SOMEHOW -- science disproves the Genesis account of creation, even though science makes assumptions about the impossibility of the miraculous in order to draw general conclusions from specific observations.


You write:

"Does anyone here believe God is somehow limited in what God can and can't do? I wouldn't have thought so (other than, as we agree, I think, God being unable to do what is not in God's nature - you know, command us to do evil, for instance)."

(On that subject, you still have never given a clear answer whether God has the moral prerogative to take human life whenever and however He chooses -- a prerogative which would allow Him to take even innocent human life through human agency.)

But this idea that we shouldn't limit our conception of God beyond what it is supposedly obvious is a ridiculous thing to be held by someone who claims to affirm the Bible as God's word, who claims to love the Bible and deeply respect all its teachings.

You say that you strongly affirm some clear teachings, but...

"But what the 'mechanism' of our salvation is? HOW does God bring atonement? HOW many virginal angels can dance on a head of a pin?

"I just don't care that much about these questions.
"

Your personal interest is absolutely irrelevant to the question, Dan.

You say that you love the Bible and deeply revere its teachings.

The Bible clearly teaches the "how" of salvation.

(It teaches the "mechanism" though it doesn't use that word. The Bible doesn't use the word "theism" but it still teaches that God exists.)

It does so repeatedly, emphatically, and at length. If you actually cared about ALL of the Bible's teachings, you would affirm its teachings on how we are saved, even if -- bizarrely -- the subject doesn't interest you.

Mark said...

Dan asks, ""Does anyone here believe God is somehow limited in what God can and can't do?"

I do. God cannot lie. God cannot be unjust. God cannot recognize sinners (Matthew 7:21-23). God cannot remember sin committed before salvation(Hebrews 8:12). There are a lot of things God can't do. These examples merely touch the surface.

Marshall Art said...

Dan asks, ""Does anyone here believe God is somehow limited in what God can and can't do?"

You keep bringing this up as if to settle a question that goes unanswered. Yet, this is not an issue here or in previous posts. We have been attempting to ascertain your beliefs based upon what the Bible says God DID do, not speculation about what He is capable of doing. I personally believe that God is quite capable of creating the universe in six days, the length of each being exactly what a day is today. I believe that the result of that creation might look like something else to the limited abilities of mankind to date. I DON'T believe that how that creation ACTUALLY took place is an essential belief upon which our salvation rests. I DO believe that it is an important point in any Christian's understanding of the faith to know Christ's purpose for existing on earth and the necessity of His death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

So whether God's ability to forgive the most heinous and unrepentant sinner is a real possibility or not might be a fun exercise in speculation, it continues to be irrelevant here. I don't really care if He can create a rock so big that He Himself cannot move it. We're only dealing with what He DID do as recorded in the Bible. The Bible records and teaches that Christ died for the forgiveness of sins. However grace might save us, it wouldn't without Christ's death on the cross. No matter how Christ lived, no matter what He taught while He did live, we are not saved without His death on the cross. This is the Good News of the Bible, of Jesus' birth. It is THE essential message of the Bible and of the Christian faith.

You have thus far refused to affirm OR deny this. To do either would demonstrate a conviction. To do neither demonstrates cowardice at worst, or ignorance of that which you claim to revere at best. I find it incredibly funny, in a sad and pathetic way, that you can be so firm in your conviction regarding homo marriage, but not this, which is so clearly stated in Scripture.

Dan Trabue said...

A further clarification...

unless your church's members would be willing to be subjected to the biblical standards for God's prophets -- and the Biblical punishment for false prophecy -- you should probably stop trying to aggrandize your political activism as "prophetic speech," because you run the risk of literal blasphemy by doing so.

1. I am quite sure that Jeff St always stands humbly ready and willing to be "subjected" to biblical standards for all we do.

2. Unless folk want to run the risk of calling unholy that which God has called holy, they should probably not denounce in ignorance a People of God whom they don't know. That would be running the risk of literal blasphemy.

3. I repeat: I would hope that we could all agree that speaking authoritatively from a place of ignorance is never a good idea.

Dan Trabue said...

A further clarification:

I would always encourage folk who have a problem with what we ACTUALLY do at Jeff St to prayerfully and lovingly address that concern to me as their brother in Christ, but when we correct another person (or church) we should do so based on what they are actually doing and saying rather than what somebody is guessing or making up that we're doing.

I posted about some of my church's work for justice for just that reason. If someone thinks that speaking out in favor of a particular program is problematic, then address that with specifics of what we have said wrongly or what we have done wrong.

I would hope that anyone could agree that someone who just blindly criticizes nearly everything a given church does because said person does not like their politics (or what they presume their politics are, since they don't really know the church), that such criticism just seems like petty partisan, ignorant, cultural bickering and not a loving criticism raised in a reasonable manner.

Blind criticism coming from a solely partisan and uninformed background should nearly always be ignored, it seems to me.

Dan Trabue said...

And because this seems so hard for so many of us to understand, yet another clarification.

1. I have said that Jeff St always stands ready to humbly submit to correction. We are entirely capable of being wrong and if we are wrong on some point, we would dearly appreciate a loving correction.

2. But, when I say, "A correction should be based on what we're actually saying or doing," I mean just that. We (like many others) often get corrected for things we haven't said or done. This happens a lot, in my experience, in the limited confines of these internets. So, what that should probably look like, for effective criticism, is addressing problems that we have actually engaged in. Use our own words, in other words.

Like this, "Dan, when you say Jeff St called for a Restorative Justice program to be implemented in your schools, what does that look like exactly? Because, I've been reading up on the topic and I'm concerned because..." and cite some actual concerns.

Or, "Dan, when your pastor says '[insert actual quote],' that concerns me because..." and cite your concerns in a respectful, loving manner.

That sort of correction or questioning is always appreciated because it seems Godly and as if it is coming from a place of love and respect, not of simple political allegiance to some political agenda.

People who criticize with a broad paintbrush what they SUPPOSE other people might be saying or doing - not based on their actual words or deeds, but on hunches, rumors and innuendo - are not engaging in Godly criticism, but that other sort that Paul condemns in Galatians 5...

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

And...

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Words to the wise, if we can only have ears to hear.

Bubba said...

Dan, it's galling to see you pretend to be so concerned about "calling unholy that which God has called holy," when you have described as LITERALLY blasphemous the belief that God actually did and commanded what the Bible attributes to Him.

Beyond that, it's simply not the case that we're in utter ignorance of what Jeff Street's beliefs and actions. We have your record of that, after all, and it's not a comprehensive record, but it's enough to draw significant conclusions.

If nothing less than a comprehensive record of someone's words and deeds are necessary to evaluate that person, YOU SHOULD NEVER CLAIM TO FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST, because the New Testament CLEARLY isn't a comprehensive record of Jesus' life and teachings. (See Jn 21:25.)


It's equally galling for you to invoke "simple political allegiance to some political agenda," when your progressivism cannot bring you to condemn a hate-mongering racist like Jeremiah Wright: he slanders the U.S. government by accusing it of creating AIDS as an act of attempted genocide, and you still defend the demagogue as a "man of God."


And reminding us of what Paul taught in Galatians would be effective, except for the inconvenient details of what you believe.

1) You don't really believe what Paul taught is authoritative anyway, because you dismiss some of his teachings by writing that it is "doubtless" that they were the result of bigotry and sexism.

2) In Galatians specifically, Paul teaches of our salvation through Christ's death. Christ gave Himself for our sins (1:4), and Paul has no trouble connecting God's grace and Christ's death as BOTH being the source of our righteousness (2:21). You deny Paul's clear teaching -- and the Bible's clear teaching -- that Christ's death caused our forgiveness.

3) Paul indeed wrote a lot about unity within the church, but -- even in Galatians, which you quote -- he also had very strong words for those who falsely claim to be part of the church.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
" - Gal 1:3-9, emphasis mine

What Paul taught in his greeting and doxology, you deny. Since I believe that you do preach a different gospel than Paul's -- one where Christ's death only signifies God's grace, and is not the ground of our justification -- I have no qualms in joining Paul in condemning false teachers like you.


And, Dan, you still have not said whether you believe the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.

It's not at all clear whether you believe all that the Bible teaches about God, or whether you denigrate the Bible you claim to revere, by concluding that it needlessly "limits" God by making historical claims about what He has spoken and what He has done.

Oh, and I doubt you're being honest about your willingness to submit to the Bible's standards. You claim your church speaks prophetically, but I doubt anyone in Jeff Street would submit to Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

(But, oh yes, that book isn't a trustworthy record of God's actual commands, except when it is...)

Dan Trabue said...

Clarifications:

1. I DO believe Paul's writings in the Bible to be authoritative.

2. I'm unsure how many times I have to say that I believe that Mary was a virgin for that to take. AND, I believe she's a virgin not just as a hunch because it seems sweet, but because I read about it in the Bible, so yes, I believe the Bible teaches she was a virgin.

3. And once again, I invite anyone who has a problem with something that Jeff St has actually said or done, to offer that quote from us that you find offending and raise your concern.

In the meantime, I'd suggest that repeatedly suggesting that we're not a legitimate church or generally publicly criticizing a church without pointing to SOMETHING SPECIFIC is not productive, loving, reasonable or of God.

Again, if someone has a problem when I say, "We believe in Justice, as Micah taught, 'DO justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God,'" then say so and explain WHY that quote is troubling. Or if there's some other thing that we have actually said, by all means, quote that troubling line and raise your concern in Christian love and humility.

I can respond to specific criticisms and repent if I'm mistaken. I can't respond to general demonizations, though.

I would hope that this is reasonable enough and clear enough to be understood.

Bubba said...

1) That's bullshit.

"This [I Timonthy] 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.
"

You have stood by this comment -- even taking the logic of your position to its obvious conclusion, and dismissing Christ's choice of twelve MEN to follow Him as a mere "nod" to the sexism of the surrounding culture -- and this is hardly the comment of someone who believes that everything Paul wrote canonically, was written authoritatively.


2) I didn't ask about whether you think Jesus was born of a virgin. I asked whether you affirm that the Bible CLEARLY teaches this. Even now, you don't exactly answer that question.

You write, "yes, I believe the Bible teaches she was a virgin," but not that the Bible CLEARLY teaches this.

Your earlier writing about Isaiah 7 (quoted above) indicates that you believe there is some ambiguity on the matter.


3) Again, the problem is not with political activism, per se, but with a church that emphasizes it to the detriment or even the exclusion of its primary mission of preaching the gospel and proclaiming Christ crucified.

Since you deny that this is the church's primary mission, and since you even preach a different gospel -- one that excludes the actual causal link between Christ's death and our salvation -- we have every good reason to believe that you've joined an organization that is more accurately described, not as a congregation, but as a political organization with the trappings of a Christian church.

A group that uses even Easter as an opportunity to celebrate nature and political martyrdom more than Christ's saving death and bodily resurrection, isn't a Christian chruch that follows the Bible's clear teachings. A man who downgrades the Lord's Supper from a command of Christ to a mere church tradition is proably not going to be a member in good standing with a genuine Christian congregation.

Dan Trabue said...

A clarification:

with a church that emphasizes it to the detriment or even the exclusion of its primary mission of preaching the gospel and proclaiming Christ crucified.

Are you suggesting that we emphasize political action to the detriment or exclusion of the primary mission of preaching the gospel?

If so, on what do you base this?

Clarifications:

1. Jeff St does NOT emphasize political action to the detriment or exclusion of the Gospel.

2. Rather, we seek to (AS GOD COMMANDS) Do justice. To act for justice. This is part of the clear gospel message found in the Bible.

3. Are you suggesting we are wrong to seek to do justice? If so, why? On what basis?

4. Are you suggesting that there is a certain amount of "doing justice" that is okay, but if you go over this specified amount, then you are doing justice "too much"? If so, what is that amount?

5. I have no biblical reason to believe that there is a certain amount of "doing justice" that is too much. There is no evidence that Jeff St is doing "too much" justice work.

6. Given all of this consideration to the vague complaint, I see nothing to support a charge that we Do justice (as mandated by God) "too much" or in any way to the detriment of the Gospel.

7. Further, we at Jeff St take the Bible seriously. We see nothing in the Bible to support the claim that the church's "primary mission" is to preach the gospel and to proclaim Jesus crucified. That's not a biblically supported hunch.

8. Indeed, we see in Micah that God commands THREE things of humanity: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God. At Jeff St, we strive by God's grace to do all three. Is there any evidence that we are not doing so or that we are wrongly doing so? None that I know of. Are we imperfectly doing so? To be sure. We are imperfect humans and nothing we do is done perfectly. But we do strive the best we can by God's grace to do so.

8. As to the "primary mission" of the church, in the passage commonly called the Great Commission, Jesus charges his followers to, as they are going into the world, we should make disciples and teach them ALL things that Jesus has taught. We at Jeff St also take that charge seriously. Which is yet another reason to work for justice. Rightly, I think.

Now, given our actual words and practices, are there any concerns to be raised about what we are actually doing?

Is there any biblical reason to think that the church's "primary mission" (if, indeed, we have one) is something other than what God defined in Micah or that Jesus defined in Matthew? Or that the Westminster Confession defined as "the chief end of man [humanity] is to glorify God"?

I find all three of these to be biblically supported notions (and ones that don't necessarily conflict). And, as part of glorifying God, teaching all things that Jesus taught, working for justice and mercy, we at Jeff St do indeed preach the gospel and Christ crucified. We just don't make the extrabiblical claim that this is our "primary mission," not when the Bible makes no such claim.

Marshall Art said...

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

Apparently you and Jeff St don't have ears to hear as you ignore the emboldened words with extreme prejudice, instead referring to your homosexual congregants as among the most saintly people you know. God clearly laid out what constitutes appropriate sexual behavior (here's a hint: it can only occur between a man and a woman bound to each other through matrimony), but you people proudly preach something else. Worse, you twist and distort Scripture, as well as add to it, in order to justify this heresy, thereby showing your true colors.

Dan Trabue said...

More clarifications...

A group that uses even Easter as an opportunity to celebrate nature and political martyrdom more than Christ's saving death and bodily resurrection, isn't a Christian chruch that follows the Bible's clear teachings.

1. Jeff St does not "use" Easter for anything other than worshiping our risen savior.

2. We DO, as part of worshiping our risen savior, sometimes reference our love for God's glorious creation and see symbolism of the resurrection in the newly risen spring season. There is nothing wrong with this. If someone thinks there's something wrong with it, they'd have to provide some support. I can't imagine any serious Christian criticizing a local Christian congregation for praising God for God's creation and for finding symbolism of the resurrection in nature.

3. We don't "celebrate political martyrdom," and we don't make note of Jesus' political execution in any manner other than worshiping the God who came to give his life sacrificially and who overcame the powers that be, NOT by responding to violence with violence, but by overcoming evil with good.

I can't imagine any serious Christian having a problem with us noting that Jesus WAS executed on the cross by the powers that be, because he troubled the religious and political leadership of the day. What biblical reason would there be for criticizing Jeff St for that?

Bubba said...

Dan:

"I can't imagine any serious Christian having a problem with us noting that Jesus WAS executed on the cross by the powers that be, because he troubled the religious and political leadership of the day. What biblical reason would there be for criticizing Jeff St for that?"

AT BEST, it appears that Jeff Street preaches the truth, but not the whole truth.

(At worst, it distorts the truth, because all four gospels are clear that Pilate thought Jesus was innocent of all wrongdoing.)

The Bible teaches that Jesus died for our sins, that His blood was shed for our forgiveness, and you deny that. The Bible teaches that the Father sent the Son to die, and that the Son came to die, and this you deny or at least downplay.


You write that, because of the Great Commission, "we should make disciples and teach them ALL things that Jesus has taught. We at Jeff St also take that charge seriously."

Clearly that's bullshit, going by your denial of what Jesus taught about the authorship and authority of Scripture, God's will for marriage and why He made us male and female, and what His own death was to accomplish. What Christ instituted as the Lord's Supper, YOU DENIGRATE AS A MERE CHURCH TRADITION.


Dan, I don't believe you really understand what the Gospel is.

You write, "we seek to (AS GOD COMMANDS) Do justice. To act for justice. This is part of the clear gospel message found in the Bible."

I'm reminded of our early conversation at D.R.'s, when you claimed that "the meat of the gospel [is] Love God, Love Others."

No, the Gospel is not about ANYTHING we are supposed to do in obedience to God, but about what God has done and is doing to redeem us.

You don't seem to understand that, because it appears that you preach a different gospel.


The fact is that a church is no longer a Christian church, if it puts political activism over preaching the gospel of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You wonder if it's possible to overemphasize justice, but I will reiterate that justice requires personal integrity.

Because you don't have any integrity, at least in discussions like these, you should focus on building your own character rather than stumping for radical collectivism in the guise of so-called justice.

Dan Trabue said...

More clarifications...

Apparently you and Jeff St don't have ears to hear as you ignore the emboldened words with extreme prejudice, instead referring to your homosexual congregants as among the most saintly people you know.

1. We are, in fact, not ignoring calls for sexual purity. We probably have a lower divorce rate than most evangelical congregations (based on statistics), for instance. I am the husband of one wife for 25 years, now, for instance. Faithful and true. This is, from all appearances, the norm amongst the saints at Jeff St.

2. Suggesting that we don't take these commands seriously is not borne out by the facts.

3. Our straight AND gay members ARE saints of God, beloved children walking by God's grace in our Lord Jesus' steps. It would be a misrepresentation of facts to suggest otherwise.

4. I have no great reason (and you have no reason at all, since no one here knows any of our members) to suspect that our gay single folk are any less celibate or reverential of the gift of sexuality than our straight single folk OR that they take it any less seriously than the single (or married) folk at your church. We are BIG believers in marriage and fidelity at Jeff St.

I wonder, Marshall, what percentage of your congregation has been divorced? Has committed adultery? Cheated on their wives?

Do you suspect it would be wise to get in a pissing contest about who has the most chaste congregation, or would that be a bit silly?

Marshall Art said...

It is not, as I have stated before, a matter of who or how many have sinned, Danny. It's a matter of suggesting that a sin committed is not a sin. Are you now saying that there are NO "married" homos in your church? Is that how the dance is going now? If you want to say that all the homos in your church are celebate, then I would say that such is a wonderful thing. But I don't believe you've ever stated that in any way shape or form. Your insistence that God would bless a homo marriage, something distinctly outside His nature, suggests at the very least that you, if not Jeff St as well, believes that the sex that would take place within such an abomination would be likewise blessed or at least not sinful. But true students of the Bible know that can't be possible as there is NOTHING in the Bible that comes close to justifying that belief, as has been shown here over and over again.

So the issue isn't who sins and how often. The issue is what is sin and you have taken it upon yourself to redefine sin so as to accomodate the urges of one group of people so desperately in need of correction. You are, therefor, as an enabler, equally guilty of their sin, whether you have been faithfully married or not. You preach the sin as not sinful and are guilty of leading others astray.

Dan Trabue said...

Clarifications...

1. It's a matter of suggesting that a sin committed is not a sin.

Sometimes Christians disagree with one another on whether a particular action is a sin or not. Marshall, for instance, finds nothing wrong with using the "H" word, whereas I find it offensive and sinful. We disagree as to whether using that term is a sin.

The Bible does not tell us one way or the other if refering to people as "homos" is sinful, so it comes down to extrabiblical reasoning on both our parts and, at the end of the day, we disagree.

Similarly for gay marriage: Some think it is a sin and other Christians disagree. The Bible is silent as to whether or not it is a sin and, at the end of the day, some Christians of good faith disagree.

This is one of those cases.

It happens, we are imperfect human beings with imperfect ability to always recognize sin.

Failing to recognize a sin as a sin is, interestingly enough, not a sin. Not that I can see, anyway, and I don't believe anyone here can make the case that making a mistake about a sinful action, thinking it NOT a sin, IS a sin itself.

In cases like this, we pray for wisdom and thank God for God's grace, that covers our ignorance.

2. Are you now saying that there are NO "married" homos in your church?

Jeff St has some blessed straight and gay married saints and we have some blessed straight and gay single people.

3. The issue is what is sin and you have taken it upon yourself to redefine sin so as to accomodate the urges of one group of people so desperately in need of correction.

I, nor anyone at Jeff St has taken it upon ourselves to redefine sin. That is simply not the case in the real world. Factually, we HAVE undertaken to study the Bible and, as a result, come to a different conclusion than what we once believed as it regards gay marriage. Gay marriage is not spoken of at all in the Bible. We do not believe now that gay marriage is a sin.

We HAVE changed our position, but, in truth, the reason we changed our position is because we prayerfully studied the matter and came to believe that our old understanding was mistaken and sinful. In an effort to align ourselves with God's will, then, we modified our position to what we believe to be closer to God's will.

4. We, as always, COULD be mistaken, but we are not purposefully mistaken. Rather, we seek only God's will. We believe, in this case, that we were mistaken before and held sinful, ugly, ungodly positions before and now are aligned with God's will.

May God grant us all wisdom.

Bubba said...

Dan, among other issues you have not fully addressed, you still have not made clear whether you believe that the Bible CLEARLY teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.


About "gay marriage," you write, "The Bible is silent as to whether or not it is a sin and, at the end of the day, some Christians of good faith disagree."

By the same logic, Christians of good faith could disagree about the morality of promiscuous chastity or compulsory charity. So far as I can tell, you have **NEVER** explained how you would argue against such absurdities in manner that is consistent with your argument here.

The facts of Scripture fall decisively against your position.

1. Everywhere the behavior is mentioned, it is condemned.

2. Where, in Romans 1, Paul writes about the behavior as a punishment for man's idolatry, the implication is that the behavior is universally prohibited.

(If a behavior was permissible in at least some circumstances -- behavior like dancing or farming -- why would God hand people over to that behavior as a punishment for their sin?)

3. The Bible not only consistently presents marriage as heterosexual, it is clear FROM CHRIST'S OWN TEACHINGS that this arrangement is normative and not merely descriptive: Christ's explanation for why God made us male and female precludes "gay marriage" for all of us who are male or female, with no regard for how an individual is wired in terms of sexual attraction.

The scriptural evidence for your position that God blesses "gay marriage" is non-existent. It doesn't measure up against our evidence, and it certainly doesn't measure up to the ridiculous (and clearly legalistic) standards you require for positions that you don't like.



I will note that your sophistry regarding an intrinsic contradiction like "gay marriage" could also be used to conclude that God may well bless a concept like "misleading honesty."

From your behavior, I wonder whether you believe precisely that. Such sloppy moral reasoning would at least explain your ability to distort the truth so frequently and without any apparent reservations.

Dan Trabue said...

A clarification on a point which is getting almost ridiculous...

you still have not made clear whether you believe that the Bible CLEARLY teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin.

Do you really think this is a productive use of time?

Whether or not the Bible "clearly" teaches Mary's virginity is rather a subjective measure, but yes, I do think it clearly teaches Mary was a virgin.

Here is the entirety of the biblical text as it regards Mary's virginity...

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us."

Matt 1:23

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary...

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"


Luke 1:26 - 27, 34

In those entire three verses and some 70 words, the Bible seems to me to suggest clearly that Mary was a virgin. This is what I believe.

I believe some have argued that the word translated virgin here is the word for "young maiden," not necessarily implying virgin. I don't know. I'm not a Greek scholar. To me, the Bible seems to clearly say that Mary was a virgin and I have no great reason to dispute it, to think that this is an allegory or engaging in epic storytelling or some other imagery.

But what of it? Who cares? Not me. I simply don't think that those entire three verses constitute a compelling biblical argument that this is an issue worth spending a single more minute on.

Dan Trabue said...

Clarification...

By the same logic, Christians of good faith could disagree about the morality of promiscuous chastity or compulsory charity. So far as I can tell, you have **NEVER** explained how you would argue against such absurdities in manner that is consistent with your argument here.

1. Gay marriage IS a silent topic in the Bible. It's not mentioned, not condemned, not praised.

2. Similarly, the notion of compulsory charity is not in the Bible, either being praised or condemned. (Well, one COULD make the case that when God required landowners to set aside part of their fields to provide for the feeding of the hungry, compulsory charity was spoken of. But never by that name.)

3. In cases where a topic is not covered in the Bible, we sometimes have to form opinions on these topics using our logic and what we DO know of from the Bible that might be related.

4. Thus, it appears to me (and I've explained the specifics oftentimes in the past) that a reasonable person desiring to follow God's will could come to the conclusion that gay marriage is a good thing. I have, for instance, and I am a reasonable person who only seeks to follow God's will on this point.

5. It appears to me that, depending upon how one might explain the concept of compulsory charity, it may or may not be a reasonable position to take.

For instance, one could make the case that taxation is a means of compulsory charity - we are required to pay taxes to provide for the needs of drivers or for school children, for instance...

On the other hand, one could make the argument that compulsory charity is an unreasonable position to take, if we were requiring people to give to a political party or a charity that one would not freely support.

So, it would depend upon how it's being defined.

6. The thing is, being created in the image of God with the ability to discern right and wrong, we have the ability (albeit imperfect) to determine whether something is right or wrong, even if it is a topic on which the Bible is silent.

Could Christians disagree on such matters? Well of course, they could. What of it? That's life in this world, is it not.

People disagreeing with us is not the same as those people not desiring to seek the Good.

Bubba said...

Dan, I would thank you for FINALLY giving an actual answer to my specific question regarding whether the Bible clearly teaches the Virgin Birth... except your answer wasn't clear.

The reason that I focused on this issue is that you seem to use language language to obfuscate, when you ought to be using to clarify what you believe and why.

You write:

"Whether or not the Bible 'clearly' teaches Mary's virginity is rather a subjective measure, but yes, I do think it clearly teaches Mary was a virgin."

You couldn't answer the simple question without prefacing it with equivocating remarks about subjectivity.

"In those entire three verses and some 70 words, the Bible seems to me to suggest clearly that Mary was a virgin."

It "seems" to "suggest" this, but it does so clearly?

I actually think the issue is important, because the claim of Christ's sinlessness, and of His being God Incarnate, is less credible if Jesus was conceived just like the rest of us.

But the reason it's important TO THIS DISCUSSION is that your unwilliness to provide a coherent answer to my actual question underscores my belief that you're not really all that honest.


As an aside, in that early conversation at Daniel Randle's blog, I long ago addressed the ambiguity of the word used for virgin or maiden.

You can research it yourself: the word parthenos, found in Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27, is absent in Luke 1:34. The verse ends with the Greek phrase, "since I know not a man."

That little idiom points conclusively to Mary's literal virginity.

Bubba said...

About "compulsory charity," Dan, it's a concept we've already discussed at length. I defined it as "an act whereby one person takes possession of, and makes use of, property that was previously in someone else's possession, and he does so without the explicit permission of the property's original owner," where the important detail is that the two people love each other.

I crafted an argument for the practice (6/30, 1:16 pm) that exactly matches an argument you gave for "gay marriage" (11:59 am).

You focused on differences between the two activities, but didn't point out any significant differences between the ***ARGUMENTS*** for the two activities.

You note that compulsory charity "is an action someone is doing TO another against their will," but that doesn't begin to explain what was wrong with my argument for it.

I've since brought up the topic three or four times, and so far as I know you have NEVER addressed the substance of the argument, much less refute the argument in a way that preserves YOUR argument for "gay marriage."


I ultimately asked the following:

--

Given your own arguments for "gay marriage," do you have ANY available recourse to dismantle my argument for compulsory charity as absurd?

If you don't, and if therefore your approach to the Bible regarding "gay marriage" opens the door to arguments for a concept as, well, eccentric as compulsory charity, I think we could consider that fact in evaluating the validity of your approach.

--

So far as I know, you have never addressed the question adequately, and I believe that if your approach to discerning God's will allows for arguments for theft wrapped in presumptuous euphamism about charity, then your approach is fundamentally flawed.

Marshall Art said...

"Marshall, for instance, finds nothing wrong with using the "H" word, whereas I find it offensive and sinful. We disagree as to whether using that term is a sin."

Using an abbreviation is sinful? Wow. Who decided this? Oh yeah, the sinners who support the abomination of homosex behavior as being morally nuetral. That's who. When I allow the criminal to determine what is a crime, then I will have fallen as far away from rational thought as you have, Dan.

"Similarly for gay marriage: Some think it is a sin and other Christians disagree. The Bible is silent as to whether or not it is a sin and, at the end of the day, some Christians of good faith disagree."

Not so. Christians of good faith would not make the ridiculous leap to suggest that a union based on sinful behavior could ever be blessed, tolerated or considered holy. The stupidity necessary to do so is beyond measure. Pretending that there is some Biblical justification for this nonsense is so far removed from reality that there is only one word appropriate for those who insist otherwise: Liar.