Saturday, July 18, 2009

Concerns about New Hate Crimes Bill
I'm sure I'm not the first one to think this, but doesn't this create a caste system? As in some humans are worth more than others. Many crimes are based on hate of one form or another. Why is it that a mother killed by her ex (jealous hate) would be seen as somehow less (i.e. punishment worse for the ex) than, say if a killing were motivated by race/sexual orientation? Or if someone killed me because they hate the fact that I am perhaps wealthier than they are would be seen a lesser crime than if someone hated for some other reason. And, to follow, should those who bomb churches have a greater crime? I don't think I recall ever seeing that. Or, isn't that a contradiction of sorts? For example, if a homosexual group accosted parishioners of a church for biblically teaching that homosexuality is wrong (verbal assault is still assault in many locations), then isn't that verbal assault based on sexual orientation? Or is it only if you're for, but assault the other direction would be less of a crime?

GF, you're right, it is coming. I think it will also come a littler quicker than I ever thought. Of course, we could somehow all be completely wrong about the direction of things to come, who knows?

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Tom Wright on ECUSA Declaration of Independence
Mohler also wrote on this (just today, though). It’s worth the read, but he quoted the ECUSA presiding bishop from TIME magazine some time back after her (the bishop’s) election:
"We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box."
I agree, Derek, it’s great to hear Wright speak up on the topic!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Healthy Economies Rely on Healthy Marriages

I was going to say the emporer from Star Wars. Yes, not the best picture for him.

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I find this odd. After writing a 500 or so word diatribe (while throwing in an occasional phrase such as “how…other people will read it”, it was quite the attack), you receive one short response and then state “seems I hit a nerve”. Huh…..I suppose I wouldn’t characterize it that way. You are correct, though, in that many on this site are passionate about submitting to the authority of scripture (and defending how). And my guess is that this will elicit response worthy of that statement (hitting a nerve), so maybe oddly premature.

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I, too, get uncomfortable when folks immediately go after the dividing the household thing. However, I think it is appropriate here. While the letters (and Christ) speak peace, they are all speak very forcefully against false teaching. We are all sinners. A difference comes, however, when we teach that dark is light or that error is truth. Similarly, we don’t back away (as is so en vogue now) from calling sin, sin. Christ befriended sinners, but he said they were sinners. Likewise throughout the NT. Just a thought.

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Just out of curiosity, would you elaborate on:
Comparing most of the gay people I know to prostitutes or drunks is ridiculous and insulting.

I think I know the answer, but I’m just curious.

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That’s what I assumed (your view on homosexual activity), but I thought I would ask first. Just a few thoughts.
1) “Most [blank] people in society accept [blank] now” or “In time (generations) the society will change so overwhelmingly on this issue ” are a foolish reasons to do anything. It’s even worse to indicate that we should accept something that is unbiblical simply because someone else does (blown about by winds….). But expected. You’re inaccurate that this will be something the church will “just accept” (unless the church, as a whole, abandons biblical inerrancy and authority). I think you are accurate in a sense in that trying to maintain a hold on the word “marriage” is futile.
2) I find it interesting that you hold a view of (this is just a codifying statement) “how are you going to witness to someone who thinks you are a jerk?” yet at the same time bark bigot.
3) The drunk/prostitute part. I’ll kind of cut to the chase. In some ways, the only thing that differentiates me from a prostitute and a drunkard is the type of sin in which I revel. Because I know Christ (and if the drunkard/prostitute doesn’t), then we would be set apart. Saints are not sinless. They sin less and feel worse about it. God’s sons and daughters aren’t always nice either, while I know many wonderfully nice and friendly atheists who soundly reject Christ. So while I understand your physical concerns about the safety of a child, it has nothing to do with the spiritual equivalence of my gossiping and someone else’s adultery or my lust versus some other’s homosexual acts (or a drunkard, or a prostitute, etc.). A difference might come in each of these in that I do not say that my (or Darius’ or my mom’s) gossip or lust is OK because I’m (or they are) a nice person or that I just don’t like that or that society has just accepted it.
4) “down the stree to the Episcopalians, the UCC or just become one of the ever growing number of ‘spiritual’ people….” OK. Sorry to say it, but “they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,”
5) Darius isn’t spreading his message (a reference to your earlier post). It’s not something he made up or I made up. People put too much emphasis on how it’s up to me to get the message. I’m going to convince them. The holy spirit might. We are to preach the message with gentleness and reverence. But it’s the message, not just part of it. And we should respect.
6) Personally, I’m torn on the original remark. On the one hand, I understand respect, we don’t insult, etc. On the other hand, it’s a hijacking of language. Meaning if the goal was really “we just want to live in peace”, then “unions” would be perfectly fine. However, it seems to me that it’s more about forced acceptance. I.e. get someone to call me married and thus they must accept that marriage as norm. Subtle, but it’s what’s happening.

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Just to note, nice != moral != Godly

You have a very elitist hierarchical view of sin (that even seems incompatible with your own statements). Sin is sin.

And, again, I think I know the answer, but which part of what Darius said was “full of hate”?


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Spot on about divorce. We need a strong reformation of marriage as a whole. Acceptance of homosexual marriage is simply the breaking of the dam, so to speak. A quick search on Mohler (this year) returned about a 2 – 1 split (8 to about 4). Of course, much of what he writes on is what is in the news, too. I had written out a response to Kelly prior and I am sad that I didn’t include it:
• Re: marriage, you are spot on. Christians need to be the ones with the lowest divorce rate (by a landslide). And we’re not. We won’t call adultery “good” either, I hope you see the consistency.

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Just to ask, what is the difference between a "committed monogomous and loving gay relationship" and a "committed, polygamist loving relationship" (you can insert several types in that statement)?

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"Iron clad"

So, then, Kelly, since we are the unwashed who don’t understand, you have insulted me and you have no chance of reaching my evangelical brethren by referring to homosexual couples as marriage. You just need to figure out how to talk to evangelicals

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Interesting Sue.

You seem to fall in the same lines (though perhaps not same theological framework) as Kelly. Sort of summed up in "most [blank] people in society accept (or are offended by) [blank] now, ergo, we as the church should, too". I think that part of Dr. Burk’s interest in this was the simple fact that a Christian leader (all those who disagree, just hang on to that thought) is making a "public access" argument. It seems like the arguments brought forth most often fall into that trap. I know you are simply keying off of statements in the pope’s letter (or so I assume, I still haven’t read it *blush*), but you’ve written similar posts before as well.

In a completely related yet off topic part, I get a piece of mail every once in a while from an address that is on Powerscourt drive. I always giggle. Can a grown man giggle? I’ll have to check with Piper on that.....

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I’ll say it. Insulting someone to their face is not the best way to start a conversation. Did someone do that here? Even Dr. Burke’s discussion (which was a commentary, not a conversation with someone) didn’t start of with that (it was well into the comment.).

"Have you heard me say that anything goes?"
"In time (generations) the society will change so overwhelmingly on this issue that the church will follow suit anyway..."

It was said we should not be like children "carried about by every wind of doctrine."

Do you see a discrepancy between descriptive reasoning based in the bible and prescriptive?

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I’ll take another view yet. OK, not another, actually a different subject. So, Sue, what you seemed to write was essentially "I baited you and you didn’t take it. C’mon, I want to argue!" Which, I suppose, is fine. It just seems a bit like the pointless arguments Paul mentions. To which I am certainly not immune unfortunately for me.

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A few thoughts...
● The two of us have a fundamental difference, I believe. Mostly in what exactly the inspired, inerrant word of God is. Interpretations can be flawed, but in their original text they are inerrant. It is final and does not point to some hidden meaning (you didn't say that, just how I've seen it argued). It seems you believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that parts of the bible were inspired, parts are merely human writings that are subject to human prejudice and error?
● While it seems a big jumble to you, the discussion flowed to the topic of acceptance of homosexuality. Polygamy was not part of an argument per se, it was part of a series of questions. There was only equating it in your mind.
● You specifically stated that "In time (generations) the society will change so overwhelmingly on this issue that the church will follow suit anyway..." You have put your finger in the wind to see where society goes. So goes society, so goes your church. It's not saying anything goes as in complete anarchy. But my question is, as a believing church, what is your defense against something like polygamy? Is it simply well, no major church has accepted it, so we're not either. OK, but you have simply relegated your church to whatever is popular opinion (see your statement above). I think it's appropriate.
● So, then, since it hasn't been asked, how do you deal with Romans 1, 1 Cor 6 and 1 Tim 1? Again, I think I know the myriad answers, but it's always interesting to hear a take on it.
● No, I am not a seminarian or a minister. I can tell by your earlier post what your thoughts are of seminary students (ghetto). Again, a fascinating part of an argument denouncing someone's insult.
● Back to where this all started, if he had been really wordy and wrote "homosexual unions (I do not agree that they are married)" or something similar, would it have been appropriate? Or is it merely the fact that it's a contrary stance or....? Again, I was still in the air over this, though the longer it goes, the more I have a tendency to agree with Mohler about the hijacking of language.

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I think it's a foolish redirect, but since I've never heard of him, some quick info I read (online) about Giordano Bruno (a compilation of several sites.....none of them wikipedia ;-):

He could not conceive that God and nature could be separate and distinct entities as taught by Genesis, as taught by the Church and as even taught by Aristotle.
He had written of an infinite universe which had left no room for that greater infinite conception which is called God.
He is one martyr whose name should lead all the rest. He was not a mere religious sectarian who was caught up in the psychology of some mob hysteria. He was a sensitive, imaginative poet, fired with the enthusiasm of a larger vision of a larger universe ... and he fell into the error of heretical belief.
Bruno was not condemned for his defence of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skilful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, that the Devil will be saved, etc.

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Should he preach traditional marriage or should he talk about social policies that have been known to boost the fertility rate?

You're right, Sue, sticking to biblical values including the traditional definition of marriage might be a better idea. Lay the cards on the table and work to help (witness, feed, care) fellow man. Making a secular-based argument (whether or not you agree with him) is a trap that we all fall into at one point or another. Regarding statistics and such, I believe it was the Psalter who asked why do the wicked prosper (I was thinking that it also mentions his generations, but that may just be me crossing these two topics). Hope everyone has a superb weekend!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Feel My Pain

I understand what you are saying, though I took it a bit different. To me, he aims it rightly at much of current day church thinking. And, specifically, how offensive it is for anyone to claim having truth over someone else (see the Scottish agnostic bishop or the Dutch atheist pastor or Shelby Spong or...), thus (to paraphrase Carl), your statement of a position is not a position but merely a veiled attempt to insult me. We glory in pluralism and shun any absolute. I read:

Thin-skins, absurd senses of entitlement and a bizarre conviction that all criticism of ideas is really a personally intended affront to those who hold them are not the exclusive preserve of any one theological party.

And it reminded me of R. Kent Hughes' book Disciplines of a Godly Man. Hughes says something to the effect of "leaders better be able to digest depression because they will eat a lot of it".

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BTW, I enjoy reading Trueman if for the simple fact that he makes me go and look up words like salubrious. A word I'm sure everyone else here knew, but I didn't.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

At the End of the Day...
Coinciding with the cessation of the sun's light rays directly impacting our part of the

How about "When the lion lays down with the lamb...." Or "When the streaker finally jettisons his last shred of dignity and steps onto the field..." or even "when the tea kettle whistles....."

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The Living-Together Lie

There is the emotional attachment that isn't proper for someone who isn't your wife or husband. I know boundless has had more about it than this, but here are a couple of links:
and related, but not explicitly:

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I find this to be a telling statement:

I'm not bothered at all by which view is correct since it won't change my personal actions one bit.

I don't care what the truth is, I'm going to do what I want anyway. The fact that one person (or which particular one) said it is irrelevant. It's a recurring mindset that has permeated the Church from culture.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth....

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I thought it important to include the preceding comment (to the above comment) to which my comment was related.

Really, I'm not invested in this issue at all, but I'm just not 100% sure that there's a clear distinction between sex and marriage in spiritual terms. in the passage you quoted there is - but you could argue that that's a cultural distinction, ie in that woman's culture marriage existed but she was not married - does Jesus condemn this behaviour, or is His mentioning it simply a sign to the woman that He knows all about her?

Again, I'm totally open to persuasion and I'm not bothered at all by which view is correct since it won't change my personal actions one bit. It's just something I wonder about.

To which I responded above. I then received the following constructive feedback:
Brian K, 52:
It was me who posted the 'telling statement' that you quoted, and you totally misunderstood what I meant. You summarised my view as:
"I don't care what the truth is, I'm going to do what I want anyway."

In fact if you'd read my earlier post, you'd know that I fully intend to remain a virgin 'til I'm married. The answer to this particular question of mine (whether having unmarried sex and staying together is sin or not) will not affect my actions whatsoever because that isn't something I plan to do anyway, not because I don't care about following God.
Actually to be honest I'm quite offended by your characterisation of me. Please don't assume motives like that without even reading what someone has written before. I would like to think that my posts across all topics demonstrate that I do in fact care what God thinks and aim to align my actions with His will.

Thus I respond:


First, I just wanted to say that I had read your comment, I was really trying to chew on what you said (I know, you were waiting on pins and needles ;-). I apologize for offending. I don’t purposefully write to offend. I should have stated your position on premarital sex as a construct.

I do, however, still stand by what I said (perhaps I should simply have broadened it to state that you do not believe in premarital sex….yes, I did read what you wrote prior). I purposefully didn’t include you stating it for that reason, and also that’s why I said it’s irrelevant who wrote it. It’s a mindset that you specifically state and it does define the culture in which we live. It’s stated often even on this blog (there was another statement similar to it on another post shortly after). After reading your clarification, I suppose I more or less see your line of reason, though, what I quoted makes a very absolute statement. I guess I think of it this way. Assuming that you are or eventually will be discipling/teaching/counseling someone (hey, counseling!). Someone says “I had sex with my boyfriend” or thinking about it. Now it matters what is correct and not. Truth is truth never mind what your personal motives may be. I think what you are saying, though, is that you will remain a virgin and won’t sleep with anyone prior to marriage, so it doesn’t matter about what is viewed as “marriage”. I guess I would just say that you should consider what the biblical construct (what is correct) for it may be prior to that discipling relationship (something to which we are commanded). Personal motives don’t cut it if they are divorced from God.

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1) I see dating (in a form) in Ruth and again in Song of Solomon.
2) as a general rule, people who date--Christian or not, cohabiting or not--are going to be having sex. This wasn’t (and isn’t) always the case (of course it also With cohabitating (not missionary/transient housing) have, as a general rule, always been. Dating can be a wonderful tool to get to know someone’s character given the culture we are in currently (since people move out of their parents home quickly and tend to resist getting rooted in a church), but can easily lead to sexual immorality. Mostly that’s due to the fact that we have a tendency to be fiercely independent and don’t want to admit that there should be boundaries on behavior, then act surprised when it happens (“golly, we just kind of fell into it!”). To me, when dating is seen as a tool to glorify God that leads to determine marriage (but not getting there), it’s great. It goes awry when we let our heart go unrestrained. There’s a lot on this site especially that codifies Godly dating, I’m just trying to be brief.
3) Just to be clear, the Bible is my authority for arranged marriages and not your family heritage. Just as I wouldn’t (nor did the author) make an absolute prohibition against men and women living under the same roof, be careful about making a statement of the bible being your authority for arranged marriages. Arranged marriages are not prescriptive, they’re descriptive. And dating (getting to know your partner) is seen in the bible also (see SoS and Ruth).
4) I think there is a great case for the concept of arranged marriages (especially in the modified version mentioned here, but I scanned and didn’t see it). I think this can get just as problematic in a different way, too (parents arranging based on monetary reasons).
5) Also, regarding Can you say for a fact that a couple that lives together are more likely to engage in premarital sex than those who don’t…”, if people approach dating the way FotF/Boundless does, then yes, I can say that.

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It makes sense.


I agree, especially with #1.

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