Saturday, May 12, 2007

Absolute Truth

This post doesn't refer to every single person who holds the Bible inerrant and infallible. It's simply written in reaction to the behavior of some who hold that view.

There are a variety of reasons why I don't hold the Bible to be 'without error.' I don't mean that the writers deliberately lied -- at least not as that time-frame would refer to as 'lie.' But they did lack a lot of knowledge in terms of science and just the universe in general.

Anyway, one of the other reasons is because very often, it comes across as though inerrants don't listen to those who aren't Christian: and this pretty much covers ever area. Those in another religion, those who are just spiritual, those who are agnostic/atheists (either were something else and become that or used to be Christian and are now that or those who were just always that), those who don't believe every aspect of conservative Christianity.

A very common reaction to those who aren't Christian is that they're actively rejecting God and blatantly living in sin. And no matter what the response is, the fundamentalist inerrantist )shorted to FI) rejects your answer, for the FI knows you better than you know yourself. Essentially, the FI isn't listening to anything you say, but rather interpreting you through the Bible.

The catch to that answer is twofold: 'actively rejecting God.' One, that assumes that everyone is agreeing on the concept of God. Now, for me, if God is defined Biblically as Spirit, Light, and Love, among other adjectives, then actively rejecting that concept of God becomes incredibly difficult. Most people gravitate towards the light. Many prefer to live a life of love, and if dwelling in love means dwelling in God ... then don't most people dwell in love? A friendship or a marriage or being a parent -- those do require the greatest type of love there is, a self-sacrificial love.

The second 'fold' is blatantly living in sin. Most of what Paul lists as not the fruit of the Spirit are feelings/actions that most people don't enjoy having: adultery, hatred, wrath, strife (probably even idolatry, because part of worshiping something that's unhealthy is the power it holds over you). Now, if living in those feelings while in the moment, one can feel perfectly justified. But for the most part, when someone no longer hates a brother, or lusts after someone/something, there's a tremendous amount of joyful freedom. So even 'blatantly living in sin' really doesn't fly, when I consider most people I come in contact with.

If the rebelling-against-God/blatant sin isn't the response, then the answer is usually that the non-FI doesn't know how to correctly read the Bible, or is eager to look for reasons why to discount the Bible, or trying to force God to work according to someone's terms. But that again gets lumped into the 'not listening' category. For many people, trying to work the Old Testament events around a all-loving, infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful God (or just trying to work it around how Jesus claims God is) doesn't work. Israel had a tribal mindset for much of the Old Testament -- thus, God is portrayed with tribal God behavior. I truly believe that if that type of behavior were shown to belong to an infinite God in *any* other setting, it would be enough to discount the Old Testament as divine/infinite. But it's part of an "inerrant, infallible" text, and so must be true. To a non-FI, or even a non-inerrantist, that comes across as an excuse, and that too many things have to be twisted into reasons why the Bible is inerrant. To a FI, the other person is simply hiding in sin, or unwilling to face sin, or ... something. Which brings us back to the non-listening aspect.

Another reason why I don't hold to inerrancy is that it can be an incredibly dangerous position. In the past, the Bible has been used to justify slavery, acts such as the Inquisition, and holding women to a second-class citizenship. Today, most consider all of those to be immoral acts, and would say that all occurred through a mis-reading of the Bible. That's fine. But all those acts were, in general, committed by people who held the Bible to be without error, and to act otherwise was to go against the word of God. If that was the case even 150 years ago, what is being held today as 'without error' that is actually just as immoral? Even the argument that reading the Bible while humbly asking God to do His will will lead to a moral act doesn't work, because those who supported slavery did believe that they were following God's Will -- and to fight against slavery was to be in rebellion against God.

So ultimately, that is why I don't hold the Bible to be inerrant or infallible. Because if I did, it would strip me of my ability to listen, or to understand why someone does not follow the Bible. It would be much to easy for me to lump anyone who is not like me into a category to be dismissed -- and that's already too easy to do most days. It could also run the risk of stripping my ability to make moral judgements. That can come across as arrogant, yes, but I've seen all the damage inerrency has done, historically. I do believe good can come from the Bible -- I've had good come from the Bible. I know inerrants online who are devout Christians who would never do anything immoral, and do understand why others have problems with Christianity. It just seems that they are on the rare side, too often.

It's simply important to 'test the spirits,' and consider the cultural context in which the Bible was written.

75 comments:

HeIsSailing said...

Heather sez:
"Another reason why I don't hold to inerrancy is that it can be an incredibly dangerous position."

I never really thought of this aspect, but I think now that you bring it up, that it is true. Even if the Bible is Inerrant and Divinely inspired, it would be dangerous as exclusive truth. People will go to all lengths to defend the infallable God of the universe over the wisdom of the world - even to the point of the sword.

Guy Sonntag said...

I think we miss something subtle when we critique biblical inerrancy. Some Christians say the Bible is inerrant and they mean that it is scientifically and historically accurate, despite what science and archeology tell us. Other Christians say define inerrancy in such a way as to refer only to the Bible as a doctrinal and moral guide, though this may conflict with current trends.

So when we say we reject biblical inerrancy, we are rejecting an interpretation of the Bible, and we ought to be careful not to (to employ an overused cliché) throw the baby out with the bathwater. Good can come from the Bible. It really depends on us.

So we test the spirits, as you say, and consider the historical-grammatical context. We try to ascertain the author’s purpose and listen with the ears of his audience. What do we do, then, if what the author intended and what the audience heard, means something different to them than it means to us? What takes precedence in this hermeneutical method, their culture or ours? Is slavery morally wrong, for example, or is cruelty in slavery the thing that is wrong?

MOI said...

Excellent post Heather. I think that the fine line for most FEs is just too subtle for them to discern. It's either all or nothing with them. I still find great comfort in portions of the bible, but to use it to justify a sinful position is itself sinful in my book. Thanks for the definition! :-)

DagoodS said...

Part of the appeal (that I see) is that “black-and-white” makes for easier decisions. A sign “Keep off the Grass” is very clear in its directions as to locale, time and audience. There is no need for interpretation, debate or discussion. A sign, “Don’t harm the grass” raises grey areas that introduce controversy, discrimination and perhaps division. So much easier just to say “Keep off” than “Don’t harm.”

In the same way, inerrancy makes it brighter; more determinative. The problem we all see is that once we introduce the concept that there might be one (1) error, we have established in some way a method by which we determine error(s) in the Bible. If there is one, there may be more. And by allowing errors in the Bible, we also allow for division over what those errors are, and how to determine them.

Some fundamentalism is not as much mean-spirited as the person is looking for a comfort zone. A place they can feel “safe.” By placing demanding inhibitive doctrine, the person may recognize the possibility of being incorrect, but they have erred on the side of caution. Which is better—to say the Bible has no errors and in heaven find out one is incorrect, or say the Bible has error and find out in heaven one is correct?

By making a definitive statement, and erring on the side of caution, the person is setting boundaries that are safer to them.

Anonymous said...

I think the last two or three sentences of the next to las paragraph sum up the real problem. It really isn't what the Bible is viewed to be but the way people use it to the greater good or as is too often, to promote oneself or a personal agenda. Those second kind of people will always find a tool to use and this kind of manipulation started with Satan in the Garden. Lieing with the truth is highly effective in manipulation.

Pam

Heather said...

Guy

**What takes precedence in this hermeneutical method, their culture or ours? Is slavery morally wrong, for example, or is cruelty in slavery the thing that is wrong? ** And this is why inerrency is so much easier. :) I would do what Huck Finn did, I would hope, and say, "Then I'll go to hell!" in terms of something I knows is morally wrong, even if all the religious people around me say that I'm committing a grave sin. But it's a tricky situation, because it could lead to dismissing things that we know are right, but we'd rather indulge, instead. That would be just as dangerous.

When I reject inerrency, I'm rejecting a particular interpretation. I do think there's a great deal of value to be held in the Bible.

Heather said...

HIS,

**People will go to all lengths to defend the infallable God of the universe over the wisdom of the world - even to the point of the sword. ** Agreed. And that leads to an interesting though, because often the ones defending with a sword are those that feel threatened. But the one who is really be 'threatened' is God, and so I wonder if on a subconscious level, the sword-wielder is equating him/herself with God?

Heather said...

Moi -- Thanks. :)

DagoodS --

** And by allowing errors in the Bible, we also allow for division over what those errors are, and how to determine them.** And that would lead into the wonderful area of by what standard does one determine error or truth? Which would then lead to subjectivity.

**By making a definitive statement, and erring on the side of caution, the person is setting boundaries that are safer to them. ** I agree with this as well, and don't believe that all inerrentists behave in this way. It just usually seems that the FE's are the most vocal about it, but that can be said about any group. The unpleasant factors is usually the most noticable.

Heather said...

Pam,

**Those second kind of people will always find a tool to use and this kind of manipulation started with Satan in the Garden. Lieing with the truth is highly effective in manipulation.** I do agree with this, and understand what you're saying. But sometimes, people who do horrific things fall into the first category of genuine compassion, or who sincerely believe that s/he is following God's Will. Yet they do what they consider to be an immoral act, because to not do so would go against the Bible. And that is what troubles me most about inerrency.

Dan Marvin said...

Heather,

I am finding it difficult to find your viewpoints. To set the stage I am an evangelical fundamentalist with a monotheistic viewpoint and how about you, what do you consider yourself, Heather? Do you stand on a platform of a side; have you picked a side yet? Do you stand on black or white on any subject. Are you gray or lukewarm? You argue against what I believe but never really divulging what you believe. What do you believe? 1 Peter 3:15

Taking a few things that are typo's or inconsistencies (man is fallible) and throwing out the entire teaching is reckless. (baby/ bathwater) Look in Matthew and Mark two different people are describing the same things. They do not use the exact words because two different brains are interpreting the same occurrence like if you and I were to watch fireworks and you would describe the different colors and I would describe all the shapes.

Are you stating that you know FE’s better then themselves? ”And no matter what the response is, the FE rejects your answer, for the FE knows you better than you know yourself. Essentially, the FE isn't listening to anything you say, but rather interpreting you through the Bible. ”

The FE is not rejecting your response God is, in the Bible. As a fundies I don’t believe in man or human interpretation at all, not even my own! I read the Bible plainly and view it at as written by God and just penned by man. The mere fact that none of those errors were not taken out shows how sacred and guarded it was as “the word” and the imperfections are in tact and not smoothed over by man. Look at the story itself it was very hard to believe but it was the truth and left in tact. For example The New Testament presents woman as defiled and less valued then men. Woman were second rate citizens and not taken seriously but who found, arguably one of the greatest miracles of mankind, the tomb empty and told everyone? A woman named Mary Magdalene. To be taken more seriously, a man should have found the tomb empty but that would have not been the truth as that person who wrote it and knew it.

Example: The age of Ahaziah: 2 kings 8:26 and 2 chronicles 22:2 Now this could have been corrected thousands of years ago but they are left intact. Why you ask? That is what was written and left alone all these years. So if you heather, misspell something can we say that you are a liar and a flake or some other ad hominem fallacy?

”But they did lack a lot of knowledge in terms of science and just the universe in general”

I believe you are very misinformed so lets have some fun with this then: Scientists just 140 years ago used to bleed people to cure them (that is how George Washington died) and the bible some 3000 years ago said that blood is life.

Science expresses the universe in five terms: time, space, matter, power and motion. "In the beginning (time) God created (power) the Heaven (space) and the earth (matter)… And the Spirit of God moved (motion) upon the face of the waters."

Creation made of invisible elements Hebrews 11:3 for thousands of years science was ignorant on the subject and only recently they found Creation is made of invisible elements (atoms).

Science for many thousands of years thought the ocean was fed only by rivers
and rain. The Bible: Ocean contains springs Job 38:16

I can go on if you wish; I have more but will stop for now. Let me know I can give you many more examples. My point is that science is just now catching up to the perfection of the Bible.

”usually that the non-FE doesn't know how to correctly read the Bible, or is eager to look for reasons why to discount the Bible, or trying to force God to work according to someone's terms. ” I for one read it plainly, plain and simple.

”In the past, the Bible has been used to justify slavery, acts such as the Inquisition, and holding women to a second-class citizenship. Today, most consider all of those to be immoral acts,” These days we have murdered over 40 million babies (since 1973) in the United States alone and have let gangs and drug and the secular humanism religion reign in our public schools all in the name of morality. A woman lead the man to defy God and thus we fell from God’s grace, The Bible says that when we are ruptured and go to heaven that we will be the bride (the Body) and Jesus will be the groom (Head). Marriage was created by God to emulate this relationship, the man is the head and woman is the body. We are not to follow our own hearts (which is wicked) we are to have faith in our Lord and trust that he is in charge and accountable for us as the family (Body). Are you married, Heather?

”It would be much to easy for me to lump anyone who is not like me into a category to be dismissed” And you call them FE’s right? BTW what do you stand for? What is your category? So God said not to doubt but to have faith. Do you have faith in God, heather?

I and we all deserve hell plain and simple, I and we all come short of the Glory of God. We are wretched wicked pitiful souls and I as we all need God. So tell us once and for all are you a liberal Christian, atheist, agnostic, secular humanist with a polytheistic viewpoint?

For Him,
Dan

Mystical Seeker said...

To be blunt, I think that the idea that the Bible is inerrant is really ridiculous to anyone who serious reads the Bible. Its internal contradictions, its flaws, its evolving ideas about God, and the clear humanity of the authors of the books that make up the Bible are obvious to anyone who isn't trapped in their own simplistic theology. Biblical inerrancy stifles the mind, frankly. It makes people stop thinking.

for the FE knows you better than you know yourself. I particularly agree that this is a consequence. Once you are trapped into an inerrant mindset, dogmas replace the give and take of dialogue, so of course you know others more than they know themselves. Why bother listening to what they have to say? The free exchange of ideas is a threat, a tool of the devil. It might introduce doubt, which is the worst thing of all. Better to repeat the dogmas like a kind of Christian mantra.

I honestly think that biblical inerrancy is a hugely dangerous evil. Many people are attracted to it despite its lack of intellectual viability because it offers them the comfort of certainty. I was brought up as a fundamentalist believer in inerrancy, and I know firsthand what it does to your thinking. It is possible for people to break free of the fundamentalist mindset, but at least in the US it seems to have a hold on a certain segment of the populace.

jennypo said...

Heather,

The problems you point out are real, but I wonder if they come from a belief that MY interpretation and MY application and MY thinking in relation to the Bible is inerrant, rather than the Bible itself. If a person truly believes in the inerrancy of the entire Bible, they should be quite safe from reading into it support for slavery or considering women as second-class citizens.
The trouble in these cases seem to be that people want to pull a single statement out of its context and use it to justify their own beliefs. If they see the Bible as a collection of pieces that can be selected and discarded rather than a unified, inerrant whole, then such a view is of course possible. However, I find it incomprehensible that one who fully believes the entire Bible is God's revelation of himself could find justification for things so obviously contradicted within the same book.
Let me respectfully suggest that the problems stem not from the view that the Bible is inerrant, but two other sources: that my view of the Bible is inerrant, and/or that the Bible's teachings may be de-contextualized and used as justification for my view.
As a side note, if we don't believe the Bible to be inerrant, we are left with no authority for our beliefs about God. Not to apply this thinking to all to hold the view, but if we follow it down the track, isn't it a bit arrogant of us to say, on our own authority, what is or is not in relation to God? Why then the Christian God?

Heather said...

Hi, Jenny.

Thanks for your response. :)

**If a person truly believes in the inerrancy of the entire Bible, they should be quite safe from reading into it support for slavery or considering women as second-class citizens. ** Culture and such may play a role, but the reason why I disagree with this is because of how history has played out, in terms of Biblical inerrency. Partly because of the culture, but partly because of how long the Bible had been read that way.

I do think these two are tied: **that my view of the Bible is inerrant, and/or that the Bible's teachings may be de-contextualized and used as justification for my view.** Much of it I think comes from the fact that belief in the Bible's inerrency can sometimes very easily shift to belief that one can read it without errors.

**we are left with no authority for our beliefs about God. Not to apply this thinking to all to hold the view, but if we follow it down the track, isn't it a bit arrogant of us to say, on our own authority, what is or is not in relation to God? Why then the Christian God? ** I can understand where you're coming from, because this can lead to discarding anything that we simply don't want to follow at that particular time. But I do think the Bible as a whole can hold authority over someone's life, even if that person doesn't consider it inerrent. To use an example: you've mentioned before about how you had to make Christianity your 'own,' in a way, and thus went a journey to discover who God is -- part of that was through reading the Bible, but wasn't another part of that ... well, 'sensing' God, for lack of a better word? I've read stories where people are walking somewhere, and suddenly were overwhelmed with this incredible sense of love. God was 'speaking' to that person -- and this was a person who didn't believe in the Bible's inerrency, but still considered it an authority for who God is, and can base this on a personal knowledge of the Divine.

Either way, both views require analyzing, and not just blind acceptence -- which I think we both agree on.

Heather said...

Dan,

**The FE is not rejecting your response God is, in the Bible. As a fundies I don’t believe in man or human interpretation at all, not even my own!** I was stating what my impression of a FE has been -- and this still leads down the path of not listening to the other person. And it also means you are assuming that your particular interpretation of the Bible is correct, and that you are 'hearing' God correctly.

**Taking a few things that are typo's or inconsistencies (man is fallible) and throwing out the entire teaching is reckless. (baby/ bathwater) ** I didn't say I did that, nor did I advocate that position.

**For example The New Testament presents woman as defiled and less valued then men. Woman were second rate citizens and not taken seriously but who found, arguably one of the greatest miracles of mankind, the tomb empty and told everyone? ** No, certain books in the New Testament present that view -- not all of them (and for those books that do present women in that fashion have huge debates over to whether Paul actually wrote them -- many scholars say he didn't). Paul's letters reference women in high positions, or preaching, and Jesus didn't address them as second-class.

**So if you heather, misspell something can we say that you are a liar and a flake or some other ad hominem fallacy?** Again -- nowhere did I state that simply due to misspellings, the Bible is penned by liars. Please go back and re-read why I find fundamentalistic inerrancy to be dangerous -- because it leads to dismissing others, and that in the past, it has lead to immoral positions.

**I believe you are very misinformed so lets have some fun with this then** The first creation story in the Bible mirrors other creation stories in that region -- such as God dividing the waters, and placing a 'firmament' above to hold back the waters. In Genesis 1, the sky is blue because there's water up there, and the firmament holds it back -- and the stars were 'embedded' in the firmament. The writers of the Bible believed the Earth to be flat, and this viewpoint is shown throughout the Bible, and this view is supported by many scholars -- so why did you assume I was misinformed?

Dan, why would I tell you what I believe, or what I stand for, if I have so far received the impression that you're not going to listen to it, or even try to understand where I'm coming from?

Heather said...

Mystical,

** Its internal contradictions, its flaws, its evolving ideas about God, and the clear humanity of the authors of the books that make up the Bible are obvious to anyone who isn't trapped in their own simplistic theology. ** You sound like you are on the same path as I am -- the more I've studied the origins of the Bible, the archeological evidence, the original Hebrew/Greek words, or the culture in which it was written (and the surrounding culture), or even the viewpoint the author was trying to promote --no, I can't consider it inerrant.

SocietyVs said...

"Most people gravitate towards the light. Many prefer to live a life of love, and if dwelling in love means dwelling in God ... then don't most people dwell in love?" (Heather)

I have been considering this aspect of the faith for quite sometime now - and I think my belief-set falls right about where the sentence you made leaves off. I have come to believe that living a life that is nurturing the fellow-people around us is one dedicated to God (whether known or not by the person). Since I think the purpose of the teachings of Christ are to make life great amongst our 'neighbors' (a rewarding relationship for us all to be in). It starts with us and ends with us - how we make the world around us (for the better). This is where my faith is currently at - we live and do as what we believe we are (and Jesus' teachings are 'good news' because they can give humanity strong self-esteem and value).

As for the inerrancy thing, I think the bible is the word of God - however - all things need to be considered in context (even historical). I see the Tanakh (saying OT is slightly un-liked by the Jewish people) as something with historical context and shows a variety of periods and views of God. Maybe God never changed but man/woman sure did.

Heather said...

Society,

**I have come to believe that living a life that is nurturing the fellow-people around us is one dedicated to God (whether known or not by the person). ** You and I do often seem to be on the same wavelength, and I agree with this. For me, I just find God too infinite to be able to be rejected so easily.

**As for the inerrancy thing, I think the bible is the word of God - however - all things need to be considered in context (even historical). ** Do you believe it's the word of God in an inspired sense? Because for me, something can be inspired and yet still not be literally 'true.'

Dan Marvin said...

First you didn't address any of my questions to you, none were answered at all. And you point out "and this still leads down the path of not listening to the other person." umm yea I agree you are doing exactly that. Hypocrisy is a thorn in God’s side and you don’t have to interpret anything to understand that. Are you really serious? The Bible is true and everyone must be brought low and all must humble and beg for mercy so God can grant them life and HE gets all the credit. Now get saved and grow in holiness.

”The writers of the Bible believed the Earth to be flat, and this viewpoint is shown throughout the Bible,” really, is this your interpretation?

Free float of earth in space Job 26:7. The earth is a sphere Isaiah 40:22.

I will ask again, what do YOU believe and what do you call YOURSELF?

Heather said...

Dan,

** And you point out "and this still leads down the path of not listening to the other person." umm yea I agree you are doing exactly that.** There is a difference between not listening, and not answering the questions. I did listen to what you said, as I responded to quite a few points you made. But I am not going to answer, because nothing in your behavior has indicated that you will take the time to understand me. And no, asking questions doesn't prove that you want to understand me -- what proves that is showing that you do comprehend why inerrancy troubles me, or the reasons behind this post. You haven't. Another way that would prove it is to stop telling others how prideful they are, or arrogant, or angry, when they try and explain to you why you might want to change your approach in dealing with other mindsets. I havne't seen that, either, so why would I open myself up to more of that?

**The writers of the Bible believed the Earth to be flat, and this viewpoint is shown throughout the Bible,” really, is this your interpretation? ** This is based on historical study, in terms of what prior Christians believed. And based on the understanding of that culture, in terms of the organization of the universe.

Dan Marvin said...

This is what God as well as I has to deal with? We must submit to "your" way of doing things to get results. Is that prideful to you? Oh that’s right you don’t answer my questions. Dodge if you must.

You don't have to explain anything to me because I am human like you. I will tell you anything you want no strings, unconditional love is what I have for you. Your conditional conversations are stagnant. Hope the best for you.

Dan Marvin said...

I can't post on lukewarm but here is your answer to the question on lukewarm:

DagoodS and Heather,

Yes I do have references. This is well known and is mentioned in debates debates all the time. All the research and references are in this book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Even atheists don’t refute it. It is also mentioned on pg 367 of Dan Barker’s Book Losing Faith in Faith. The back of his book has a slew of references for this information but it is common knowledge. Maybe Wiki has it also. lol

HeIsSailing said...

Dan sez:
"”The writers of the Bible believed the Earth to be flat, and this viewpoint is shown throughout the Bible,” really, is this your interpretation?

Free float of earth in space Job 26:7. The earth is a sphere Isaiah 40:22."

Dan, here is Isaiah 40:22:
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

Dan, this is something that will get you thrown out of math101, a CIRCLE is not a SPHERE. A CIRCLE, which is how Isaiah views the earth, is a flat plane that bisects a SPHERE. Here is a picture of how Isaiah likely viewed the cosmos:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Hieronymus_Bosch_-_The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_-_The_exterior_%28shutters%29.jpg

I hope that link went through. This is a painting done in 1504 that was originally the shutters to a triptych alterpiece. The universe is a sphere and the flat circular earth bisects it. The stars, including the planets, sun, moon, comets, etc, were above the earth, planted on the dome of the sky.

This is the Biblical view of the cosmos, and it is not just in Isaiah.

SocietyVs said...

"Do you believe it's the word of God in an inspired sense? Because for me, something can be inspired and yet still not be literally 'true.'" (Heather)

I would say it has to be an inspired sense - people wrote as they were 'moved' to do so - whether a letter or a gospel - or the Tanakh prophets writings. As for literalness - this isn't the pre-supposition I would lean towards - namely in the gospels (my main area of study) - since so much figurative language is used that to be literal one would have to have no knowledge of English (or language nuances).

As for the message I accept it as 'truth'. I see a lot of things within the message of Jesus (all of it to be honest) that lead to a life of servitude towards humanity in the arena of connection (love). But this connection is placed in the spehere of 'getting to know God' - 3 ideas spring forth as tantamount to Jesus - Love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself. To break from the realm of the 3 inter-connected is to ruin the greatness of Jesus' message - it includes us all. I find that to be 100% truthful - the way - the life. It is literal but works it's way out in all of us in many diverse ways - and 'they are good' (literal but made alive in different experiences).

I am not sure what is false in the bible as of yet. I just finished reading Joshua and now am reading Judges - total war books. They read like they are telling of what happened and are quite specific in some details (even leave altars and rocks all over the place - to which the writer attests). I am guessing these things happened - since that is the claim within the books. They read more like history than something to 'learn from'. If anything, the only teaching in there is for the Jewish nation to 'serve God and not idols' (since this is bad) - and to stand up for the promises made to Israel about Canaan (this totally precludes me in any manner).

I think this stuff happened - but doesn't mean I have to garner beliefs from it - it excludes me (I am a Gentile from Aboriginal Canada). So Israel fought some wars and framed them this way - it's interesting but has very little in there for me to garner as 'truth'.

Any of this make any sense? I guess what I am saying is literal doesn't mean reading all things in the bible like they are something for me to follow. For how do I follow something that happened all those years ago in a different culture and not aimed at me? I don't - I just read it.

pastordarlene said...

Heather

I appreciate your post regarding your struggle in inerrancy vs. infallibility.
Many scholars over centuries have done the same thing.

You stated:
I do believe good can come from the Bible -- I've had good come from the Bible.

I was wondering if you could share what good you have experienced.

pastordarlene

Heather said...

Society,

I do understand what you're saying. And I especially like that you mentioned the aspect of loving one's self, too, because that so often seems to get overlooked.

**I am not sure what is false in the bible as of yet. I just finished reading Joshua and now am reading Judges - total war books. ** I think it would depend on what is meant by 'false.' If 'false' means 'lie with deliberate intent to deceive,' then I'm not sure, either. If 'false' means something that didn't historically happen, then I might agree with that, depending on the context.

One note in terms of how books like Joshua or Judges applies -- I haven't read those, but you might be able to apply this type of concept to them. For example, let's say the story in Exodus didn't historically happen in the way it's presented. To me, the story holds just as much value. It could show how the concept of slavery isn't just confined to a physical sense -- I find it very telling that it was the next generation that inherited the Promise Land, and not those who originally left Egypt. Part of that seems to be because the Israelites hadn't broken free of the enslaved mindset. Or take Pharoh's hardened heart, and God doing the hardening -- it could show that one must fully understand the effects of 'sin' in order to fully break free. So I would find 'truths' in there.

Heather said...

Pastordarlene,

You may be sorry you asked. ;) I'll give you two examples.

When I was around nine or ten, I was having a difficult time eating, because I kept being terrified that I would vomit. I had recently been sick, and for some reason, the memory stuck with me and was overwhelming. I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading a passage out of the OT -- I really wish I could remember it -- and after this certain verse, something like a wave swept over me, and the fear and nausea were gone. I was fine after that, and able to eat.

A much more recent one would be from last year. A situation at work had developed where it turned out that I had made a mistake due to some faulty information. It was going to kind of affect the financial situation in certain areas, and I was really nervous, because I didn't want to come across as inept or get yelled at (I hate conflict). I went home that night, and kept focusing on two verses. In paraphrase, "For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind" and "There is no fear in love, for a perfect love cast out fear." I went to bed, still nervous and woke up the same way. While driving to work, I felt something like a 'wall' slide through me, and become incredibly calm. I could still feel the nervousness, but it was in a "Oh, are you still here?" sort of way. The calmness was almost showing how 'wrong' the fear was, and it was like I was seeing the situation from 'above.' I almost felt silly for being so nervous. The situation did end up having a solution, where my company wasn't affected. Afterwards, I was almost excited for the next conflict, just to see how it would be worked out again.

I hope this helps.

Mystical Seeker said...

The book of Joshua is probably not historically accurate. But I think the real problem with the book of Joshua is its theology, notably the suggestion that God orders people to commit genocide as allegedly took place in Ai and Jericho. This is really offensive.

The real trick in reading a book like Joshua is to be able to appreciate it despite these serious moral and theological problems. I think looking at it in a historical context, as part of an attempt at understanding God in the context of remembered history, rather than an accurate depiction of God's nature or actions in the world, might be the way to go.

Dan Marvin said...

Heather,

I really don’t know if I want to hug you or spank you, lol. I wish a warm hug would do it all the time but it doesn’t. To say anything in the Bible is a lie is saying God is a liar. How can anyone pick and choose what is right or wrong based on no information. God says the Bible is his word and it is. He created the universe, he can preserve his word.

Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it isn’t God teachings. So woman are to submit to their husbands that is what God wants but you don’t right? So you reject God’s teachings and replace it with your own. You are breaking the 2nd Commandment BTW and we muddy the waters when we do that.

Someone called me a biblical literalist and YEC (Young earth creation believer), I agreed because that is what the bible says. How can we pick and choose? God is truth Jesus is truth. Salvation is truth. The bible is all you need for salvation. Just because we don’t understand all the design of God’s word and plan we shouldn’t stop trusting in him. That is so destructive and dangerous. It could lead to umm atheism.

Here is a few comments that we exchanged that I hope will help you.

”Dan, a majority of Christians in the US disagree with you? They don't consider the Bible to be the 100%, inerrant word of God” I would trade all the worlds’ applause for one nod of God.

” How can a biblical literalist, one who believes that the bible was written for modern humans in the 21st century, accept slavery as "literally true" and "from God" when no decent human being would ever say that slavery was even remotely acceptable? ” How can you be a part of a country that has a belief system that people actually would ever say that killing babies (abortion) was even remotely acceptable? Hypocrisy

I know Heather; the Bible has many things that are so far out there it is hard to believe. Can fallible, sinful man be in authority over the Word of God?

Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 8:2, ‘And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.’ Compared to what God knows, we know ‘next door to nothing!’ This is why we should be so careful to let God speak to us through His Word, and not try to impose our ideas on God’s Word.

“Our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.” AIG

Remember all that is asked of us for that Gift of God's is Repent and TRUST in him and then we are saved. How can you trust with doubt?

JP Manzi said...

Heather,

I appreciate your approach to this issue. I really have nothing "worth while" to add that has not been discussed already. I do, however, see things with lenses tha similar to yours.

Real quick, something that made me snicker. Dan, you said "We are wretched wicked pitiful souls and I as we all need God"

Ouch, you really believe an all loving God created us wicked, hmmm. Well, you don't need to answer that, I've heard them all. I was once a proud fundie who had the "original sin" argument in my back pocket.

With love and respect.
JP

Heather said...

Dan,

**To say anything in the Bible is a lie is saying God is a liar.** There is a difference between a lie and a myth.

**God says the Bible is his word and it is.** Where does God say this? (Please, not the verse about all how the Bible is inspired or 'God-breathed.' That's not God directly saying that the Bible is His word, especially since there was no New Testament at that time. And there's a difference between inspiration and literally-true)

**So woman are to submit to their husbands that is what God wants but you don’t right? So you reject God’s teachings** Or, I look at the verses where women were valued in their own right, the fact that Jesus treated women with respect, the scholars who say it's highly unlikely Paul wrote most of those books that had those verses, and conclude that it was a later edition.

**How can you be a part of a country that has a belief system that people actually would ever say that killing babies (abortion) was even remotely acceptable?** This comparison doesn't fly, though, because the pro-choice position doesn't use the Bible to justify themselves. Many that supported slavery did use the Bible as justification, because it was the word of God and inerrant.

**Just because we don’t understand all the design of God’s word and plan we shouldn’t stop trusting in him. That is so destructive and dangerous.** It is also destructive to blindly trust.

**And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.’ Compared to what God knows, we know ‘next door to nothing!’** That example is right in the middle of Paul explaining about food consecrated to idols. Someone may 'know' that eating that food doesn't actually signify loyalty to the idol, but a weaker member would stumble if s/he saw someone eating that food, and thus lead to the weaker member's downfall. That 'knowledge' would serve to destroy the weak.

Heather said...

Hi, JP.

Thank you for your comments. I often think it would be nice if there were more focus on the verses where God said we were fearfully and wonderfully made, and such.

I imagine your journey to the lens you have now wasn't easy, but hopefully you are at peace.

Heather said...

Mystical,

**I think looking at it in a historical context, as part of an attempt at understanding God in the context of remembered history, rather than an accurate depiction of God's nature or actions in the world, might be the way to go. ** I honestly haven't read the book of Joshua. I tried, but had to put it down. In some ways, I think we can get pieces of God from these books. But take Exodus, for example -- God was the reason why Pharoh's heart was hardened, and then God punished the Eygptians for the Pharoh not releasing the Israelites. That seems to be more of an example of how people viewed God.

It's just really fascinating to watch how the concept of God 'evolved' almost, from beginning to end.

JP Manzi said...

Easy? No, not at all. At peace? Still trying, its not easy wiping off the dirt of your traditional past. The journey is fun and worthwhile though.

Dan Marvin said...

**God says the Bible is his word and it is.** Where does God say this? (Please, not the verse about all how the Bible is inspired or 'God-breathed.' That's not God directly saying that the Bible is His word, especially since there was no New Testament at that time. And there's a difference between inspiration and literally-true)

Remember rich man and Lazarus and here is more about his word. What more evidence do you need?

because the pro-choice position doesn't use the Bible to justify themselves that is because they can’t and why would evil use the Bible to prove anything? God says blood is life. Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Exodus 21:22-23: If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, (Greater than 98% of all abortions are done for non-medical reasons.)

Matthew 18:10 Jesus said: Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Psalm 139:13-16: For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

The Bible tells us God is involved in our creation from the womb: Job 31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Psalms 22:9-10 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Isaiah 49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

I am not condemning woman that abort babies, Praise Jesus that there is a way to salvation.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Shall I go on?

It is also destructive to blindly trust. Really why? You blindly trust a pilot when you board a plane, you blindly trust elevators. Why wouldn’t you blindly trust a holy and righteous God that never lies and created the universe and understands us?

JP asked: Ouch, you really believe an all loving God created us wicked, hmmm. No not at all, we are in a fallen creation God didn’t create us wicked. We choose evil, yes even you. The question is do you think God is all loving? Does he love rapist and pedophiles that never repent?

Romans 9:13 WHY DID GOD LOVE JACOB AND HATE ESAU? I can tell you why God LOVED Jacob; IT IS SOVEREIGN GRACE! There was nothing in Jacob that could make God love him; there was everything about him that might have made God hate him as much as He did Esau, and a great deal more. But it was because God is infinitely gracious that He loved Jacob and because He is sovereign in His dispensation of His grace that He chose Jacob as an object of that love. Jacob was loved by God simply on the footing of FREE GRACE.

WHY DID GOD HATE ESAU? Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this... because that man DESERVES to be hated. No reply but that can be true. If God deals severely with any person, it is because that person deserves all that he gets. Esau did not lose his birthright; he sold it. he sold it for a "mess of pottage." If any of you want to know what I preach, it is this: "I preach salvation all of grace and damnation all of sin. I give God the glory for every soul that is saved; and when I come to preach damnation, I say that damnation is of man." C.H. Spurgeon

For Him,
Dan

Heather said...

Dan,

The rich man and Lazarus mention Moses and the Prophets, not that the Bible is God's Word. In the other examples that the Bible Gateway pulled up, it's not saying the Bible. It's using 'word' much in the same way that John 1:1 used 'word.' It's an example of how God still speaks, or an example of God's presence with them.

I think you're missing my point with the pro-choice example. In the past, those that have taken the Bible to be inerrant have used it to justify slavery -- they didn't question the morality of the action, because it was clearly laid out in the Bible, and they wouldn't go against it.

** You blindly trust a pilot when you board a plane, you blindly trust elevators. Why wouldn’t you blindly trust a holy and righteous God that never lies and created the universe and understands us?** You don't blindly trust either one of those, you trust based on experience. You know that the pilot has been trained, and that the pilot has flown before with no problems. You know that the elevator has been used before with no problem, and that it's designed to function a certain way -- in both those cases, you are trusting based on prior events. 'Blind' trust is getting into the car of a stranger who says 'trust me.'

**WHY DID GOD HATE ESAU? Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this... because that man DESERVES to be hated. ** If God truly hated Esau, it's a little odd that Jacob eventually tells Esau that seeing Esau's face is like seeing God.

Dan Marvin said...

”not that the Bible is God's Word. ” The Bible (from Greek (τα) βιβλια, (ta) biblia, "(the) books", plural of βιβλιον, biblion, "book", originally a diminutive of βιβλος, biblos, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos, meaning "papyrus", from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported this writing material), is the classical name for the Hebrew Bible.

So how can God say the word Bible when the word wasn’t even invented yet? You are giving a “begging the question” logical fallacy here.

”you trust based on experience.” So all of creation in the universe is not enough experience? Come on ”that the pilot has flown before with no problems.” Really? You know this for sure? if he is drunk you still trust him, what if the elevator never was maintained and cables are ready to snap, you still trust and step in. Blind trust is getting into an airplane without prior knowledge of pilot’s history or current condition or an elevator without knowing the maintenance history. Trusting in God is not blind it's wise.

Heather said...

Dan,

**So how can God say the word Bible when the word wasn’t even invented yet? You are giving a “begging the question” logical fallacy here. ** No. Look at the phrases again in Bible Gateway. God's word has power, or God's word has fire -- it's not referring to something written, but something that was active within the person's life. It is using the term 'word' in the same essence that it used 'word' to describe Jesus. It's not referring to the sense of a written word. Even with the rich man: you earlier said that God said the Bible is His word. I say there's no mention of that exact phrasing, you say I'm begging the question -- but I am only using the phrase that you originally uttered, and saying that it's not stated directly. The rich man begs Abraham to tell the rich man's brothers about the consequences of mistreating the poor. Abraham says that Moses and the Prophets have already said what it is, and the brothers are already not listening. The point in that parable is that there are clear directions to how to treat the poor, and that noted figures of the past have already said this.

**trust is getting into an airplane without prior knowledge of pilot’s history or current condition or an elevator without knowing the maintenance history. ** You do have the prior knowledge -- the company is reputable and still using the pilot. The elevator has been used countless times, and it's evident based on the elevator's condition. It's also evident based on where the elevator is located. If it's in a four-star hotel, then it's been maintained. If it's in an abandoned building, then you're going to find another way of transporting yourself. It's not blind trust: you're using a considerable amount of factors to determine whether to fly on the plane, or use the elevator. Blind trust would be flying with a company that you know absolutely nothing about -- in terms of plane maintainence, or the certifications that their pilots require.

Plus, you earlier state: **Why wouldn’t you blindly trust a holy and righteous God that never lies and created the universe and understands us?**

Now you're saying: **Trusting in God is not blind it's wise. **

You don't see those as going against each other? If you consider trusting God as wise, then how can you blindly trust God? Don't you need to make sure that what you're doing accords with God's will? To test the spirits and such?

Dan Marvin said...

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." --Psalms 12:6

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." --Isaiah 55:8,11

You are quite overzealous to say the Bible is NOT God’s word. I will blindly and wisely follow God (word) why, because I trust him with my life and salvation.

“make sure that what you're doing accords with God's will?” How do we do this? By reading and staying in God’s word (Bible). What do you think Jesus meant when he said in John 8 “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Spoken word (written to preserve), right?

test the spirits, what verse is that? Peace

JP Manzi said...

"The question is do you think God is all loving? Does he love rapist and pedophiles that never repent?" Without throwing forth scriptural references to your questions, I will just say this "Yes".

I am enjoying the dialogue between you two. I have not had the time to jump in with all thats going on but hopefully I can soon.

Dan Marvin said...

Without throwing forth scriptural references to your questions,

That is because you can't JP there is nothing in the Bible that claims what you are saying. So how are you getting this information anyway? by making it up or just misunderstanding the bible?

You're right your God wouldn't banish you, for one he can't and second because your god doesn't exist. That is where the problem is... It's your pride getting in the way. When you say "my god" you are breaking the 2nd Commandment because you are making a god to fit your beliefs and suite yourself.

There is a God he does exist and you will face him on Judgment day you have lied which makes you a liar if you have lusted you have committed adultery in your heart. And if you broke one you might as well have broken all the commandments because it says in Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mike L. said...

Good post Heather. I didn't read through this whole thread of comments, but I agree with your initial thoughts. Thanks for sharing your articulate position.

Dan Marvin said...

I use an Exegesis type of interpretation instead of many like Heather and JP and others who use an eisegesis method.

Heather said...

Mike,

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Dan Marvin said...

Heather here is another, lol.

John 1:1 in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JP Manzi said...

Dan, I love ya brother. However, out of respect, I can not get into with you. Me and fundamentalism do not mix well.

Heather, I really appreciate your thoughts on my blog. As soon as my kid is born, hopefully, I will be able to devote a little more time to blogging both on others and my own blog.

Heather said...

Dan,

I answered that one on the other blog. ** For instance, in terms of 'the Word was God.' From what I've learned, an equally good translation is 'What God was, the Word was' because there's no definite article in front of 'theos,' and so it became more of an adjective to describe characteristics that the Logos had. **

Heather said...

JP,

Thank you. That really means a great deal to me.

Jim Jordan said...

Hi Heather,
quite a conversation you have going.
I would suggest that "Fundamentalist Inerrantists" be abbreviated as "FI". Might want to add that to your dictionary.

The question that correlates to inerrancy or "not making a mistake" is "Does the Bible make a mistake?"

Does it mislead you in any way? Are there any verses that you would find impossible to follow?

Before you answer that, try not to stumble on communications with the old Israeli tribe that was tailored for them to understand. God repeatedly uses natural imagery to guide a stubborn people to a supernatural truth. It is the morality play that must be disproved, not these complaints we hear that slavery wasn't abolished or that the earth was referred to somewhere as flat. The Bible's stated purpose is to bring us back into reconciliation with our God. Does it make a mistake in that area?

One last question: how is discarding the Bible as errant not as dangerous as you believe holding it as inerrant is?

Heather said...

Hi, Jim.

**Does it mislead you in any way? Are there any verses that you would find impossible to follow? ** You mean you *don't* want to have the 'does the Bible support slavery' discussion again? ;) I think there are times when quite a few verses come across as hard to follow, such as loving one's enemies.

The key here is 'mislead.' Did the writers set out to mislead, or was it written based on their understanding at the time? Such as verses that come across as Jesus returning with in one's lifetime, or Paul's recommendation that no one marry unless s/he can't 'control' one's self or the ascension really only working for me in a three-tiered universe. None of those positions mean that the writers were lying, it was just what they understood. But in the overall theme I see in the New Testament, with the fact that God is love, there is reconciliation available. And I think understand that starts with an intellectual study of the Bible, but eventually requires something more. Something that goes 'beyond' that, in terms of experiencing what exactly it means that 'God is love.'

**One last question: how is discarding the Bible as errant not as dangerous as you believe holding it as inerrant is? ** Either position is dangerous if followed blindly, because either position can be used to justify a person's quest for power or violence. I do find value in the Bible, and don't discard it. But I don't think it's inerrant, and what we find in there and the knowledge of those writers needs to be balanced with what we know now.

**I would suggest that "Fundamentalist Inerrantists" be abbreviated as "FI". ** Good point.

Anonymous said...

Jim Jordan asked:
Does it mislead you in any way? Are there any verses that you would find impossible to follow?

I would ask, Is the Bible God's revelation to humanity? And if your answer is YES!! Then what do you think he is he revealing?

Pastordarlene said...

Not sure why the comment came through as anonymous, but it was me

Heather said...

Hi, pastordarlene.

I'm assuming that you were directly the question to me, so I will go ahead and answer. :)

I would phrase it more that the Bible gives us a way to learn about God's revelation to humanity, which was/is the Christ. I don't believe that the Bible was drafted word-for-word by God, but rather through encounters with the Spirit, and knowledge of Jesus, the writers were inspired to share what they knew and learned.

So in answering what I think the revelation 'reveals,' I ultimately think it reveals freedom. I don't see Jesus as being sent to save us from 'hell' or make sure we get into heaven when we die. Rather, I see that Jesus came to break loose the chains -- the envy, hatred, suffocating or just daily burdens of life. I see it as Jesus came to 'save' us by showing us that we could be free from sin, and embrace who we were truly created to be -- the child created in God's image and likeness. When living 'in Christ,' we no longer have to be subjected to the powers of this world. We're free. We just need to accept that.

pastordarlene said...

that is a very interesting insight.

If Jesus didn't come to make sure we get into heaven, how do you think you will get there? Or do you believe there is a heaven/hell?

I know that I finally understood the Bible better when I read it through the resurrection, rather than as a text.

One of the text's I have been especially pondering lately is
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

I was pondering what exactly God's glory is. I think God's glory is LOVE.

I think his love is what brought Jesus to earth and what we should be doing to continue God's glory.
Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Pasterdarlene,

**If Jesus didn't come to make sure we get into heaven, how do you think you will get there? Or do you believe there is a heaven/hell?**

The problem I have with the phrase 'getting to heaven' is that it can lead to dismissing a lot on Earth. If the ultimate goal becomes 'get everyone to heaven,' then helping people seems to lose focus. After all, why bother? Any suffering they have now will be nothing once the person is in heaven (unless the person holds the wrong beliefs).

The second difficulty I have with the concept of heaven/hell is that I find it very vague in the Bible. The OT doesn't cover it for at least half of the texts (I think the idea first gets a mention in Daniel). Jesus used both Gehenna and Sheol/Hades to describe it, which don't really translate into how the word is used today. Paul makes no mention of hell, period, and his letters come across with a firm expectation of the Second Coming occuring within his lifetime -- which would then have the new heaven and earth, and many resurrected for the last days. Therefore, he didn't develop a theology of one really going to a place after one dies. The book of Acts mentions saving people from their sins, not saving people so they can do to heaven.

The third difficulty I have with the concept of heaven/hell is that I don't see salvation as instant, I see it as a journey. When I look on my life during periods when 'sin' was defeated, it was a journey. There's a huge difference between saying that one wants help, and really accepting that help. I have no doubt that when I die, there will still be sinful behavior that I'm clinging to, and so I have no reason to believe that I'd suddenly be perfected right after death. If I hadn't let go of it before death, what makes me think I'd do so immediatly afterwards? Rather, I see death as a phase, and the journey continuing in the hereafter.

Fourth, I think we can be in heaven/hell right here. You mentioned that you think God's glory is in love, and I agree. I've had moments where I've just had a feeling of absolute love for someone or a group of someones or just in general, and there was no room for anything else. I've also had moments where I feel I was literally in hell, because I was trapped in so much baggage.

So, to sum everything up -- no idea. And I don't think it's as important as being healed of sin, right here and now.

Mystical Seeker said...

I like what you wrote in your last comment, Heather. Well stated.

Dan Marvin said...

Heather,

If I may I will chime in here to help you understand more why we are all here. We are to Glorify God and that is it. If the only Goal is getting to heaven then we are just prostitutes because we are doing something for gain. We are to glorify God because we truly love him not to get to heaven or stay out of hell.

”The problem I have with the phrase 'getting to heaven' is that it can lead to dismissing a lot on Earth. If the ultimate goal becomes 'get everyone to heaven,' then helping people seems to lose focus.”

John 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” We are not to worry about this fallen creation anymore simple as that. Do not help for gain, help because you feel they need help. For example, I am not here to help you in your walk with God for gain at all, I just know you will perish without help. For your sake, not mine.

”The second difficulty I have with the concept of heaven/hell is that I find it very vague in the Bible.”

Really? The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following: Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51), Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17), Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9), Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), Eternal fire...the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:7,13) Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night."

Make no mistake Heather, the bible is clear about Hell and Revelations tries its best to describe heaven. It is difficult describing heaven to our limited minds; it may be as hard to describe colors to someone who was born blind also. (No “mask” references please, lol)

”The third difficulty I have with the concept of heaven/hell is that I don't see salvation as instant, I see it as a journey. ”

You have things mixed up, let me help. Heaven is the place where souls go when we depart from our earthly body; it is where the saints live for eternity. Eternal life begins when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, eternal life begins here on earth and yes it is a journey. When you are born again you are born into a new heart and new life goals.

”there will still be sinful behavior that I'm clinging to,” that is enjoying sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25)
and you will perish with sin. Do you think wicked people go to heaven? God forbid. Jesus gave the pluck out your eye parable for this. (Matthew 5:28-30)


”If I hadn't let go of it before death, what makes me think I'd do so immediatly afterwards? ” you will perish with sin when you die and immediately you will go to hell. Let’s say you love chocolate and I tell you “stop eating chocolate” you would say thanks for the advice but no I love my chocolate. What if were to explain it by saying we have to stop eating chocolate because it was proven by scientists to contain a bacterium that eats the internal organs and here are 4 million people that have died from it already? You would have no problem giving up chocolate (sin) if it meant to preserve your life. That is what sin is doing with you; if you choose to make sin your God instead of giving up sin for God you will perish. You don’t have to believe me just read that Bible and talk to God to reveal himself to you and he will.

”Fourth, I think we can be in heaven/hell right here. ” That is not Biblical and is wrong. Does Hell have ice cream, no? Then this earth is not hell. Heaven and Hell are real places described in the bible. Your eisegesis methode if interpretation is getting you in real trouble. Does this mean that eisegesis thinking is wrong, I would say yes because it is a capricious attitude. It may even be breaking the 2nd Commandment and making a god to suite yourself.

”no idea. And I don't think it's as important as being healed of sin, right here and now. ” You are correct when you say that you have no idea because repentance and turning away from sin is the most important part of salvation, besides trusting in Jesus. Without it you are not saved. Will God welcome thieves and rapists into heaven that is not repentant, no way and neither are you welcomed if you feel sinning is ok. When you lie, because we are made in God’s image, you are essentially calling God a liar also. He is not he has no sin and to get to heaven you must be made perfect. You cannot make yourself perfect only God can do that by accepting you through Christ’s blood washing you clean and then you are made perfect. It doesn’t matter if you know who Jesus is, what matters is if Jesus knows YOU.

For Him,
Dan

Dan Marvin said...

Why are we here?

I just don’t know if there even will be free will in heaven. I know we won’t want to leave and be tempted to leave. We can appreciate Gods goodness in the presence of evil. Unlike Adam who didn’t know evil, Satan who didn’t know evil, until they fell. We do! Because of it, we so appreciate his goodness and no matter what temptation that will come our way in heaven, if that could even happen, there would be no way, why? Because we knew how horrible evil was and now we can fully appreciate his goodness. The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his righteousness, the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his love, and how else could he show the character of love that loves enemies and sinners if there were none? God endures this horrible assault on his everlasting holiness; he endures the horrifying blaspheming, history of fallen beings, he suffers it, the imposition it is on his purity to display his wrath to the fullest extent, to put himself on everlasting display.

Why are we here? What is the theological answer? To give the text book answer, to glorify God and enjoy him ever more. How do you glorify God? Here is how, you sinner, go get saved. Get saved so God can be glorified, that’s it; this is the purpose of this universe.

God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it. So that he can send forth a savior born of a virgin, to live under the law to save us under the curse of the law so that, we can be a little trophy of his grace, he can always point to us as a testimony to his goodness. Read Ephesians 2:7

We wouldn’t know how God is righteous as he is, everlastingly, and give him glory for it if it hadn’t had of been for unrighteousness, we wouldn’t know he’s loving as he is if it hadn’t been for sin, we wouldn’t know he’s holy if it weren’t for judgment.

How holy is God? So holy that he must send out of his presence, everlastingly, anyone who is not fit. Why of all this? That he might make known the riches of his glory, that is, he did all of this in order that he might gather into heaven a redeemed humanity who would forever glorify him for all that he is.

Paraphrased from Todd Friel and Dr. John Macarthur

Heather said...

Thanks, mystical.

SocietyVs said...

Dan, do you really believe all that you just said in these past posts? I think Heather and a few of us on here are Christ-ians also and we do not hold to those same views (which seem extremely exclusionary - a God of the 'have's' and not the 'have not's'?). I have to chime in at this point.

"We are not to worry about this fallen creation anymore simple as that" (Dan)

I guess that's why Jesus went around healing people in his present time - because he only cared about their life in heaven and not on earth? What makes us any greater than out teacher to think we don't have to help the 'poor' and 'broken' in current society?

"Make no mistake Heather, the bible is clear about Hell" (Dan)

So our loving Father (or Abba) is going to torment people for eternity and the smells of them will rise forever - never to be forgotten? Is that the hell you talk about? Is that the God you also claim to represent? How can an all-loving being stand such torment? If I brought a 'sinner' before you and whipped for 30 straight days (all the time keeping him alive for more torture) what would you think of me? Would I be 'godly' or 'un-godly'?

"Do you think wicked people go to heaven? God forbid. Jesus gave the pluck out your eye parable for this." (Dan)

In that parable, if I am struggling with pornography - should I literally cut my eye out? Or cut my hand off? Will this make me a better person (less wicked)? And what's the dividing line for being considered 'wicked' and 'saintly' exactly? I mean Dan, you seem to know (for God's kingdom) the definition - how can you be so sure 'your right'?

"You are correct when you say that you have no idea because repentance and turning away from sin is the most important part of salvation, besides trusting in Jesus. Without it you are not saved
." (Dan)

I almost think Dan, if I may be so facetious, you speak for God? Am I right or wrong here? I think in some senses Dan you have also made yourself God - cause what if your version is flawed and you are telling people these things as facts from 'Our Father'? Or are you so humble to admit - you don not have all the answers you think you do?

"Will God welcome thieves and rapists into heaven that is not repentant, no way and neither are you welcomed if you feel sinning is ok" (Dan)

So if I became a rapist and thief and then repented I would get into heaven? Like how much of each can I get away with before one or the other is 'too much' in God's view? And just how easy is it to repent?

"It doesn’t matter if you know who Jesus is, what matters is if Jesus knows YOU." (Dan)

Who clarifies this relationship, God n me n church, me n God, or God n me n Dan? Who is the judge in this relationship - if God knows me or not?

"I just don’t know if there even will be free will in heaven." (Dan)

If there is no free will in heaven - count me out dude...smacks of mythology.

Dan Marvin said...

SocietyVs, You are very wrong in your viewpoints and I can biblically back up my beliefs can you?

"We are not to worry about this fallen creation anymore simple as that" (Dan)

I guess that's why Jesus went around healing people in his present time –(SocietyVs)


He did this to prove his deity not to save the world. Of course Jesus wanted to save the sinners and so do I.

So our loving Father (or Abba) is going to torment people for eternity and the smells of them will rise forever - Short answer “Yes” Do you believe unrepentant pedophiles and rapists will go to heaven? Do you protect your children from dangerous people? Don’t you believe that God himself will protect his people from evil? He will separate the evil hearts from his people. Remember the seed parable in Matthew 13? “his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Go here for more

I think in some senses Dan you have also made yourself God absolutely not! You see I am a Christian, I follow Christ, and if Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the eternal lake of fire I believe him. I follow God’s word and I trust him as truth, do you?

So if I became a rapist and thief and then repented I would get into heaven? Like how much of each can I get away with before one or the other is 'too much' in God's view? First I am not God so I can’t say if you would or would not go to heaven. But the Bible is clear about it:

Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” And Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

According to the Bible, You must have a broken and contrite heart for God to accept you. Otherwise you are too proud, which God despises. You must understand that God knows your thought life and you even will be judged on your thoughts, Remember Jesus said whoever looks with lust commits adultery of the heart.(Matthew 5:28)

“Who clarifies this relationship, God n me n church, me n God, or God n me n Dan?“ you will die alone and no church or I can help you after that, it really is a relationship with God and not religion (or church) will save you.


If there is no free will in heaven - count me out dude I was only speculating when I said this and I have no Bible verse to back it up. I am not sure of the afterlife and I pondered this for quite some time. Because we are so wicked and evil I can’t wrap my head around us having free will in heaven can you? I look forward to that day though to answer most of my questions.

Never lose your salvation on what some dude says, that is plain reckless. I suspect you are rejecting God for your own reasons. What if there is no free will and that is God’s plan, who are you to question him? I think in some senses SocietyVs you have also made yourself God.

For Him,
Dan

Dan Marvin said...

I AFFIRM that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. I further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.

I DENY that such confession is necessary for salvation. HoIver, I further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Assembly. Biblical Inerrancy

SocietyVs said...

Thanks for the response Dan, good to hear about your biblical stance on the faith - I do appreciate some of it but again - I have to give you a slight rebuttal on some of the stuff you wrote.

"I can biblically back up my beliefs can you?" (Dan)

Good question - lay down a belief and I will lay down the context of the scripture mentioned - so I affirm with a capital YES I can back up my every single belief about this faith from scripture.

That being said - very little of the bible is actually needed to develop a Christ-like perspective - one might even say Matt 22:35-40 is all you actually need for this(nevermind the Tanakh). So 'touche' on the biblical inerrancy thing - I just took like 27 books and wrapped them up in 5 short verses - am I wrong? Or do you want the one verse version - Matthew 7:12. Back up my beliefs - cha.

"I guess that's why Jesus went around healing people in his present time –(SVS)...He did this to prove his deity not to save the world. Of course Jesus wanted to save the sinners and so do I." (Dan)

He did this to prove his deity? Really huh? Not really to help the demoniac or lepered fellow (who were suffering)? I find it quite amazing that Jesus response to John's disciples in Matt 11:1-5 is about helping people - to prove he was the messiah/expected one - not God (which may be the case but was not what Christ told John). Now if the Messiah of our faith did these actions in Matt 11:5 - how is it that we esteem them so little by not doing them as part of every little ministry in HIS CHURCH? Things that make you go hmmmmmm?

"Don’t you believe that God himself will protect his people from evil?" (Dan)

So God will seperate the people at he end of the age - the wheat (sons of God) and the tares (sons of the devil) - even if you could distinguish them (which you cannot according to the parable) - what is the benchmark for 'evil' in this parable? Just what amount of lawlessness is aqeduate to be deserving of that furnace at the end of the ages (what measurement is used? Is it the furnace that kept the people in line as 'sons of God'? Dan...are the answers a whole community one or singular?

Not saying I disagree with what you wrote but quantifying it is the hard part. But will God seperate the good and the evil - I would say I agree with the scripture but this is not a call either of us get to make or judge upon.

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Dan)

Then why do we serve such a God? Out of fear? Isn't that the same as serving a prison guard in Guantanamo Bay? If we serve out of 'fear' than why 'love' that same God?

"I follow God’s word and I trust him as truth, do you?" (Dan)

Yes.

"You must understand that God knows your thought life and you even will be judged on your thoughts" (Dan)

Then judging must be in there somewhere also? Or speaking on God's behalf and mis-representing Him? Not all things are lust, rape, murder, and things leaving a trail of death - no some thoughts are as subtle as manipulating environments. I would even dare say with a scale like that who knows who can even get into heaven under such a system? Again the idea of quantifying levels of dangerous thought enter into the premises - how do we truly know what thought is evil? Are thoughts evil? Or is it the way we react to those thoughts that is?

"I suspect you are rejecting God for your own reasons." (Dan)

Is this is judgement call? Is this a thought you had about me? Is this wrong to do concerning someone else's salvation you neither bought nor suffered for? If so, where does it rank on the scale of making it into heaven or not into heaven? I mean, I got questions after questions not so much about the validity of what you're saying but with the determination you do - no even if the bible says it - the bible is not you and in some areas we are not qualified to judge on behalf of God (but if we make a judgment is from ourself).

Sorry I got so long-winded and asked all these weird questions.

SocietyVs said...

The Hijacking of Heather's blog - sorry.

Heather said...

Quite all right, Society. I welcome your comments. :)

One thing I've always found interesting on the wheat vs. tares parable is who created what, because the only Person who can create humans is God. The Devil/Satan/Enemy cannot create a person. And yet the parable has the enemy creating the tares, while God creates the wheat. But the tares don't affect the wheat; the two simply grow side-by-side. And if God is the only one who can create, then does that mean that the wheat and tares are actually people? If not, then what are they, and what is being seperated?

SocietyVs said...

To be honest Heather - I haven't looked to deeply into the wheat and tares parable all that much - I really should since Dan did bring it up (I sorta feel responsible to have a good response on the issue). I feel the seperation is not a point for us to be concerned with since we do not do it anyways - but the Jesus I read is quite compassionate irregardless of the parable. Either way I have to read it more closely and what seems to be the point in the chapter it's contained in. I suck. Lol.

I really dig your blog Heather - I think you open a can of worms for us all to eat from - I mean, the dialogue is awesome here. Thanks!

jim said...

Wow! It's been a while since I've heard a "fundie" (your choice of term Dan) tell it like it is. God bless you Heather. I found out today that a good friend of mine told another good friend of mine that I was a heretic. Ouch. The charge?... I don't believe in eternal damnation. The good news is that good friend number two is willing to listen to me and try to understand where I'm coming from. Neither of them agree with me but I see more of Jesus heart in friend number two. I understand your desire to be understood.

It's a good thing they aren't burning people like us at the stake anymore, eh! (you guessed it, I'm Canadian ☺)

jim said...

Grace and Peace!

Heather said...

Thanks for the compliment, Society. And I'm glad you're finding something worthwhile in it. :)

Jim,

Welcome. It always amazes me how quick people are to label others as heretics. Oftentimes, I find that the event occurs before anyone has actually listened to anyone else. Person 1 will say a statement, and Person 2 judges based on internal biases.

Dan Marvin said...

Societyvs,

If you do believe that Christ is lord and you have repented of your sins and put all your trust in Jesus then there is nothing more for us to talk about because we as Christians are not to judge each other as to say “I’m a better Christian then you”. We are forbidden to do such a discussion according to God’s word. In Matthew 7:1-3. We are not to judge each other as Christians but we are to judge the unsaved in righteousness.

My motivation here is to reach the unsaved not the already saved. That is why I am asking what Heather and other believe because I do not want to reach already saved people but the unsaved. Heather refuses to give an account of what she believes and it make me suspicious because that goes against 1 Peter 3:15. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

That being said, there are some false conversions at this blog and those I “am” trying to reach.

So if you are born again Societyvs please just say so as well as any other out there so we understand each other and we are not going against God’s will. I will assume that the people I am talking to is not saved. If anyone was to talk to me about God I would stop them fast and give them a hug and tell them I am born again and already saved. I have yet heard that from any of you so I will continue.

very little of the bible is actually needed to develop a Christ-like perspective

Be careful of this you must not pick and choose what you are to believe and what not to. This method is called eisegesis. I use an Exegesis method of interpretation instead of many who use an eisegesis method. Does this mean that eisegesis thinking is wrong, I would say yes because it is a capricious attitude. It may even be breaking the 2nd Commandment and making a god to suite yourself.

Is it the furnace that kept the people in line as 'sons of God'? Then why do we serve such a God? Out of fear? Isn't that the same as serving a prison guard in Guantanamo Bay? If we serve out of 'fear' than why 'love' that same God?

1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Like a Child that wants to run in the street and you tell them “no, you may get hit by a car” but they still try to run out there. There must be authority and you must correct (spank) them and make them understand that you are the authority and if they do not follow you they may perish. (Milk) Then when that child becomes an adult there is no need for spanking them because they understand and you can teach more because they trust your authority. (Meat)

We are to fear God but it is because we are so grateful for saving us that we serve and trust him without question. The fear will come from the unbeliever who finds out there is God and Jesus is the Judge.

The bible is not you and in some areas we are not qualified to judge on behalf of God

I disagree completely. Am I to understand that you are claiming that we do not judge our neighbors? Now I agree that we are to love our neighbor. How do we do this? Letting them perish into hell? Letting the man go on raping children and not judge him? God forbid, if that neighbor is a rapist then we are to judge and rebuke him.

Perfect love is a constant confronter. It takes far more love to confront to ignore the situation. The Bible is clear about this; here are just a few verses about it.

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Then why do we serve such a God?

Jesus is the Judge and he will judge the sinners as he said in Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

A just judge will punish the wicked lets be clear about that, otherwise he is corrupt and Jesus is not corrupt.

I would even dare say with a scale like that who knows who can even get into heaven under such a system?

The answer is NO ONE we all fall short of the glory of God. I deserve hell, you deserve hell, and Heather deserves hell. We all have sinned, by sins I mean breaking the Ten Commandments which are God’s law. The law was made as a mirror for us. In the same way, we don’t realize what a bad state we are in until we look into the "mirror" of the Ten Commandments. Have you stolen, lied, dishonored your mother and father etc. then you broke his laws and the penalty is death. Jesus said there is none good but one, that is, God. In revelations 21:8 it says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. Have you ever lied?

For Him,
Dan

SocietyVs said...

"We are not to judge each other as Christians but we are to judge the unsaved in righteousness." (Dan)

I don't quite understand - we are not to judge Christians but we can judge the non-Christians...even when the commandment from Jesus to us is 'to not judge' (He does not seperate people into teams in that verse). I guess I am at a loss of words to this type of reasoning.

"That being said, there are some false conversions at this blog and those I “am” trying to reach." (Dan)

Even if this was so - talking about judgment is not helping the case about a 'God of Love'. I dialogue here quite a bit with a lot of these people and I have yet to see a 'false conversion' in my lifetime - which I find a very presumptuous statement - what does it look like exactly?

"So if you are born again Societyvs please just say so as well as any other out there so we understand each other and we are not going against God’s will." (Dan)

So if I clarify my position and many others do also (by clarify I mean make known their 'born again' status to you) then this will put us in line with God's will? Personally, I am being 'born again' over and over - in the renewal of my mind on such a constant basis it's hard for me to figure the cold statement out you made - do you think this is one time incident (born again)?

"If anyone was to talk to me about God I would stop them fast and give them a hug and tell them I am born again and already saved. I have yet heard that from any of you so I will continue." (Dan)

Well this is a blog - none of us can hug you and let you know we hold no animosity towards you - but that we share in a spirit of seeking and love. On a side note, it's okay for an atheist or a muslim to hug you right?

"Be careful of this you must not pick and choose what you are to believe and what not to." (Dan)

I didn't pick n choose Dan - Jesus said those are the 2 greatest commandments and the whole Tanakh (OT) hinges upon them and nothing more. The idea of love God, love your neighbor as you love yourself - fulfill everything in 27 books of the OT. Did I miss anything that the rest of the bible can add unto this? Is there a 3rd commandment?

But if I have to pick n choose I will pick Matthew since it starts out with the idea of 'following Jesus'. You do know these books and letters all existed in various places seperate from one another in 1st century AD right? Did people without all these books in one bible all follow God?

"We are to fear God but it is because we are so grateful for saving us that we serve and trust him without question. The fear will come from the unbeliever who finds out there is God and Jesus is the Judge." (Dan)

If fear means an utmost respect/worship/honor for that same God - I agree with that definition. If fear is defined as 'scared' then I have to disagree - since this type of fear does not breed love (2 greatest commandments) but rather obedience for the sake of not being punished. I could never see anyone having a good relationship with that God (that would be a false conversion - if that even exists).

"Am I to understand that you are claiming that we do not judge our neighbors?" (Dan)

Correct-a-mundo. Jesus states it quite simply in the KJV 'do not judge unless you be judged'. The idea is quite simple - it's the same as 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. But the focal point is 'don't do it - so you don't get judged back'.

"Now I agree that we are to love our neighbor. How do we do this? Letting them perish into hell? Letting the man go on raping children and not judge him? God forbid, if that neighbor is a rapist then we are to judge and rebuke him." (Dan)

For the rape thing - use the phone - call the police - that's why a law exists. If you see it happening in front of you - stop it by all means neccesary - and fulfill the idea of what love truly means - laying your life down for your friends.

As for judging your neighbor - find me that in scripture. If you wanna 'judge' him - do it - but expect that same treatment back onto you. I am not sure you get what judgement means here (in some senses). If your neighbor has a name and human heart - treat him like one who can be redeemed - don't call him 'the rapist' as a rule of thumb. Get involved in the name of love and not in the name of condemnation (which is where most judging leads to). I seem to recall Jesus admired the concept of mercy (in regards to judging) - it's even a beatitude - check it out.

"Perfect love is a constant confronter. It takes far more love to confront to ignore the situation." (Dan)

Perfect love can cover a multitude of sins - it says nothing in there about confrontation. Not that I am against confrontation - when it's needed it's needed - but it's usually a last resort in most cases. I am not asking anyone to ignore the situatio where problems exist - get involved by all means - but do it in a way that upholds the equality of the person and does not 'look down from above' on them.

"There must be authority and you must correct (spank) them and make them understand that you are the authority and if they do not follow you they may perish." (Dan)

Okay - who's to say this is the only way children will learn? I think we need to respect authority but at the same time that authority needs to become someone we can trust also - some kids rebel because of strong, meaningless authority that just gives 'do's and dont's' and no reason to stop the behavior - this is also a sign of ignorant authority - not respecting in the spirit if equality nor respecting the brain of a child. But if this is how God has to be for me or anyone else to follow him - I would question that authority style and ask 'if God is love - is this truly someone that loves me'. Take it from me I was a product of physical and verbal abuse - it took years to repair those relationships - God forbid the God I serve is on that same track.

"The answer is NO ONE we all fall short of the glory of God. I deserve hell, you deserve hell, and Heather deserves hell." (Dan)

I noticed you went on this rant and never even backed it up with any hope of redemption - why?

I am gonna be honest Dan - is the God you serve very angry at humanity? Where does Jesus fit into all of this - is he angry too? I know this much, the God we serve makes and defines what character traits we will develop - if your God is angry you will be angry. I think you might want to self-introsepct and see how much of this view of God you hold is coming from within you and not from without you.

Dan Marvin said...

MY computer crashed big time and i cannot post anything. my kids computer is not much better and i can post this but i can't read anything so i will answer everything later on in the week. I should have both computers running by then

take care
Dan

Dan Marvin said...

OK I have one computer (my kids) working,

SocietyVs,

we are not to judge Christians but we can judge the non-Christians...even when the commandment from Jesus to us is 'to not judge'

At the time I was thinking of Romans 14 but I will clarify if a Christian (or anyone) is sinning we are to approach him in righteousness. As Jesus told us in Matthew 18:15 But if thy brother sin against thee, go, reprove him between thee and him alone. If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16But if he do not hear [thee], take with thee one or two besides, that every matter may stand upon the word of two witnesses or of three.

17But if he will not listen to them, tell it to the assembly; and if also he will not listen to the assembly, let him be to thee as one of the nations and a tax-gatherer.

We are to judge righteously to sinning period.

talking about judgment is not helping the case about a 'God of Love'. He is the God of Righteousness and that is love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said “Christians should not be thermometers that merely record and reflect the temperature of popular opinion. Christians should be like thermostats, responsible for transforming and setting the temperature or standards of society.”

Acceptance and conformity are not Christian priorities. Romans 12:2

Personally, I am being 'born again' over and over - in the renewal of my mind on such a constant basis it's hard for me to figure the cold statement out you made - do you think this is one time incident (born again)?

Can you back up your claim biblically? You are born again into a new heart not over and over again. Jesus died on the cross once and we are born into a new heart once. Otherwise you are a Stony Ground hearer or a false convert. Do you think God fails to change you over and over again?

Well this is a blog - none of us can hug you and let you know we hold no animosity towards you Now you're just being facetious.

On a side note, it's okay for an atheist or a muslim to hug you right? Of course, I love all of you and everyone that is not saved that is why I spend time witnessing as he wants us to. BTW right after hugging that atheist or muslim I would witness to them. Why? because I care for their salvation.

If fear is defined as 'scared' then I have to disagree I am sure you heard the song Amazing Grace well the lyrics says what I mean:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.


What I mean is real bone shaking fear. I looked to see if I broke the Ten Commandments and I realized what a wretched sinner I was I literally was shaking in fear of the Lord and his wrath because I broke all Ten many times over.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

I was very guilty. Before that I just believed in Jesus as a false convert but I found out that a belief in Jesus wasn't going to save me what matters if Jesus believed in me, after that I repented and trusted in Jesus and I new I was born again for eternity.

Correct-a-mundo. Jesus states it quite simply in the KJV 'do not judge unless you be judged'. The idea is quite simple - it's the same as 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. But the focal point is 'don't do it - so you don't get judged back'.

Lets go over that verse

As for judging your neighbor - find me that in scripture.


Jesus said in John 7:24 Judge not according to sight, but judge righteous judgment.

Perfect love can cover a multitude of sins - it says nothing in there about confrontation.

What verse is that? I found this: 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

who's to say this is the only way children will learn? The Bible (Proverbs 23 13-14 is one example)


strong, meaningless authority that just gives 'do's and dont's' and no reason to stop the behavior - this is also a sign of ignorant authority

Do you see what you have done here? I was talking about properly correcting a child and you go to this extreme, come on dude! you are very transparent right now. When a child will not listen to authority he must be spanked so he fears and respects authority. Are you saying all spankings are acting like a prick to a child?

BTW I tell my child which Commandment they are breaking, that really helps.

I think I already know the answer to this question but I will ask...Do you even have any children?

not respecting in the spirit if equality is a child equal to a parent? Are you equal to God? is his wrath not fitting for you?

The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following: Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51), Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17), Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9), Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), Eternal fire…the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:7,13) Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night.”

That should make all of us have fear, like a child fears a spanking if they run out in the street after the parent told them not to.(milk) When the child grows up then the child understand the perfect love and does not fear the spankings but honors and respects the parent.(meat).

I noticed you went on this rant and never even backed it up with any hope of redemption - why? Matthew 7:6
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." LOL

Repent and Trust in Jesus if you missed the previous times I have said this. Then you will see salvation.

is the God you serve very angry at humanity? Where does Jesus fit into all of this - is he angry too? Very! When you lie you are saying God is a lair because you were made in his image. That makes him very angry indeed. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah if you want to see God's wrath.

I think you might want to self-introsepct and see how much of this view of God you hold is coming from within you and not from without you. You are truly missing God's message. It is not about me or you and what we think but what God says in his word. I suspect you are picking and choosing what to believe and that is dangerous but I am not your judge.

I dialogue here quite a bit with a lot of these people and I have yet to see a 'false conversion' in my lifetime - which I find a very presumptuous statement - what does it look like exactly?

6 Characteristics of a False Covert:

1. Mark 4:5

2. Luke 8:6

3. Matthew 13:6

4. Mark 4:16

5. Matthew 13:20

6. Luke 8:13

For Him,
Dan

SocietyVs said...

"We are to judge righteously to sinning period." (Dan)

I agree - but why do we have to be that person's 'judge'? I think there is difference between actually judging someone (condemning them or freeing them - ie: forgiveness/mercy) and chatting with them about their problems in life. I think 'do not judge' is a better role to take - it opens the door for mercy (a judgment), compassion, understanding, and scripturally it's backed all over the place (ex: Jesus forgiveness of the thief on the cross in Luke). Matthew 18:15 is about 'reproving' not 'judging'.

"Acceptance and conformity are not Christian priorities. Romans 12:2" (Dan)

Conformity to the what in the 'world'? The way they treat one another? The way they dress? They are not Christian priorities but mainstream church has dug it's heels in and acts like a 'business' (a worldy concept). Food for thought.

"Can you back up your claim biblically?" - concerning 'born again over and over. (Dan)

Can you back up the idea it's a one time event and no more? Romans 12:2 seems to mention the renewal of the mind idea (continual) - also in Eph 4:23 (a consistent Paul theme).

I think we begin a journey in a re-birth of spirit (John 3) but the wind is not held to only blowing once in our lives - so for the spirit (in that analogy). I think we are continually changed - also backed by Titus 3:5.

However, this is turning into scripture 'cutting and pasting' - something I dis-like doing.

"Otherwise you are a Stony Ground hearer or a false convert." (Dan)

Analogy term and a label - you might want to avoid doing this to other people.

"You are born again into a new heart not over and over again." (Dan)

I will concede the birth may happen at one moment - but it is the growth that is essential anyways - thus the continual aspect of it 'being born' (live).

"BTW right after hugging that atheist or muslim I would witness to them. Why? because I care for their salvation." (Dan)

If you truly care about their 'salvation' (worth) ask them what needs they are struggling with and help them resolve them (as a true friend).

"Jesus said in John 7:24 Judge not according to sight, but judge righteous judgment." (Dan)

Jesus says this in response to judging the law - not judging a person (in regards to healing someone on the sabbath). Actually now that I think about it maybe the word judgement is only being used in that sense in the gospels - to make judgements on our interpretations of the law/teachings - this is where judgment should begin and end.

"Perfect love can cover a multitude of sins - it says nothing in there about confrontation....What verse is that?" (Dan)

Proverns 4:12 and 1 Peter 4:8 (love covers a multitude of sins). Check it out - I ain't lying.

"who's to say this is the only way children will learn?...The Bible (Proverbs 23 13-14 is one example)" (Dan)

It's an example its in no way the actual norm suggested by the biblical texts - not that I am against spanking - but that it's more a last resort to do to a child than anything (on which I agree with you).

"I think I already know the answer to this question but I will ask...Do you even have any children?" (Dan)

This insinuation is strange but if you wanna play prophet and teacher - I don't have kids - I only have 21 nieces and nephews.

"That should make all of us have fear..." (Dan)

Are you so scared of hell that you have to follow God? I admit there is some healthy fear in not wanting to destroy our lives into such oblivion we are dis-liked by all (that makes sense). But maybe this is what God wants to 'save' us from - this is the focal point of this faith - not some after-life experience which we have to colorfully imagine to understand - and even then we don;t. But someone can as plain as day understand why not to start selling drugs or hurt another person - it could lead themn down a path they can't come back from.

"Repent and Trust in Jesus if you missed the previous times I have said this. Then you will see salvation." (Dan)

Dan this is extremly rude what you said here. Previous to this you mention 'do not give holy things unto dogs' - is that how you see us? me? 'Then I will see salvation'...that's a strong assumption about my faith in God - don't you think? So I can presume you think I do not have salvation? Also we are like the dogs here? This would of been better left unsaid as a judgement call.

"Very! When you lie you are saying God is a liar because you were made in his image. That makes him very angry indeed. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah if you want to see God's wrath." (Dan)

I don't quite understand where you get this info from since it makes very little sense compared to someone as merciful as Jesus is. There are so many cases about how forgiving and merciful Jesus is in the gospels it's hard to portray him as angered by our weaknesses - actually I find him quite compassionate and loving in the gospels. The only time we ever see Jesus angry is when he approaches the Pharisee's (or others like them) about their interpretations of the law (Torah) and their lack of lenience towards the common person's life situation. I don't see a God that's angry in Jesus' death either? Quite the opposite.

"I suspect you are picking and choosing what to believe and that is dangerous but I am not your judge." (Dan)

Picking and choosing is ignoring context of the letters and gospels and trying to make a solidifed doctrinal practice from a plethora of books - each as unique as the last (I call it 'cutting and pasting'). I am not betraying a single context of a single book in my writings - nor do I want to. If anything I pay qualified attention to each person's writings and compare them only one to another (ex: Matthew's book is to be compared with Matthew and under careful comparison with the rest of the gospels). I do not pick n choose what to believe - it's all there and I try my best to adopt those values into my life (again thinking about what value is being taught and why).

The whole 'false convert' thing has little to no meaning for us to judge anyone. I read your 6 examples all from the same parable 'sower and the seed'. Even if this is true phenomenon who can pick one (false convert) out of the crowd? Isn't that making a judgment call to do so on behalf of someone else's faith without any real proof? Jesus does not use the passage to judge others - but to point to a fact - some people will not stay with the message (simple enough) - and nowhere does it say to judge those people. Again it's one parable - and what is the point of it? It seems to point out a simple fact - not everyone will take to these teachings - they just might not want to (seeing and hearing - yet doing neither).

I think we are getting closer to a concensus here...we are Christians?

Dan Marvin said...

Can you back up the idea it's a one time event and no more?

Do you understand that the Holy spirit comes into you once then you are saved and the Holy spirit NEVER leaves you as the bible says? To be born again again does the Holy spirit leave you again and again or was it never in you?

Are you so scared of hell that you have to follow God? I was shaking in my boots when I realized that I deserved hell because I broke God's law (Ten Commandments) and I deserved Hell. Then after my salvation I was no longer afraid because death did not hold me anymore. I was saved through Christ. I had a new heart and my sinful heart was dead forever. Does that mean I am sinless, no way, but I do not long for sin like I used to. I do things that doesn't disappoint God and am grateful for his love and the last thing I want to do is disobey our Father by breaking his laws. I ache and it pains me if I sin and I turn away from evil instead of run to it like with my previous heart.

You will know deep in your soul when you are transformed forever you will have a new heart and follow the Lord forever. If that is what you went through then you are a Christian if not you may be a believer of Jesus Christ like I was for so many years( false convert). I pray we are all Christians.

Even if this is true phenomenon who can pick one (false convert) out of the crowd? Very easy my friend, God tells us to look at their fruit, a good tree will bear good fruit, it is impossible for a bad tree to bear good fruit period.

Jesus does not use the passage to judge others...and nowhere does it say to judge those people Without Christ you are condemned already (john 3:18) and it makes me think of this clearly laid out verse:

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

As Martin Luther King Jr said be thermostats not thermometers.

For Him,
Dan

SocietyVs said...

"Do you understand that the Holy spirit comes into you once then you are saved and the Holy spirit NEVER leaves you as the bible says? To be born again again does the Holy spirit leave you again and again or was it never in you?" (Dan)

I conceded this point already in regards to growth from a child to an adult in the faith - I agree.

"Very easy my friend, God tells us to look at their fruit, a good tree will bear good fruit, it is impossible for a bad tree to bear good fruit period." (Dan)

Then what if the tree bears both fruits - as is the case most of the time? Then what do we do - make the judgment call since they have some 'evil' they altogether 'evil'? Or vice versa - a Christian minister serves God for 30 years or so then cheats on his wife (or embezzles) - is it all a bad tree?

"Without Christ you are condemned already (john 3:18)" (Dan)

Read vs. 17 with that. And vs. 19 and 20 seem to make it very clear what this 'judgment' is John refers to - and this is an internal battle for each person and a choice they have to make. Also see John 12:47. Jesus states it clearly - 'I did not come to judge the world'. Now if he is our Messiah (Christ) then don't we him the respect to follow his teachings and 'not judge'?

2 Tim 4:2 is about Paul instructing Timothy about being a leader in the church. Reprove and Rebuke are not quite the same as judge - as I have stated previously. I can you on something (reprove) and then ask you not to do it (rebuke) but I cannot condemn you (to hell) for that action (judge).

"As Martin Luther King Jr said be thermostats not thermometers." (Dan)

Just so we both are clear about King Jr. (whom I also highly admire) - you are aware this same man questioned the resurrection of Christ right? He may not have literally believed in a resurrection of Jesus...he was extremely liberal in his Christian faith views. http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/papers/vol1/491123-The_Sources_of_Fundamentalism_and_Liberalism.htm

"The last doctrine in our discussion deals with the resurrection story. This doctrine, upon which the Easter Faith rests, symbolizes the ultimate Christian conviction: that Christ conquered death. From a literary, historical, and philosophical point of view this doctrine raises many questions. In fact the external evidence for the authenticity of this doctrine is found wanting" (King Jr from his "What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection" Paper)