Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Heretical Presbyterian “minister”

Posted in Christianity, politics, Uncategorized by Kathy on August 6, 2011

I’m no great fan of Rick Perry. If he runs for President, I won’t vote for him in the primary (mostly because he way overstepped his bounds as TX governor, mandating that 11 & 12-year-old schoolgirls receive the Gardasil vaccine), but this post isn’t about him, except that his call for prayer has instigated this post: Five Scriptures You Won’t Hear at Rick Perry’s Prayer Event. Click over to read the verses and what he says about them, then come back here to read my opinion.

Before Jim Rigby even starts on the five verses, he sneers at those who ” take the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously”, saying that doing so makes for an “unhealthy religion.” Really? A Christian minister says that taking the Bible “seriously” sets you up for being in an unhealthy religion. By what criteria does he judge this?! Does he mean that we should take the Bible flippantly, or carelessly, or ignore those parts we disagree with? Is that what his version of Christianity teaches?

1) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your heavenly parent, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6) [I don't know what version or perversion of the Bible he uses, but the fact that he says "parent" instead of "Father" says a lot! I digress...] As the verse itself states, it is a warning against being hypocrites more than against public prayer. If the person praying in public prays only prays in public, he is being a hypocrite (literally, a “play actor”); if he is praying just to be seen, he is being a hypocrite. There is no injunction against praying in front of others — in fact, public and/or corporate prayer is mentioned with great frequency as a hallmark of the New Testament church and early Christians. This is probably the one that I least disagree with him on; he says this verse teaches, “Don’t make a show of prayer,” which is true enough; but it’s more in the idea of a false show of prayer, rather than an absolute injunction against praying in front of others at all.

2) “God doesn’t withhold rain because we’ve done something wrong,” he says, pointing to, “God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45) as his proof text. However, he neglects (once again) the context, and also doesn’t point out the little thing like Elijah praying that God would not let it rain on the nation of Israel, under the rule of wicked Ahab, and it didn’t rain for 3 years, but when Elijah prayed for rain, God sent rain. I would ask Mr. Rigby if he believes that God can and does answer prayer. If no, why does he call himself a Christian?; if yes, why not pray – as Jesus commanded — for those things that you need? The true meaning of this verse is pointing out that God is good even to those who don’t deserve it, and He is merciful even to the wicked, unjust, and unrighteous, and that we should likewise be good. It teaches that when it rains, the rain is from God; it does not teach that God never withholds rain from the wicked.

3) “God doesn’t have favorites” – this is the one that makes me call him a heretic. First, the verse: “Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34) Now what Rigby says it means: “When the Bible says that God is not a ‘respecter of persons’ it means that God doesn’t have a favorite country or religion.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! God may not have “a favorite country” (although I would argue that God has favored the United States, as our Constitution and early foundation was on His principles), but to say that God doesn’t have “a favorite religion”!! The context (that pesky context again, that Rigby never considers!) is that Peter has just preached to the first person who was not Jewish by birth or by conversion. Up to this point, the gospel of Jesus Christ had been preached to Jews only, and it seems that the Jewish Christians still believed that Christianity was to be limited to Jews only. In a vision, God tells Peter to eat “unclean” animals, to show him that the division between clean and unclean animals was done away with in Christ, just as the division between Jew and Gentile was done away with in Christ. In preaching to Cornelius, and his subsequent conversion and being blessed with the gift of speaking in foreign languages, Peter realizes that God has elect among more than just Jews. If God doesn’t have “a favorite religion” — and Rigby sneers at the possibility that Christianity might be considered God’s “favorite religion”, thus implying here and elsewhere throughout his article, that all religions are equal before God — why did He send His Son to die on the cross and say that there was salvation only through Jesus Christ? If Christianity is the same as any other religion before God, why did Paul and the other early apostles and Christians risk their lives and many die a martyr’s death, if it didn’t really matter whether the Gentiles worshipped the God of the Bible or their heathen idols?

4) “Worship by those who neglect the poor is offensive to God” — “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me… Away with the noise of your songs!  I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:21-24) It is true that God hates pretence and hypocrites; but Rigby trumpets so-called “social justice” and decries what he believes to be mistreatment of the poor as being offensive to God. True mistreatment of the poor is indeed offensive to God, as are laws that give favor to the rich because they are rich, while punishing the poor simply for being poor; however, the things he enumerates are not “mistreatment” or “neglect” as God sees it. He decries the fact that Texas has the largest gap between rich and poor, and that they have the largest number of uninsured citizens, among other things. What is his solution for that? He doesn’t say explicitly, but it seems that he thinks that it is the job of the state to “even things out” and to provide health insurance to those who don’t have it. There were plenty of very rich and very poor people in Bible times, and those who could not afford doctors. However, the Bible does not mandate nationwide, statewide, or other governmental handouts; rather, it tells individuals to be privately charitable. Going back to the Sermon on the Mount, which Rigby joyfully quoted from for points 1 & 2, Jesus told His followers — not to march on the Capitol and demand that the government take from the rich and give to the poor — but to give of their own money, and not only of their own money (rather than other people’s money), but so privately that, in a figure of speech, the left hand would not know what the right hand is doing!

5) Using the parable of the Good Samaritan (which he wrongly says was directed towards a “rich, young zealot,” [probably meaning "the rich young ruler" who was told to sell all and give to the poor; something modern "social justice" types conveniently ignore] when in fact it was directed at a self-righteous lawyer — i.e., one well-versed in the Law of Moses, not a modern litigator – who was identified neither as rich nor young), he somehow twists it into a slam on the American Family Association. He says, “the heart of Christian ethics is being a good neighbor,” which I don’t totally agree with, but don’t strongly disagree with it either. First, we are to love God, and secondly, we are to love our neighbors. The story of the Good Samaritan was told because the lawyer wanted to justify himself by limiting those who were his “neighbors”, and Jesus was showing that everyone is our neighbor; but how do we love God? According to the Bible, by keeping His commandments. Among those commandments is to obey Jesus Christ and bow to Him, but that would mean that Christianity would be God’s “favorite religion”, which Mr. Rigby sneers at. So-called Christians have to do so many mental contortions and back-flips that it’s no wonder they sound schizophrenic, picking out only those passages of the Bible they like, while conveniently ignoring others.

But back to the AFA – Rigby says that because one liberal organization considers the AFA a “hate group”, that this proves that the AFA doesn’t have “Christian ethics”, since they so obviously “hate” their neighbors. The AFA is a strong defender of Christian morals as outlined in the Bible, so since when does standing for truth = hating your neighbors? Um, yeah. How does the Bible define loving your neighbors? Wouldn’t that be a better place to start, than taking as truth the opinion of some liberal think-tank?

35 Responses

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  1. Neil said, on August 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Excellent analysis, Kathy! That false teacher’s piece was a train wreck of bad theology, with one out of context passage after another. He uses all the tricks of the Left, such as dogmatically referring to the AFA as a “hate group” just because some liberal organization decided that anyone who says homosexual behavior is a sin is a hate group. Pathetic.

  2. Pastor Timothy said, on August 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Well done. I have to say that I do hate their tactics of abusing Scripture and suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. It truly gets old. Thanks for doing this work.

  3. Pastor Timothy said, on August 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    PS I’m striving to be an un-heretical Presbyterian minister. :)

  4. David Marks said, on August 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Kathy, you wrote, “Before Jim Rigby even starts on the five verses, he sneers at those who “take the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously”, saying that doing so makes for an “unhealthy religion.” Really? A Christian minister says that taking the Bible “seriously” sets you up for being in an unhealthy religion. By what criteria does he judge this?! Does he mean that we should take the Bible flippantly, or carelessly, or ignore those parts we disagree with? Is that what his version of Christianity teaches?”

    The above is a misreading. Here is the actual quote from Rigby’s article: “The use of the governor’s office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity is obviously unhealthy politics, but—if one takes the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously—it is also unhealthy religion.”

    It is not “taking the scriptures seriously” that Rigby says makes for unhealthy religion. Rigby is stating his opinion that the “use of the governor’s office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity” is unhealthy religion. It is Rigby’s opinion that, if one took scriptures seriously, one would agree.

    Now, many people will disagree with this opinion, but disagreement is different than characterizing Rigby as someone who sneers at those who take scriptures seriously. Both liberals and conservatives can take scriptures seriously, yet disagree with the result of doing so.

    • Kathy said, on August 8, 2011 at 1:18 am

      You’re right – I did misread it. Now my question is, what is his Biblical basis for saying that promoting Christianity is “unhealthy religion”?

  5. David Marks said, on August 8, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I believe Rigby’s point in this particular quote is that, since the public is religiously diverse, a public office should not be used to promote a particular religion… that a governor’s office, which “everyone’s”, should not promote any one religion over another.

    • Kathy said, on August 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      That may be his point, but he points to the Old Testament and New Testament as his basis for saying that promoting Christianity is “unhealthy religion”; I ask what is the Biblical basis for his saying that. If that is his belief, he’s welcome to it; but if he claims that his belief is founded on the Bible, he sure ought to be able to point to some place in the Bible that backs it up, rather than just saying, “Believe me, it’s in there.” As Christians, we are to test everything to see whether it is aligned with what God says.

      • Jim Rigby said, on August 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm

        Kathy,

        I wasn’t saying that Christianity is unhealthy religion. I was trying to say that each of our versions of Christianity runs the risk of thinking we alone represent Christ and that other interpretations are not Christian. The symptom of that divisive tendency is for all of us, liberal and conservative alike, to leave out the parts of scripture that would humble us. I mentioned five scriptures you don’t hear from groups like the AFA. I’m sure your readers will have no problem pointing out what liberals leave out, but the point is we all need to remember that Christ is bigger than any of us, and if we believe the Gospel of John, bigger than Christianity itself.

        There are pollitical groups on both sides of the political isle that hide behind religion for political purposes. In my opinion the AFA is one of them, but I am equally aware that misusing religion for political gain is a bi-partisan enterprise. It is as a Christian that I speak when Christians say that Jesus condemned certain groups that he didn’t even mention.

        Liberals should admit that the writings of Paul are sometimes a problem for our position (women should be silent in church, etc.) Conservatives should admit that the Sermon on the Mount (turning the other cheek, not judging, et. al.) is a problem for many of their positions. If we Christians don’t learn to be humble, we will tear each other apart long before we have an opportunity to fulfill whatever Jesus meant by Matthew 25.

        I understand that we probably disagree on many issues, but that’s not why I’m writing. I am writing to thank you for admitting that you misread my statement. Your courage and humility so in doing is an example for us all whereever we stand on the political spectrum. If we can all follow that good example, there is yet hope.

        Jim Rigby

        • Kathy said, on August 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

          Thank you for your comment. I wasn’t expecting to hear from the author of the article at all; perhaps you can clear up some questions I have that your article and comment have generated.

          First, we need to make sure we are on the same page for a start:
          1) Do you believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is God, the Son of God?
          2) Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and even though translated by sinful men is trustworthy as we have it today? or do you believe that there is significant error (more than copyist’s mistakes and mistranslations which are discoverable by searching the manuscripts we have), with verses and passages being added in later that were not God-breathed? For instance, whenever my aunt comes across a verse or section she doesn’t like, she says, “I don’t believe that was original,” or “I don’t believe Paul wrote that – I think that was added, in later centuries.” One person I read calls it “Dalmatian Theology” — the Bible is inspired only in spots. You mentioned that “women should be silent in church” is “a problem for your position” — do you believe that Paul did actually write that, inspired by God, or do you believe that is something false in the Bible? If you do believe it was God-inspired, why is it a problem for your position? Why don’t you just change your position to match what God actually wrote?

          If we can at least establish these ground rules, there may be fruitful discussion that follows.

  6. Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Dear Kathy,

    What these exchanges have shown me is that we truly all are “sinners and strangers to the truth”.

    What constantly amazes me is when a person of the “conservative persuasion” cherry picks pieces of the Good News to fit their political agenda. Calling someone a “heretic” is also a bit strong since Christ said (according to Matthew 5: 37-38)
    “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

    Or consider the Beatitude and what it says about “social order”
    Matt. 5:1–12
    Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
    Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
    Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.
    Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
    Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil for the Son of Man’s sake.
    Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
    For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
    For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
    But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
    Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.
    Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
    Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
    For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

    Yours in Christ,

    Paul

    • Kathy said, on August 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Saying that God does not regard Christianity any more than any other religion (I would assume he would include those religions that have a murderous hatred for followers of Christ, and in many countries oppress and kill them for no reason other than that they are Christians — including Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc. — see The Voice of the Martyrs for more information), is absolutely a heretical opinion. Now if he is saying that just because someone is Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or atheist or Mormon or a member of any other number of religions, that that current association does not prevent them from becoming a Christian in the future, then we are in agreement. First-century Christians were all in some other religion or irreligion (primarily Judaism at first, but then various forms of idolatry among the Gentiles), and except for those people who are raised Christian, most current Christians can point to a time when they believed something else, and almost all Christians can point to a time in their past where they did not believe as they do now, but were practical atheists or agnostics — or at best (like myself), would recognize that God existed and that the Bible was true, but that was just mental acknowledgement, rather than heart/soul knowledge.

      What he said sounded to me like what so many modern-day heretics and anti-Christians say: “All paths lead to God.” That is an absolute lie, and is a heresy. There is ONE NAME by which anyone can be saved, and that is through the name of Jesus Christ. Any other gospel is a “false gospel”, and far from not being judgmental, Paul declared that if anyone — human or angel (i.e. demon) — preached another gospel, “let him be accursed.”

      I don’t have time right now to write about “judge not that ye be not judged” — that’s something I intend to take up sometime in the future — but I would ask you to at least do a search through Strong’s Concordance using the base word “judge” (i.e., judgment, judging, etc.), and get a fuller view of the Biblical/New Testament use of “judging”. It does *not* mean (like so many anti-Christians say — funny that the one verse they know is “judge not that ye be not judged”, as if that is supposed to stop Christians short) that Christians are never allowed to express an opinion about anything. In fact, there are times and examples in the New Testament (not to mention multiple times in the Old) when people are commanded to judge, and Christians within the church were reprimanded from going before secular judges, rather than settling disputes within the church — which means that these Christians would necessarily have to judge between two opinions. Perhaps, just perhaps, Jesus meant something else other than “never express an opinion about anyone” when He said, “don’t judge”.

      • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        Kathy, I believe the context in which Mr. Rigby was using “unhealthy religion” was the issue of “using the governor’s office to promote one religion”. That strikes at the heart of separation of church and state – bad politics certainly, and probably “unhealthy religion” also.

        Your assertion that (and reliance on) the John 14:6 verse “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” is based upon the belief that it refers to Christ the person, versus Christ the Godhead. The Gospel of John was written near the end of the first century and was couched in “Gnostic” terms in order to refute Gnosticism. Godhead refers to a state of higher consciousness. Consequently, one may interpret this particular verse in a number of ways. In my studies, I have found no other Gospel that makes this assertion. Have you found any other Gospel that does?

        I am fully aware of the meaning of the terms “judge” and “judgment”. Most certainly there were times when God commanded people to judge (yes, there is even a book in the Bible called Judges).

        Strong defines it as “שָׁפַט shâphaṭ, shaw-fat’; a prim. root; to judge, i.e. pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension, to govern; pass. to litigate (lit. or fig.):— + avenge, × that condemn, contend, defend, execute (judgment), (be a) judge (-ment), × needs, plead, reason, rule.”

        However, the Judges were also elders (in the governing sense) and were appointed by God. This is very different from “personal judgment”. Christ’s “judge not” proclamation referred to interpersonal relations. In expressing your opinion, I believe you actually were making a judgment.

        Peace in Christ,

        Paul

        • Kathy said, on August 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

          Neil’s response below will suffice to answer your apparent claim that Jesus is *not* the only way to salvation.

          When Paul stood up to Peter, and “withstood him to the face” for his acting like a Gentile, but then separating from the Gentile Christians and acting like a Jew (according to the Jewish law and traditions) when other Jews came from James, and causing other Jewish Christians — including Barnabas! — to likewise separate themselves from their Gentile brethren — was that judging? Was Paul wrong to have done that? Or was he right? He publicly upbraided him and said in the letter to the Galatians that it was because Peter was not acting “uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel”. Hmm… sounds pretty darn judgmental to me!

          Or the passages that call down a curse on those who alter the gospel from its purity, or preach “another” gospel — is that judging forbidden?

          Why would the Bible tell us that there are false prophets, false preachers/teachers who will come in and preach lies, if we are not allowed to judge whether what those people say is true or not?

          Would you please explain to me, how I could express my opinion in such a way as not to be “making a judgment”? If I say that something is wrong, as my opinion, is that not also a judgment?

          The author of the original article came here and did not try to clear up any misunderstanding I had of his point #3, that when Peter said, “God is no respecter of persons,” that what he *meant* was, “God doesn’t have a favorite religion,” or as I interpreted it, “You don’t have to believe in Christ; you can be Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, whatever — it’s all good; we’re all on the way to heaven anyway, with or without Jesus.” If that is his true opinion, then I can say — not of my own judgment, but on the authority of God’s Word — that that is a lie and is heresy. God gave us His Word to use, and to let us know what is right and wrong; if I, of my own opinion say that you are wrong for something, then I am judging in a wrong manner. But if I say that God says it is wrong (and I have the Scripture to prove it, of course), then I affirm that I am judging in a correct manner.

          If you believe that Jesus is not the only way to salvation, would you please tell me on which verses you base that claim?

          • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm

            Dear Kathy,

            Once again you are on the attack. I certainly did not say that Jesus the Savior was not the way to salvation.
            I only suggested that the John verse referred to another state of consciousness – he was speaking as the Godhead (the Father, Son AND the Holy Spirit). One that I pray you will find soon. When is the last time you heard a sermon about the Holy Spirit?

            Yes, when the Jewish brethren separated themselves from the Gentiles, that was judgment – bad judgment. And Paul was right to condemn them. But, once again, one must consider both the situation and the circumstances. Read the history of Paul and understand where he was “coming from”. His enlightenment was that the Word should be both (at that time) universal and “ecumenical” (a bad word nowadays).

            I personally see Paul as a Pharisee (which he was) who relied on “legal arguments” (as opposed to faith).
            I believe he distorted the faith – if that makes me a heretic, so be it.

            I guess you realize that less than half of the “scripture” attributed to him were not his writings. At least Galatians is authentic, and a good source for quotes!

            When did Jesus, the Christ, “call down a curse” on a human? Read the Good News carefully. When did He call down a curse on a person? He did to an olive tree, not a human. So call down curses on people (you may even curse me – it doesn’t matter) and rely upon your judgment of the Truth.

            From Galatians:
            “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Is that the verse to which you refer?

            Show me verses in the New Testament that contradict love, peace, tolerance and understanding as being “The Way”.

            Consider this, even in the Garden, when he was about to be crucified, Christ renounced violence: “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him.”

            Kathy, you represent a form of “nationalistic Christianity” that I will never understand.

            I was fortunate (blessed some may say) to have been able to study the “New Testament” under E. Ashby Johnson at Florida Presbyterian College. He explained the concept of the “New Jerusalem”, its context in the USA and its implications on the “fundamental beliefs” of American citizens.

            Another book you may consider reading: “From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith” by White. It is very good!

            Peace in Christ,

            Paul

            • Kathy said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:39 am

              “I guess you realize that less than half of the “scripture” attributed to him were not his writings. “

              No, I don’t believe that. Sorry, but the conversation is now over. We cannot even agree on one of the two points I listed above in response to Mr. Rigby’s first comment:

              1) Do you believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is God, the Son of God?
              2) Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God….

              I don’t know if you believe point #1, but you don’t believe point #2, so we don’t even have a starting point. If I point to anything in the Bible that you disagree with, you will just say, “That wasn’t original, inspired, etc.” As Neil says on his blog, it’s “Dalmatian [or Leopard] Theology” — “the Bible is only inspired in spots, and I’m inspired to know which are those inspired spots.”

              If Jesus is God, and God wrote (inspired) the Bible, then what is written in the Bible has the full force of God, and is of the same weight as what the Gospels record Jesus as having said. Even John said that not everything that Jesus said and did were written, nor *could* be written down.

  7. Neil said, on August 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    “Your assertion that (and reliance on) the John 14:6 verse “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” is based upon the belief that it refers to Christ the person, versus Christ the Godhead.”

    I don’t follow how “me” could refer to the Godhead when the passage specifically mentions God the Father.

    Also, there are roughly 100 passages in the New Testament indicating that Jesus is the only way to salvation. John 14:6 is just a warm-up. And you don’t just need the Gospels, but here’s one of many: Matthew 11:27 “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

    • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Neil,

      I am listening. Please tell me the passages that state that belief in Jesus the Man is the only way to salvation.

      Peace in Christ,

      Paul

  8. David Marks said, on August 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The “except through me” verse is one of the best examples of how different approaches to the Bible preclude further discussion. And I’m not saying that in a bad or judgmental way, it’s just true. I had a professor who taught “As a good Jew, Jesus would never have said that. It’s an addition by the writer.” And that, predictably, leads to a “There you go again…” response. It’s been my observation that conservatives are many times frustrated by a liberal person’s subjectivity, just as liberals can be frustrated by a “God said it, that settles it” approach to scripture. This is why it’s more productive, in my opinion, to stick to commonalities. Like love.

    We all know that scripture can and will be used to justify all manner of beliefs. It was used to defend slavery, for example. However, we can probably agree that living a loving life is a central teaching of Jesus. A liberal’s lack of concern over what conservatives may believe will result in eternal punishment may be frustrating, but if we all try to live out the radical love of Jesus, maybe we’ll be able to wrestle alongside one another, rather than with each other.

    • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks David!

      You have succinctly summarized the “issue”.

      Some wish to enforce their “beliefs” and their “interpretations” of their beliefs on others.

      And we all know that faith is (and must be) subjective.

      Oops, and yes, it is an addition by a later writer (John the Elder)

      Peace in Christ and Love,

      Paul

  9. Neil said, on August 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    “I had a professor who taught “As a good Jew, Jesus would never have said that. It’s an addition by the writer.””

    Not surprising to hear people say that. Non-Christians typically sit in judgment of scripture.

    “This is why it’s more productive, in my opinion, to stick to commonalities. Like love.”

    I don’t see how that is helpful. I think it is loving to share the Gospel and let people know they are sinners in need of a Savior. But I’ve noticed that some people think it is unloving to call people sinners (even if I readily admit to being one myself). I think it is loving to help people who can’t help themselves, and to help them gain skills so they can be self-reliant. I think it is un-loving to ask “Caesar” to take from neighbor A by force to “give” to neighbor B and to consider it charity on my part, especially when that “giving” has so many negative effects. That puts my definition of love at odds with theological liberals.

    Theological Liberals typically deny so many essentials (Jesus’ divinity, his exclusivity, the authority of scripture, God’s plan for human sexuality, etc.) that to minister with them would be to break the command to be equally yoked. They don’t just teach things that are a little different, they are the opposite.

    • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:03 am

      We are all sinners and strangers to the truth…. That is why “condemnation” of another Christian’s understanding is wrong…

      To quote Christ (here I go again) “3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
      (Matthew 7: 3-5)

      This from a “Synoptic Gospel”….. written close to the time that our Christ died.

      But also remember Neil, the early Christians were “communalists”. They asked for and received from the rich the resources necessary to take care of widows and orphans. And the rich freely gave.

      Would work in today’s “materialistic” world?

      I doubt it.

      Peace and Love in Christ,

      Paul

      • Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:14 am

        “We are all sinners and strangers to the truth…. That is why “condemnation” of another Christian’s understanding is wrong…”

        Then why are you telling me my views are wrong? Seems kinda judgmental, and, in your view, wrong. (If you just come back and say you weren’t condemning, just disagreeing, then I’ll reply that I wasn’t condemning either, just disagreeing.)

        “To quote Christ (here I go again) . . .”

        Yes, he taught not to judge hypocritically, which is exactly what you are doing by judging us for judging. We are saying to judge using a right judgment (John 7:24) .

        “This from a “Synoptic Gospel”….. written close to the time that our Christ died.”

        So? All the original writings turned out exactly the way God wanted them to. I am highly skeptical of people who start telling me which spots are more inspired than others.

        “But also remember Neil, the early Christians were “communalists”. They asked for and received from the rich the resources necessary to take care of widows and orphans. And the rich freely gave.

        Would work in today’s “materialistic” world?

        I doubt it.”

        You doubt the model of the early church? Your call. The rich gave what they wanted to give, just like we can now. But when people assume the gov’t will take care of others then they see less reason to give. And of course the gov’t can’t give with love and discernment like the church can.

  10. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:08 am

    “I am listening. Please tell me the passages that state that belief in Jesus the Man is the only way to salvation.”

    For starters, read the Old Testament and count how many times the Israelites are told not to worship false gods, then look at the consequences when they disobey.

    Here are a couple from the New Testament. If someone reads these and thinks that other religions will get you saved then the person is obviously unregenerate.

    Mark 14:61-62 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
    John 3:14-16 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
    John 6:53-54 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    John 6:68-69 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
    John 10:9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
    John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
    John 16:8-9 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
    John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
    Acts 4:11-12 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
    Acts 16:30-31 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
    Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
    Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
    Titus 2:13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
    Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
    Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
    1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
    Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
    Mark 9:7 Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
    Luke 9:35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
    John 3:33-34 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
    John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
    John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
    John 16:15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
    Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Hebrews 1:1-3 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
    1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
    Luke 10:22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
    John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
    John 5:37-38 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
    John 8:19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
    John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
    John 12:48-50 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
    John 14:7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
    John 15:20-21 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
    John 15:23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.
    John 16:2-3 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.
    1 John 2:22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.
    1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
    1 John 4:2-3 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
    1 John 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
    1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
    1 John 5:9-12 We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    2 John 7-9 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
    Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
    Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
    John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
    Luke 11:23 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
    Luke 20:17-18 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
    John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
    John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
    John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
    Acts 3:22-23 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’
    1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
    Hebrews 2:2-4 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
    1 Peter 2:4-8 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
    Revelation 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
    Revelation 19:13-16 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
    2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
    Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
    Mark 2:10-12 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
    Luke 5:24-25 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
    John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
    Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Acts 2:40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
    1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
    Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
    Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
    Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    John 10:7-8 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
    John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
    Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
    Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
    Matthew 24:23-25 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
    Mark 13:5-6 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.
    Mark 13:22-23 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
    Luke 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
    John 10:7-8 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
    Jude 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
    John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
    Romans 8:8-9 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
    Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
    Mark 14:36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
    Luke 22:41-42 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
    Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
    Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
    Matthew 28:18-19 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    Luke 24:47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
    Mark 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
    Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
    1 Peter 3:21-22 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
    John 5:22-23 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
    John 5:26-27 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
    John 17:2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
    Acts 17:30-31 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
    Romans 2:16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
    2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

    Matthew 11:27
    Ephesians 2

    Romans 5

    Romans 1:16 – Gospel is salvation only for those who believe

    Hebrews 5:9

    • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Neil, although most of the John scripture could easily be interpreted as Christ speaking from his “enlightened consciousness”. And many of the other passages do not imply “exclusivity”, only that the way to the Lord is through Christ.

      You may certainly interpret these passages in any matter you wish. And, you may label me as a Dalmatian or Leopard Christian: that is OK with me.

      Peace,

      Paul

  11. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

    “Some wish to enforce their “beliefs” and their “interpretations” of their beliefs on others.”

    So when we state our views we are forcing, but when you state yours you are _____?

    Seems kinda passive-aggressive to me.

  12. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:23 am

    “I personally see Paul as a Pharisee (which he was) who relied on “legal arguments” (as opposed to faith).
    I believe he distorted the faith – if that makes me a heretic, so be it.”

    Yep.

    “I guess you realize that less than half of the “scripture” attributed to him were not his writings. At least Galatians is authentic, and a good source for quotes!”

    Yes, we’ve seen the way the “enlightened” moderns rationalize away God’s word, and we’ve seen the solid responses to those claims. And Galatians has a special passage for people like you (Ch. 1 v. 8-10).

    I see you are a “Leopard Theologian,” one who claims that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that he is inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives. How convenient!

  13. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Side note: I’m always amused by how false teachers tip their hands by implying that the Gospels are more trustworthy (or are the only trustworthy books) — and just the synoptics at that.

    Here’s a simple syllogism: Jesus is God, the Bible is the word of God — just as it claims, so the Bible is the word of Jesus. All of it. His revelation to Paul is no less authoritative than his revelation to the writers of the Gospels or those they interviewed. It all turned out in the original writings exactly as Jesus and the writers wanted it to.

  14. David Marks said, on August 23, 2011 at 5:38 am

    “That puts my definition of love at odds with theological liberals.” Neil, I was wrong to assume that we might share a definition of “love”. As far as discussions go, it seems that those who are nearer each other on the theological spectrum can (as might be expected) find some common ground on which to stand and commiserate. You and I seem to be far enough apart on that spectrum that our differing definitions will make discussing things very difficult.

    One thing I accept, that I think many liberals do not, is the fact that your beliefs require you to denounce false teachers where you find them. That it’s not particularly enjoyable on this end does not enter into the equation, because the goal, if we had the time and space, would be to convince me of my error, and, convicted by the Holy Spirit, I would repent and return to correct belief.

    Please don’t “hear” any sneer of disdain or belittling in the above. i am completely sincere. And I know you are too. One assumption that I think I can make is that you love me and want me to share in the salvation that has been given to you. I love you, too. If I put myself in your shoes (and I was, in my past), I would be sad that a brother is so obviously and obliviously lost. In my own shoes, it makes me sad that our differences in belief are so wide that our theological conversations will likely bear little fruit.

    I wish you well and am content to wave to you across that great theological gulf and shout “Peace!” across the waves.

  15. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    “I was wrong to assume that we might share a definition of “love””

    I view agape love as having the long-term best interests of the other person at heart. I’m not sure how you define it. Many times people of good faith can have honest disagreements on how best to accomplish that. Liberal theology does the opposite, though, as it calls evil good and good evil. It encourages people to stay in their sin and to commit more sins, not to mention spreading the lie that Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation. That’s one of the most hateful things someone could say.

    I also find it amusing and wildly judgmental when theological liberals pretend to have a monopoly on love and good deeds — as if they had access to my calendar and financial information.

    “One thing I accept, that I think many liberals do not, is the fact that your beliefs require you to denounce false teachers where you find them.”

    David, I appreciate you saying that. There is a good illustration addressing physical violence, where some people are wolves (the bad guys), some are sheep (the victims) and some are sheep dogs (the protectors). There is nothing wrong with being sheep, it is just ungrateful for the sheep to criticize the sheep dogs and pretend that there aren’t wolves. I think this applies spiritually as well. Not every believer is a sheep dog, but the sheep should at least not criticize the sheep dogs for protecting sheep from the wolves. I think that speaking out against wolves is entirely biblical, though of course Paul “knows” that those verses were maliciously late additions.

    Blogging doesn’t permit people to have a 360 degree view of each other, and that is (generally) unfortunate. I am actually quite gentle with the average non-believer, but I make no apologies for stepping on wolf toes. My sincere prayer is that when false teachers are busy abusing the scriptures that God will open their eyes to the truth.

    Peace,
    Neil

    • Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Neil,

      Please…..

      I did not say that they were “malicious”. Textual analysis shows that they were “late additions” to the original documents. That does not invalidate them, make them better or make them worse. It is simply a recognition that the Good Word has been modified and is more a “collaborative” effort by people who were inspired by God.

      Peace,

      Paul

      PS: I hope you don’t think of me as a “wolf”.

  16. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    “I hope you don’t think of me as a “wolf””

    I absolutely think of you as a wolf. You reflexively use phrases like “in Christ” as if that would mean the same thing to you and to a Christian.

    Re. “late additions” — that is another trick you use in your Leopard Theology. Debate the meaning of a passage until you lose, then say it wasn’t in the originals. Hypocritically enough, false teachers use what is most likely a late addition (the woman caught in adultery — John 8 ) and misuse it to oppose capital punishment (among other misuses).

  17. Paul Jacob Boller said, on August 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    “I absolutely think of you as a wolf. You reflexively use phrases like “in Christ” as if that would mean the same thing to you and to a Christian.”

    So much for peace and understanding. I am glad that you feel confident enough to label me a non-Christian. You know absolutely nothing about the work I have done in the Church, what my educational background is, what I do in my community, or even why I have reached the faith I have. So be it.

    “Late additions” (i.e., the recognition that text in the Scriptures was changed due to revisions or for editorial purposes) is common “knowledge” among (and accepted by) most Biblical scholars.

    I have not “debated” you on any points, I have quoted scripture that simply states that judging people on a personal basis is something that Christ warned against.

    I do want to thank you for the all the scripture you provided about The Way. I, unfortunately, had never seen such a comprehensive list.

    Since you dismiss my “in Christ”, I’ll simply say,

    Peace be with you,

    Paul

  18. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I’m glad you appreciate the list and hope you read them very carefully. I also encourage people to just keep reading through the NT and seriously ask themselves if any of it makes sense if trust in Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation.

  19. Neil said, on August 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    P.S. Just noticed that my reference to John 8 plus a right parenthesis turned into John and a smiley face. Auto-correct has its downsides!

    • Kathy said, on August 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Just fixed that for you. :-)

      And just so you know, I totally agree with what you’ve posted, and I thank you for the time you’ve spent on this!


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