What the Critics Get Right and Wrong Concerning the #WakeUpOlive Phenomenon – Regarding: Prayer – So Christians Really Are Deists

What the Critics Get Right and Wrong Concerning the #WakeUpOlive Phenomenon – Regarding: Prayer- So Christians Really Are Deists 

December 20, 2019

Several days ago, I believe on Friday, December 13, 2019, a little toddler girl named Olive died (Olive Alayne Heiligenthal). 

(Edit, Dec 21, 2019: I saw a report that the church will be holding a memorial service for the little girl, so it looks like at least some of them have accepted that the little girl is gone.

(Link): Hope for girl’s resurrection shifts to Bethel memorial service

(Link): Family giving up prayers to resurrect 2-year-old, ‘moving towards a memorial service’)

I am sorry for her passing. I am sure her parents and other family are in a lot of pain due to her passing. They have my condolences.

Since their little girl Olive has died, the parents and the church they attend – Bethel Church – have been leading a “Wake Up Olive” movement, and some of that is being carried over on Instagram and on Twitter (you can search for it (Link): here on Twitter).

These Bethel people are expecting God to raise Olive from the dead, because they are praying and expecting God to do so.

You can read more background and details about this situation and several news sites, including these:

(Link): In California, a Christian Megachurch Is Trying to Bring a 2-Year-Old Girl Back to Life

(Link): Christian Mega- Church Prays for Resurrection of Two Year Old Girl

I believe the critics of the movement, who have been tweeting regularly about this situation, are right to say that the parents need to accept that their little girl has passed on, and that no amount of prayer or faith is going to bring her back to life.

The little girl has been deceased for about seven days now.

The last I read, a baby sitter put the girl down for a nap, and the girl stopped breathing.

Other sources say that Olive is at a morgue now, has been there a few days, and an autopsy was already performed.

There are other aspects of this story I don’t care to address in this post – for example, some people suspect there is foul play in the death of the girl, and some people think the Go Fund Me set up for this family in light of Olive’s passing is suspicious.

The aspect of this story I want to address is the issue of Prayer and Unanswered Prayer and biblical promises.

I’ve actually addressed these subjects several times over in older blog posts of mine (such as in (Link): this post), but I am seeing them crop up again in light of this story about Olive’s passing.

Now, I am not a Pentecostal.

I am neither a Cessationist or an Anti-Cessationist.

If you’re not familiar with those terms, here is a web page by guys who consider themselves Cessationists who explain what some of these terms mean:
(Link): Is cessationism biblical? What is a cessationist?

So far as my understanding of the Bible is concerned, I am somewhere in the middle of that topic.

I’ve written posts on that in the past such as

(Link): Extra-Biblical Knowledge – My Thougts Expanded and Clarified – And: Christian Deism

While I absolutely do not believe that little Olive is coming back to life on Earth – no matter how much her church prays and believes for that to happen…

….I am just as much in disagreement with the number of Christians I see arguing theology about this matter, especially the ones who are denigrating faith and biblical promises in the process.

Continue reading “What the Critics Get Right and Wrong Concerning the #WakeUpOlive Phenomenon – Regarding: Prayer – So Christians Really Are Deists”

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

This is one of those topics I’m working my way through right now. Maybe a year from now, my opinion will flip on it. But here is where I am now.

I was first made aware of this post from John Piper’s “Desiring God” web site via someone posting to SCCL Facebook group.

Here it is:

(Link):  How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God by John Piper

Excerpts:

  • I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this Biblical commandment?” Yes.
  • …Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?
  • ….Orange juice was “created to be received with thanksgiving by those whobelieve the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended—namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a truth heart of faith.
  • But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice is “sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Yes, it’s an entire post explaining why and how Christians may drink Orange Juice to the glory of God.

This is a part of Christianity that I am glad to leave behind. In my faith crisis of the last few years, there have been some advantages to ceasing turning to the Bible as an authority in decision-making in life in every area.

Continue reading “On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible”

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine and Biblical Intepretation (podcasts)

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine (podcasts)

I was going over some of the other broadcasts of the Christian apologetics show “Unbelieveable” when I saw at least two topics that I’ve addressed on my own blog before.

A couple of problems I’ve been having with the Christian faith, among several, are unanswered prayer and the fact that Christians cannot agree on what the Bible says, how to implement what it says.

I wonder what the point is in having a book that is supposedly written by God, if those who say they believe in that book (and who say that they believe in that same God) never- the- less do not agree on what the book teaches, and that some of them use that book to justify abusing people (financially, sexually, emotionally, physically).

You would think if God wrote a book (through men or otherwise) that he would make all of that book’s points abundantly clear so that his followers would not mess things up and get into prolonged disagreements about what the book means or how to carry out that book’s teachings.

I also note that Christians who defend prayer try to “explain away” what the biblical text says about prayer.

Jesus does in fact say in one or more of the Gospels that what ever you ask for in his name he will do – but as quasi-Christians like myself point out to the true believers, many times, your prayers will go unanswered, to which they reply, well, Jesus did not REALLY mean to say that whatever you ask for in his name will come to pass.

Here are the links to the podcasts:

(Link):  Does prayer make sense? David Wilkinson vs Ed Atkinson – PODCAST

(Link):   Can Christianity be true if Christians can’t agree on doctrine? Andrew Whyte vs Nabeel Qureshi – PODCAST

The ex-Christian guy who is on that show who argues that the conflicting interpretations of the faith and the Bible are problematic for Christianity, or may imply that Christianity is false, has a You Tube channel where he makes videos on this topic. Here it is:

After listening to both those podcasts a couple of days ago, I was not completely satisfied with the responses given to the skeptics by the Christians.

It seems to me that some Christians really under-estimate how damaging some of these particular doubts or criticisms of the faith really are.

Despite that, both shows were still interesting to listen to, and I related to what the ex-Christians or the skeptics were saying.

—–

Here are previous posts I’ve blogged about these subjects before:

Diversity of Interpretation:

(Link): Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link): Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

(Link): Pat Robertson Contradicts Himself On Healing and God’s Will

Unanswered Prayer:

(Link): Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series

(Link):  How to Deal with Unanswered Prayers via Pastor Bil Cornelius 

(Link): Christian Viewer Expresses Disappointment in God, Wants To Know Why, In Spite of Years of Service, God is Not Helping Him

(Link): Joanne The Widow Lady Wants to Know Why God Didn’t Answer Her Prayer to Keep her Husband With Her

(Link):   When All We Hear from God is Silence by Diane Markins

(Link):   Gordon Robertson’s Quasi Insensitive or Lacking Advice to Cancer Patient / Unanswered Prayer / Christians should just sometimes admit They Do Not Know

(Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

(Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name

(Link): Gary Habermas joins Janet to discuss dealing with doubt in the Christian life (Re: Unanswered Prayer)

(Link):  When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree

Additional:

(Link):  Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)

Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse -article says her husband is a Porn Addict

Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse -article says her husband is a Porn Addict

Before I get to the link to the news story itself – about jailed pastor Saeed being a porn user who abused his wife, I wanted to comment about the story first (I also have comments below the news page excerpt below).

So much for the Christian teachings about “being equally yoked,” which is generally understood to mean a Christian person can only marry another Christian.

While it’s true that a lot of Non-Christians are scum balls who would make poor spouses, I have so far not seen any evidence that so-called Christian men are any more trustworthy, loving, or mature than your average atheist guy, Hindu, Jewish guy, or whomever.

I actually tweeted in support of this guy a few times several months back… but he was abusing his wife, and she says he has a porn addiction problem – I didn’t know this until a couple of days ago, when I saw this article.

I also want to remind you of another point I touch on often on this blog: Contrary to what some conservative Christians teach on how to go about getting married, you do NOT have to be perfect, clean  yourself up, or change yourself in some fashion to “earn” a spouse.

Continue reading “Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse -article says her husband is a Porn Addict”

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages 

Before we get to the post by J D Hall:

Background:

  • The Village Church (TVC) of Texas has placed Karen, who was once a member of theirs, under church discipline because she did not, according to them, abide by the church covenant she signed.
  • Instead of conferring with the church on what to do, Karen, on her own, sought an annulment from the state of Texas, once she discovered her then-spouse, Jordan, was a pedophile.
  • Karen said she spent about 50 days conferring with other Christians (not from the TVC), and in prayer, mulling over what to do, before seeking the annulment.
  • This action of hers has ticked off TVC leadership, because Karen did not get their permission to get the annulment.
  • Matt Chandler is the lead preacher of TVC.

You can read additional reporting of this situation here (additional material is at the bottom of this post):

Here is the page I am responding to:

(Link, off site): A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church  by  J D Hall, Pulpit and Pen blog

The covenant that Hall is so rigorously defending – TVC’s membership covenant – here does not even mention annulments.

As Karen explains (off site Link, Source):

  • …it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
  • In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
  • There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.

Continue reading “A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages”

Brief Critique of the J. Daly editorial: Does Casual Sex Empower Women?

Brief Critique of the J. Daly ed: Does Casual Sex Empower Women?

In the midst of looking up Jim Daly’s contact information (so I could tweet him a link of my previous page), I found this linked to on his Twitter page (he wrote it):

(Link) Does Casual Sex Empower Women? by Daly

Here is the part that caught my attention:

    The cultural impact of casual sex

    Sadly, the cheapening of sex is having a long-term impact on marriage… which, in turn, negatively impacts parenting. It’s a tragic chain-reaction of events that work together to undermine the institution of family.

I know that Focus on the Family has a new family-centric film to promote ((Link): unfortunately), and I see the heading there says “cultural impact,” but Mr. Daly, the fact is, some women never marry and never have children, including Christian women.

The Bible does not say God promises all women a marriage partner not even the ones who pray for one and who want one.

If you see my previous post (link), you can see the stats on the number of singles in America.

Many women today are staying single these days, some against their wishes.

(That’s right, the typical conservative Christian canard that women are choosing to stay single because they hate marriage, hate men, or put career above marriage, or had tons of marriage proposals but turned them all down because they were too picky, are false).

There are plenty of Christian women such as myself (though I am half-agnostic now), who were raised in church and by Christian parents to expect, plan for, and count on marriage.

I had hoped for marriage. I still find myself single. I did not plan on being never-married into my 40s. I may never marry.

I am still a virgin. I have never had children.

The church does not support adult virginity – they ignore or shame adult celibate singles (a few links with examples of that can be found at the end of this post, and all over this blog if you search).

It makes no sense, and I see no biblical support, to suggest the only or main reason to argue against casual sex is on the basis of how it may “impact marriage and family.”

Continue reading “Brief Critique of the J. Daly editorial: Does Casual Sex Empower Women?”

Extra-Biblical Knowledge – My Thougts Expanded and Clarified – And: Christian Deism vis a vis Pneumatology

Extra-Biblical Knowledge – My Thougts Expanded and Clarified – And: Christian Deism
———————–
Edited / I found a couple of pages with views about the Holy Spirit, and related topics, that seem similar to my own.

The authors of the following recognize the errors of “Pentecostal/charismatic/Third Wave tradition” in regards to their views and beliefs of the Holy Spirit and how, if, or when the Holy Spirit speaks to believers today, but they also feel that “hard cessationism is inadequate.”

The pages are:

(Link): Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit? Preface and Abstracts

(Link): Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit? An Investigation into the Ministry of the Spirit of God Today

(Link): Father, Son, and Holy Scriptures? by M. James Sawyer
————————————————-
I exchanged a few Tweets with Pirate Radio (a.k.a. Fighting for the Faith) host guy Chris Rosebrough earlier today.

This is rather a follow up of sorts to my previous post:

I do appreciate Rosebrough tweeting me back, and told him so in a Tweet. He must be very busy, so it’s nice of him to take time out of his day to reply.

I hate debating with folks on Twitter, for one reason being, I have always been terrible at condensing my thoughts.

I suck rocks at bantering back and forth in a 140 letter per post format especially.

That is one reason I kept giving Rosebrough a link to a previous post on this blog about this issue (link is above). It would take me 243,567 Tweets to explain to him on Twitter what it took me a page to write on this blog.

Rosebrough asked me once or twice to cite specific verses or passages to prove my point that God speaks to people today.

CLARIFICATIONS

First, I’d like to clarify that I mean I believe that God speaks inwardly to people today in the form of personal warnings and the like.

I am not Charismatic or a Word of Faith person. I disagree with their views.

I do not believe that God issues prophetical views to people today, such as what we see in the book of Revelation, where it is described how the world will end.

Rosebrough used the word “prophecy” several times in his tweets to me, but my understanding of that may be different from his.

I don’t think the Holy Spirit, for example, warning a Christian woman today to not go down an alley alone – knowing she is will be mugged if she does so – is the same thing as “biblical prophecy,” that personal revelation (say about someone’s safety) is in the same category of God telling John in Revelation to “write what you see and hear” about the end times, the entire fate of the whole world.

I am not saying that all inward guidance of the Holy Spirit, or all visions, are on par with Scriptural (written) authority.

That would be a quasi-Roman Catholic view (Roman Catholics place their church tradition and Pope’s ex cathedra on the same level of authority as the written word, which I disagree with).

I do agree with sola scriptura.

But I also believe some Christians carry sola scriptura (and how they choose to carry out, or defend, “doctrine” whether they perceive it to be sound or not) to an un-biblical, even absurd, too-narrow level. (I refer to this as “hyper sola scriptura” in previous posts.)

I have gone on record in previous posts here on this blog as saying if someone feels they got a vision or a message from God, that if their impression, vision, word (whatever term) contradicts what God has already said in the Bible, their claim, word, etc, is wrong.

I do not believe that a personal word from the Holy Spirit to a certain individual for a specific situation is binding on all believers.

Rosebrough kept asking me to give him one single, lone verse that supports the notion that the Holy Spirit speaks to Christians today.

I do not recall there being any one, lone single verse that says that the Holy Spirit speaking to Christians would end with the first believers.

(The faith being delivered once for all to the saints, or 2 Tim. 3.16 is not addressing the topic on whether or not the Spirit speaks to people today. I discussed that a bit more in previous posts, so I won’t get into that here.)

As I told Rosebrough on Twitter, there is no such one verse or passage for my position. But, his position also lacks a single “gotcha” verse or passage.

There are plenty of examples in the Bible of the Holy Spirit speaking to believers (see citations in previous post).

I see no passage in the Bible that says that would be a phenomenon only for early Christians and not for Christians today.

DEMAND FOR LONE VERSE – Unrealistic Criteria

That Rosebrough keeps demanding a single passage for my position is something I feel is disingenuous, and that it is a somewhat intellectually dishonest technique.

Continue reading “Extra-Biblical Knowledge – My Thougts Expanded and Clarified – And: Christian Deism vis a vis Pneumatology”

Extrabiblical is Not Necessarily Unbiblical or Anti Biblical – Rosebrough, Osteen, Extrabiblical Revelation and Promptings – Denying one of the Works of the Holy Spirit

Extrabiblical is Not Necessarily Unbiblical or Anti Biblical – Rosebrough, Osteen, Extrabiblical Revelation and Promptings – Denying one of the Works of the Holy Spirit

I listened to this Rosebrough critique of Osteen’s sermon:
(Link): Osteen Proves That God is NOT Speaking to Him

I sometimes agree with Pirate Radio / Fighting for the Faith host Chris Rosebrough, but this is one of those times where I’m not in total agreement.

In the Osteen sermon portions aired on Rosebrough’s show (see link above), Osteen describes how, years ago, he got an inner feeling, or message, to start preaching at his father’s church. Osteen feels that this was God speaking to him.

That Osteen preaches in a style that Rosebrough disagrees with, or that Rosebrough believes that Osteen does not rail against sin and Hell enough, is proof enough for Rosebrough that Osteen’s inner prompting was not of God but of Satan – which I first of all find to be overstating one’s case.

I do not always agree with Osteen’s preaching style or focus of his messages, but I think it’s going overboard to attribute his ministry, or all his views, to Satan.

(As a side note, does Rosebrough grasp or not that two people can be sincere Christians but still have legitimate disagreements on some matters?

Sometimes I listen to Rosebrough’s show, or read his writings, and he makes it seem as though unless you agree with him 100% of the time on 100% of topics that you are an anti-Christ, or unsaved heretic.

Nobody but nobody (including Mr. Rosebrough) has across- the- board absolutely perfect biblically- related opinions, positions, or doctrine on everything – and that does not mean that person is unsaved, a pagan, or an anti-christ.)

Getting back to Rosebrough’s insistence that Osteen heard a prompting from Satan and not God:
I can see how a man can be a false teacher without necessarily being under direct Satanic control.

Some preachers are motivated by greed, control or power, not Satanic influence. Or maybe Osteen only thought he was hearing from God but was simply mistaken. Maybe Osteen’s inner prompting was due to emotions, feelings, and not from God. But Satan?

I mean goodness, Satan? We’re really going to go there? That’s pretty drastic.

I think Rosebrough is totally wrong on gender complementarianism (ie, women should not be preachers, etc).

How charitable would it be for me to accuse Rosebrough of being under Satanic influence, since his views on gender roles is so obviously wrong and unbiblical, and he is in error on this?

Secondly, whether Osteen’s claim that God prompted him to preach or not does not really prove or disprove if such a thing – God speaking to folks outside the Bible – is possible.

I also am not seeing a connection between these points:

1. Some Christians claim that the Holy Spirit speaks to them inwardly

2. Osteen is supposedly a Satanic or false teacher who believes the Holy Spirit speaks to him inwardly

3. Ergo, claim number one is supposedly false

That’s a bit like saying,

1. Some Christians say that two plus two equals four

2. Christian church piano player Mr. Hank Smith beats puppies for fun and says that two plus two equals four

3. Ergo, point one, that two plus two equals four, is incorrect

Sorry, but I don’t see how point 2 contradicts or disproves 1.

One point does not necessarily cause or lead to another, or the guy in point 2 being a heretic or puppy beater does not necessarily negate or disprove the claims, beliefs, and experiences of people in point 1.

What if I could find a Christian preacher who agrees with Rosebrough almost 100% on doctrinal matters, who preachers in a manner that Rosebrough approves of, EXCEPT for in this one area: that the preacher in question believes that God does speak to people today outside of Scripture?

This would make Rosebrough’s argument against Osteen rather moot, it seems to me.

As the Bible says, God did in fact communicate with people outside of the written word – sometimes audibly, through jackasses (literally; see Numbers 22:30), in or through burning bushes, and via angelic messengers in the Old Testament, and God spoke to humans via angels in the New as well.

God also spoke to people in dreams and visions – on record in both Old and New Testaments. Samuel heard God’s voice; Paul and John claimed to be taken up to Heaven and heard God.

Where is your verse saying these things are applicable to ONLY John and Paul? Where’s your one single verse or passage?

Bearing in mind that the first Christians already had the Scriptures: they had the OLD TESTAMENT. However, the New Testament records that the Holy Spirit spoke to them inwardly.

These first Christians did not always consult the written Old Testament to figure out what God wanted them to do.

The Holy Spirit spoke to some of the earliest believers; for example,

“2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)

And,

“4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. (Acts 13:4)”

And,

“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements… (Acts 15:28)”

And,

“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. (Acts 20:23)”

And,

“Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” (acts 21:11)”

And,

“I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit … (Romans (9:1)”

He did not have his conscience confirmed by reading the written word of God, but by God speaking to him in his conscience.

Regarding the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts Ch 5),

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?

4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing?

You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

(— end quote —)

Now, how did Peter deduce that this couple had lied, if the Holy Spirit did not tell Peter in his spirit or mind about it?

There is no Old Testament passage that explicitly says, “Ananias will lie to Peter about the money.” It’s not as though Peter could consult the written word of God (for his era, the Old Testament) to figure this stuff out.

Rosebrough kept asking for an explicit passage of Scripture that says that God can or will or does speak to Christians today, outside of the Bible, or in addition to.

I want to see the opposite: where does the Bible clearly state that God never, ever will, can, or does speak to believers outside the Bible today?

As far as I can recall, there is no single passage or verse that says, “After the time of Acts (early church), God will never speak to believers outside the written word, not ever.”

Because I don’t see any such passage.

I see no indication that God limited any of this only to Peter or Old Testament believers only.

2 Tim 3.16 only supports the importance of Scripture but does not say, “And God will never speak to people outside the written word.”

Continue reading “Extrabiblical is Not Necessarily Unbiblical or Anti Biblical – Rosebrough, Osteen, Extrabiblical Revelation and Promptings – Denying one of the Works of the Holy Spirit”

Pope Francis Perpetuates Christian Falsehood that One Man, One Woman Married Equals Image of God – (which in effect leading to: ) Teaches Single / Unmarried Do Not Reflect God That Singles Are Sub Human or Only One Half A Person / This Is An Anti Singles View and Is Unbiblical

Pope Francis Perpetuates Christian Falsehood that One Man, One Woman Married Equals Image of God

If you are a Christian who is opposed to homosexual marriage, I understand trying to come up with apologetics to defend traditional (hetero) marriage, but it should not be done at the expense of un-married, celibate adulthood, which is what some Christians do.

Here is another example of that situation (though, and I’m sorry if I offend any Roman Catholic readers, I don’t usually view Popes as being actual Christians, unless it is known that they believe in sola fide and accepted Christ on those grounds (see my previous post, under “Mistake 3”)).

Considering that Paul said it is better to stay single than to marry (see this link), and that, if I remember rightly, nowhere does the Bible state that it takes a man married to a woman to reflect God’s image, I contend that Pope Francis is incorrect.

(Link): POPE FRANCIS: ‘THE IMAGE OF GOD IS THE MARRIED COUPLE: THE MAN AND THE WOMAN’

    By Michael W. Chapman

    CNSNews.com – Although the national gay magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” in December 2013, the Pope repeated on Apr. 2 the Catholic Church’s teaching that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman, adding that this is part of “God’s design” and that “the image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman ….”

    During his General Audience speech at St. Peter’s Square on Apr. 2, before a crowd estimated at 45,000, Pope Francis first cited Genesis, saying, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

    “The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together,” said the Pope. “God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful.”

    “When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony, God as it were ‘is mirrored’ in them; He impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love,” said Pope Francis. “Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us.”

    He continued, “Indeed, God is communion too: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live eternally in perfect unity. And this is precisely the mystery of matrimony: God makes of the two spouses one single life. The Bible uses a powerful expression and says ‘one flesh,’ so intimate is the union between man and woman in marriage. And this is precisely the mystery of marriage: the love of God which is reflected in the couple that decides to live together.”

Pope Francis is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

(Link): Pope Francis calls traditional marriage an icon of God’s love

(Link): Pope Francis Says Marriage Between Man And Woman As Icon Of God’s Love
——————–
Related posts:

(Link): Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy – evangelicals, Southern Baptists and other Christians are teaching that an unmarried woman or unmarried man is not fully human, does not fully reflect God

(Link): ‘God’s Purpose for Women,’ by Matthew Hagee – Hagee Teaches that Single Unmarried Women Do Not Have a Purpose in Life God has no purpose for singles

(Link): Study: Conservative Protestants’ divorce rates spread to their red state neighbors

(Link): Divorced From My Husband, and My Faith by Tova Mirvis – Also: Why It May Be Wiser For Women to Enter First Marriage At Age 40+

(Link): Divorce Rates in America Decreasing But Divorce Rates on Increase Among Southern Baptists

(Link): Christian TV Personality ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Singlehood Singles Bias Prejudice Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link): Roman Catholic meetings focus concern on marriage, family – also, remarriage and divorce

(Link): Christian TV Personality ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Bias / Prejudice – Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview)

(Link): Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host (Pat Robertson) Says

(Link): Is Singleness A Sin? by Camerin Courtney

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings

No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings

BIBLICAL LITERALISM AND INERRANCY

Another common thread I see on forums for spiritual recovery sites (or ones by ex Christians, liberal Christians, etc), is a rejection of

1. Biblical literalism
2. Biblical inerrancy

This is all so much intellectual dishonesty in another form it makes me want to throw up.

I spent years studying about the history of the Bible, Bible translation, and so forth.

I came away realizing that the Bible is inerrant and yes, we can trust the copies we have today; the Bible is not filled with historic blunders and mistakes, and all the other tripe atheists like to claim.

It is not entirely accurate for critics to paint the Bible as a purely man-made document, that contains mistakes because it was copied and re-copied numerous times over the centuries.

While there is an aspect of truth to that description, the end conclusion, or how that description, impacts the NIV or NASB Bible version you have sitting on your coffee table right now, is not how critics of the Bible paint it.

Atheists and ex-Christians who are critical of the Bible are disingenuous and duplicitous in how they paint some of their arguments against the Bible, and they should be ashamed for it, as some of them claim to be truth lovers.

Not too long ago, an ex-Christian woman at another site was declaring that Christians cannot “trust” the Bible because the originals (called the Autographa) do not exist.

Oh please! I pointed out to her that is not so: as far as the New Testament is concerned, scholars have many thousands of copies of the Autographa (some dating within decades of the originals), and by use of lower textual criticism, they can reconstruct the READINGS of the Autographa.

It is not necessary to have “the biblical originals” themselves to know what they said, as she was dishonestly arguing (but she later accused me of being dishonest!).

I pointed this FACT out to her (about it not being necessary to have the autographa to know what the autographa said), where upon she shot back the falsity that one cannot trust the translations anyway because they are done by “conservatives.”

Oh, but she is willing to grant liberal scholars or liberal theologians the title of un-biased, as though they do not have an ax to grind against the Bible and dating its documents and so forth?

Because the liberal scholars do in fact start out their examinations of the Bible from an anti- Christian bias.

The woman with whom I was corresponding on this matter doesn’t seem to understand that the practice of lower textual criticism is a science – a liberal who uses that methodology would come to the same conclusion as the conservative who uses it.

So here we have an example of one type of ex-Christian I am talking about:

This woman claims she was a Christian at one time, now fancies herself atheist or agnostic (and some kind of expert on the Bible), but who now spews inaccurate or untrue things about the Bible, because she disdains all of Christianity in general.

My view: Do not lie about the Bible’s history, accuracy, and textual evidence just because “Preacher Fred” at your old church was a big meanie to you X years ago (or insert whatever other emotional baggage you carry against Christians that now colors all your other views about the faith and Bible here) – please!

Give me a freaking break.

I am genuinely compassionate towards people who have been hurt by churches, but not to the point I cover for their dishonesty about how they discuss church history, the biblical documents, etc.

Because some of these folks claim to have been hurt by Christians in general, or a particular denomination, or what have you, they feel fine now rejecting biblical literalism and inerrancy.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings”

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

✹ What follows is actually the heart of my “No Man’s Land” view. This is what prompted me to write it: ✹

✹ TAKING THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF WHAT YOU USED TO BELIEVE BUT NOW HATE – DUE TO EMOTIONAL REASONS OR A KNEE JERK RESPONSE OR FROM SPITE – IS JUST AS WRONG AND MISTAKEN ✹

As to the forums and blogs by ex Christians, liberal Christians, self identifying post-evangelicals, or those still Christian who expose spiritual abuse…

I notice a number of the regular visitors to these sites – the ones who left an abusive or legalistic church or denomination – simply now operate in the reverse in their thinking, which is, IMO, just as bad or wrong as the thinking they are leaving.

There are different types of ex-Christians one must take into consideration when discussing this topic, so I shall present some sketches of them first.

IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists)

For example, there are ex IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists).

IFB preachers and churches are ridiculously legalistic. They make up rules that are not in the Bible, or twist or exaggerate the rules already there to the point those rules then become unbiblical.

IFBs are the contemporary, American versions of the Bible’s Pharisees: nit picky, anal retentive, legalists who make up man-made rules but insist they are “biblical” and thus binding on all believers.

IFBs concoct man-made traditions they expect all IFB members to adhere to, just like the Roman Catholic hierarchy does towards Roman Catholic members.

For example, IFB churches are legalistic about secular entertainment and clothing and physical appearance.

IFB churches teach their congregations that women should not wear pants but only skirts. And the skirts should be only so many inches above or below the knee.

According to IFBs, men should not have hair that touches the back shirt collar – not a mullet to be found in IFB, which may be a good thing. Secular music and television is sinful and should always be avoided.

IFBs have other legalistic rules for just about every aspect of life.

IFBs are vehemently anti-Roman Catholicism as well as anti-Calvinism.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected”

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)

This will be a series of posts where my thoughts wander in and out and all over, and it rambles, but there is a point or two behind it.

Since I’ve been in a faith crisis the last couple of years, somewhere between being an agnostic and a Christian, I have noticed I don’t fit in anywhere. I reside in No Man’s Land.

(Even before then, when I was a total, committed Christian, and politically, I was, and am, right wing, I still didn’t fit in at most blogs and forums, including political ones, and including ones for right wingers!

I tend to be one of those personalities who annoys or angers everyone, even those on “my side” of an issue, except a small number of people, who are either on my side of a topic or not, who “get me” or who appreciate where I’m coming from – again, this is true for even the ones who disagree with me on whatever topic we are discussing.)

I am in this really weird place now, where I am critical of some aspects of conservative Christianity, and see where conservative Christians get some doctrines and other things wrong, but, too, I am not fully on board with militant atheism (I find the New Atheists to be arrogant, vile, hateful and rude), and I don’t even care for lukewarm atheism.

Nor am I in the camp of anything and all things liberal Christianity, except where I think they get the occasional point correct (such as their rejection of gender complementarianism).

Since drifting away from the Christian faith more the last few years, I more often began frequenting forums or blogs for and by atheists, ones by liberal Christians, ones by ex Christians, or by Christians who were abused by a former church who remain Christian but who dropped out of Church, or who now are on a crusade to expose abuse by preachers or the absurdity and harm of current evangelical gimmicks.

THE MILITANT ATHEISTS

A clarification: when I say I have been visiting atheist forums and blogs more often, I am very picky about which ones I regularly visit.

I do not like the frothing- at- the- mouth, extremely bitter, biased- against- Christians- type atheistic communities.

The bitter atheist groups sound like a bunch of irrational, hate-filled loons who reject Christianity for emotional reasons, but who lie to others and themselves and say, “Oh no, it’s purely intellectual.”

But their unrelenting, insane amount of hatred at any and all things God and Christian, is just a total turn-off to me, so I try to avoid such sites.

These angry, always-ranting atheists are really nothing more than Fundamentalist Atheists or Taliban Atheists. They are just as dogmatic about their atheism as Muslims are in their Wasabi Islam or Baptists are in their Neo Fundamentalism.

Really, those types of atheists are just as bad as the religious groups they claim they hate, but they don’t seem to spot that they are. It’s ironic – and it’s hard to stomach the day in, day out anger and hatred, so I try to avoid their sites.

HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS VS NON HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS

Also, you have to be honest with yourself, which I do not find militant atheists to be, by and large: not every single Christian is a hypocrite, jerk, idiot, dullard, or complete jackhole.

I say this as someone who is very fed up with Christianity and Christian persons myself these days.

But your average militant atheist will never admit that some Christians are in fact okay and not being hypocrites.

I have known and met a few Christians who were sincerely trying to live the Christian faith out, such as my mother, who is now deceased, and her mother before her (my grandmother).

I’ve met a few honest, sincere Christians online who do help people and show compassion to the wounded.

So it’s not fair to completely dismiss the entirety of Christians and their faith or treat them all like jerks because some are liars, mean, or abusive.

Which is not easy for me personally, because at the same time, I do keep noticing that a lot of self-professing believers do NOT live out what the Bible says.

Many self professing Christians today, for example, do not protect victims, such as young church members who have been sexually molested by preachers.

Nor do many church goers today hold accountable preachers who bilk their church goers out of millions to buy big mansions and jets.

These idiots, these lemmings, actually defend their greedy pastors online, which I’ve written about here: (Link): Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why.

Then you have a conservative or evangelical culture, which claims to care deeply that people preserve sex until marriage, but if you actually find yourself 40 years of age and still single – and therefore still a virgin, such as myself – these same churches and Christians do not offer you any support.

You either go ignored, or preachers and talking heads of such groups “run down” and insult celibacy as well as older, celibate adults. Churches treat single (and especially celibate) adults as though they are flawed, lepers, weirdos, or losers.

Churches wrongly counsel abused wives to return to their spouses – this is particularly true, again, of churches or Christian groups who buy into “biblical womanhood” (aka “gender complementariansm”) or “patriarchy.”

Churches and average Christians also remain ignorant or callous about matters pertaining to mental health issues, from P.T.S.D. to depression and anxiety attacks.

Some Christians wrongly and insensitively teach that “real Christians” can never get depression or other mental health maladies.

Or, some Christians believe and teach that prayer, faith, service to the poor, or Bible reading alone can cure one of mental illness.

Still other Christians (or the same type) will shame and guilt suffering Christians for using anti-depressant medications, or for seeing secular or Christian psychiatrists and therapists (see this link for more, “Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness”).

Yet other Christians are incompetent at, or unwilling, to provide more ordinary, “every day,” run- of- the- mill comfort to other Christians who are hurting, such as a Christian who is stressed out over a job loss, someone who is in mourning for a deceased loved one, etc.

Christians are dropping the ball in numerous ways.

And this failure, this huge failure, causes life long Christians like me to look long and hard at the faith and wonder if it’s true at all.

It causes even someone such as myself to ask if the faith is true, because

  • it doesn’t appear to be working,
  • it doesn’t make a difference in people’s life who profess it,
  • most who claim to follow Christ don’t actually do what he taught,
  • and some Christians refuse to hold Christians caught in bald faced sin accountable but excuse them for the sin,

~ and it makes you wonder “what is the point, then.”

I find this discrepancy between confessed belief and actual practice shocking, because I myself sincerely tried living out the faith since childhood.

Also, my Christian mother was a role model for me, and she genuinely, consistently lived out and by biblical teachings, including getting up off her ass and actually HELPING people (giving them money if they were in a bind, cleaning their homes for them when they were sick, listening to them cry and rant about their problems for hours without judging them or interrupting them, etc).

I am not seeing most other Christians do any of this. They say they believe in those things but then they do not do them.

BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR SPIRITUALLY ABUSED OR THOSE HURT BY CHURCHES

Before I actually get into this topic (which I discuss more in Posts 2 and 3), here is some background leading up to it.

As far as the sites I have visited by liberal Christians, ex Christians, atheists, as well as sites by Christians for the spiritually abused:

By and large, these have been wonderful, supportive sites and groups to visit (the ones run by Christians for hurting Christians).

I have noticed, though, that there are problems even within these types of communities, and I don’t entirely fit in at them, either.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)”