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”

People Really Hack Me Off (Part 1) The Hypocritical, Constantly Angry, Christian Ingrate (ex friend of mine)

People Really Hack Me Off  (Part 1) The Hypocritical, Constantly Angry, Christian Ingrate (ex friend of mine)

I normally post about marriage, dating, and similar topics on this blog, but I wanted to talk about something else for now.

This post, and maybe future ones in this series, may contain strong language (expletives).

I don’t want any Christians reading this to leave complaints about the language. You are being forewarned there will be some strong language in this post, and probably any Part 2 or 3 I write.

It might be easier for me to divvy up the people and types of people I am angry at instead of tackling it all in one post.

The wider, common theme of this post (and perhaps future ones I do on this) has to do with people abandoning me in my time of greatest need, or people who treat me like trash and take from me, even though I spent years giving to them, and showing them compassion and was there for them in their time of crisis, but they did not return these gestures.

There’s been indifference and apathy to me and my situation, by church people, extended family, and some of these friends I am talking about in this post or in possible future posts.

To keep my anonymity intact, I will change around some details and names in the examples or stories I am telling.

Here is my first story.

I know this post will be very long, so you may get the feeling that this is a super huge deal in my life, but oddly, it’s not.

It’s rather minor, actually, it just takes me a long time to explain it. And to VENT about it.

But it does have me pissed off, still, months later.

It’s not that this incident or two alone in this post is huge and is what has me upset, it’s that it is a part of the smaller “drip – drip – drip” comprising the torrent of rain, and the ocean, and the sea, of consistent betrayal and pain other people have caused me the last few years.

I have – or had – an online friend.

We don’t really stay in touch anymore, our relationship is kind of vague and undefined at the moment.

We met in a forum several years ago. She is several years younger than I am. I think I may have mentioned her on this blog in a very old post or two.

I’m going to call her “Ellen.”

I have an older sister. I’ll call my older sister “Shirley,” which is not her real name.

I may do a separate post about Shirley in a future post.

All I will say for now is that Ellen and Shirley are very similar people. They have similar personalities.

So, when you read about “Ellen” here, just remember I’ve been dealing with this from an older sibling since childhood as well.

And good lord am I ever tired of both of them. I have had my fill.

Ellen and I became friends several years ago on a forum. We exchanged e-mail addresses and sometimes e-mailed each other.

Ellen would confide in me at times about her problems.

I was supportive of her. I would give her words of encouragement and just let her know I was listening and cared.

Ellen turned down my offer to give her a phone call once, when she was going through a very stressful time. I volunteered to phone her and just listen if she needed to vent or cry.

Ellen had financial problems for a few years, she shared with me that she is obese (she weighs 200 or more pounds).

Ellen also told me that she quit her one, old professional, full time, job in a fit of anger and regretted it.

Ellen says she wants a boyfriend, has never had a boyfriend, and worries she will never get one because of her excess weight.

Ellen told me she had student loan debts, and creditors kept hounding her all the time, and this went on for 2 or more years.

I was sympathetic to her during this time.

Ellen has a temper. She is almost always angry at someone or something.

If you visit this blog, recall you are not seeing a full picture of me. I may come across perpetually angry on my blog to you, but that is because I use this blog for the express purpose of venting about how singles are treated so poorly by churches.

Most often when I make blog posts here, I am not angry. I just come on to post a link and leave.

I’m not an angry person all the time.

As I crawl out of codependency the last couple of years, there has been some anger.

I have read content by psychologists who say it’s normal for someone coming out of codependency, like I am, to be intensely angry for a year or more as they work through their repressed anger.

But even in spite of that, and in spite of my ranty blog posts about singles and the church, I’m not an angry person at the core.

If I default to any negative emotions at all (when I am not on this blog), I am more inclined to become depressed or suffer anxiety, than I am to get angry or to act angry.

But my friend Ellen’s default emotional state and way of dealing with life  – and this is so true of my sister “Shirley” as well – is to stay angry and to explode in absolute rages from time to time.

Ellen is an angry person at her core. That is one of her defining qualities.

Continue reading “People Really Hack Me Off (Part 1) The Hypocritical, Constantly Angry, Christian Ingrate (ex friend of mine)”

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”

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

This is a page that touches on a topic I’ve brought up on my blog a time or two.

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

The author of that ‘Unpublished’ page mentions Roman Catholicism.

As much as I consider the constant Protestant and Baptist disagreement over certain things in the Bible problematic, I don’t think the solution is becoming Roman Catholic and accepting that their Pope’s ex cathedra statements or their Magisterium is the answer.

Catholics, for one, get all sorts of things wrong – they believe that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven; they believe that praying to or for the dead is acceptable; they believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary; they believe in Transubstantiation; they reject that salvation is by faith alone – all sorts of wrong things.

Then Roman Catholics tack on 3 or 4 books (called the Apocrypha) to the Jewish and Protestant canon to “prove” to the Protestants that yes, they have “biblical” support for some of their weird doctrines.

Although the Vatican tells Catholics that birth control is wrong and bad, and that pro-life is the way to go, I have seen many news reports that American Roman Catholic women get abortions and use birth control.

Several years ago, I even saw websites by American Roman Catholics who say they support the legalization of abortion. Catholics are not in unity – not even in doctrine, so I do wish they’d stop lobbing this accusation at Protestants, as though the RC is any better.

Their Pope and Magisterium can sit there all day long and claim that the official Roman Catholic stance on Topic X is “blah blah whatever,” but that doesn’t mean the rank and file Catholics are going to agree with it, or follow that doctrine or rule. Because sometimes they don’t.

I do by and large still believe the Bible should be taken literally – as opposed to the liberal Christians who treat the Bible with extreme skepticism or who act like it’s okay to treat the Bible as though it’s silly putty and warp it any way they want – but I do acknowledge some of the points raised in this page:

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

Excerpts:

  • People who claim to literally interpret the inspired and inerrant Word of God do not agree on what the bible says.
  • Christian Smith calls this “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” And this pervasive interpretive pluralism isn’t just found among progressives and liberals. It is found among evangelicals and fundamentalists, among the very people who claim that they are reading the bible very, very literally.
  • Pervasive interpretive pluralism exists among biblical literalists.
  • Which brings us to the problem at the heart of Protestantism.
  • The problem at the heart of Protestantism is that the bible is unable to produce consensus. This isn’t a theological claim. This is an empirical fact.
  • Sola scriptura produces pluralism. The “bible alone” creates doctrinal diversity. Biblical literalism proliferates churches.
  • The alternative is to be delusional, pretending that opening the bible brings everyone to a consensus. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen.

Continue reading “Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything”

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
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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)”

How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified

How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified
———————–
(The second half of this post deals with the Christian double standard, the hypocrisy, which says, “Marriage makes people mature / godly!,” and “If you want to get married, God won’t send you a spouse unless you mature first / become godly.”)
————————
Over and over, I see a lot of Christians (and sometimes Non Christians) equate maturity and selfless-ness with either becoming married or becoming a parent. (I keep a running list of examples of how both views are utterly false, such as this list and this list).

One of the problems I have with these views, especially from a Christian background, is that if Christians are going to equate marriage or parenthood with maturity and godliness, this means they are failing children, or anyone who is new in Jesus Christ (which could be a 45 year old man who accepts Jesus).

From the time I was young, as young as five years old, I remember my mother encouraging me to share my toys and games with childhood friends of mine. She taught me about sharing.

By the time I was eight or nine, the lesson had taken hold. When I had friends over to play after school, I made sure to give them an equal amount of Kool-Aid – I was not a greedy jerk who poured more in my glass than theirs – and if there was only one cookie left in the box, I gave my little guest the remaining cookie.

Already at a young age, my Mom had taught me to play fair, share, and to remember there are other people in the world; the world does not revolve around me.

So, I find it quite puzzling when I see Christians – and sometimes Non Christians, usually rock stars and movie actors – who are 30, 35, 40 years old, who make comments such as, “I did not know what REAL love was until I had a child,” or, “I did not realize how SELFISH I was until I had my first child at age X,” or, “I didn’t realize other people had needs and feelings until I married at age 25 / 35 / 45.”

I see those kind of comments often.

How does someone arrive to age 25, 35, 45, or older, and not realize that the world does not revolve around them?

I am stunned it takes getting pregnant or married at age 25, 35, or older, for someone to finally catch on that there are other people in the world, that other people have needs and problems.

If you went to church as a tyke, or had Christian parents, you dang well should have learned, by the age of ten at the latest, to share your toys with friends and realize other people have needs, not just you.

It should not take having a baby or getting married for you to “stop being selfish” and “realize what REAL love is.”

Continue reading “How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified”

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

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

I usually blog about my views about singleness and marriage, but as I find myself questioning the Christian faith, I sometimes like to make the occasional posts about that too.

Even though I sort of find myself not entirely grasping the Christian faith any longer (I am somewhere between agnostic and Christian), my understanding of spiritual matters or the Bible tend to be consistent with an orthodox (note the little “o” – I have actually had people confuse “orthodox” with “Greek Orthodox” – no, I do not mean “orthodox” as in the “Greek Orthodox” church or denomination) and conservative views and understandings.

As far as that goes, I believe in sola scriptura – but not in what I have deemed “hyper sola scriptura.”

God sometimes spoke to believers in the Old and New Testaments via inward thoughts of the Holy Spirit, via angelic messengers, dreams, handwriting on walls, prophets, via creation (ie, nature, as the book of Romans mentions), etc.

I see nothing in the New Testament which says God halted using any and all extra-scriptural means to communicate with followers of Jesus.

I do believe that Christians should check their beliefs against the written word, and if their dream, vision, or belief conflicts with the written word, they need to really reconsider it. (I have written about things like this before, like in this post: (Link): Contemporary American Christianity’s Fascination with NDE Stories – and in one or two other posts.)

What annoys me are the “hyper sola scriptura” type of Christians who automatically brush off, or brush aside, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let’s say you are a Christian who’s going through a tough time, and you prayed about it, and you felt God spoke to you inwardly and told you something about your situation, or God spoke some word of comfort. I believe something like that is orthodox and not un-scriptural.

I believe God the Holy Spirit can and does still communicate with people that way – but your hyper sola scripture-ist will scoff at that.

Many of the HSSs are probably tempted to chalk something like that up to superstition or believe it borders on WoF (Word of Faith) theology (I do not agree with WoF, by the way).

Do I think some Christians are too quick to attribute a thought or feeling to God, or that they don’t read the Bible enough, and that this can be dangerous or problematic and lead to Christians accepting false beliefs or teachings? Yes.

But it still remains God gifted believers with the Holy Spirit to guide them at times, because sometimes, the Bible is not always crystal clear on some topics, or does not explicitly mention others.

The Bible does not, for example, instruct people on which college they should attend, what they should major in, and what career they should pursue after graduating, and those are all fairly serious life questions.

You cannot flip to Galatians chapter 4 or Hebrews chapter 2 to find a ‘biblical’ answer to the question, “What career should I enter into?”

One of the things I find odd about HSSs (Hyper Sola Scripturists) is that they almost seem – like atheists – to deny the supernatural.

I mean, HSSs will admit to belief in supernatural events already recorded in the Bible, such as Jesus being born of a virgin and Jesus walking on water, but they behave as though God never, ever, interferes in a miraculous way in the world today, and I see nothing in the Bible that says He does not.

I’m not even talking about “speaking in tongues.” You have Christians today who fuss and bicker about “is that gift for today or not?” I don’t know if that gift is for today or not, but that sort of thing is not really what I am discussing in this post.

Continue reading “Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies”

Sometimes the Bible is Clear – Regarding Rachel Held Evan’s Post

Sometimes the Bible is Clear – Regarding Rachel Held Evan’s Post

Rachel Held Evans recently wrote this post:
(Link): The Bible was ‘Clear’

Her position is that the Bible is not always clear as Christians think or say or believe it to be.

Sometimes I agree with Mrs. Evans, sometimes I don’t. This is one of those “in between” times where I am sympathetic to her overall point but feel she’s in danger of tipping over, too.

Let me start with giving you an excerpt from her post that she published last night or today, so you can see what her motives are:

    In 1982:
    “The Bible clearly teaches, starting in the tenth chapter of Genesis and going all the way through, that God has put differences among people on the earth to keep the earth divided.” – Bob Jones III, defending Bob Jones University’s policy banning interracial dating/marriage. The policy was changed in 2000.

Mrs. Evans goes on to list several more examples, where some Christian or another from 100 or more years ago wrote a statement that most Christians today would likely agree is wrong, scientifically incorrect, or racist, or what have you, a comment that said Christian insisted the Bible was “clear on.”

As someone who was raised in a home and church that taught gender complementarianism, and I used to be gender complmenetarian myself but am no longer one, I can see how, yes, sometimes a person can believe the Bible is very clear on a topic, even though there may be other Bible verses or passages that negate or contradict one’s views.

For example, a lot of Christian gender complmentarians only pay attention to two or three verses in the New Testament – the ones that talk about a woman being silent in church, the one where Paul says he does not permit a woman to teach, and so on – and not only do gender complementarians ignore key words within such favored verses, but they have a nasty tendency to ignore the examples that contradict their views – such as the existence of Junia the female apostle in the New Testament; Deborah, who was a leader over the nation Israel; and that Paul elsewhere says that women may prophesy – which requires women to open their mouth and speak, and not remain silent in church, or anywhere else.

Your average gender complementarian, however, will bang a fist on a desk and insist vehemently that the Bible is abundantly clear that no woman may ever teach, lead, or be a preacher or apostle, despite the fact the Bible contains examples of women doing those very things, and with God’s approval.

(For more on those particular gender complementarian issues, please see:
(Link): LOST IN TRANSLATION Part 2 – A Look at 1 Timothy 2:12-15 (off site link; hosted on Junia Project)
(Link): Why I’m an Egalitarian (off site link) )

Contrary to what gender complementarians think, the Bible is not clear or cut- and- dried, once- for- all about whether women can and should be preachers and so on.

I think Christians such as Evans need to be equally aware that it can be problematic and sloppy, however, to make the Bible out to be completely fuzzy and vague on any and all topics, as though the entirety of the Bible is up for grabs and can be defined in any old way.

That the Bible can be hard to understand on some points is true does not mean that one cannot figure out what God thinks or believes about other topics.

When people approach the Bible with a pet doctrine in mind, or with an agenda, they will not take the biblical text for what it really says, but attempt to find “loop holes” that negate the verses they do not like, or to give alternate interpretations that fit their pre-made conclusions of what they WISH the text said.

Continue reading “Sometimes the Bible is Clear – Regarding Rachel Held Evan’s Post”

Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist

Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist

Before I post about the serial rapist preacher, I do want to point out that some churches may be turning their noses up at singles for positions of leadership not always out of an outright bias against singles or singlenes, but that many churches, especially of the IFB bent apparently, are cheapskates: they want a married pastor because they get two slave laborers for the price of one, a husband and his wife.

Apparently, a preacher’s wife is expected to fulfill unpaid roles at many churches and in many denominations, such as providing free church child care; running and organizing church activities; and playing the piano during church services.

Some people at one forum were copying “Pastor Wanted” ads into one thread, and a few of the advertisments specifically required that the pastor applying have a wife, and the wife’s duties were spelled out, as “she must be a piano player,” etc.

The thing I find sad and funny is that these are not biblical standards in the first place, and some of the churches adhering to these standards claim to be “KJV Only” or to care deeply about “biblical standards.” The Bible does not say all preachers/ teachers have to be married, or have to have children, or that a pastor must have a wife who plays musical instruments.

Note also that a lot of this abuse against women (and young girls) by Christians are in churches that have a low view of the female gender, which they call “traditional gender roles” or “biblical gender complementarianism.” They adhere to very strict gender role perspectives. These types of churches/ Christians typically believe a woman is suitable for only being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. The males have very sexist views of women and usually blame females for being raped -much like Islamic honor killing culture.

Now, the star attraction of this post, the biggest reason you clicked the link to read this post:

Ah yes, another married person, and a pastor no less, was revealed to be less than saintly. The guy was arrested for being a serial rapist. He worked as a preacher. He hanged himself while in jail.

Mr. Pervy Pastor had two or three children, so he was a father, too, not just a husband.

And we know that conservative Christians think that fatherhood (or motherhood) automatically make a Christian more responsible and godly. *Snicker*
(See previous post on this blog: (Link): “Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be”)

News reports such as these do not fit in with the paradigm held by a lot of conservative Christians, particularly Baptists (IFB and SBC and others) and conservative evangelicals that married people are more sexually pure, more morally upright, or more mature than never-married adults (or the divorced) over the age of 25 – 30.

The truth is that married people are no more godly, mature, responsible, or sexually upright than singles.

Most “sexual purity” sermons, books, and blogs about sexual sin assume that all singles, or at least those under the age of 30, are “randy” all the time and having sex with hundreds of partners per week, even though that is not true for all singles, especially not all Christian singles. (Note the ageism, not just the single stereotype in play: most churches don’t even stop to consider that singles over 30, 40 have sexual desire, or they don’t care.)

Here are some links and excerpts about the pervy rapist IFB preacher (even in death, his pastor friends, who knew the truth about the guy – that he was reportedly a rapist – gave him a glowing eulogy in one of their publications. Link to that below):

(Link): “Spinning Scandals Redux” (Deceased Pervy Pastor Known To Be Pervy By All Gets Glowing Obit from IFB Church Publication) (via “Stuff Fundies Like” site)

(Link): Pastor’s arrest, suicide stun church

(Link – from a blog): Two Sides of Matthew Jarrell

(Link): Former York County pastor’s arrest, travels spark nationwide sex-assault search (story dates from 2011)

    By TED CZECH
    Daily Record/Sunday News

    York, PA – In May 2007, the Rev. Matthew Dwayne Jarrell picked up a woman in Texas. She said he flashed a gold badge at her and told her if she did not do what he wanted, he would arrest her.

    Instead, San Antonio Police arrested him and charged him with sexual assault. In his vehicle they found two knives, a stun gun, leather gloves, video equipment and a machete.

    Last week, Jarrell, 41 — who at one time served as pastor of Old Paths Baptist Church in North Codorus Township — was again arrested on a sexual assault charge, this time in West Virginia.

    Police there say he offered a woman a ride home, drove to a secluded area and raped her.

    Continue reading “Stereotypes Against Singles Refuted Series: Married IFB Preacher Arrested for Being Serial Rapist”

Hyper Sola Scriptura

Hyper Sola Scriptura

I have briefly discussed this topic on older posts (such as a post about NDEs). If one is going to be a Christian, then yes, one needs to embrace sola scriptura.

I am down with sola scriptura. When some people drift from sola scriptura, they come up with some bizarre, false teachings.

However, some Christians, particularly Neo Calvinists, take sola scriptura to an extreme, to discount any sort of supernatural or spiritual experience or knowledge that a Christian did not get directly from the Bible – which is, ironically, an unbiblical view point on their part (they claim to be so very biblical), because, for example, Christ promised that His followers would do greater things than He, such as raise the dead and so forth.

I don’t always agree with blogger Rachel Held Evans on every topic, but this is one view I do share with her; here’s a post to her site about this topic:

(Link): Is God’s presence limited to Scripture?

The Bible does promise the Holy Spirit to every believer, and the Holy Spirit is said to speak to believers in a “still, small voice.” The Bible itself witnesses that God will and can speak to believers in other ways, and not just in the Bible alone.

I don’t see any support, and not even in 2 Timothy 3:16, that indicates that God will not use any other means other than the Bible to communicate to believers.

Obviously, if someone claims to be a Christian and that person claims God spoke to them, then their so-called revelation needs to be compared and measured against the Bible, and if it runs contrary to the Bible, it must not be from God. But to completely discount any and all methods outside the written word is a mistake.

There is even a portion of the New Testament, in Romans, that says God reveals Himself via nature.

When I was younger, and on one occasion, under the age of ten, and in a time of minor crisis after I prayed for help, God spoke to me directly (and I didn’t have a Bible near-by to turn to, even had I wanted). I’m not going to go into detail about the specific incident, but God did speak to me, inwardly (not in an audible voice), and what God spoke to me did not run counter to any teaching in the Bible. The point being I know for a fact God does speak to people, and not only in or from the published book we call The Bible, because He spoke to me once.

I just get so tired of ultra conservative Christians, and the Neo Calvinists, who laugh at, mock, and ridicule any one and every one who says they heard from God in some way. Their arrogance in this area is appalling.

Anyway, I encourage you to read the blog post at RH Evans’ site about the topic.

(Link): Is God’s presence limited to Scripture?

Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

Family as “The” Backbone of Society?

I was kind of half-listening to today’s (April 10, 2013) episode Christian television program “The 700 Club,” being hosted by Gordon (Pat Robertson’s son).

I can’t remember the context of the comment he made, it might have followed the segment about adoption, but after bemoaning the number of single parent households and how fathers don’t hang around any longer, Robertson made the comment that “families are the backbone of society.” Are they really? Where does the Bible teach that?

If you would like to posit that families are “A” building block of society, I might not argue with that, but to imply it’s “THE” building block, or the “only” or “the most important” backbone of society? I do take issue with that.

The fact is some people do not HAVE families.

Some people never had kids and their spouse is dead.

There are people such as me who never married and never had kids.

Gordon Robertson is not the first or only conservative evangelical Christian to make this “the family is the building block of society” argument, I’ve seen it repeated time and again for over 25 years by other Christians and even by Non Christian conservatives.

I too am a conservative and am not “anti family,” but you know…

If your theology, doctrine, and world view as a Christian leaves no place, concern, or thought for UNMARRIED people, or for the INFERTILE, or for the WIDOWED, here’s a clue- by- four over your head: you might be making marriage, parenting, and the nuclear family into an IDOL, making something of “the family” that God never intended.

Jesus Christ taught if you put your family above Him and His church (that is, other believers who may not be related to you physically), you are not worthy to follow Him.

Almost 50% of the American population is single these days, so that un-married people are part of the “backbone of society” these days. (Edit. As of 2014, single adults are now over half of the American population, please see (Link): this post)
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Related posts:

(Link): Misuse of Terms Such As “Traditional Families” by Christians – Re: Kirk Cameron, Homosexual Marriage, and the 2014 Grammys

(Link): Hypocrisy: Conservative Christians / Catholics Pressure Women To Feel Their Only Worth is in Becoming Mothers, But If Women Try to Use Medical Technology to Get Pregnant, the Women Are Condemned by The Same Groups

(Link):  Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): The Term “Family Values” And Its Use By Christians – Vis A Vis story: Grandma Gives Teen Granddaughter a Vibrator

(Link):  Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen by F. Everett

Contemporary American Christianity’s Fascination with NDE Stories

I am not necessarily in complete agreement with all views expressed in blog pages, radio programs, or other sites I link to.

Sites discussing the popularity of stories about NDEs (Near Death Experiences) or visits to heaven or hell appear much farther below.

As I find more of these accounts or editorials from a Christian perspective that analyzes them, I shall add those links at the bottom of this page.

The second link is to a page by Christian commentator Phil Johnson, who expresses much doubt over NDE stories being true and laments the biblical ignorance of Christians today.

I am in agreement with Johnson that people’s stories of supposedly visiting heaven or hell should be measured against the Bible, but I think Johnson seems a little close-minded to it being a possibility at all, which I find off putting.

Perhaps I am wrong, and he would concede that such events can and do occur, but based on what I saw in the interview and web page, he appears totally opposed to it being a possibility at all, or he thinks all such accounts are demonic (i.e., Satan ‘appearing as an angel of light’ to deceive).

I also find his apparent wholescale rejection of NDE testimonies strange on account of them being supernatural (or, maybe he would say that the supernatural elements in the NDE stories don’t fully match the Bible?), considering that the supernatural is an aspect of Christian faith.

Our Lord and Savior was dead for three days and arose from the dead. Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, as well as a few other people. Stephen claimed to have a vision of Christ standing by the Father as he stood dying. One of the Old Testament prophets was taken alive into Heaven on a chariot of fire. Christ walked on water. Moses, thanks to God’s ability, parted the Red Sea.

To express extreme skepticism of all NDEs, or visions of the afterlife, as Johnson does, or to believe that such supernatural occurrences could never, ever happen in our day and age, or to ascribe every single last one of them to Satanic deception, is, to me, a little strange and narrow-minded.

I understand wanting to be cautious about such NDE stories, but Johnson acts as though supernatural activity stopped as soon as the last book of the New Testament was written.
(Click on the “read more” link to read the rest of this post. Thanks.):
Continue reading “Contemporary American Christianity’s Fascination with NDE Stories”