"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Which Is More Important - Character or Doctrine?

Hard Ball Religion has arrived in the warehouses and will begin being distributed shortly. One of the major premises in the book is that a person should be known as a Christian by how he behaves as much as what he believes. The follower of Jesus should be known by his love for others. These past four years have been an eye opener for me in that I have met some Southern Baptists who seem to display more of a concern that others believe their doctrine than they do that others experience their love. There even seems to be some in ministry that think they are special because of their "office" and lord their sense of authority over others rather than desiring to be a servant to all. What is most surprising to me is how some Southern Baptists consider disagreement an attack on their character, and as a result, respond with vociferous personal attacks. I long for the day when Southern Baptist Christians can disagree with charity.

Borrowing from Presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan, I adapt what she said about the office of President of the United States and apply it to those of us who serve as pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention.

"In a pastor, character is everything. A pastor doesn't have to be brilliant. He doesn't have to be clever. He doesn't necessarily have to be a good communicator. But he must have courage and decency. A pastor must possess those things in him. He may have a vision of the future regarding his ministry, but a vision is worth little if the pastor doesn't have the character, the grace and the love needed to minister to the people he serves."


I would propose that confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is essential to being a Christian, not to mention a Southern Baptist pastor. However, I would further propose that the character of the confessor is much more important than any other secondary or tertiary doctrine of the Christian faith, even among those of us who lead through pastoral ministry.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

243 comments:

1 – 200 of 243   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Very well said Wade. About 30 years too late but well said.

Thy Peace said...

Amen.

One of the major premises in the book is that a person should be known as a Christian by how he behaves as much as what he believes. The follower of Jesus should be known by his love for others.

This gives new light to L's questioning of her doctrine or lack of by some.

What shapes character? A personal relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ, where The Holy Spirit transforms us to His likeness.

How do we evidence this likeness? By showing love to others. Especially to our enemies.

This is very hard to do. Actually, it's also hard to love or forgive people whom we normally love, let alone enemies.

What causes enemies or enmity? It appears in pastoral politics or politics of SBC (or any other group), human nature seems to prevail. But Grace seems to abound in unexpected places. I am afraid, till Our Lord Jesus Christ returns, this prevalence of human nature and hardball politics will prevail. Some might buck this trend and suffer as a result, but Grace, Truth and Mercy eventually seems to come through, and over time heal the wounds.

Anonymous said...

Wade is only saying that which was already known. It was written down almost two thousand years ago.


I John 4:20
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?


I John 4:21
And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

Anonymous said...

Another "false" question has been asked to put you in a "box". It is either/neither character or doctrine. It is BOTH. Unsound doctrine leads to unsound behavior. Sound doctrine can lead to sound behavior. Having/believing sound doctrine is not a guarantee of Godly behavior. However, just think how rotten I'd be if I didn't believe in Him. We all need grace, mercy and truth. Get the basics right. Live not to bring your life into question. As a retired pastor recently told me, "in reflecting on my dad's life it was his consistent consistency that drew me to the Lord and was my dad's best testimony". Wow what a life we get to live for HIM. May we strengthen and gain wisdom daily!

Anonymous said...

The character of a person is shown by his ACTIONS. If a person has accepted Christ, his ACTIONS will be changed because he now bears the imprint of Christ within his own character, and he will become a new person: 'born again' so to speak.

The actions of a Christian bear witness to Christ. A Christian does not, cannot be content to cause his brother to suffer. It 'ain't gonna happen.
Nor can a Christian stand and watch his brother suffering without going to his brother's aid.


In the commandment to "Love thy neighbor" ; 'love' is an action word.

Anonymous said...

What 'sound doctrines' did Patterson use to justify his treatment of Dr. Klouda and the missionaries?

There was NOTHING 'sound' about his 'doctrine'.

NOTHING.

gwfrink3 said...

You're sounding mighty Methodist to me: By their works ... . Anyhow, sounds good to me. And congratulations on reaching the sales and distribution stage with your book!

Christiane said...

Dear THY PEACE, who wrote this:

"One of the major premises in the book is that a person should be known as a Christian by how he behaves as much as what he believes. The follower of Jesus should be known by his love for others.

This gives new light to L's questioning of her doctrine or lack of by some"


It's me, L's

What I wrote was this:

"What is it that offends God more:
that we don't choose our 'doctrines' correctly
OR
that the 'wounded' in our path
suffer from kindness unknown?"


In conscience, I look to the Lord Christ for the answer to this question for myself.
I could not answer this question for anyone else. Love, L's

debbiekaufman said...

gw: Works are the result of what has been done inside of us, it's not works that causes what is inside of us. That's the difference. God works from the inside out. That is how Romans and James can be compatible and both true.

Stephen Pruett said...

I look forward to reading the book, and this preview is right on target. The only examples of which I am aware in the New Testament where members of a church are told to cease fellowship with another member are cases of clear heresy (incorrect doctrine on essentials) or open sin of which the member refuses to repent. God, through Paul, deals with many doctrinal issues in his letters. However, very very few carry with them the penalty of withdrawing fellowship. What I cannot understand is how the BI folks justify their position that (as I understand it) doctrine is of primary importance, regardless of the "level" of the issue (essential, secondary, or tertiary). This does not seem to me to be consistent with scripture. Of course, this is exactly what one would expect if doctrine on all issues is elevated above love, fellowship, and shared ministry. Indeed, this is not an either or situation. Sound doctrine is important. However, there are disagreements about doctrine that will probably never be fully resolved until the End (e.g., 5 points or less than 5 points?). Thus, disputable doctrines that do not affect the essentials should not be a cause of division.

Stephen Pruett said...

I look forward to reading the book, and this preview is right on target. The only examples of which I am aware in the New Testament where members of a church are told to cease fellowship with another member are cases of clear heresy (incorrect doctrine on essentials) or open sin of which the member refuses to repent. God, through Paul, deals with many doctrinal issues in his letters. However, very very few carry with them the penalty of withdrawing fellowship. What I cannot understand is how the BI folks justify their position that (as I understand it) doctrine is of primary importance, regardless of the "level" of the issue (essential, secondary, or tertiary). This does not seem to me to be consistent with scripture. Of course, this is exactly what one would expect if doctrine on all issues is elevated above love, fellowship, and shared ministry. Indeed, this is not an either or situation. Sound doctrine is important. However, there are disagreements about doctrine that will probably never be fully resolved until the End (e.g., 5 points or less than 5 points?). Thus, disputable doctrines that do not affect the essentials should not be a cause of division. Most importantly, such division is not consistent with scripture.

Christiane said...

Hi DEBBIE KAUFFMAN,

You wrote this: "Works are the result of what has been done inside of us, it's not works that causes what is inside of us. That's the difference. God works from the inside out. That is how Romans and James can be compatible and both true."

That is a brilliant statement.
It reconciles two opposing types of arguments beautifully. Love, L's

Anonymous said...

It is interesing to note how Paul wrote Timothy to watch BOTH his doctrine and his life.

John Daly said...

Authentic spiritual growth--which includes doctrine--always leads to a conern for other people.

Anonymous said...

Well said John.

I think people are missing the point that L's is asked if a person is saved by grace through faith ALONE or does it need to have a little works sprinkled in there BECAUSE of our love for her. Not because there is a desire to harass or win a theological debate.

Indeed, what a weak and ineffective love we show to others if we allow them to adhere to the wrong answer to this most important question...

"How do I escape the wrath of God to come?"

Still lovin' and prayin' for L's.

ps. It's Noonan, not Noonin.

Noonin is what I'm doing about 12:00pm everyday. :)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thy Peace said...

Breakfastwith Fred > Daily Fenelon > Yield Your Will

Love does not depend on your feeling. Your will is what God wants from you. Run your household in a godly way, raise your children properly, and give up empty pleasures. Seek to be simple, quiet, and humble. Let your life be hid with Christ in God. This is what God is after.

When God asks you for something, do not refuse Him. Learn to wait for God. Do not move until He directs you. Each day will bring its own problems. As you deal with them you will grow deeper and deeper in God.

Let your faith strengthen you. When you feel absolutely weak you will discover a strength that is not your own. You will know that the strength is not your own. And if you go astray for a little while, then you will learn humility as you return. Your Lord lives in the center of your spirit. Return to Him there as much as you can. Surrender yourself to God and learn to live by Him rather than out of your own strength. Little by little this learning to live by your Lord's strength unfolds within you. No longer will you cling to things that you can see, but you will cling to God, within you, and there you will find deep and true fellowship.

Christiane said...

Hi, anon. I love you back. :)
It's me, L's

The questions remain: what is the role of Christ as Law Giver?
What is the connection between His teachings and commandments and the His role as the Redeemer and Savior? Do people accept Him in His role as the Giver of Laws to be followed? What are these Laws?
From His teachings, Words, and His actions, are we informed of these Laws?

These questions are answered in many different ways: leading to much controversy among Christians and to much variety in doctrines.
We know this, as there are so many doctrinal divisions among us.

Can a Christian accept Christ as Savior and refuse to obey His commandments ? Or is obedience to Christ a part of accepting Him as Savior? What is the connection, if any? Can it be answered that it is a matter of private conscience as informed by the Holy Spirit ?

Also, what is the meaning of Corinthians 13 ? How do Christians 'interpret' this most important definition of Charity in obedience to the Law of Charity as given by Christ?

And what is the impact of a Christian's interpretation of Cor. 13 on their role in the world as a Christian?

Just some questions to think about.
Not an 'attack', God forbid, or a 'rebuttal', (not needed).

Simply put: is it enough just to pray for our neighbor who is dying of thirst and tell him about Christ and urge him to accept Christ, OR, are we commanded in Christian charity to also give our brother a drink of water and thereby show him the love of Christ through our kindness to him?
What has Jesus taught us, here?
And what if our neighbor can only understand the love of Christ through our actions? There are many in our world who do not have the gifts of intelligence to understand 'doctrine', but they do understand kindness and love.

What can we learn from Christ, Himself? From HIS OWN words in the Gospels? And HIS OWN example of obedience, even unto death?
We must turn to Him, and return to Him, and return again, and again, and again to Him. He has the words of eternal life, and no other.

Each person asks their OWN questions of Him, about what it means to responsibly bear the name of 'Christian'.
For each person, the answers, for them, lie in their own enoounter with the Lord Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The impact of this powerful and personal encounter on one's conscience is life-giving and life-changing. Love, L's

Bryan Riley said...

To the anonymous who claimed a false dichotomy exists in this post: You write - "However, just think how rotten I'd be if I didn't believe in Him."

I think that is Wade's point. Once a person has the believe in Him part down (which is a gift from Him as well), that person shouldn't separate over other teachings. Instead, as they grow because of God's love they should respond to it by being loving.

What other "doctrine" - that is, teaching - is there than the example Jesus gave us with His life? Jesus' life - the way He lived - is doctrine. It is the Way.

happy gram said...

the saddest thing to me is that, no matter what the disagreement, no matter what the difference over doctrine, there are those involved in high levels of the ministry whose comments on this blog cause me to blush with embarassment for them. i am a lowly layperson without seminary training or the intellectual where-with-all to understand some of what is discussed here. but i love debate and am learning much. and one thing i do know is that God's grace is sufficient to cover the sins of even those who utter hateful and unkind remarks to others. it is my desire that these people would recognize their need to REALLY reflect the Jesus that they claim.

Anonymous said...

L's - You won't get an argument from me on the value of doing good works.

I'm a missionary for Christ's sake! (no pun intended) :)

The issue is what comes first, the chicken (salvation) or the egg (good works).

Is the chicken dependant on the egg or does the egg naturally flow from the chicken?

Now that's deep theology. :)

Have a great day today!

SL1M

Anonymous said...

oops, I didn't mean to put SL1M. Sorry about that CB. You can still call me a coward though. :)

John Fariss said...

Reckon there'll be a hundred comment by lunchtime? And we haven't heard from the naysayers yet, at least not to speak of.

But then here is what I suspect will happen: Wade's critics will say (to or at least within themselves), "Wade's defenders will like the post, yet it isn't too controversial, it's self-serving; and any comment I make will just stir them up more. So I will not comment at all, or if it do, it will be with little snipes, anonymously." And they will be pleased with their decision.

But as the hours go by, they will keep coming back and reading the comments, and they will get more and more infuriated. There is a fair chance (I'll say 60%)eventually one of them will just explode, and unload in a comment. And if that happens, the others will say, "Me too," and even more will jump into the fray. Some of them will even think "This time I'll put Wade in his place," or "This time, I will convincingly show the world what a _______ (fill in your favorite slur) Wade is," in effect, "This time I'll win."

As if it is a game of chance. And the winner will take home the winnings.

John Fariss

Bryan Riley said...

Or is it that we have the wrong definition of doctrine in the first place?

Bob Cleveland said...

On the matter of works and faith, I like Oswald Chambers' explanation of the Beatitudes. He said they're not behaviors to be emulated (or, say, works to be attempted), but rather, they're roadsigns which tell us whether the Holy Spirit is "having His way with us". I think that's the key to James' statement than we're not justified by faith alone, but by our works. They seem to be the best visible evidence that the Holy Ghost does, indeed, have His way with us.

And if He does NOT, then can it be accurately said that Jesus is our "Lord" (= supreme in authority)?

And if you behavior is not compatible with Christ-likeness, then ....

No wonder we've been cautioned to work out out own salvation with fear and trembling.

Anonymous said...

How do we define character? Whose character definition is true? Is their a universal "character" that we all agree upon as being good? I don't think so. Without doctrine (or teaching) on what is good character we can not even begin to know what equates to good Character.

Will bad doctrine lead to good character? Maybe in some areas of life, but take the doctrine of sin for example. If one believes that taking innocent life for a religious cause is not a sin, then their doctrine will lead to poor character.

I don't believe one can be placed as more important than another.

Christiane said...

Hey SLIM !!

It's me, L's

I KNEW it was you. How are you?
Where are you now in the mission field? Are you taking good care of your health? I ask this because I had a relative, a cousin of my mother's who passed away prematurely. He worked in South America as a missionary for years and it took a terrible toll on his health. That man was a saint.
I know it can be hard to take care of yourself in 'strange' environments, but you must try.
I will pray for you. Love, L's

Christiane said...

Dear BOB CLEVELAND,

I love your explanation of the working of the Holy Spirit within us. Wow. You are a great teacher. Thank you. Love, L's

Anonymous said...

Well said Wade. It would be nice to see our Pastors loving those (even those that don't see eye to eye on doctrine) in their congregations. It would even be nice if they faked it whenever they can't find it within themselves to love. Nothing is more upsetting than to be a member of a church (and we aren't talking a huge membership, less than 150 in worship)and your pastor snub you.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Check out Mohler's newest blog post.

"A "Stained-Glass Ceiling?" A Clarifying Look at a Controversial Question"

I'd like to see a post from you in response to this.

Jon said...

Professor Stange shows a high level of Babylonian mindset, in that her whole basis of argument is that our life, ministry, service is about us, not God. Our equality not God's supremacy.

I know that for someone to be against women pastors they will also be against a cultural mindset that want to trump biblical teaching.

I support Professor Stange to be able to hold her views but I will adamantly disagree with her by using on the teachings of scripture.

Who knows what our liberal culture will come up with next... Maybe something like... Jesus was a racist.

Joe Blackmon said...

From the above blog post of Dr. Mohler's:
Completely missing from her analysis is any concession that God might actually have ordered this pattern of leadership restriction for our good and His glory. Her perspective on the issue is fundamentally secular in approach. In this view, where men alone can hold positions of authority and responsibility, prejudice must be the cause and access to these positions for women must be the solution.

Thankfully Dr. Mohler bases his comments on solid biblical exegesis rather than baseless assumptions of prejudice. By doing so, he is able to accurately interpret the Bible and come to the correct, scripturally sound conclusion rather than reading into the text what he wishes it said.

debbiekaufman said...

Well, that's awful funny Joe because I didn't see one scripture in all of Al Mohler's post. I saw lots of commentary and that is all I saw.

Cindy said...

Pastor Wade,

It seems that the late Dr. Walter Martin agrees with you on the importance of character and doctrine.

He says that the Christian bears 2 kinds of fruit: that of the life lived and that of the doctrine preached.

http://www.spiritwatch.org/cultrise79.ram

And I've been all over the internet quoting this over the past week, but of the 210 verses in Scripture dealing with false teachers, false prophets and Pharisees, only 21 of them (10%) deal with doctrine. Nearly 80% of the remainder of the verses discuss observance of the false prophet/teacher/Pharisee's behavior (99 verses) and their fruit (66). The remainder discuss their motives.

If we focus only on doctrine then, I believe we are missing 90% of what the Word instructs to observe, note and call to account.

Anonymous said...

Mohler wrote THIS ?

"Completely missing from her analysis is any concession that God might actually have ordered this pattern of leadership restriction for our good and His glory"

May the Shekinah have mercy on his soul ! (wink)

Why is it that when the heat is on some of these PROMINENT 'leaders' in the SBC for having seriously abused the sheep; that those in 'high places' try to old smoke-screen of CHANGING the subject by stirring up passions around the acceptable SBC institutionalized prejudices against women, gays, etc.???????

It is SO obvious.

Brunson is exposed.
Change the subject.

After a while, people see through this. They are not lacking in brains, only in fleece.

Anonymous said...

Mohler wrote THIS ?

"Completely missing from her analysis is any concession that God might actually have ordered this pattern of leadership restriction for our good and His glory"

May the Shekinah have mercy on his soul ! (wink)

Why is it that when the heat is on some of these PROMINENT 'leaders' in the SBC for having seriously abused the sheep; that those in 'high places' try to old smoke-screen of CHANGING the subject by stirring up passions around the acceptable SBC institutionalized prejudices against women, gays, etc.???????


How did Mohler change the subject? Was he even in the discussion about abusive leadership? Which SBC leader is changing the subject?

Anonymous said...

The heat is on.
Even when Soud was video-taped, when he got done with his 'protective role' (the 'voting' scene); with a smile on his face, HE 'rallied' the troops behind the institutionalized prejudice against homosexuality. Go back and watch the video of him. It's there.

Look. These guys know EXACTLY what they are doing. Get real.
They look out for each other and keep the troops rallied around the old acceptable hate banners.

Chris Ryan said...

This is easy: character.

A Christ-like character can only be formed in one by God.

Even the demons have good doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Spiritual abuse:

patriarchy,

SBC leadership,

scapegoating, wherein it becomes acceptable to 'hate' those who are different and to use this to rally congregational support, all the while playing-down abuse of the sheep,

the connections to the fringes of B.I. society that are influenced by the Kinist movement.

Worth exploring? Thanks, Cindy, for information.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

Good ethics, good behavior are absolutely important for those who would follow Christ. Obvioulsy, good works don't merit salvation, but it would be a strange faith that we have if we belittled practical righteousness.

Louis

Paul Burleson said...

I do not believe ANYONE would want to say that either one is NOT important. But having said that two things come to my mind.

One... is what 11 Peter 1:4-5 says "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith VIRTUE; and to virtue KNOWLEDGE." I don't think it is incidental that virtue PRECEEDS knowledge here.

The other thing...is which was more important when there were no available bibles before the printing press invention? What LITTLE knowledge there was would have to be added to a Spirit developed character [virtue] in believers who had heard the gospel and gifted with faith became His followers with little knowledge of doctrine.

I'm certainly NOT discounting the blessing the printed Word was when it universally became available as a gift of God, but knowledge of the book must never be more important than intimacy with the God who gave it. [Who's Spirit has the power to change character as our character changes are not a natural thing but a supernatural thing]

You can have knowledge of the book without a knowledge of the one who gave it. But it is the second knowledge that produces virtue. Israel forgot that with the brass serpent fiasco as did the Pharisees later.

But really BOTH are significant. [With a very slight but important pecking order in my judgment.]

Joe Blackmon said...

"HE 'rallied' the troops behind the institutionalized prejudice against homosexuality"

(sarcasm)Of course, because it couldn't be that scripture plainly teaches that all homosexual behavior is always sinful. That would be plain silly.(/sarcasm)

Lin said...

Good points all, Paul. I would add to that the fact that the original 12 were not exactly the rabbinical creme of the crop.

Only Paul could fit that description and he was sent to the Gentiles. :o)

But the original 12 had Christ and the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit Who is our Counselor for Truth of the Word.

Anonymous said...

As long as their are plenty of Joe Blackmuns to follow the rallying cry, the hate-mongers will continue to rule the churches.
Sarcasam.

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

And of course, you can prove from the Bible that homosexuality is not a sin? Otherwise you're just beating your bums together with nothing to back it up, right?

John Fariss said...

Joes,

Consider this question: is the Bible opposed to homosexuality? Ot to the PRACTICE of homosexuality? And yes, there is a difference.

I think you will find that the Word is vocal about the second, it is silent about the first. That is where prejudice comes into play. I don't have a horse in thsi race, mind you, and of what Judge Soud did/didn't say, I don't know. But we as Christians might be better off in the world if we were vocal about things the Bible is vocal about, and silent where it is silent, least we mistake our opinions for God's.

John Fariss

Lydia said...

"Consider this question: is the Bible opposed to homosexuality? Ot to the PRACTICE of homosexuality? And yes, there is a difference."

John, I have to disagree with this premise. Scripture teaches us to take every thought captive...

Jesus raised the bar from murder to hate. From adultery to lust. From committing the sin to thinking about the sin.

Joe Blackmon said...

John

Homosexuality is a choice---always.
It is not a "state of being". No one is ever born homosexual. Therefore, your question has no merit.

Anna A said...

Joe Blackmon,

How are you defining homosexuality? Are you defining it by the attraction that one person has for another, or by behavior?

We have choices in our actions, but not in our attractions.

Sallie said...

"Love each other as I have loved you." Jn 15:12

"This is my command; Love each other." Jn 15:17

Lin said...

We have choices in our actions, but not in our attractions.

Mon Mar 23, 08:39:00 PM 2009

I believe we can when our hearts are changed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. I am not saying this is easy as we fight the flesh daily.

Wouldn't this be like saying that if a man does not 'act' on his attractions to other women then he is not sinning? But he is lusting in his heart which Jesus taught as sin.

Anna A said...

Lin,

I see attraction and lusting as two different things. To me, lusting is dwelling on the person or thing that you are attracted to.

For a man to see an attractive woman and appreciate her for that is very different than drooling over her, making plans to be in her path, etc.

Lin said...

For a man to see an attractive woman and appreciate her for that is very different than drooling over her, making plans to be in her path, etc.

Mon Mar 23, 09:08:00 PM 2009

I guess that makes it even more confusing. Even a heterosexual man can appreciate the fact that another man is very handsome.

So, what would be the difference for a homosexual man doing this?

The difference is the attraction, which is lust. The very feelings and urges it creates. Many former homosexuals who have been saved tell us that it is completely possible to be delivered from this.

I hope that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have told the hundreds, maybe thousands, of homosexual youth who committed suicide that they had a 'choice'.
They died not knowing that.

May God have mercy on all of us.

Bob Cleveland said...

Regardless of our "natural state" with reference to sex, we must surrender it to God and follow His mandates in how we are to behave.

Men are generally attracted to women. You know the deal. But the fact that we may be built to be indiscriminately lustful is no excuse at all. We must crucify that in ourselves; the good news is that God enables that in His children.

Whatever it is that is most attractive to women, that, too, must be crucified as a lust of the flesh.

Homosexual desire is still desire of the flesh, and that must be crucified too, and submitted to God, as is the case with all other sin.

Nobody gets a "pass" by claiming we were "made that way". And somehow, I have to believe the youth who kill themselves rather than face desires condemned by others simply haven't really had the redeeming, transforming message of God's love take root in their souls (in my inexpert opinion).

In that respect, shame on us.

Anonymous said...

Commenters giving someone a free ride after hearing a works based answer to salvation was hard to understand.

Frankly, I still don't understand the non-concern.

But now the commenters here are sweet talking the sin of homosexuality...and it's gaining momentum?!

Yikes!

Have I been deceived all these years Wade? Say it ain't so!

I can't believe it, but it might be time for me to move on.

Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe it is time.

Joe Blackmon said...

"Someone should have told the hundreds, maybe thousands, of homosexual youth who committed suicide that they had a 'choice'.
They died not knowing that.
"

If you're looking for a place to have the sin of homosexuality winked at by folks who name the name of Christ, a comment thread on this blog is a good place to look for it.

Actually, a great place.

Joe Blackmon said...

Lin

Did we just agree on something? We're both saying that homosexuality is a sin and no one gets a pass for having homosexual urges?

I may faint.

Word verification "imate" as in "Primate".

IT IS WRITTEN said...

David wrote that he was "woven in inquity"...All are born sinners and with a sin nature which is revealed in different ways of sinning...Jeremiah wrote "that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked"...The Apostle Paul in Romans 3 stated none is righteousness;none seek God;and none are good,no not one!!!Whether it is,homosexually,adultery,fornication,stealing,killing,hating,lying,lusting or any impurity,it is all sin and need to be acknowledged as "SIN" and confessed as such and repented of!!!..To attempt to justify anykind of sin in contradiction to the clear revelation of Scripture is to call God an accomplice in our unrighteousness!!!...Lastly again the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 7 that in the believer there is "another law" warring against the "law of our mind"...The sin that so easily beset us is always attempting to enslave us to do it's desire and we are not to allow it to have dominion over us[Rom.6]...Homosexually is a sin plain and simple,and just like any other sin it is to be confessed and resisted as such!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, Joe, maybe you have found your calling: you can minister to the needs of youth who 'do not know that they have a choice'.

You certainly seem motivated.

We remember another pastor who spoke virulently about homosexuality, until it came out that he had betrayed his wife for another man.

'Counseling' is not judging.
Too many people are in pain over this for anyone to 'wink' at it, Joe. What ON EARTH, could you have been thinking?

Maybe you should look to Christ for a better way to help these people. Sarcasm and judgment haven't worked. Try another Way.

Anonymous said...

In Matthew 9:9-12, we read the following:

"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples,
'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'

But when he heard this, he said,

'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means,

'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'

For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners'"

Anonymous said...

However 'Pharisees' here need to find a blog where there is no mention of sin ?

How many truly righteous people among us have no sin ?

Jesus sat with sinners.

And we are 'too good' to do this.

I get it.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

GOD HATES FAGS, FAGS HATE GOD, AIDS CURES FAGS, THANK GOD FOR AIDS, FAGS BURN IN HELL, GOD IS NOT MOCKED, FAGS ARE NATURE FREAKS, GOD GAVE FAGS UP, NO SPECIAL LAWS FOR FAGS

Anonymous said...

Go Joe !

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

I'll pose this question again since you ignored it last time:

Please demonstrate from the Bible that homosexuality is not sin.

Just one verse will do. Just one.

Yeah, I knew you couldn't do it.

Joe Blackmon said...

"Maybe you should look to Christ for a better way to help these people."

Neither I nor any person on this earth are capable of helping them like they need to be helped Granting repentance from sin is something that only God can do. As long as they don't believe what they're doing is a sin they will see no need to repent.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

"Joe"...I totally agree with your 10:56:00pm comment!!!

Anonymous said...

A quote from Morris Chapman:

"I am concerned…now that we have affirmed by vigorous endeavor that Southern Baptists are people of the Book, that we will develop a censorious, exclusivistic, intolerant spirit. If this occurs, we will be the poorer for it. It will not only result in narrower participation in denominational life, a shallower pool of wisdom and giftedness in our enterprises, and a shrinking impact upon the world, but we will be in the unenviable position of being right on doctrine but wrong with God.”

Joe Blackmon said...

IIW

Watch out!! Your roof or mine may be falling in on our heads.

Anonymous said...

Just got home from work and read these latest postings and I can't even contain my disgust at the lack of Christian love on this site. For a person to say God hates fags and that aids cures fags is undefensible.

Its always amazing that Baptists and Baptist preachers in particular always seem to love jumping on the anti-gay bandwagon and turning a blind eye to the fornicators and adulterers sitting on the front rows of their churches or serving as their deacons and staff members. Selective condemnation is pathetic.

I know numerous gay people and I can assure you that they didn't choose the gay life. Noone would ever do that. Just imagine what would happen if they joined a Baptist church and experienced this overflowing love that is shown in these posts.

And by the way, I can name at least 10 Southern Baptist pastors and Baptist Building employees that I know are gay so be careful--they might be sitting next to you or leading your church.

Anonymous said...

So Joe, what do you do?
Kick these people when you think you can, and everyone admires you: the great Christian who hates 'fags'?

We get it, Joe.

oc said...

And on that day when I go sinless for even just a day, no, even just an hour... I might be pure enough to mock anyone else's sin. But not until then.
oc.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Believers are love the sinner;..But hate sin!!!.They are to confront anykind of sinnful "ACTIONS" and call it such IN AS LOVING AND KIND WAY AS POSSIBLE!!!

Anonymous said...

Too late, IT IS WRITTEN, you already bought into Joe's act.

Lin said...

Lin

Did we just agree on something? We're both saying that homosexuality is a sin and no one gets a pass for having homosexual urges?

I may faint.

Word verification "imate" as in "Primate".

Mon Mar 23, 10:29:00 PM 2009

And Joe, I don't get a pass for my sinful thoughts either: Hebrews 10:26-31

But there are some out there that would tell me I am saved so it is no big deal. They like to quote 1 John that if we say we do not sin we are a liar. Which is true because even if we do not act on our sin, our very thoughts are sinful. But then, they usually do not want to read all of 1 John.

It is a big deal. As Bob so eloquently put it above: We are to crucify the flesh daily. that is so easy to say, isn't it? Harder to be in repentance daily.

I do think we have dumbed down sin to the point we hardly recognize it anymore. And that includes all of us. Me, pastors, elders, etc. See Matthew 7.

And for some reason we think we get to decide what IS sin. I know I do that. But really, it is missing the mark which is the perfection of Jesus Christ. That includes our thoughts not just our actions.

Not too long ago a friend of mine told me about a woman in her SS class who made the point that we should welcome a pedophile into the church and not 'make him sit on the back row'. We should forgive him. The woman who made the remark never once mentioned repentance. This was in context of a lesson on forgiveness. Which is one of the most misunderstood doctrines around.

My friend was astonished at how shallow our thinking has become. Her position was that he should be in jail even if he repented and we could minister to him there. She asked this woman if she would allow him to babysit her kids. She said yes.

We have so dumbed down sin that we are willing to not only ignore the civil laws but put children in harms way because someone said 'sorry'.


Joe, you just have not figured it out that not all egals have liberal doctrine. There is nothing liberal about the mutual submission of all believers to one another. There are a ton of 'one another's ' in scripture. They all apply to every believer whether they be a husband, wife, pastor, elder, etc. And they are NOT easy to do. It is much easier to be in charge or to follow others. But that is the way of the world.

Anonymous said...

Who is going to confront you with YOUR sins, IT IS WRITTEN ?

Anonymous said...

Now we know that there are some sinless Christians here. Tell us, how did you do it? Did you do it by sitting in judgement on other people you called sinners?
This is getting good.

Jon said...

Hate mongering on one side

Welcoming and affirming on the other.

Is there not a middle ground where we can love those caught up in the sinful nature bent on homosexuality and not condemn them to a hell Christ died to save them from. Yes, I believe for a man to be saved he must come to the realization he is lost... lost in his sin and then respond to God's offer of grace and repent of his sin. I believe an honest check to our approach towards those living in homosexuality is vital to reaching them.

Take time and listen to the words of atheist Penn Teller...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHS8adO3hM

This video clip is worth listening too.

Gosh, maybe an atheist can teach us something about our approach to getting the gospel to the world.

Anonymous said...

TEMPLE SONG OF THE PHARISEE

My sins are smaller than your sins.
My sins are smaller than yours.
My sins are smaller than your sins.
For this, I can praise the Lord.

Let's all sing.



word id: hipokrit

Lin said...

Friends, I cannot speak for Joe but I hope you know that admitting homosexual urges is a sin is not the same as hating homosexuals.

You would have to hate me because I, too, have other sinful urges I must deal with daily.

But, if someone tells me they are not really sins, then I won't seek repentance. I won't seek to grow in Holiness.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we shouldn't judge others.

Is that an atheist value?
Where did that come from ?
I forget.

oc said...

"Gosh, maybe an atheist can teach us something about our approach to getting the gospel to the world."


I think not. I think the Bible does it better than any atheist.

Anonymous said...

Lin said, 'But, if someone tells me they are not really sins, then I won't seek repentance. I won't seek to grow in Holiness.'

But Lin, other people don't convict you of a sin; that is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Didn't you know this ?

Anonymous said...

If Jesus sat and ate with sinners.
What does this tell us?

Lin said...

Lin said, 'But, if someone tells me they are not really sins, then I won't seek repentance. I won't seek to grow in Holiness.'

But Lin, other people don't convict you of a sin; that is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Didn't you know this ?

Mon Mar 23, 11:29:00 PM 2009

Think again what I said. If I am being taught that my urges are NOT sinful, that they are no big deal, then I might not seek repentence and I might not discern the Holy Spirit convicting me. All because I believed a human.

Are you also implying that the Holy Spirit does not use people as messengers?

My salvation came about by the hearing of the Word through a messenger. The Holy Spirit opened my heart to believe it.

It does not have to happen that way. But more often than not, it does.

But what are we to do as Christians except proclaim all scriptural truths? Done in love, that IS love. The hard part is doing it in love, because we are grieved that folks will not know Jesus Christ. Not because we are 'right'.

Anonymous said...

We can forgive.
We can bless.
We can 'quote Scripture', but the Holy Spirit interprets it to the listener.
We can teach about Christ.
We may not judge one another, nor call a person 'a sinner' unless we are looking in the mirror.
And most of all, we must care for one another.

Read the Gospels.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

"Who is going to confront you with YOUR sins, IT IS WRITTEN ?"

Mon Mar 23, 11:14:00 PM 2009
The same God who labels and confronts "ALL" types "SIN";;Sin is Sin no matter who commits it or what kind it is;;Nor should you make an exemption for homosexuality!!!...You nor anyone should call any sin anything less than what God and His Word has identified it as!!!..To Repent means to acknowledge that what God says is "sin" IS "sin" and to turn from it,not embrace it or make excuses for it!!!

Anonymous said...

We are no better than the person we condemn as a sinner. We then must be judged as we have judged.

Anonymous said...

Is there a special prayer you say when you have repented of judging others?

Lin said...

If Jesus sat and ate with sinners.
What does this tell us?

Mon Mar 23, 11:30:00 PM 2009

Sorry I am posting so much but this subject is fascinating to me.

I was just explaining this my daughter tonight. Yes, Jesus ate with 'sinners' because they were all sinners. That includes the Pharisees. Were there any perfect people for Him to eat with?

The point of Him eating with the prostitutes and tax collectors is more about the law and being unclean. This outraged the Pharisees. How could these people know God? But Jesus showed us, didn't He? those who have much to be forgiven love much.

But flip on over to 1 Corin 5 and see what Paul says there on something similar.

But note that Paul says we are NOT to associate with those who call themselves 'brothers' who live in obvious sin and he gives a list. We are not to even eat with them. We are to send them out of the Body..turn them over to satan so they can be saved.

But, he says we cannot avoid these SAME type of sinning people who do NOT profess to be Christians in the world. And we are not to judge them because we would have to go OUT of the world. But we are to exercise judgement in the Body. And we do it to SAVE people. Not harm them.

We are not to judge unbelieving homosexuals.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oc said...

Lin,
I almost always agree with what you say. The only thing I disagree with now is the notion that a any other human can overcome the Holy Spirit in me. While I most probably might be misunderstanding what you are saying, I must say that the fact is that in my experience, the Holy Spirit's conviction is so great that it takes me deliberate rebellion in order to believe a human over the Holy Spirit. Even though, to my shame, I haven't always obeyed, I have never had Him be drowned out by a human.
Am I missing something?
Sincerly.
oc.

Mon Mar 23, 11:57:00 PM 2009

Anonymous said...

Judging not to harm, but to save.
Then, why so many suicides ?
Why ?

Somehow the message isn't coming across in the way it is intended.
These young kids who kill themselves feel rejecting and scorned. They don't understand this 'message of salvation'.
Can't we find another way to teach them without rejection and scorn and without appearing so self-righteous?

Elisabeth said...

Anonymous 12:00AM - Yours is a simple question that makes a lot of sense and packs a big punch.

No one is beyond Christ's love.

Elisabeth said...

OC,

I have had the Holy Spirit be drowned out in me by what a believer told / did to me. When I was a new Christian, a pastor I really looked up to abused me emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. It was years before I could really, truly believe that God really loves me.

Lin said...

"The only thing I disagree with now is the notion that a any other human can overcome the Holy Spirit in me. "

Perhaps I stated it badly. I do believe that we can stand in the way of the Holy Spirit working in a new believer's life. Especially when it comes to conviction of sin.

But I also believe that"He Who began a good work finishes it".

Joe Blackmon said...

Wow, Anon. You've sure shown me the error of my ways.

Ah've dun seen th' lye-ut.

We shouldn't tell people that homosexual actions or homosexual feelings are sinful. That's harsh and judgemental. We should just agree that we're all sinners and that calling for repentance of sin is so old fashioned and silly. Let's just form a circle, hold hands and sing a couple of three rounds of Kum-bi-ya.

I mean, just because the Bible says it's a sin doesn't mean it's really a sin. Come on, that book was written thousands of years ago. These are different times man.

Let go, and let God, yo.

By the way, I'm not sure if it was obvious but that was sarcasm--directed not at anyone dealing with the sin of homosexuality but directed to an anon with zero backbone (that's why they're an anon) who probably calls themselves a "christian" but says homosexuality isn't really a sin.

If you own a Bible, you might want to pick up Romans 1 and actually read. Thanks.

Lin said...

Elisabeth,

Thanks for pointing that out. My heart breaks for what you had to endure... from someone who was supposed to be modeling the love of Christ...to finally come to that realization.

I pray that His Grace and Peace will fill your heart daily.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Jesus told the invalid whom he healed at Bethesda to "Sin no more,lest a worse thing come upon you"[John 5:14]...Jesus commanded a woman caught in the act of adultery to "Neither do I CONDDEMN you;Go and "SIN NO MORE"[John 8:11]..The Apostle Paul wrote "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.And walk in love,as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us,an offering and a sacrifice to God fro a sweet-smelling aroma."But"fornication and "ALL" uncleaness or covetousness,let it not even be named among you as is "FITTING" for saints;neither filthiness,nor foolish talking,nor coarse jesting,which are not fitting,but rather giving of thanks.For this you "KNOW",that no fornicator,unclean person,nor covetous man,who is an idolater,has "ANY" inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.Let "NO ONE" deceive you with useless words,for because of these things(sins)the "WRATH" of God comes upon the children of "disobedience.Therefore do not be partakers with them.[Eph.5:1-7]...The Bible is replete with commands for all believers to acknowledge what sin is and "REPENT" of them not justify sins under the cloak of tolerance...Again "Love the "SINNER;; Hate the "SIN"!!!

Thy Peace said...

New BBC Open Forum: Out of the mouths of babes...

Someone sent me the following last night -- a recent post from "Solomon's" blog. You may recall "Solomon" was a frequent commenter on this blog until about a year ago ...

-----------------------------------
Daddy, I want to hear about Jesus...

That's what one of my daughters said to me after church. "Daddy, can we go to another church next week? I'm tired of hearing about money. I want to hear about Jesus."

Frankly, I've been wondering the same thing. I remember when Steve Gaines first came to Bellevue, he said that every January would be "stewardship month". I took that to mean that at the first of every year the sermons would be about faithfulness with one's time, talents, and giftedness. And yet here we are halfway through March, and all of the sermons have been about money, and how real Christians give at least 10% of their earnings to the church.

A lot of sermons (not just by Steve) have rubbed me the wrong way, but last Sunday's was the first time in my life I felt like getting up and walking out on one. The "lesson" began with images of Bernie Madoff on the imag screen, and a quick summary of his corruptions. A direct correlation was drawn between this corrupt financier and Christians who do not recognize tithing as a mandate for Christians (apparently, even those who give more than 10%). As I was wondering if the pastor truly meant that Christians who don't tithe deserved to spend their lives in jail, Steve quickly added that it was illegal to drive a stolen car, and many of the cars on the Bellevue lot were stolen since they had been bought with money that was stolen from God if their owners did not tithe.

My own views of tithing notwithstanding, is this really a proper way to treat the members of Bellevue? We've put up with an awful lot of unnecessary adversity over the last few years, so don't we deserve something better than to be equated with Bernie Madoff? Isn't the "per capita" giving higher than it's ever been? Aren't we supporting the ministries of the church like never before? Why in the world should we be subjected to a beatdown like that?
-----------------------------------
It's been interesting to me over the past three years what has been different people's "last straw." For some it was the way the pulpit committee "chose" Steve Gaines and basically shoved him down people's throats with no "trial period" or ever bringing in any other candidate. For some it was the reports of the new pastor's excessive salary and benefits. For some it was the fence-climbing "incident," the "information meeting" and SG's description of the "itty bitty fence," belittling his congregation at another church, the "communication committee" meetings, covering for Paul Williams for six months, SG's treatment of the victim, the 2007 "monkey business" meeting, the sheep-beating sermons, or yes, even the change in the music for some. It seems nearly everyone who left had a breaking point. A more recent group exited when they changed the church's mission statement. Amazing to me after everything else that would be the last straw for anyone, but to each his own.

Anonymous said...

Joe, go volunteer in an AIDS clinic for a while, and get to know some of the victims who are homosexuals.
Get to know them as people. It's time for you to meet the ones you have so much contempt for.
Maybe, after helping them, you won't be able to despise them so much anymore. You need a different perspective on your fellow human beings, Joe, if you ever want to be able to witness about Christ to them.

Anonymous said...

The early Christians didn't need money to convert the mighty Roman Empire to Christianity. It was their example that did it: even going so far as being martyred for the faith.

Money was nothing to them.
And yet the Church grew and spread.

It's not about the money.
It never was about the money.

oc said...

Elisabeth,
I'm very sorry for what was done to you.
You bring up a good point. I should not think my experience is normative.
Because indeed, after all, it is a personal relationship. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Lin,
I don't believe I've ever seen you state anything badly. I think for the most part, I just misunderstood. The words "new believer" helps me understand more and I agree with what you are saying. Thanks.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

"Joe, go volunteer in an AIDS clinic for a while, and get to know some of the victims who are homosexuals.
Get to know them as people. It's time for you to meet the ones you have so much contempt for.
"Maybe, after helping them, you won't be able to despise them so much anymore. You need a different perspective on your fellow human beings, Joe, if you ever want to be able to witness about Christ to them."

Tue Mar 24, 12:35:00 AM 2009

Anon please understand that the compassion is in lovingly telling people to turn from there sin and too put their faith in Jesus Christ..Not to justify and embrace their sin as though they were doing nothing wrong...Jesus said of a tax collect who while in the temple,confess that he was a "sinner" and for God to have mercy on him...Jesus stated that that man who admitted that he was a "SINNER" and ask for God's mercy walked away justified[Luke 18:9-14]!!!Please seperate the necessity to acknowledge that all are sinners and as the Bible commands repeatedly repent and turn away from it!!!

Thy Peace said...

To hear how Pastor Wade interacted with SoulForce, please watch this video titled, "A Confirmation of Grace: Love", February 22, 2009 - Part 7 of series (1 Jn. 2:7-11).

The segment is from 40:57 to 46:18.

You can access the videos from here. If that does not work, try this.

Anonymous said...

You need to meet the ones you want to help. They will no longer be 'those people', then they will be the people you know.

Afraid to meet them? Don't be.
They are just people, like you. Yes, they are sinners too.

They can help you to understand what you do not know now. And in that way, you can speak with them, not at them.

I Don't Believe You said...

Anon 11:01 said "And by the way, I can name at least 10 Southern Baptist pastors and Baptist Building employees that I know are gay so be careful--they might be sitting next to you or leading your church."

Really? 10? Name 3.

Stephen Pruett said...

Character or Doctrine? We see in Dr. Klouda's loss of her ideal job exactly this distinction. Doctrine was valued over kindness and Christian love. The result was a disgrace. I have worked at several secular universities, and I never saw and cannot imagine anyone ever being treated like Dr. Klouda was at a nominally Christian institution.

It is this type of ruthlessness that makes doctrinaire fundamentalism genuinely harmful to the cause of Chirst. In the name of doctrinal purity, actions have been taken that diminish the effectiveness of everyone who owns up to the label of Baptist, because others lump all of us in the same category. I have made this comment before, but perhaps pastors who do not work in the secular workplace do not see it as often as us laymen see it. I have years of first hand experience that stories like the Klouda incident, quotes about God not hearing the prayers of Jews, quotes stating that this or that disaster is a judgement of God, and similar things that our leaders over the years have done does diminish the receptivity of those who otherwise might be receptive.

Doctrine is important, but as pointed out by others in this stream, false prophets and teachers are identified more often by their acts than their doctrinal errors in scripture. I cannot locate a single example in the New Testament of an instruction to withdraw fellowship over doctrinal matters other than essentials of the faith. Is that not significant?

Cindy said...

Maybe there's a reason why the Psalmist prayed "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer." ???

We need both clean hands and pure hearts. Both are a witness against us.

I've ministered to many dying AIDS patients in hospice, many who did not seek care until they were on their deathbeds. God always filled me with great compassion for them and their families. I wept with one mother as I taught her how to properly and safely care for her dying son. She had so many questions for me. I ministered to him and talked with him about faith in Jesus. I spent far more time with his grieving mother. I pray that I will see both mother and son in heaven one day, and I am grateful that this family had a few days together with support from our hospice chaplain, too. Deathbed confessions are full of grace and precious. I pray that there are more of them than any of us can imagine, to the Glory of God.

God have mercy on all of us in our sins, and may He woo us to repentance with His kindness. I see my role as a kind comforter who points to Jesus when the Spirit makes way for me to share my faith and the source of my comfort.

That doesn't make homosexuality any less sinful or horrible. It certainly doesn't mitigate the terrible consequences of it that come via disease but also a statistical mean of a young age of death without notable disease that is associated with the lifestyle in general as compared to the general population. That is not supporting homosexuals, arguing that it is not a terrible sin or expressing any sort of favor of or tolerance for homosexuality.

Cindy said...

Note my correction:

Both unclean hands and impure hearts are witnesses against us. (Not the other way around.)

We need both to be clean and pure before the Lord.

Hope that was obvious

Tom Kelley said...

There are only three Bible verses in which the words Christian or Christians are used: Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16. In at least two of those verses (taken in context) the focus of what it means to be a Christian is on Christ-like behavior or example.

Strange that we tend to use the word "Christian" to refer primarly to what a person professes to believe, whereas Scripture uses the term to refer primarily to our behavior (Christ-likeness). I think we would do well to refer to ourselves as followers of or believers in Christ, and let others decide whether or not to call us Christians.

Rex Ray said...

I believe it was Lincoln that said:

“I care not for a man’s religion if his dog was not the better for it.”

Proper doctrine never made a dog happy, but oh the character of his owner did.

And so it is with my brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Momentum is getting stronger.

Unbelievable!

Paul Burleson said...

From my "for what it's worth" department.

To me...there should always be a balance being grappled with in any believer about relating to another person who is sincerely struggling with whatever their particular sin might be.

That balance for which we wrestle is to never jusify sin and never to refuse to embrace the sinner. If someone thinks this just a cliche they ought to try it. For me it is a constant struggle. But Jesus seemed perfectly confortable with it. I'm assuming if the Spirit is going about creating His life for real in me it will have that look.

I've found that, if we're not careful, in our zeal to show we are biblical in our definition of what is sin, we can come to a person-bashing position under the disguise of theological correctness.

There is no doubt in my mind that, biblically, the sexual behavior under discussion is of the same moral category as that of adultery and fornication and is not the best for human relationships. [In fact, it is sin.]

That said, we must never forget that Jesus was identified as one who "ate with publicans [tax-collectors who were thought of as the worst kind of people] and sinners." [Luke 15:1-2] But He was consistent in saying "Go and sin no more." May that same charge ever be laid at our feet as His followers and people of His Kingdom.

Whatever one's definition of "worst kind" in society [some would say religious people are] we are to recognize and embrace their value as a human being and be ready to express grace, mercy, and love to whomever it is that fits our particular definition of that phrase "worst kind."

It is this balance I hope we create so we would never settle on one side OR the other. May we be known for holding to both sides.

Whether this sets well with our culture OR rigid religious of any stripe such as the Wichita group, I, for one, can live with it.

Joe Blackmon said...

" It's time for you to meet the ones you have so much contempt for.
Maybe, after helping them, you won't be able to despise them so much anymore.
"

Anon
Calling sinners to repentance is the most loving thing anyone can do. If someone where in a burning house, would you tell them "Get out!!! Your house is on fire!! You're in DANGER!!" or would you say to yourself "What right do I have to judge what they need to do? If they want to get out, they'll get out. If it's ok with them I should be ok with it."

Thy Peace said...

Breakfast with Fred > Ethical Decision-Making (Fred Smith urges us to consider the true meaning of ethical living)

Countless stories of moral and ethical failure fill our newspapers. Outrageous executive compensation packages offend all of us. In light of this we are driven to consider the question: What is the basis of your ethical system? Are you using a scriptural or a secular base?

In my business experience most failures have been character failures. Yet in my 45 years I have never had anyone come to me and confess that they had a weak character. They've told me they weren't so smart, they've told me they didn't have experience. They have told me many inadequacies they've had, but I've never had one yet to tell me he had a weak character. Yet most of the major failures have been character failures. Unfortunately, we cannot buttress character failure.

We can hire consultants to bring experience, but there are no consultants who bring packaged character. Character is an inside job, and it is largely determined by the succession of choices, desires, habits, and beliefs we inculcate and personify.

John Fariss said...

Does Jesus hold His followers to a higher standard in the thoughts we entertain? Absolutely, as Joe and some others have pointed out. And yet the thoughts we entertain--those we willfully accept and dwell over--are not what I meant in reference to homosexuality. I am very happily heterosexual. If I see a beautiful woman, whether in a suit, a formal dress, or oversized coveralls, her beauty grabs my attention. But that is not the same as lusting after her in my mind, which seems to me would at least take me to another level. Whether or not homosexuality can be "cured," whether it is a choice (so-called) or what, neither was that my point. My point goes to definitions: is homosexuality defined by behavior (whether physical or mental, i.e., lust), or by inclination? Joe and several others seem to think it is the later (and please correct me if I am wrong). I am not so sure myself. And at any rate, it seems to me that defining homosexuality in terms of inclinations (which by-passes the whole issue of choice) has a tendency to feed prejudice. And I have yet to see a homosexual saved by a westwood-baptist approach, which at least one commentator here has taken. Telling a sinner who neither knows Jesus as Lord nor accepts the Bible as His infalliable Word that they are going to hell is unlikely to move them into a saving relationship with Jesus. As others on this stream have commented, it is the example of joyful Christian living that becomes the Gospel for sinners--I know that is the only thing that got my attention.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

I am guessing that most here think that homosexuality is a sin and those that practice it will not be in Heaven...

...unless they serve a whole lot of soup to the poor.

Someone want to take a shot at correcting my "awesome theology"?

Joe Blackmon said...

I don't think homosexuality is a sin. I don't think that at all.

I KNOW it for an absolute FACT.

All unrepentant sinners will go to hell. That would include homosexuals, liars, those who commit adultry, etc...

Living a homosexual lifestyle is PROOF that the person has not repented.

jle said...

I would hope that as we approach anyone who needs to know Jesus we would do it because, first we love them, second because they are lost.

It is easy to be read as a pacifist or a militant when all we really see are words printed on a computer screen.

Which is best...

Jesus loves you so much He willingly died for you. His love was so great that He did what was necessary so you could have everlasting life in heaven with Him. He did this because of the sin problem man has. For all have sinned. Can I share more of this with you?

or

You are a sinner and need a savior. Do you want to go to hell?

or lastly

Things are bad but you are a good person so if you ever want to talk, call me.
_ _ _

I'll take the first, it works well for me.

Bryan Riley said...

In response to the anonymous question of how to define character and whether there is a universal definition the answer seems quite plain to me. I think we define character the same way we define doctrine: we look to Christ.

Paul wrote how he preached Jesus crucified. That is the teaching of Christ and the character of Christ all rolled up into one. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the rest of this stuff seems fairly trivial.

How did Jesus indoctrinate His disciples? He didn't have them show up once a week at church to hear him preach a sermon. He lived love and expected them to follow.

greg.w.h said...

Paul Burleson wrote:

I've found that, if we're not careful, in our zeal to show we are biblical in our definition of what is sin, we can come to a person-bashing position under the disguise of theological correctness.

There is no doubt in my mind that, biblically, the sexual behavior under discussion is of the same moral category as that of adultery and fornication and is not the best for human relationships. [In fact, it is sin.]


I think we need to delve a little more into your use of the term "theological correctness". The term itself--echoing political correctness--strongly connotes playing out a sense of righteousness to an audience, presumably one that will give approval. Underlying Wade's point (Paul has covered this separately in another comment) is the question of exactly who we are being accountable to with our right doctrine and with our right character.

If we're only accounting to an audience of humans, nothing we do has any value. It's just self-righteousness. Only when include the thought that God sees through our motives and our spin and hold ourselves accountable to THAT standard is either our doctrine OR our character worth anything at all.

I like the way Joe continues to hammer the strawman of homosexuality and use it for every claim of inadequate doctrine present on Wade's blog and comment streams. I understand where he's going with that: in Joe's mind it's the only sin you can't explain away in our modern theological culture. Divorce is gone. Drinking is gone. Interracial marriage is gone. Never mind cussing, chewing, and going with the gals that do. Or dancing. Or poker (it's a skill game!!!)

All of the traditional Southern Baptist external measurements of corrupted character just no longer hold the punch that they used to. But there's still homosexuality! We ALL can rally around that fa...umm...flag. We know exactly who to hate and how.

Never mind the unrepentant sinners in our own pulpits who seem intent on eating their way to oblivion. Nothing wrong with THAT. Or pastors who abandon their families in favor of their "work". That's a higher calling after all!! And what about the little winks and silly stories about unadulterated racism that we never confront from the pulpit? We just let it go when the chairman of the deacons does that because, well, they were just brought up that way?? It's in their genes?

When I see someone else's sin is worse than my sin, then I have repudiated Jesus Christ's death on the cross and there is a serious question as to whether his blood is effective at all in my life. If we could be just as aggrieved in our souls for our own pet sins as we are for the sins of homosexuals, then we might actually experience the ability to love them the way God loves us. And until we CAN be THAT aggrieved regarding our own sin, we run the risk of God (further) hardening our hearts.

None of that excuses the sin of homosexuality or--as the Bible puts it--men lusting after men and abandoning the natural function for the unnatural. But taken in perspective, we realize that each of us on a daily basis falls into systematic temptation of either thought or action. And condemning one person's sin that they can not control without the motivating power of the Holy Spirit is to ignore our own sin and our former enslavement to it and our sin nature's continuing influence--according to Paul--on our own lives.

I've learned that the sin I easily condemn in another could very easily be a weak spot in me that under the right circumstances and conditions Satan can exploit to my horror, grief, and shame. Only through love can I confront that sin without self-righteousness regarding it. And only through love can I proclaim that ANY sin is as bad as ALL sin because we are forever condemned by the Law for even ONE sin.

But even that is a message of hope: ALL we like sheep have gone astray and have turned everyone to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us ALL. We're ALL in this together this sin thing. And we're all able to preach the Gospel to any who will listen and save them from the horror, grief, and shame of their sin and thereby put that much more distance--through the grace of God--from our sin as well. And then we all become a faith community together where we can give an authentic account of our own weaknesses and help each other not just avoid sin, but recover from the continuing problems of temptation that lead to sin.

We don't kick out pastors who are overweight no matter how long they remain that way. Why exactly would we kick out a homosexual? Isn't the sin the same? Or are we claiming that being overweight is not a choice and only it, and not homosexuality, has genetic factors that predisposition one towards the problem?

Greg Harvey

Chris Ryan said...

Paul and Greg,

Thank you. I think you two have found the middle way between condemnation and condoning. The way between hate speech and no speech. It is a good way, I think. The way Christ would act. It is a refreshing perspective from many others offered thus far.


Joe,
You and I have gone around on this issue before. But I want to use your fire analogy to make one last point (and I think others have tried to make this point but in language you could easier reject). Let us say this is a fire. All of us can easily see that it is far better to yell at the home's inhabitants to vacate the premesis. But is it more heroic to stand outside yelling at those inside, or to go inside and help them outside?

I am not saying that you become a homosexual. Sinning to reach sinners isn't helpful in the long run (or in the short run). But you can run up next to them, demonstrating caring, providing assistance and guiding them out of the burning home. Get to know them so you can offer truth in love instead of offering general condemnation. A hard word is more likely to be heard when it comes from one whom you know cares about you. The apocalyptic, condeming street preacher is far easier to dismiss.

Robert said...

Here was a interesting conference for Southern Baptist Churches here in Brentwood Tenn.

http://www.sbts.edu/family/


Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Joe Blackmon said...

"But you can run up next to them, demonstrating caring, providing assistance and guiding them out of the burning home."

You can do that whilst calling sinners to repentance. What you want is to avoid the responsibility to call sin what it is---sin. As long as liberals are willing to tolerate any unprentant sin (homosexuality, theft, adultry...) they cannot genuinely call sinners to repentance.

Oh, and as to your silly analogy of me standing outside and warning them about the fire or going in to help them....just one problem there Chris. I CAN'T help them. I am completely incapable of providing the help that they need. Only Christ is able to save people. Only Christ can grant repentance. We are responsible for calling people to repentance, not saving them. Calling people to repentance can and should be done in a loving, honest manner (none of the "God hates...." Westboro garbage).

Benji Ramsaur said...

I'll try to be precise in how I see it.

When I was in college my friends and I went to a "Jars of Clay" concert at a bar [if I understand it correctly, the band was having a tour in bars].

One of my friends did have a drinking problem [alcohol] in the past. He was struggling in that bar [While I wasn't, if you had put me in a different context, I probably would struggle with a different kind of sin].

Personally, I don't believe it was good for him to be in that bar. However, if he was battling with giving into drunkenness, I don't think he sinned in merely being tempted.

I don't think the sinful desire of the flesh to give into sin is a sin. I think the giving into the sinful desire is the sin [whether that be coveting or some overtly external act]. When the sinful desire arises in our hearts, I think we must strive to kill it.

When it comes to those who struggle with homosexuality, let me first say "praise the Lord there is at least a struggle"! At least they are not LIVING in the sin.

I do not believe for them to be tempted/have the desire of the flesh to give into the sin is a sin. I think to give into the temptation by either coveting or coveting and then moving into some external homosexual act is sin they should repent of.

Of course, I could say the same kind of thing from the heterosexual sphere: I think to give into the temptation by either coveting or coveting and then moving into some external immoral/adulterous act is sin they should repent of.

Benji

Anonymous said...

IS THERE A GENETIC FACTOR IN HOMOSEXUALITY?

What is the current finding?
This is best understoof by someone who has studied eighth grade or above level of biology: genetics; and is familiar with scientific research; and has some knowledge of the statistical analyses of data.

"Hamer is with the National Cancer Institute and conducted the study as part of the Institute's effort to identify genetic factors involved in cancers that are frequently found in gay men infected with the AIDS virus.

Hamer and colleagues studied the family histories of 114 gay men and found that their brothers, maternal uncles, and maternal male cousins were more likely to be homosexual than would be expected among the general male population. In some families, gay relatives could be traced back for three generations. Because the homosexual uncles and male cousins of the gay subjects were raised in different households, the scientists hypothesized that a genetic factor was involved. Furthermore, the maternal link suggested that homosexuality might be associated with the X chromosome, which is the sex-linked chromosome that men inherit only from their mothers.

Explicit evidence for a genetic link was obtained by studying the X chromosome DNA of 40 pairs of gay brothers. The scientists used a technique called linkage mapping to search for patterns of similarity in the genetic information of related individuals. Thirty-three of the gay sibling pairs had coinherited genetic markers in the same chromosome region called Xq28, suggesting that 65 percent of the families studied were transmitting a gene for homosexual orientation.

"The statistical significance of the results was better than 99 percent, which means that the possibility of obtaining our findings by chance is extremely unlikely," said Hamer. However, he noted that replication on an independent population of families will be necessary to confirm the results.

The scientists do not know why 7 of the 40 pairs of gay brothers did not coinherit the Xq28 genetic marker. Hamer postulated that these gay men may have inherited other genes that are associated with homosexuality, or they might have been influenced by environmental factors or life experiences. "

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

One-Coorelation does NOT prove CAUSATION.

Two, even if, and this is a HUGE if, it were proven conclusivly that homosexuality is inherited that does NOTHING to weaken the scriptures that clearly call it a sin.

Sorry, Dexter. You need to get back in the lab. Dee-dee is calling.

Anonymous said...

JOE said '"But you can run up next to them, demonstrating caring, providing assistance and guiding them out of the burning home."



Joe, would Christ go into that 'burning building' and rescue those people?

You know, He did once.
Aren't you glad?

Take the beam out of your own eye, Joe. Get some compassion for those in danger. Don't be afraid.
Maybe you can do some good.
Right now, you aren't ready or willing to go and help them where they are. You need to have the courage to into that burning building, Joe.
Yelling at them from outside won't do it; caring enough to risk yourself for them will witness to them of Christ's love. There is great power in that.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anon,

Nobody comes to DNA, Scripture, bones, or a "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine with a blank slate mind.

N O B O D Y

What are you going to do if you end up in a court of law because someone murdered your mother and the defense uses the "well, Mr. Jones has a 'violence' gene and that can be proved when you go back into his family history..."?

Anonymous said...

Statistical findings don't PROVE causation. But they raise our awareness that we see 'evidence' that supports an idea.

To answer the question:
'Is there a genetic factor in homosexuality?' much research will need to be done. There is now some strong evidence to 'support' the theory that there does exist a genetic factor. That is not the same as 'proof'.

Research on this question would never have even begun if people had 'assumed' the answer was YES or NO. Scientists don't assume.

Research, done scientifically, seeks to study, in systematic ways, to find connections that we do not yet know. Do these connections exist? Or not?

In the meantime, some humility as to the limits of what we know might be advised.

Maybe, in His wisdom, that is why God commands us not to sit in judgment on one another. We each of us have our own sins to battle. Pointing to the 'sins' of others is to deny to ourselves that we, too, are equally in need of God's mercy.

Anonymous said...

Benji,

What did Christ tell you to do?
Don't worry about the 'defense', or about 'the world's justice'.
Christians don't operate by the rules of 'the world' anymore.
What does Christ expect of us?

Robert said...

The problem is that there are many "partners " inside the burning house waiting to stab you with a pick axe while you try to save the one burning.
Just to use to use your analogy Chris Ryan!
This would include Enda laws, CA Supreme courts, Corporate policies, Law firms, HRC et al.

Ultimately Joe is right; God must be the One to save...we must be faithful in proclaiming His Word.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anon,

I think you missed what I am getting at.

If you start explaining everything away as "biological", then you are reduced to absurdity.

Scientists have "A S S U M P T I O N S".

Scientists assume that logic exists [which is not material by the way, assume the uniformity of nature, etc.

There is no such thing as "uninterpreted" facts.

The presuppositions [their most fundamental commitments] that scientists have "determine" how they "interpret" what they see.

If you believe that scientists have a blank slate objectivity towards things, then you have "already" gotten off on the wrong foot.

You already have a naive faith in scientists.

For example, if a scientist has an "axe to grind" against those who deny "equal rights" to gays, then do not be surprised if his "research" comes out gay friendly.

God Bless,

Benji

jasonk said...

Joe Blackmon said:

"I don't think homosexuality is a sin. I don't think that at all.

I KNOW it for an absolute FACT.

All unrepentant sinners will go to hell. That would include homosexuals, liars, those who commit adultry, etc...

Living a homosexual lifestyle is PROOF that the person has not repented."

Joe, I agree with you that the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin. Let me ask you this? Is gluttony a sin? And if so, would you place it on the same level as adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, dishonesty, etc? And if it is on the same level, wouldn't an overweight person be exhibiting proof that they are unwilling to repent of the sin of gluttony?

Anonymous said...

Underneath the 'contempt' and 'strident condemnation' lies a fear that it may be impossible and ineffective to reach those who are tormented. It IS impossible, if 'hate speech' replaces Christ' message.

Has the 'stridency of condemnation' become a powerless substitute for compassionate caring for those who are tormented?
Does it only have the hollow ring of the Pharisee, standing in temple, feeling justified because he is 'not like the tax collector'?


No one is asked to 'embrace a sin' but to 'embrace a tormented world in which sin exists' and to bring into that sinful world the Love of Christ. Is that not the real purpose of the Great Commission?

The Love is Christ can do what we cannot do ourselves. We have only to share it with others who need it's blessings. This power of Christ's love is what brings healing to the tormented.

The Day of Lord is reserved for the time of His Judgment. May we be found innocent of sitting in judgment on our brothers.

Anonymous said...

"I think you two have found the middle way between condemnation and condoning."

Can anyone say "lukewarm"? Scary thought.

Greg - You won't like this, but you said the same thing Joe is saying. You just said it with a whole lot of "fluff" around it.

So you and Joe agree. The person who is a practicing homosexual when he dies will NOT go to Heaven.

As for me, I have even a higher standard. I submit that even the ones that are good at it will not see Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Benji,

There have been cases where 'scientists' have skewed their experiments to favor a certain theory.

These scientists must publish their findings.

It is at that time, that they are open to the examination of the entire scientific world community.
Their 'experiment' can be exposed as structurally flawed, and their findings dismissed.

There are 'controls' that operate to help keep scientific research free from the charlatans.

This 'checks and balances' system has given science a credibility so that applications of knowledge gained have contributed to the benefit of mankind:
especially in the areas of medicine. Many of us today would not be alive, were it not for scientific investigations that were done ethically, and confirmed as so by other scientists.

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

I'm weary of playing verbal ping-pong with someone who has no biblical support whatsoever for their stance. If you and the rest of your liberal ilk want to ignore the reality of your responsiblity to call sinners to repentance and that repentance is proof of salvation, go ahead. Sit around, hold hands, and sing a few rounds of kumbiya. I'm sure it's much safer and much less confrontational than doing what God says we're supposed to do---lovingly call sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

"The person who is a practicing homosexual when he dies will NOT go to Heaven."

You will judged as you have judged.

Will you share the fate of the one you have condemned?

What does the Bible say about those who sit in judgment on others?

Your 'authority' to stand on a 'higher plane' and throw stones at your victim does not come from God.

Anonymous said...

Joe asks us: "your responsiblity to call sinners to repentance"

Let's start with you, Joe.
Does your hatred prove that you are one of the elect?

"I thank God that I am not like that one . . . . "

We hear you, Joe. And it reeks of hypocrisy.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I'll try to be precise again:)

When I was at the SBC in Indianapolis this past year, I noticed the "picketing" outside where the convention was being held.

Now, I think a good Christ-like act would have been to walk right up to one of those who were picketing [with the good ole' SBC tag dangling on the chest] and hand one a nice cold Pepsi.

With maybe even some cherry syrup pressed in it.

I could maybe see that person taken back--"what, you mean you did not come to criticize me, but offer me a Pepsi?"

Remember, while what is God dishonoring is to be hated, it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance.

I think a similar kind of action from a slave of Christ towards someone living in homosexual sin is pleasing to our Lord.

Let us ALL beware of getting so "fired up" over sin that we do not personally struggle with.

Grace,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anon,

You said "It is at that time, that they are open to the examination of the entire scientific world community."

The entire scientific world community does not "examine" with blank slate objectivity either.

Anonymous said...

Benji, the world scientific community is highly in competition, not collusion.

Where do you get your info?

Chris Ryan said...

Anon 2:01,

The middle isn't always lukewarm. Sometimes between two opposing extremes is the most dangerous place to be. That is because the extremists are shooting at you, not God.

Ecclesiastes 7:16-18
Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise-- why destroy yourself?
Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool-- why die before your time?
It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.

Anonymous said...

Benji, 'slaves of Christ' have humility. They are not self-righteous 'know-it-alls' who point the finger and look down on others.

The character of a 'slave of Christ' has been changed and cannot march around preening as a Pharisee would have done.

If 'doctrine' makes anyone prideful, they need to take another look at that 'doctrine'.

That 'prideful ' thing isn't of Christ. It dies when we are 'born again'.

Bob Cleveland said...

Another stray thought:

When Jesus was here, He said He didn't "do His own thing", but rather looked around to see what His Father was doing, and then He jumped in. He was here to do the job God started.

And I have to say He did it in a very Godly way.

Now the Bible says that the work God started in Jesus, He is continuing in the church. In us. Through us.

Why would we think we should "do our own thing" and conduct ourselves in a manner that would be uncharacteristic of Jesus, were He here in the flesh?

Hmmm......

Robert said...

Anon,
Where do you get your info? You seem very biased yourself!

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anon,

I never said they were not in competition or that they were in collusion.

I said "The entire scientific world community does not 'examine' with blank slate objectivity either."

Off to lunch

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anon [the other one?],

You said "Benji, 'slaves of Christ' have humility. They are not self-righteous 'know-it-alls' who point the finger and look down on others..."

What have I said beyond mentioning "slaves of Christ" that prompted you to respond to me the way you did.

Off to lunch [part 2] :)

jle said...

Joe and others,

Jude 1:20-23 (NKJV)
[20] But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

[21] keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

[22] And on some have compassion, making a distinction;

[23] but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jon said...

I meant to add...

The time is not to continue to debate the issue but get busy sharing the gospel.

Joe Blackmon said...

Jon

When men and women take the name of Christ on their lips and with those lips proclaim that homosexuality is not a sin, they are asking, nay, they are begging to be rebuked.

jle said...

Joe,

You missed my point.

The time has come to stop debating and showing people how wrong or sinful they are but to show them Jesus loves them.

There is a time to rebuke and there is a time to remain silent. I wish I could figure out what time it is for me.

I hear your passion but as for the way you come across on the internet you come across more mad about sin than you come across that you are in love with Jesus.

No rebuke but compassion towards a brother I believe loves Jesus but comes across hard hearted.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

You are not understanding the difference between what a 'sin' is and the sinner.

Get to know the 'sinner', Joe.
As an equal.

Kendall said...

Wade, I plan on reading your book. There are "fundamentalist" who will castigate you if you don't agree with their view of the rapture, tongues and alcohol, just to name a few. However, do we not draw the line over someone denying penal substitutionary atonement (as Paul Young has…listen here http://rock-life.com/KAYP.html )? You are going to have Paul speak at you church right before Good Friday, you should ask him why he denies this central doctrine. Paul recommends Stricken By God which says outrageous things against the penal view. Here is an example: “A god who demands the child-sacrifice of his own son to satiate his own wrath? That is not Jehovah; that is Molech. God was not punishing Christ on the Cross; he was IN Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.” One of Paul's points in The Shack is that Jesus was not forsaken on the cross and that God does not punish sin.
You say that the book is fiction and should be taken as such.

However, he wrote the book to teach his children about his view of God. This book represents his theology in part and many things are outright Scripturally--wrong.

greg.w.h said...

Anonymous wrote:

Greg - You won't like this, but you said the same thing Joe is saying. You just said it with a whole lot of "fluff" around it.

So you and Joe agree. The person who is a practicing homosexual when he dies will NOT go to Heaven.

As for me, I have even a higher standard. I submit that even the ones that are good at it will not see Heaven.


Let me submit that your claim of a higher standard remains unsubstantiated. If what we believe as Christians--sourced from Holy Scripture--is not true, than we are to be the most pitied among men according to Paul. Either what we believe is absolutely true and there IS no higher standard, or it's entirely untrue. There is no middle ground and I'll claim the law of the excluded middle completely applies to claims of the Bible: it's everything or nothing. No in between. Yes, Joe and I completely agree on that point. There is not a scintilla of light showing a separation on that between the two of us.

Practical application of the words of the Bible probably yield a somewhat different result. I'll talk about that difference in terms of two very strong traditional positions regarding the status of publicly professing believers who continue in publicly known sin. The practical response to each comes from the church in Corinth: the member should be turned over to Satan so that his soul won't be lost. But theologically you'll hear two positions of status espoused:

1. A believer remains a believer in spite of sin but is considered to be a carnal Christian. Paul warns believers, not just unbelievers, against "sinning so that grace may abound" and also tells us that "all things are legal/permitted, but not all are beneficial." Southern Baptists who hold this view apply the doctrine of eternal security of the believer even to these Christians. Which sins rise to the level of requiring turning over a member to Satan is somewhat debatable which is why I chastise those believers who can only see sin in the aliens outside of the church and refuse to see it as a continuing problem for EVERY believer.

2. The second position is hinted at by Hebrews: perhaps someone who publicly professes faith but lacks the signal fruit of desire for and obedience of God's direct commandments has not received regeneration. Hopefully I'm not reading into Joe's words that his view is that continued, gross immorality is most likely to indicate a lack of salvation.

I'm sympathetic to that view as well because we lack God's insight into the heart of people. But I think more often carnality is the better explanation. Unfortunately, the seal of the Holy Spirit does not carry with it immunity to the influence of sin. It does carry a greater possibility of clear conviction of sin, though, and the hope that we will quickly recognize sin and repent of it.

I'm not troubled that you can see right through my "fluff". The "fluff" is a reminder to my true fellow believers that the problem of sin doesn't find it's final completion in this life. The sin nature still is present and each of us still has to deal with it daily. I believe agreeing to that and acknowledging specific sins--rather than saying "oh yeah, EVERYBODY sins"--is the first step towards unity in the body as we all are in the body because of sin and still need the body in order to stay accountable on the subject of sin.

We must be patient for each of us to transition to the next life with respect to the problem of continuing sin. We should hold each other accountable in love in this life. I think an excellent expression of that love is to share about both the temptation we experience and how we seek to respond to it in order to avoid sin.

I'm not going to play semantic games though with respect to the Law. I'm not the author of it and I answer to God if I misrepresent what he has written. If God calls it sin, we either acknowledge that or we run the risk of misrepresenting what he says. There is room for a broad spectrum of responses that are faithful. Some will include directly confronting the person who is sinning. Others will include befriending the person with the thought in mind that "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." Some will minister to those who are experiencing the devastating consequences of sin whether spiritual, mental, physical or economic. And still others will withdraw to the prayer closet regularly to pray about sin before the Father perhaps (as I've mentioned before) much in the same way that Job sacrificed for the unknown sins of his children.

Those of us in the visible church, unfortunately, don't always practice the broad spectrum of faithful, righteous responses they way we could, and I think it leaves some believing that now that we've obtained salvation, that we have become heartless about the sin problem of the unsaved. Some of that probably is a matter of perception. Some, unfortunately, is true.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

"I am in the Father;
and the Father is in Me."

Robert said...

Anon,
Joe,


You are not understanding the difference between what a 'sin' is and the sinner.

Get to know the 'sinner', Joe.
As an equal.


This is not Biblical at all. The Bible says we are enemies of God , objects of His wrath. That wrath is satisfied when God gives us Faith(regenerates us)because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross.Until that point and demonstrated by a continual homosexual lifestyle that person is not equal because he is not redeemed. He is not a covenanted or part of the Royal race of the Redeemed.
This should cause pride because God is the one alone who redeemed you!

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

John Fariss said...

Joe,

I don't think any of us in this comment stream who have been arguing with you who take a position of denying the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. None of us are refusing to call sin what it is. What I, and I think others, are arguing is that maybe we shouldn't call sin something on which (1) the Bible is silent and (2) on which there is little or no Biblical evidence to extrapolate the conclusion of sinfulness. With my index finger I can condemn NO ONE to hell, but with my tongue, I can turn sinners away from a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, plus add fuel to the fire of prejudice on the part of like-minded individuals (be they unsaved or merely spiritually immature). I don't need to find a verse to show you that the practice of homosexuality is a sin because we agree on that issue. Can you show me a verse that says homosexual thoughts, feelings, or inclinations is a sin, absent dwelling on it, lusting in it, etc.? I for one would affirm with you that "Living a homosexual lifestyle is PROOF that the person has not repented," but my point is exactly that there is a difference between a homosexual LIFESTYLE and a homosexual inclination. Although neither you nor others (like anonys at 9:55, 10:48, & 10:49) have accused me by name of refusing to concede that homosexual behavior is sinful, you have implied it. I resent that, more so because it is untrue. My concern was very suscinctly summed up by Paul B, Bob C, and Greg W.H.

John Fariss

Robert said...

Anon,
Last sentence should be NOT cause pride.......


Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Chris Ryan said...

Robert,

I believe that is called a Freudian slip (if we are allowed to mention Freud).

Robert said...

Chris Ryan,
Or maybe its just someones judgementalism!

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Anonymous said...

But ROBERT,

It is written that 'God giveth grace to the humble."

Anonymous said...

What did Jesus teach about meekness and humility?

Jesus said,
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,"
speaking of those who had nailed Him to a cross.

He turned His wounded, yet loving, glance on Peter. Peter, who had denied Him, received that wounded, loving, meek glance from His Savior.

Meekness is a force infinitely more irresistible than any on earth.

When Jesus came riding on a donkey, that was a symbol of His meekness. A king rides on a horse. A servant rides on a donkey.

Corrie Ten Boom said:
"The donkey never imagined that the palms and the hosannas were for him. He was only the donkey. He was bearing Jesus on his back."

Corrie used to say,
"I'm only the donkey."

So when she received standing ovations, she offered up all of that to Jesus, realizing that it was not hers to keep.

Now how do we attain meekness?
By constantly looking at Christ and following His teachings and His example.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Let's do this one question at a time...First I want to know one thing and one thing only;..Is homosexuality condemn as a "sin" or not according to the Bible...."YES" or "NO"???

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote:

" Corrie Ten Boom said:
"The donkey never imagined that the palms and the hosannas were for him. He was only the donkey. He was bearing Jesus on his back."

Corrie used to say,
"I'm only the donkey."

How refreshing to hear that a Christian of such good character has said this.

Then, we have the other end of the spectrum: Brunson.

Imagine Brunson saying, "I'm only the donkey." Well, he won't.
He's too busy acting like a horse's ass and living high on the hog. Donkeys are not his mode of travel. Too much pride, he has.

Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

I have a very high view of the atonement, and believe not only in penal substitution, but in a particular and victorious at-one-ment of Christ for His people.

In fact, I will be posting on the atonement and how the word atonement, coined by Tyndale, translates kipper and other fascinating Hebrew and Greek words. My belief in penal substitution is neither threatened by Paul Young, nor is my view so weak and fragile I can't listen to someone who disagrees with me.

So, I do plan on asking Paul Young his view on the atonement. I may find that I disagree with him. But it doesn't affect my love for him as a person, nor my belief his book has been used by God to teach others of His love.

Frankly, I disagree with most of my Baptist Identity friends views on the atonement. They believe in a universal atonement that saves nobody, but simply makes salvation possible for everybody.

And I would even have one of them speak at my church! (Don't know which one, but I would!).

Blessings,

wade

Anonymous said...

Anon 214 - Before I get to you quoting scripture out of context, are you saying that the practicing homosexual WILL be heaven?

If you say yes to that, I can only wonder who he will be standing next to.

And what will he be doing there?

Giving glory and honor to God?

Why would he be doing that? God didn't save him from his sin. He died in it.

Wait, let me guess. A man having intercourse with another man isn't sin, right?

Judge not! Judge not, I say!

You sound like Larry King replying to Al Mohler or John MacArthur on his TV show.

That is NOT what the bible says. It says the opposite.

What you are trying to sound biblical about but missing by a country mile is this one little tidbit. We are NOT to judge, unless we are willing to be judged by that same standard.

Any idea what that standard might be there genius?

Think about it.

And stop pulling scripture out of context in order to make the homosexual feel good about and in his sin.

You might be interferring with the Holy Spirit working on convicting him.

Anonymous said...

Most Christians wouldn't be caught dead on your 'hate wagon'.
It's not the 'sin' you are interested in.
It's mustering hate for those people who suffer in that sin.
This does not make you a 'Christian'.

Anonymous said...

Just started reading this blog a few weeks ago. Must ask this question: The title is "Grace and Truth". - How can you have truth and deemphasize doctrine?
There is a "truth" about the church . . .
The "truth" about baptism . . .
The "truth" about salvation . . . etc.
The good news is, that God's grace covers bad theology, yes - Praise the Lord.
However that is not permission to let go of an insistance on Doctrinal truth?

Every believer ought to believe what they ought to believe, and behave the way they ought to behave. And insisting on anything less than both at the same time is not being true to the scriptures.

Praise God for grace, and may we insist on truth.

JH

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Seems as though no one read or they ignored my question...I will ask a second time...Is homosexuality according to the Bible a "SIN" or "NOT"...."YES" or "NO"???

Anonymous said...

You are an abomination.

Chris Ryan said...

JH,

I assume that truth is what you believe and everyone who believes differently believes falsehood.

I say that tongue in cheek, but we can insist on truth but *who's* truth. The Sunday School answer is the Bible's truth. But which interpretation of the Bible is the true one? The easiest answer is "the one I hold." But that is too biased of an answer.

Believing in truth is good. It is necessary. Determining what truth is much more difficult. Some will say that truth only comes in propositions. Some note that it was a person who claimed to be the truth. Some will say that the only source of truth is the Bible. Others will say that the Bible and general revelation are sources of truth. Others say that anything can be a source of truth. So what is truth founded upon?

As a Christian, I have made my commitments in that regard. I believe that the Bible is the particular source of truth, revealing the history of God's interaction with man. I believe that what God has created He has created for our enjoyment and our instruction. But where from there? The Bible is rarely as straight-forward as we would like it to be. So we live in the tension of knowing that truth exists and its sources but not knowing definitively what it is. We must cooperate with those who may arrive at different conclusions from the same sources. We have truth in part and must work with those who have truth in part until such a time as we die or God returns and all is then revealed in full.

Joe Blackmon said...

"We must cooperate with those who may arrive at different conclusions from the same sources."

Actually, no, we must not cooperate with those whose conclusions are different if we find them to be in error related to their conclusions. There is only one truth. We can know what that truth is. We are responsible for submitting ourselves to that truth.

Anonymous said...

There is only one truth: Joe Blackmun's version.
God tells Joe.
Joe tells you.
Or it is:
Joe tells God.
Joe tells you.

It is all written in the Book of Joe.

Joe Blackmon said...

Of course, Anon. I mean, there couldn't be something like objective truth in the Bible that has its origins in one source---the God who spoke this universe into existence. I mean, it's all relative, right? What's true for one person might not be true for another person.

See, your snarky little asides are all you've got because at the end of the day you cannot support your position with any bible exegesis. For you, it's better to believe that truth is some amorophous concept while you sit in your little "prayer circle" and sing kumbiya. That way, you can console one another and make each other "feel" better rather than doing the hard work of Bible study.

"Kumbiya, my Lord
Kumbiya...."

Anonymous said...

Now Joe, 'snarky' is not in a Christian's vocab. Can't you do better than that ?

Low, low language.

Chris Ryan said...

Joe,
Humility in interpretation is not the same as relativising truth. I know that you cannot (or will not) see that distinction, but it is there.

There is a difference between those who interpret the facts differently and those who ignore or abuse the facts. With the former, we can and must cooperate because if we will be sitting across from them in Heaven then we should start practicing now. To those who abuse or ignore the facts, we can only offer a fairer interpretation.

Truth can be found through diligent study, but it is not fair to ever assume we have scoured every passage or mined every alternative of meaning. There can always be information added to what we think we already know. Living by and affirming what you know, while being open to additional information is true scholarship. Not the dogmatism you so often project.

Robert said...

Chris Ryan,
Actually what they Word of God says is that those who preach Another Gospel should be anathama...literally let his soul be dammed!
I will not cooperate with those who preach another Gospel.....William P Young is such a man!
If I was Wade I would be Very Careful that the judgement of God does not effect him by having Paul Young occupy the pulpit!

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Joe Blackmon said...

"Chris Ryan,
Actually what they Word of God says is that those who preach Another Gospel should be anathama...literally let his soul be dammed!
"

Oooo, snap!!!

Chris Ryan said...

Joe and Robert,

And it is another Gospel if they believe that God could call women to pastoral ministry if He so desired? Is it another Gospel if they believe that homosexuals should be treated like they are objects of God's creation even while encouraging them to stop sinning? Is it another Gospel if they are Armenian instead of Calvinist? Is it another Gospel if they believe that both the local and the universal church are present now? Is it another Gospel if one believes that the cross is Christus Victor, penal substitution, and an example to follow all three?

You are so nit-picky on what constitutes a different Gospel. Yet in the Galatian context, the "other Gospel" is a gospel of works and circumcision. That is it! For people so intent on scriptural exegesis, I am surprised you were both so willing to strip a verse from its context.

John Fariss said...

Amen, Chris!

John

Joe Blackmon said...

"And it is another Gospel if they believe that God could call women to pastoral ministry if He so desired?"
God does not desire it. The book of 1 Timothy chapters 2 and 3 settles that. I'm not saying it's "another gospel" but I wouldn't be caught dead cooperating with them.

"Is it another Gospel if they believe that homosexuals should be treated like they are objects of God's creation even while encouraging them to stop sinning?" If they are permitted to be members of the church, it most certainly is a different gospel. Your definition of "treated like they are objects of God's creation" really means "not confronted with their sin".

"Yet in the Galatian context, the "other Gospel" is a gospel of works and circumcision."
Just because that is the particular heresy that Paul is confronting does NOT mean that the phrase ONLY applies to that particular heresy.

However, don't get your knickers in a twist, my little snot. You and your moderate (translation-"liberal") types are going to get the SBC back. Further, since you don't actually stand for anything and have a dcotrinal statement that reads something like "It's all good" you're certain to remain unaccosted by the world. After all, what was it Jesus said in John 15:18-19? I forget.

Nate said...

Chris Ryan,

Is the Bible Inerrant, infallible, wholly true?

Can I know Truth?

Of course one's interpretation is only true if it is actually what the Scripture teaches.

The statement that because there are those who disagree with my interpretation and there is someone who might make an argument using another interpretation means that my interpretation cannot be held to as absolutely true is a fallacy.

Read Antony Flew's book "THERE IS A GOD". He calls this the "but-there-is-always-some-one-who-will-never-agree Diversion". Just because there will always be some one who takes another position and possibly even uses Scripture to do so does not mean that we should live in such a way that we cannot know for sure what the Scripture teaches. Acting this way and calling it humility is false humility.

Joe Blackmon said...

Nate

Score another one for the conservatives. Thank you.

happy gram said...

i'm pretty sure that in his time, Jesus was considered a "liberal".

John Fariss said...

Joe said, "Don't get your knickers in a twist, my little snot. You and your moderate (translation-'liberal') types are going to get the SBC back."

Joe, you have crossed a line here. There is no reason to get nasty. Jesus had plenty of opportunities, yet I don't recall Him saying that to any Pharisee, Saducee, sinner, or for that matter, to Satan himself. Slipping on my counselor hat, I would ask: what are you so angry about? In fact: what is it that you feel so threatened about, that you have to resort to calling Chris, and perhaps me and others names? I for one--and I think Chris, although I don't know him personally--are just trying to dialogue with you. Have either of us called you a name? Did I step on your mother's grave? Who was it who said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" anyway?

And by the way, as I have said a couple of times now: I agree that the practice of homosexuality, or a homosexual lifestyle if you prefer, is a sin. Yet there are those who keep demanding of "us" proof that it is not, as though we ever said otherwise.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

Joe, ALL sinners are in need of pastoral care. ALL have sinned and fallen short.
Is it right to discriminate against one 'type' of sinner and to refuse needed pastoral care to that sinner ?

What does Jesus say about this?

The church above all, must be a place where we can all go 'to fall apart' and to become renewed in Jesus Christ. If the church closes its doors to sinners, where can they go in this world ?
The church is a place where sinners can be helped to find peace with the Lord Jesus Christ.


"Lord, to whom shall we go?
Thou hast the Words of eternal life."

Joe, If YOU were a homosexual in need of pastoral care, how would Jesus want YOU to be treated? To be 'thrown away' like trash? Is that what you think Jesus died for? Is that why He rose again?

Joe, right now, within you, you have too much contempt for others. You need to pray to God to remove that contempt before it poisons your love of Christ. You cannot say you love God and hate your neighbor. Pray for healing.

jasonk said...

Joe, I was wondering if you could answer my question about gluttony. Maybe you missed it. I'm anxious to know your take on it. Thanks.

Elisabeth said...

I have been in a church with a hard shell calvinistic pastor, and one with an extremely arminian pastor. I would say that neither of them taught false or harmful doctrine.

I have been in a church that taught, and used, the gifts of tongues and prophesy, and I have been in a church where the pastor believed those gifts ceased. I would say that neither of them taught false or harmful doctrine.

I have been in a church where the pastor thought women shouldn't preach, and I have been in a church that had, at times, allowed women behind the pulpit. I would say that neither of them taught false or harmful doctrine.

I have been in a church where the pastor was careful not to say in public anything against the Bible, but he also made sure his authority was never questioned. He also treated his wife and daughter as second class citizens, and abused his daughter's best friend (me) emotionally, spiritually, and sexually. That man taught false and harmful doctrine at its worst.

Tim Marsh said...

After reading some of the mean-spirited comments in this particular thread, I am inclined to answer that character matters most.

Europe rejected a Christianity that emphasized doctrine over ethics. The bloodiest war per capita in the history of Europe (the 30 years war) was fought between Protestants and Catholics.

In the case of the Rich Young Ruler Jesus provided a test of Character to prove to the young man whether or not he "kept" the commandments. It is possible to get the doctrine correct and miss Jesus entirely.

????

Chris Ryan said...

Nate,

All that is Biblical is wholly true and without error. There, I passed your litmus test. But let it be known that I am getting sick of having to answer this question just because someone disagrees with me. If you and I come to different conclusions that doesn't mean that one of us "believes/loves the Bible more."

Can you know truth? Yes.

Can you know you know truth? There is the question.

I am fully aware that just because people disagree that doesn't make me wrong. I know that just because other people disagree that is no reason to not share what I believe and to share it as truth. I know that just because others disagree that doesn't mean I say that both of us are correct. I am NOT a relativist. There is one reality and all that is true is in accordance with that reality. I believe the reality is that there is a God and Jesus is His Son. The reality is that Jesus was born to the virgin Mary, preached and performed miracles, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and bodily resurrected three days later. But in the detail there is a great deal that I can learn. There is a great deal that I do not know is true. That is why it is called faith.

But while I hold it in faith, do I have to treat it as though I don't know it. I still live and preach that this is the truth. About these things I am uncomprimising. About the detail, I preach truth as I understand it, but dialogue with those who understand differently. I may keep my opinion, take theirs, or together we may arrive at entirely new conclusions that better explain the totality of the facts.

I realize that neither you nor your pastor have been to seminary, but for the sake of integrity I suggest it (or at least a good Bible college program). It teaches you that there are questions the Bible doesn't answer. It teaches you that there are doctrines based on one passage or even one word and the words etymology and morphology can be debated. It teaches that the only way to approach the Bible is humility, and not a false one.

Tom Kelley said...

A few thoughts:

(1) Maybe an inclination toward homosexual attraction has a biological / genetic component; maybe not. Perhaps further study will tell in time.

(2) If it turns out that a homosexual inclination is genetic, a purely naturalistic perspective would lead one to conclude it is an aberrant or defective gene (i.e., one contrary to the propagation of the species), and that there is hope that one day scientific advances in genetics will enable the defect to be cured or eliminated.

(3) Having an inclination, of any sort, does not automatically make it right to act on the inclination.

(4) Sometimes it's easier to be judgmental about things which have no personal appeal to us or which we find disgusting.

(5) Everyone agrees that both character and doctrine are important -- when asking which is more important it becomes a question of what character traits and which doctrines are under consideration.

(6) Nothing. I have no sixth point.

(7) Carefully reasoned and irenic comments stir up much less subsequent commentary than caustic ones.

Tom Kelley said...

Chris Ryan,
Well stated. You sound like an intelligent and reasonable young man. May God bless your ministry.

I am intrigued by what you said about seminary: "It teaches you that there are questions the Bible doesn't answer. It teaches you that there are doctrines based on one passage or even one word and the words etymology and morphology can be debated. It teaches that the only way to approach the Bible is humility, and not a false one." Do any of the SBC seminaries currently teach these things? I hope so, for what I've read lately from too many SBC seminary leaders and young seminarians makes me wonder.

happy gram said...

an infant is born with both female and male reproductive organs. the parents have to decide what gender to 'assign' their child. as the child grows and matures, the CHILD is aware of what gender he believes he really is. it may or may not be the gender assigned by the parents at birth. if this medical anomaly can occur, why is it not possible for homosexuality to be the result of a similar genetic mixup? downs syndrome, trisomy 18 - who's to say why such genetic abnormalities occur? ALL homosexuals that i have encountered will say they would NEVER choose the life they live.

Chris Ryan said...

Joe,

Thank you for proving that some people can't help but resort to name-calling to try and make points. When all else fails, demonize the opposition. I recall that tactic being used against Jesus, "Son of Bealzebub" and all that.

To your responses:
God does not desire women in ministry in at least that cultural context. Now, are those words descriptive or prescriptive? There is a great deal of *legitimate* debate among people who are far better biblical scholars than you.

On homosexuality, as long as we are redefining people's positions to better suit our preconceptions of each other: by "confronting with sin" you must mean "justifying hatred." See how well that works? And it makes me feel so much better about myself. Or I could actually assume that you mean what you say, that you are a person of integrity and honesty, and I can deal with you on your terms. In which case, I agree with you that people who are actively living a homosexual lifestyle are not living in a manner that is in accordance with Christian faith and should be spoken with. Unlike you, though, I will not say there is no way they are Christians. There are too many sins that I am still mired in to assume that others sinning makes them not Christians.

On Galatians, actually good hermeneutics demands that it be understood as applying only to the context in which it was first understood (Those who demand that you be circumsized are trying to save you by works and will be damned). Then we theologize for the timeless principle and that would be, "any Gospel that does not base itself on faith is another Gospel and those who preach it will be damned."

And if you want to call me a liberal, just out and say it. No need to couch it or play p.c. I'll laugh myself near to death with the idea that I am a liberal, but feel free to express your real opinion. And believe me, I know what it is to be accosted by the world. Called into the Principle's office for proselytizing. Had my entire school casting mean words and mean looks after an intense dialogue with a Mormon friend. Told a friend that I would not be bestman at his wedding because he was gay.

But Joe, there is a whole world of difference between being persecuted for righteousness and being persecuted for being rude or obnoxious. In none of my circumstances did those who were directly involved ever think that I had acted in an unloving and un-Christlike manner. Therein is the key.

Nate said...

Chris Ryan,

So then what is Biblical? What makes up the Bible? Is the Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22:21 the Word of God complete and without error? Your statement was very vague. It left open the possibility that we don't have the entire Bible. It left the possibility that we could be fooled into thinking that the Word of God we have is the actual Word of God when in reality it's not.

All I said was I am not a seminary student. I said my pastor was not a seminary student. He in fact has studied at a Bible college. Just because I haven't studied at a seminary doesn't mean I haven't studied. Thanks for trying to attack my intelligence and education :(. I won't take it personally though.

No one here is claiming to know ALL truth (if that were so I would be claiming to be God). All that I am claiming is that truth can be known. Of course there are some doctrines that are false, based on obscure passages, not taught on extensively, and therefore are either untrue or unclear at best. NO ONE HERE IS ARGUING THIS.

All I'm saying is that holding the view like the one in this statement of yours below is a false statement.

"So we live in the tension of knowing that truth exists and its sources but not knowing definitively what it is."

Let me show you how it is false.

Statement: Truth Exists and there are sources of truth but we cannot definitively know this truth.

Problem: We cannot even know that this statement is true because the statement itself would eliminate any definite knowledge of truth, therefore; eliminating the statement itself.

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