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

Rock Hard Science and Psychology Practiced by Amateurs: OU and Kirk Humphreys Removal

In 1992 the United States Supreme Court issued its controversial majority opinion in the famous prayer case of Lee v. Weisman (1992).

Mr. Weisman of Rhode Island had sued Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island because he had to listen to a thoroughly secular prayer during his daughter’s graduation.

The prayer in question was so innocuous in language that it was impossible for the hearers to know if it was a Christian prayer, a Jewish prayer, or a Muslim prayer. But Mr. Weisman complained that the prayer offended him because it violated the "the establishment clause" of the First Amendment which provided that government shall not establish a religion.

A majority of the Supreme Court justices agreed with Mr. Weisman.

In the Court's majority opinion, the justices reasoned that though the prayer had no sectarian content, made no demands on any hearer, and everyone who heard it was free to ignore it, the very fact the prayer was audibly heard in the public square made it "psychological coercion.” 

According to Stanley Fish in his book. How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One, the idea that audible prayers equate to psychological coercion was too much for Justice Antony Scalia.

After citing a fellow jurist’s complaint that establishment clause jurisprudence was becoming so byzantine that it was in danger of becoming a form of interior decorating, Justice Scalia fired back this zinger:
"Interior decorating is a rock-hard science compared to psychology practiced by amateurs."
Fast forward 25 years to 2017.
Clay Bennet hugs Kirk Humphreys

University of Oklahoma regent Kirk Humphreys was asked to step down from his position as a regent of the University of Oklahoma because of what he publicly said about homosexuality and morality.

Kirk Humphreys believes that the Bible gives the standard for what is right and wrong. And so, Kirk Humphries views homosexuality as a sin against God.

It's a given that some people will disagree with Kirk Humphreys.

What I find silly is the claim that Kirk Humphreys' words hurt people. People are saying things like:
"His words were far from respectful and hurt many people who heard them."
"Humphreys' harmful words cannot be dismissed without measurable repercussions."
"His words are filled with disgust and hatred and harm the lives of LGBT Oklahomans across the state."
Please.

We have a bunch of amateur psychologists in Oklahoma.

Words are the flowers to the root of ideas.

In a free society, one must learn how to walk in the garden of ideas. If a flower is personally odious, you must learn to ignore it and move on without attempting to pull up the root by force because it is not your garden.

The world's garden of ideas is full of flowers of differing varieties, and one person's rose may be offensive to another person's nose.

But ideas don't kill.

It is the desire to oppress or to suppress ideas which becomes the first step toward the removal of people holding to differing viewpoints

Be it fascist dictatorships on the right or brutal communist aristocracies on the left, suppression and oppression are the twin guns of control.

But a free country is free because its people are free to believe differently without fear of removal.

Universities shape future government leaders, and because our universities have lost academic freedom (e.g., "the freedom and ability to hold leadership positions while believing differently"), it will not be long before the country we love loses our freedoms.

Dr. William Banowsky, former President of OU
Less than 40 years ago Dr. William Banowsky, President of Oklahoma University refused to grant university recognition to a gay and lesbian student group at OU called the Gay Peoples' Union. Dr. Banowsky would not allow homosexual clubs to use campus facilities for meetings, receive university funds, or even be part of the official student handbook listing officially recognized sororities, fraternities, or social clubs.

Listen to what Dr. Banowsky told the students and regents of OU in 1978:
"It is my conclusion that granting official institutional license to any campus homosexual organization is not in the best interest, short-term or long-term, to the university."
Whether you agree with Dr. Banowsky or not (and I disagreed with him), within a generation the University of Oklahoma has now reversed itself completely.

Now, a Christian (Kirk Humphreys) who believes what the Bible says about homosexuality cannot serve as a regent of Oklahoma.

Why?

Because people are "hurt by Kirk Humphrey's words." 

Psychology being practiced by amateurs.

What harms all Oklahomans is the loss of freedom at the University of Oklahoma.

A person who enjoys a homosexual relationship will not like any person who expresses the belief that homosexuality is unnatural and a sin against God. But for Christians, the Bible teaches in Romans 1:26-28 and I Corinthians 6:9-10 that homosexuality is contrary to God's design and those who continue in it will "not inherit the kingdom of God." 

For homosexuals, the notion that what they enjoy is wrong in God's eyes is incompatible with their way of life and their way of thinking.

Disagreement is part of the world in which we live.

Learn to live with it.

The real problem at the University of Oklahoma is the suppression and oppression of differing ideas, the removal of those who believe differently than the majority, and the support of psychology practiced by amateurs.

57 comments:

Beverly said...

Sticks and stones can break my honest words will never hurt me. Right?

Beverly said...

Not what I said. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Christiane said...

"But a free country is free because its people are free to believe differently without fear of removal."

I think I would go beyond this statement myself and say that people in the public sphere ought to be free of 'in your face' contempt from people whose religious expression of hubris allows them to be insensitive . . . and I would emphasize the words 'in your face' and 'contempt'.

I do think that most fundamentalist-evangelicals would not understand my words, likely;
but people who, for centuries, have suffered under the 'in your face' contempt of others will absolutely know what I mean.

It doesn't matter the reason(s) for that contempt, no. What matters is that 'hubris' allows it to happen. It is not an expression of Our Lord's teaching, this hubris, no.

If anything, Our Lord asked for people to take another look at those who were 'different' and learn about them from how they treated others with love. Our Lord gave us the parable of the hated Samaritan who cared with love for the man beaten and left wounded by theives.

" Love not just those of your own tribe,
your own class, family or people,but those who are different, those who are strangers,
who are strange to your ways,
who come from different cultural and religious traditions, who seem odd, those you do not understand.
Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found beaten up by robbers, somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho." (the author, Jean Vanier, a man who cared for severely disabled people)

Look at the fruit.
And not the 'labels'.

And the next time a Christian minister in an American town opens his Church for 'the others' to pray in, until their mosque is built;
please don't say 'I can't understand what he could be thinking' as did one prominent politician/Baptist minister.

The Samaritan did not ask the wounded man what his 'tribe' was, no. He just helped another human person in need, out of compassion.

The 'gospel' gives permission to love those who are 'different', yes. Our Lord Himself cared that this be one of its teachings.

'Hubris' ? Not of Christ. Nope.

Only humility.
Only love.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I believe people have a right to smoke but it ends where my nose begins.

It looks to me like the Supreme Court is an example of ‘fools rush in where wise men tremble’.

“He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an example for all the ungodly in the future to look back upon and fear.” (2 Peter 2:6 Living)

For homosexual clubs etc. to have an existence where I paid tuition would be smoke where my nose began.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

You are in a minority.

Beverly,

That’s right!

Christiane,

If you know Kirk, you know he is not “in your face.” Some who have come after him seem to be “in your face.” My opinion only.

Wade Burleson said...

All,

This post was on FACEBOOK and the comments descended into various and sundry name calling. I had to delete the FACEBOOK post. Let’s all - please - keep it civil in this comment section.

I know we will.

Christiane said...

Hello Wade,
I accept your words concerning Kirk as your honest witness to his character.
I did read the link to his interview with Jessica Bruno and he affirms that he was misunderstood and wanted to make a statement about his beliefs as he felt they were taught in sacred Scripture. I see nothing wrong with someone stating that.

My comment responds to the much wider problem that is happening among some members of the Church among whom there is no misunderstanding of what they mean, and it is VERY harmful indeed.

I think this trouble will get worse, much worse, before it improves. Things once said cannot be taken back after consequences have already occurred and I hope that we can find better ways to communicate our faith than we have done so far . . . I'm very worried about the future, Wade. I mean no disrespect to Kirk. As a Catholic, I have my own devotion to the 'natural law' but I also cannot understand why so many sit in judgement on people that are saying 'I was always like this' in reference to their same-sex attraction. In their minds, they haven't chosen it anymore than opposite-sex attracted people have. If anything, many SSA people suffer and are targeted and labeled in order to shame them for what was not their choice. I especially have respect for SSA people who try to live celibate lives in the context of the Christian faith (I suppose being Catholic, I have some idea that this IS possible for those who choose to live chastely, especially in order to serve Christ and His Church). . .

There has to be a better way for Christian people to minister to the LBGT community and its needs . . . we need to take another look at how this can happen.
SSA people are not lepers. And they do suffer. Especially the young. The Church has a responsibility to teach about what the 'ideal' Christian way to live is, but it also have a responsibility to realize that it is for all practical and spiritual purposes, a hospital for sinners, a place where Christ's mercy can reach wounded souls.
At least, that is how I see the Church in this troubled world.

Sorry if my comment seemed too specific . . . it was meant in a wider context. I also need to learn to communicate better. It is a big failing on my part. Please forgive.

Brandon said...

I’d agree with Christiane above. The tone and language we (evangelicals) use is often wholly inappropriate (like equating, however loosely, homosexuality to pedophilia as Kirk did). I appreciate that he walked his comments back but that’s a common, and offensive talking point that’s often regurgitated in the evangelical world. The evangelical world seems to have grace for every sinner except those dealing with SSA. I’ve seen this time and again, and even more seen it completely harden those dealing with SSA against anything remotely “churchy”.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Thanks for the compliment about being in the minority.

“The highway to hell is broad…for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow…and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

Maybe my outlook is influence by the way I was treated by homosexuals. I was a freshman in college and did not know what a homosexual was. Going home on a holiday; the bus stopped at 10 PM and the next left at 6 AM.

A man said, “I have a hotel room that’s a little ways from here. You could sleep there instead of these bus seats.” I didn’t think anything about one bed because I’d slept with my twin brother all my life.

In five minutes he was all over me saying he loved me. I thought ‘SEX MANIAC’; what would daddy do? ‘Hit him in the nose!’ (I was larger than him.) I said, “I don’t like this!”

“Sorry, you can’t blame a guy for trying.”

As a senior in college I worked a graveyard shift and walked two miles home. One night a man offered a ride. I got in but he stopped at a park and asked me to read a paper. I thought it strange but I did. I stopped reading when it got filthy. Needles to say I walked the rest of the way.

Wade, which side do you think the devil is on?

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I think the devil is on the side of the religious self-righteous and the secular self-righteous. Anger over being compared to a child abuser is usually a sign that you feel yourself better.

Paul said, “I am the chief of sinners’ which means he would not object to be compared to a murderer, adulterer, child abuser, etc... because Paul understood the seed of sin is the heart, and his heart was in need of transformative grace.

I realize CRIMINALLY there is a difference. Some crimes get you longer jail sentences.

But the only Christian who’s willing to visit those in prison are the Christians who feel they have the same kind of heart that put the prisoner in his cell.

We are not living in a secular world or a religious world who thinks like this.

That - in essence - is the problem in my opinion.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You seem to say Christians are no ‘better’ than Paul when he when wrote:
“…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; and I am the worst of them all.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT)

This was Paul referring to himself when he was in favor of Stephen being murdered and putting Christians in prison etc. That was BEFORE he became a Christian as shown in the next verse.

“But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT)

After Paul was saved he wrote: “For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin…” (Romans 6:6 NLT)

“…we have all died to our old life…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 17 NLT)

You said, “The only Christian who’s willing to visit those in prison are the Christians who feel they HAVE the same kind of heart that put the prisoner in his cell.”

Better said: “…they HAD the same kind of heart…” And yes, and as a child of God, I feel better than a child abuser.

Curious Thinker said...

I did more research on Kirk Humphreys's incident and found out this whole thing started as a debate on TV program Flash Point where there was a debate with Sen. Emily Virgin over Sen. Al Franken's allegations of sexual harassment on numerous women. Mr. Humphreys decided to bring up homosexuality and brought up former congressman Barney Frank who is openly gay complaining that the democrats didn't ask him to resign when he was in office and appeared to link homosexuality with pedophiles which he made a comment about men having sex with little boys. I think Mr. Humphreys's comments were inappropriate in that situation. Comparing a senator accused of sexually harassing several women to being a homosexual than linking that to grown men sexually abusing little boys was offensive regardless of his or Christian views on homosexuality. Those things are entirely different as one situation with Al Franken involves a man accused of sexually violating women which is unethical and even illegal and if true he would deserve to made to step down. With Barney Frank being openly gay, that is not a crime or any violation on other person's rights. In the Christian community it is a violation against God but is protected under the constitution, no one should have to step resign from a position simply because some groups don't approve of their lifestyle choices that are protected under the law. As for men molesting little boys that is also a crime and children need to be protected. I don't think it is wrong to not want to be compared to a child abuser or molester or anyone who comments vile acts like rape, sexual harassment, murder which are criminal. Some actions and crimes are more heinous and brutal than others. As for Paul, before he became a believer, he persecuted many Christians which many were executed so for him he he was worse than some of the sinners like adulterer and was no better than a murderer some even claim Paul to be a terrorist before became to an apostle. I personally don't put good decent upstanding people who have good hearts and loving nature regardless of their religion or beliefs in the same category for the "bad people" who have ugliness in their hearts, who commit vile, cruel, brutal and wicked acts, are selfish, lazy and cruel nor compare them to such folk even though even good people are imperfect themselves as we are all imperfect but for many we have a conscience a morality of right and wrong and boundaries of what shouldn't be crossed. As a christian I would strive to feel sorry for the "bad people" who continually en and whatever happened in their lives to shape into that kind of person despite my disgust and even pray for them. Nice article and God Bless.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

One caveat and I must sign off until next week (out of town).

Paul said, “And I AM (active tense) the worst of all” not “And I WAS (past tense) the worst of all.”

A Christian is always being transformed by the grace of God and becomes a better person because of Christ in us - but we maintain the humble spirit that we are no better than anyone else apart from Christ and His righteousness.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! One of the enemy of our souls favorite tactic today is to cry "offended" and "hurtful" if and when the truth is spoken.

There simply will always be those offended, no matter how lovingly and kindly we say it, by the simple statement "I believe the Bible teaches same sex sexual activity or marriage is a sin." The argument will be "I didn't ask for this I was born this way."

But guess what--ALL of us are born sinners. ALL of us are "born this way." NONE of us asked for our particular set of temptations.

To choose one sin and want to shut down labelling it sin because labelling it is "hurtful" is ridiculous. With any sin one can self label oneself not as "a person who does xyz" but rather as "an xyzer for whom this is not what I do but who I am." It isn't particularly healthy but you can do it.

The rest of us do not have to play along. Rather than bend to "we must not hurt the feelings of gay people, as it is who they are not what they do" we can and I believe must stand firmly on the simply statement the activity is always under every circumstance sin. No matter who does it. Or why. Or how much they are tempted.

Otherwise we are on a slippery slope that is iced and greased.

Linda

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You said, “Paul said, “And I AM (active tense) the worst of all” not “And I WAS (past tense) the worst of all.”

Touché, touché! That’s what my NLT states.

One thing about the NLT is that it’s not bound by words in the Greek and Hebrew but by the meaning.

That’s why it will change any Scripture IF the ‘thought’ can be proven wrong.

I had planned to tell them the “AM” should be changed to WAS. But I can’t because someone already beat me to it. :)

The larger print that I use has a copyright of 1996. The copyright of my small print copyright of 1997 states:

“…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I WAS the worst of them all.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT)

Christiane said...

Is very possible that Saul did see himself as superior to others, being a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee . . . he was judgmental and punitive of those he looked down on

after his conversion, as 'Paul', he became convicted of his sins and aware that he was 'a sinner', and he then received the humility of any sinner who realizes they have offended God and are now sorry for what they have done

The mindset of a person who sees himself as superior to other 'sinners' can be very judgemental;
but when a person is looked upon by Christ and receives the spirit of grace 'and supplication', only then does he see himself as a 'sinner' in need of Christ's mercy

The difference?
Some look down on 'those other sinners';
and some say 'who am I to judge?'

As for those who feel they are not 'like' those other sinners, there is this to think about:

"This thought should keep us humble. We are sinners, but we do not know how great. He alone knows who died for our sins."
(John Henry Newman)

Also, those who feel they do not need God's mercy because they are 'not like those other sinners' will be more likely to be merciless in their contempt for 'the others'.

The word 'mercy' is not often used by some Christian people, perhaps because they feel they are superior to those in need of it. But maybe THEY are the ones most in need of God's mercy in the form of 'a spirit of grace and supplication'.

The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in the temple remains a lesson meant to give all Christian people a sense of who they are in this world: people on whom God has looked who are in need of His mercy. . . . and one of the title's of Jesus Christ is that He Himself was 'the Mercy of God'

Anonymous said...

Christiane, there is a huge gap between judging other people (which we are forbidden to do) and saying an activity is sinful (which we are enjoined to do. Teach the whole truth.)

It is very true there are some doing incredibly hurtful things to sinners of any stripe, not just to gays. That isn't accomplishing anything.

But to stand up to the gay lobby and say "no, you cannot proselytize here" is not the same thing. For that matter, to equate any sexual sin with all sexual sins is not wrong either.

Am I a sinner saved by grace? You better believe it!!! I learned about sin from other sinners saved by grace, and do my best to share the good news of hope to other sinners. But to do that I have to label "sin" as just that--sin! I'm blessed to have grown up in a time where we were taught right and wrong. I learned in grade school or before that it is wrong to lie, to steal, to murder, to blaspheme, to covet, to "like" your cousin or a person of the same gender, to "like" someone other than your husband or wife if you were married, etc. Such sweet childlike ways to express horrible sins, but we learned them.

Our children and grandchildren are now being taught many of those things are "conditions" rather than chosen actions, and therefore not to be judged.

Horsefeathers! Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and we sinners are the only ones He saves!

If you saw someone jump in a cesspool full of pooh, would you be worried you would offend them by offering a ladder or would you be more concerned with seeing them saved from drowning in the filth? Once out would you be more concerned to save them from disease with a good shower or would you be afraid of offending them if you said they stunk?

Let's not condemn the brave souls unafraid to call pooh pooh and call people to climb the ladder and take a shower.

linda

Christiane said...

Hello 'Linda'
I am not evangelical, so I don't see from the same perspective as you.

I do think that the majority of people with same-sex attraction do NOT choose their situation, and so that 'condition' of SSA is not a sin but a type of disorder that is a challenge and for many, a burden.

I also believe there are many people with SSA that try to live celibate lives that honor Christ. I cannot bring myself to see anything in them to condemn. In fact, I admire any SSA Christian who attempts to live a life that honors Christ, especially when there are other 'christians' who belittle them, persecute them, and make their lives even more difficult by playing the Pharisee card.

It seems to me that the mantra 'love the sinner, hate the sin' is meant more to soothe the consciences of modern-day fundamentalist pharisees rather than those for whom they have loathing and contempt. As a phrase, 'love the sinner, hate the sin' doesn't fool anyone outside that bubble, no. My own Church is open about its teachings concerning the natural law . . . but you won't see our parishioners reveling in fundamentalism-homophobia and the overt finger-pointing at 'those other sinners', no.
The phrase 'who am I to judge' has meaning for some Christians and among them are those whose liturgical prayers resound with 'have mercy on us'. There are reasons why I cannot find meaning in the persecution of those who bear burdens I cannot even imagine. If anything, I would include them in our prayer 'Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy on us'.

Be cautious how you judge innocent people who bear burdens you cannot know. Be very cautious in how you direct contempt towards any soul in the name of Christ.
Negativity turns in on itself when both the judging and the contempt are given encouragement . . . the results are destructive. Christian people don't curse the darkness, they live in the light of Christ . . . they point to Christ. The stone-throwing, the finger-pointing, and the contempt are NOT a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and have no place in how any Christian person is to minister to wounded people.

Aussie John said...

How anyone, claiming to be Christian, with an understanding of what the Scriptures say sin is, can point at the sin of another without realizing three fingers point back at themselves, beats me.

We become a Christian (righteous in God's sight)from outside of ourselves. We never had, and never will have a righteousness of our own. If we are Christian, God sees us as clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Whilst we walk this earth we remain sinners (as all humans are), but we Christians are totally dependent on the finished work of Christ for right standing with God. There is a day when "we all shall be like Him (Christ) because we shall see Him as He is".(1John 3:2b)

If the sin of another is brought to our attention it should invoke empathy,and the desire to be a healer not an accuser.

Christiane said...

Well said, Aussie John

Scott Shaver said...

This argument falls completely apart if your theory that SSA is biological turns out to be wrong in favor of deliberate lifestyle choices based on subcultural conditioning etc. Where is your verifiable or documented proof that most are "born" into what the Book of Romans describes as a willful exchange of truth for lies. Prove your theory or at least support it apart from your own bias.

Scott Shaver said...

Sin is sin whether it be homosexual sin, coveteousness, pride, etc. Don't see so much condemnation in the comments posted thus far as I do rationales for empathy with and acceptance of certain sins as part of the natural order...and in the name of Christ!

Rex Ray said...

Linda,

Loved your comment.

Christiane said...

Scott ...Scott, it was the Pharisee that did NOT receive God's blessing in the parable about the Pharisee and the Publican in the temple

for myself, I rely on the words of my best friend's daughter and also of a cousin who both understand that they did not 'choose' to be 'different'. . . I know these people and they are very dear to me and I do hear both of them speaking of the same kind of understanding of their own experience

I have heard and read a lot of the fundamentalist-evangelical homophobic literature,
and I cannot see in it anything remotely 'of Christ', no

If you want to see help for sinners from Christian people, it will come from those Christians who bear the marks of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and carry within themselves the peace of Christ . . . in these Christians, you will see a great humility before the Lord which will always be expressed in the same way that the publican prayed in the temple

If you don't think kindness or patience matters, then you haven't bourne a burden where it mattered when someone was kind to you, or someone cared enough not to judge you as you worked through some problems that took time to resolve

I don't see the Church as a bastion of 'perfect pharisees' looking down on other sinners, no;
I see it as a 'hospital for sinners' where the fruit of the Holy Spirit heals wounded souls

maybe it has to do with some seeing themselves as 'saved' and better than others;
and other Christians knowing that they themselves are 'works in progress' and in need of Christ daily, even from moment to moment

I'm not sure why the differences in how Christian people respond to those who have special challenges in this world,
but I DO KNOW that finger-pointing, rock throwing, and bearing contempt for someone is NOT 'The Way' of Christian people . . . it wasn't for the humble Christ they claim to follow, was it?

Rex Ray said...

It’s been said the spokes of Christians’ wheels of beliefs should be the same length. If not, their rides are bumpy.

I believe the Burleson’s gang follows one of Christ commandments that we love one another. On the other hand our ‘spokes’ are not the same in some areas.

I believe ‘not judging’ sticks out like a sore thumb. I get tired of hearing one finger vs. three fingers. As Jesus as our example how many fingers pointed at him when he cleansed his Father’s house?

Are we judging when we select our pastors, deacons, SS teachers etc.? Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:20)

Scott Shaver said...

Christiane, I will depend more upon Scripture than empathy with culture to know the mind and heart of Christ. Thank you. And you've still not provided any evidence outside your own family and friends to support your theory that MOST who are SSA are born that way. Could it be possible that the curse of the "Pharisee" could also apply to those who discount both Scripture and reputable research in their efforts to create a god in their own "compassionate" image?

Scott Shaver said...

Good comment, Rex, on the "the length of spokes". And as a sidenote, some folks who claim that "pointing fingers" or "throwing rocks" is sub-christian behavior sure don't have a problem with figuratively emptying their own quarries to stone others they label as "evangelicals" or "fundamentalist homophobes".

Scott Shaver said...

As for the "fruit of the Spirit" one of those is self control.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

You bring up a great point about love.

I believe it is possible to love everyone, while still holding to a belief in sin.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

I'm 100% with you! Jesus illustrates the truth of your words,"I believe it is possible to love everyone, while still holding to a belief in sin" in His dealings with the adulterous woman.

Judgementalism demanded she be stoned to death. The love of God in Christ recognized her sin, "“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Why did the Pharisees not carry out their judgemental intention?

Because there were none WITHOUT SIN to cast the first stone, and there are none without sin who write to this blog,including Wade and me!

The problem which many, who, for whatever reason, appoint themselves as sherrifs of the Christian community is that they do not understand the difference between JUDGEMENTALISM and making a healthy JUDGEMENT regarding a situation.

Let's look at the difference:

Healthy judgment involves concern for others (Loving Concern i.e.Wade)

Judgmentalism is not concerned for others, but concerned to show self righteousness.

Healthy judgment refuses to distrust another's motives without solid evidence for doing so. (Trust)

Judgmentalism presumes to know other people's motives without reasonable evidence.

Healthy judgment involves holding to Christian moral and ethical concepts with charity (love) and tolerance toward those who differ.

Judgmentalism clings tenaciously to moral and religious (not necessarily Biblical)
concepts with disrespect and intolerance toward those who differ.

Healthy judgment entails a denunciation of hurtful behavior or erroneous ideas. (This is about actions of behavior vs.the individual)

Judgmentalism denounces the person who adheres to erroneous ideas or destructive behavior.

Healthy judgment recognizes the differences with its own viewpoints, but has learned that it isn't the final infallible arbiter, thus being able to maintain a loving stance whilst agreeing to disagree.

Judgmentalism refuses to recognize any possible problems or limits with its own position, and is often emotional reasoning, and fear that the other may be correct.

Healthy judgment is the necessary outcome of study, careful thinking and the mark of a mind unafraid to decide.

Judgmentalism is the outcome of careless uninformed thinking and is more often than not the result of holding to tradition rather than truth.

Isn't that strange? It seems that judgementalism describes Pharisaism!

And yet! It is one of the sins many Christians consciously or unconsciously consider “acceptable” behavior!

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,
You make good points between Judgmentalism and Healthy judgment.
But the whip of Jesus was not quite following the “denunciation of hurtful behavior” was it?

Wade,
What do you think about the later copyright of NLT?
“…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I WAS the worst of them all.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT)

Aussie John said...

Rex,

Thanks for your comment, but, and a big BUT: If Jesus was using "hurtful behaviour" we need to use the injunction of my professors for us to be careful to interpret Scripture by Scripture. In other words, to look for other Scriptures to prove what we imagine a text, or, passage appears to say.

Did Jesus really whip people when He cleansed the Temple? Lets read what some versions of Scripture (NIV,UKJ,Amplified Bible) really says:

Jesus money changers“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, AND HE DROVE ALL FROM THE TEMPLE AREA, BOTH SHEEP AND CATTLE. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here…” John 2:14 (NIV)

The ALL which He drove from the temple were BOTH sheep and cattle which were the wealth of the owners who logically would want to gather their livestock from outside the temple. There is simply no evidence that He whipped humans. That has been an assumption of tradition, often to justify violence.

Most versions speak of a whip of SMALL cords. I was a farmer for the first thirty years of my life and I never had a beast which would be concerned about something made of "small cords".

Many commenters think that "small cords" were a simple switch picked up from the debris on the floor.

It is a dangerous idea to put such a large burden of meaning on a single verse of Scripture. As I said,"Judgmentalism is the outcome of careless uninformed thinking and is more often than not the result of holding to tradition rather than truth".

That includes making judgements of Scripture on the basis of traditional early teaching of Sunday School or the denomination preachers and teachers.

I don't know anything which Jesus taught or practiced that would justify our personally harming another human being either physically, or, emotionally/spiritually.

I'm sure open to learn if I'm wrong.

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

You wrote very good thoughts.

The NLT which uses thoughts instead of words because so many times there are no English words that portray the exact meaning that’s in Hebrew and Greek.

Therefore the nearest word in English that matches Greek thought would be chords, but the NLT states: “Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple.” (John 2:15 NLT)

“Ropes” would hurt more that “chords”, and “drove” indicates they resisted, but “chased” indicates their guilty conscious ran from Jesus.

Looks like Jesus didn’t use “hurtful behavior” but I believe he scared them. :)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Happy New Year!

The year is only 5 hours old and already I’m eating CROW.
I had previously stated the NLT copyright of 1997 had:

“…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I WAS the worst of them all.”

That’s true and it had a copyright date of 1996 and 1997. But my other two NLT Bibles have copyright dates of 1996 and 2004 which state “…I AM the worst of them all.”

On the other hand, all three state in the next verse:

“But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT)
How could anyone be the “worst” after receiving “eternal life”?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Was Paul ever “the chief of sinners”?

It’s estimated Heriod killed 14,000 baby boys while trying to kill God’s son.

He wanted the day of his death not to be a day of rejoicing so he killed three of his sons, his wife, his sister and her husband, his brother, the chief priest and scribes, and 70 men of the Sanhedrin.

I think the temperature in hell of the “rich man” will feel like the North Pole compared to Heriod’s.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

"How can anyone be the "worst" (of sinners) after receiving eternal life?"

It's not that they are actually the worst of sinners, it's that they believe in their hearts that they are.

I'm reminded of the woman who washed Jesus' feet. Jesus said to her (and the Pharisees around her) - "But the person who is forgiven only a little will love only a little.”

The "chief of sinners" feels like nobody is worse than he (or she) but because there is abundant forgiveness, the chief of sinners loves Jesus deeply.

It's a spirit of humility that keeps those who've received eternal life from being judgmental.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Thanks for the reply. Today I sent an email to NLT.
csresponse@tindale.com
From Rex R. Ray
January 4, 2018

Dear Sirs,

Your last copyright has:
“…My little daughter is dying…” (Mark 5:23)
“…was dying.” (Luke 8:42)

But Mathew 9:18 states: “…My daughter has just died…”


I believe your copyright of 1997 is correct: “…I WAS the worst of them all.” (1Timothy 1:15)

BUT all the other copyrights have “…I AM the worst of them all.”

The next verse explains how God could change the worst sinner:

“But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example…with even the worst sinners.” (1Timothy 1:16)


If Paul remained the worst of sinners, why should we believe anything he wrote?

Aussie John said...

Wade made an important statement which throws light on Paul's attitude when stating his opinion of his sinfulness,"a spirit of humility".

He does say,"I am", not merely (nothing more than) a past tense fact which "I was" would indicate. He shows the same humility in 1 Corinthians 15:9," For I AM the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God". Ephesians 3:8 is another example," To me,though I AM the very least of all the saints, this grace was given.... "

Although not Paul , another good instance of this humility is in Luke18:13,"But the tax collector,standing far off,would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God,be merciful to me, a sinner!' ".

Any believer who understands the gravity of the slightest sin before the holiness of God, will always understand his own sin, as long as he lives, greater than those of others!

Why? Because we can never know the sin of another as we certainly know our own.

So many Christians make the mistake of comparing the apparent sin of another with what they think is a lesser sinfulness in themselves. That's the big mistake that Paul did not make!

Paul understood very clearly what in was. He couldn't find a superlative which would describe sin as fully as he understood it and spoke of the sinfulness of sin, "sinful beyond measure" ESV. He knew that all sin is utterly sinful because it is rebellion against our loving and merciful Heavenly Father.

Which means that not one,including me, who claims to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, can claim to be any other than the chief of all sinners!

Victorious said...

He knew that all sin is utterly sinful because it is rebellion against our loving and merciful Heavenly Father.

Which means that not one,including me, who claims to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, can claim to be any other than the chief of all sinners!


I have a problem labeling all sin as "rebellion" against God. To me, the word implies an intentional, deliberate, purposeful act as opposed to one committed as the result of an unintentional weakness of the flesh.

If I can see the difference in taking a ballpoint pen home from my place of employment and raping an innocent child, why do we think God can't or doesn't?

Numbers 15 differentiates between intentional and unintentional or defiant sin so apparently God knows some sin is committed inadvertently and without malice.

Mary Ann

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

You quoted Paul saying (1 Corinthians 15:9), “...because I persecuted the church of God.”
“persecuted” is past tense and not present. Paul did not rebel against God because he believed he was doing God’s will when he persecuted Christians. BIG DIFFERENCE!

His persecuting Christians did not hold a candle to Herod killing fourteen thousand babies etc. God hastened Herod’s trip to hell by having worms eat him.

You said, “Which means that not one, including me, who claims to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, can claim to be any other than the chief of all sinners!”

Have you killed more than 14,000 babies?
When we become a new creature in Christ, we become a child of God. God’s children are not the chief of sinners.

Rex Ray said...

Mary Ann,

Yes, there’s a great difference between taking a ballpoint pen and raping a child, and I notice Aussie John has not replied to you.

I agree there is a difference between intentional and unintentional sin. Last month I was welding and caught the pasture on fire. I tried to put it out with my feet but my shoes got so hot I jumped in the edge of a lake and nearly lost them in mud. I called 911 and two local volunteer fire trucks put the fire out. I asked one of the men if he was old enough to know my father, Dave Ray.
“Yes, he was our best customer.”

I didn’t know there was a ‘burn ban’ which has a large fine for burning anything, but they didn’t report what I’d done and said their service was free.

Aussie John said...

Rex,

So you are not a sinner now?

Rex Ray said...

Yes, I’m a saved sinner and I continue to sin but I’m not the chief of sinners.

Aussie John said...

Rex,

I said previously that,"..... not one,including me, who claims to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, can claim to be any other than the chief of all sinners!"

When we take on the task of preaching the Gospel, we need to have a similar humble attitude as Paul. He was “chief” of sinners (he was not saying that he was worse than others even after obeying the gospel call on his life, but that he was the foremost example showing that Christ will accept anyone who will believe in whom He is and His finished work on our behalf and obey Him, even a murderous Pharisee like Saul (Paul).

When looking upon people to whom one is privileged to be teaching/preaching the Good News and considering oneself to be a lesser sinner than any of them is to stand on dangerous ground of pride.



Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

I’m probably being negative, but did Paul have a humble attitude when he ‘judged’ Timothy was not worthy to go with him on a second missionary trip?

Don’t get me wrong because Paul is my hero of the apostles.

I think some Christians enjoy telling their troubles in trying to be good. It’s like the lady praying in church (she prayed often) “Lord brush the cobwebs from my brain” until someone said, “Lord kill that spider!”

Aussie John said...

Rex,
I'll leave you to "judge" your attitude, whether "negative", but I cannot see where the issue of humility, or otherwise comes into the situation you mention. It seems to me that Paul made a practical decision regarding ministry.

When we read Paul's high commendation of Timothy (Phil. 2:4) Look at his words in 2:19-23. I could only hope to have such high commendation.

It seems from Scripture that Epaphroditus,who has almost died from illness ".... has been longing for all of you.....". He was keen to return to his home church, as most of us would be.

" Do nothing from self interest or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. "

When I look at Paul in the instance you mention,I see a man who puts his words into action and exhibits the highest levels of humility because he considers others before himself, as in this instance.


Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

I retired as a tool designer. Every blueprint required the name of the designer and the checker. The checker’s main job was to be sure math calculations were correct. To be sure the checker did his job we sometimes put in a “checker trap”. That meant a math dimension would be wrong to see if he would catch it.

I said all that to say I wrote a “checker trap” to see if you would catch it. But NO it was not a ‘checker trap’ because I made a mistake in saying:

“Did Paul have a humble attitude when he judged TIMOTHY was not worthy to go with him on a second missionary trip?” I should have said, “John Mark”

“Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them...their disagreement was so sharp they separated...” (Acts 15:37-39)

BTW, John Mark was a comfort to Paul when he was in prison. “...Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11)

‘Meanwhile back at the ranch’ to my original question if Paul displayed a humble attitude when he disagreed with Barnabas wanting to take JOHN MARK on their second missionary journey.

“...the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the special work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2 NLT)

Did the Holy Spirit desire them to split on their second missionary journey, or did the devil take over like he gets an argument started in churches and some get angry?

Barnabas wanted to give John Mark his cousin (Colossians 4:10) a second chance, but not Paul. Instead of Paul displaying a humble attitude, I believe after all he and his friend had been through he was so angry their separation was “sharp”.

Aussie John said...

Rex,

My last response. In the instance you just mentioned, I think we are far too prone to forget the sovereignty of God and blame the devil. Keeps the attention away from ourselves.

Maybe John Marks decision in Acts 13:13 had something to do with it. 13:5 tells us John was appointed as their assistant but he left them.

As an elder and pastor in Baptist churches for many decades I saw arguments and divisions quite a few times, but I would not give the devil the credit for any one of them. Check out the following Scriptures: 1 Cor.3:3; 1 Cor.11:18; Jude 17-20.

I think Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:9), was acting wisely. Maybe he could see the danger of family siding with family when decisions had to be made, or the immaturity which John had already displayed? Would Barnabus be loyal to the God appointed leadership of Paul, or to an opposing position taken by John,or, visa versa?

One of the worst causes of deep upset in the Body of Christ, which I have seen, is when someone sets themselves up as the devil's advocate regarding any church matter. In other words a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of the opposing arguments.

Such people are not serving the cause of Christ!














Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I must hand it to you. Writing letters to the editors of a New Testament translation. :)

Good for you. Don't just sit there - do something.

You ask this question:

"If Paul remained the worst of sinners, why should we believe anything he wrote?"

He didn't remain the chief of sinners after his conversion... BUT (and this is a really big BUT) -

His feeling that he WAS the chief of sinners remained.

So ... I AM ... is a statement of feeling and belief, not reality and experience.

I can prove this in other places of the New Testament, but I must leave for a meeting. Bottom line, FEELING like I AM the chief of sinners keeps me humble, open and transparent in my Christian walk, but ACTUALLY NOT being the chief of sinners is the reality and experience of tasting God's grace in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

In the first place was Paul ever the chief of ALL sinners? I mean did he kill 14,000 babies etc. like King Herod? That word “chief” needs a lot of explaining.

I think you explained a lot when you wrote:

“He didn't remain the chief of sinners after his conversion... BUT (and this is a really big BUT) -His feeling that he WAS the chief of sinners remained.
So ... I AM ... is a statement of feeling and belief, not reality and experience.”

I believe the more Paul thought of what he had done in the past; the more he hated his sin.

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Therefore I think Paul was thinking I AM the chief of all Christian sinners.

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

There are two ways to look at our conversation: Trying to show how smart we are, or learning together. I’d like to think of the expression of “Iron sharpens iron” because I’ve learned more than I knew before.

BTW, have you heard of a Southern Baptist missionary Mark Ray? We are cousins. I believe he spent all his time in Australia. He retired several years ago. His father, Dan Ray, and mother, Francis were missionaries to Korea for 39 years, and his grandfather, Rex Ray, was a missionary to China 30 years and Korea 6 years.

A 138 page book, “Rex Ray Cowboy Missionary in Kwangsi” states: Captured by pirates, running Japanese blockade, escape from China through Communist lines, and supervised building Wallace Memorial Hospital in Korea. On his last return home, seven couples adopted the Korean babies he brought to America. Two years later in 1958 he conducted the funeral services of his oldest boy, David who was in the army. Two months later my uncle Rex at age 73 met his Lord.

One of my 13 mission trips to Japan was with Dan and Francis Ray. She’s in a nursing home near here. Seven years ago Dan was buried about a mile from our house. At the funeral, there was a man, Johnny Ray North that my uncle brought from Korea as a baby. Afterwards, he and his two grown sons are among the 652 people that have been down my 40 foot high slide. A motor pulls a sled up that makes it comfortable. Wade’s son said he was going to try it, but he hasn’t made it yet.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

“...Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:16 KJ)

The BIG question is who is Paul referring to? Is it LOST singers or SAVED sinners?

King Herod was a lost sinner and we know Paul wasn’t worst than him so it must be sinners that have been saved that Paul was referring to. End of story.

Rex Ray said...

"singers" ???? :) That sure proves I'm not a robot.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I am with Aussie John on this one.

He's spot on - especially his comment on 2:48 pm on January 4, 2018

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

The main point of this comment is to understand why Paul said in (1 Timothy 1:15 KJ) “…Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief”, we must study Scripture.

“…I was CHOSEN for this special joy of telling the Gentiles about…Christ. I was CHOSEN to explain to everyone…his plan…has now been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:8-10 NLT)

The apostles were called but Paul was chosen. Why did Paul say in the same Scripture “…I was the least deserving Christian…”?

God did not choose him because he was the least deserving but because he knew Paul would NEVER be AFRAID to do the right thing and not give in to pressure from anyone.

Although Paul said, “I am the least of all the apostles…” 1 Corinthians 15:9 I don’t think he believed he was the least or he would not have confronted Peter and the other Christians in Galatians 2:11-21.

“When Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong…when some Jewish friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore because he was AFRAID of what these legalists would say. Then the other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was influenced to join them in their hypocrisy. When I saw they were not following the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter in front of all the others…” (Galatians 2:11-14 NLT)

In the next seven verses, Paul explained why they were wrong.
Did Paul break the rule of ‘not judging’?

Aussie John’s comment of January 4, 2:48 pm said, “So MANY CHRISTIANS make the mistake of comparing the apparent sin of ANOTHER with what they think is a lesser sinfulness in themselves. That’s the big mistake that PAUL did not make!”

To me it’s hard to understand what Aussie meant, so the following is something like paraphrasing.

ANOTHER does an apparent sin by killing someone.
MANY CHRISTIANS spit on the sidewalk.
MANY CHRISTIANS believe their sin is less.
Aussie said MANY CHRISTIANS make a mistake.
Aussie said PAUL did not make that mistake.

IF Paul was the chief of sinners would God have CHOSEN him to correct other Christians in Galatians and would they have taken his advice? I think not.

Paul could not forget what he had done before he was saved even though he made it clear he thought he was doing God’s will.

Many years ago at a court trial I was the lawyer for my father. When I was asked to repeat my statement, I said, “Daddy, what did I say?”

So good luck if you try to understand all this.

Aussie John said...

Rex,

This will be brief. My "last response" comment was because my wife had been taken ill and needed to go to hospital, where she remains today with a serious bout of pneumonia.In 58 years I have never seen her so ill.

Maybe I have not been clear in what I wrote about "apparent sin". It has been my experience that someone observes something about which they make a wrong assessment, because of limited knowledge of what happened. Their judgement has been on what their subjective assessment had been, an "apparent sin".

A personal example: When I was 17 years of age, I was on the "church council" of the denomination I grew up in. One day I needed to go to a toilet. The only one nearby was in the public bar of a hotel. I went there. A lady from the church saw me go in the entrance and the news came out that I was a drinker which was the grossest sin in that denomination. I'm still do not drink alcohol, but by choice.

One of the sins MANY CHRISTIANS (by their own admission) fall into is one of the so-called "respectable sins", jealousy, anger, pride, and among them is the sin of judgmentalism. As a matter of fact, I don't know any Christian who doesn't admit to failing in one or the other of these, including me! That's why I remind myself of the pointing finger illustration, because three point back at me,emphasising that I am no less and no more a sinner like Paul.

Rex! May the Lord bless your deliberations!

Final response!





Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

My father had and expression when he heard something that upset him:
“Cuts me like a knife.” Your comment did that to me. I’m praying for your wife’s recovery. I experienced how bad pneumonia makes you feel; and I was only 27.

I can’t imagine the pain of being falsely accused as a drinker by a woman in your church.
In the sixth grade a girl said my handwriting proved I had written her a dirty letter. When I was a senior at Bonham my math teacher said I had cheated on a test. She had put a red X on my correct answer. When I complained, she held my paper against the window and said I had written on top of her X. She was old; at least 60. :) I knew if she scraped off her X my pencil numbers would remain. My twin brother and I changed schools two weeks later.

We had been in Germany two years and the State ruled we could play anywhere in the U.S. but after some schools protested, the State ruled we could only play in a small school where we had played as freshmen.

That coach was happy as the school had not won a game the first semester, and didn’t lose any the next. His name is now on the gymnasium at Bonham.

Our Lord put his Son on a cross by false charges. Also Paul was falsely accused that put him in prison and murdered. I believe if the TV program “Cold Case” investigated Paul’s death they would solve the oldest case in the world. Their starting point would be:

“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (KJ)

I believe Cold Case would look for those who Paul expected to testify in his defense of being accused of “…trying to defile the Temple when we arrested him.” (Acts 24:6 NLT)

Why was Paul in the Temple? He took the advice of James and the elders of the Jerusalem church that called him, “Dear brother”. (Acts 21:18-20)

They told him: “Our Jewish Christians here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews living in the Gentile world to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They say that you teach people not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.” (Acts 21:21 NLT)

I believe they told him his life was in danger but they had the solution: “Here is our suggestion.” They told him to go to the temple and take vows with four other men. “Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.” (Acts 21:23-24 NLT) I believe if they had not been absent at Paul’s trial, he would not have gone to prison.

Yesterday, a friend died unexpectedly at home in his sleep. We will meet again along with Paul. After our tears are wiped away not any bad will be remembered; only good things will last what we’ve done for Jesus and the love we have for one another.