11 My Friend’s Scriptural Reply to Me

It, good and evil, certainly is true that you cannot build without a foundation as the host of the NPR show noted.  The fact that this guest didn’t find his answer satisfying is not the appropriate measure of whether it was true or not.  I didn’t see the show, I don’t know what was said or in what context, just wanted to note that truth matters, and ultimate truth matters ultimately.  So yes, I believe the foundation we build on is critical and it is obvious that you do as well, thus your emphasis first to cast doubt on Scripture so that we have to base our conversation on a different authority that fits us better – not so demanding.

I see that you “recognize the authority of ‘love your neighbor,” “do not judge,” and “show mercy”, but I’m curious how, for instance you can see an authority in “do not judge” without making an effort to understand what Jesus meant by that, beginning with the immediate context.  In the parallel passage in Matt 7 He goes on to say “first take the log out of your own eye, then you can see clearly to take the spec out of your brother’s eye”. Note that you have to be discerning of good & evil, seeing your own sin and dealing with it and are responsible then to help your brother with the spec in his eye, not leave the spec there – all of it requires recognition of right and wrong – judgement in the sense of being discerning but not in the sense of condemning since that belongs to God alone.  Jesus also says in the verses that follow to not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine – commanding us to judge what is a “dog” or “swine” based on some objective standard.

You reference what you call “conflicts” in Scripture that I “would seem to have to acknowledge.”  But there is no “black is white” contradiction or inconsistency in the Lord’s commands and I see none in those passages. It is easy enough to see that God has the authority to judge and to use His chosen people Israel to bring that judgement (or natural disasters or any other means He chooses).  The fact is that the people of Canaan got what we all deserve.  The root of the problem is that when we reject God’s authority over us and declare our own wisdom supreme, then His wisdom looks foolish and even illogical to us.  When Jesus was asked about the people whose blood was shed by the Romans while bringing their sacrifices, and about the people on whom the tower of Siloam fell, He responded that “the same will happen to you if you do not repent.”  Not really a very satisfying or solace giving comment, but a comment the King has the right to make and does so with the full authority to back it up.

In reference to idolatry you gave some food for thought – let’s say I’m standing before the throne of God and  I say, “Lord, I think you should commend me for doing as I felt was right, because I was being very careful not to turn You into an idol.  In fact, Lord, I heard Your voice but knew I was in danger of making Your voice an idol if I listened to it.  I think far to much of You to believe that you meant what it sounded like and I know that since I was made in Your image You must be pleased with my creativity to invent a righteousness of my own doing.”  Do you see the absurdity of charging that believing God is idolatry against Him?  How did you handle your children when they played that game?  Would you have bought that argument as a defense when you were judge?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  The antithesis to that statement is found in Is 8:20 “…if they do not speak according to this, they have no dawn in them”

You are wondering if the river we arrive at is that same.  I believe the answer is “no.”  Homosexuality is sin – period.  So is adultery, hatred, lying, even failing to do what we know is right for the Scripture says “he who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  What I am saying is that we ALL have sinned against a just and holy God.  What I am saying is that we ALL need to be delivered from the condemnation and guilt of our sin, delivered from its power in our lives, and given new life and a secure hope in Christ.  Julian’s problem is not sexual orientation or mixed up genome, it is sin.  Sexual perversion is a result of the sin in us, not the cause of it.  My hope is in Christ, He is my righteousness, He is my guarantee, His power brings about a desire for holy living in me….and it is unloving to look at another’s sin and say “but it works well for you.”  No, love demands that we reach out to others to warn them of judgement to come and point them to reconciliation in Christ.

So, is Julian welcome?  Yes.  Is Robert welcome?  Yes…through the gate of repentance and faith in the finished work of the Son of God.  The Gospel calls out that there is redemption by Christ’s own payment for all who repent and bow before Him.  It is for those who know their sin and hate it and know that they cannot save themselves.  He calls us to abandon our own will and submit ourselves to Him as Lord.  Jesus went to the people of the lowest reputation, lost, hopeless, and imprisoned in sin, and He rescued them out of it.  He did not leave them in it and try to make them feel better about it.  But for those who stubbornly cling to and justify their sin there can only be the dreadful anticipation of judgement to come.

“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Cor 1:18

God is clear that there are two classes of people in the world – those who trust Him and put no confidence in themselves, and all the rest.

The call is not one of condemnation, but of warning to turn from the wrath to come and run to Christ.

I hope that gives a little better clarification of what the Christian issues are – just what Scripture says they are.

My Friend

 

12 My Response to My Friendhttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/351

11 My Friend’s Scriptural Reply to Me

10b My Second Response to My Friend: The Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views?

My Friend, I do appreciate your thoughtful and well-expressed reply.

Last weekend I was listening to NPR on Sunday, “This American Life,” a segment concerning belief.  A young woman, through a series of events not relevant here, was talking with a coach who had been  in the news concerning faith: she had lost a good friend and wondered how God could allow that to happen.  His response related to his view starting with the Fall of Man in the Garden such that sin entered the world.  She didn’t find his answer satisfying.  The host of the show noted that they could not agree on the coach’s premises and therefore his response could not provide either meaning or solace to her.  I think that probably expresses the differences in our views that we both are aware of.

I noted some conflicts in scripture that any reading, especially a literal one, would, it would seem, have to acknowledge.  Your view, as I understand it, is that scripture is completely and literally true. You say, “As regards troubling Scripture, we need to let it speak for itself and take God at His word.  Scripture testifies of itself and is not subject to our judgments of it, rather we are subject to its judgments.”  But that assertion does nothing to dispel the contradiction.  Isn’t that like saying that black is white with the assurance, “Trust me?”  Or just, “Have faith that it is so?”  Nonetheless, I do recognize the authority of “love your neighbor,” “do not judge,” and “show mercy;” and, as you counsel, I do let that counsel “speak for itself.”  I also take Jesus at his word that, “by their fruits you will know them.”

It seems to me that the Jewish notions that God is nameless, is the Living God, acknowledges that not only can no name confine God, neither can any book, including the Bible.  It seems to me that to reduce God, and to limit God, to the descriptions and commands of the Bible is to make of the Bible and of God idols, made in inflated views of ourselves and our works, contrary to the command to make no idols.  The God I believe in and worship is bigger than any system that seeks to define God and to guide or direct the worship of God.

Now, in attempting to meet the substance of your reply, while understanding that we cannot agree on the path, I wonder if the river we arrive at is the same.  Are you saying that your religious convictions lead you to accept that Julian’s sexual orientation, even his operations to address the ambiguities of his physical state, are between him and God?  Or are you determining that by Biblical authority he is violating God’s will, but, while it is a sin, it is no worse than your latent sinful nature?  If so, how is that different from judging him?  Or are you saying that, by God’s command, you would counsel that the church welcome Julian unconditionally, both into its fellowship and in any leadership he offers and qualifies to fill?

Again, thank you for your reply.  It does help me to focus on what the Christian issues are in the matter, and it helps me understand the basis of other views.

Rob

 

Next blog post: 11 Friend’s Scriptural Reply to Me                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/348

10b My Second Response to My Friend: The Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views?

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but . . .

The Bible is often quoted as authority for action as applied to present circumstances.  As applied to the GLBT, it is often quoted for exclusion of them from the church community or its leadership, or to justify ostracizing them.  How sure can we be of such commands as we apply them to our circumstances?  Let’s look at the Ten Commandment command, “Thou shalt not kill” and its many permutations, its contradictions, or its exceptions.

Exodus 20:13

Thou shalt not kill.

Numbers 21

1 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow to the Lord : “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah. . .

31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. . . .

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”

35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.

Numbers 25

1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

. . .

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them, 18 because they treated you as enemies. . .

Numbers 31

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

3 So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the Lord’s vengeance on them. . .

7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man . … 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Numbers 33

55 ” ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’ ”

Deuteronomy 2

31 The Lord said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.” . . . At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors

Deuteronomy 7

1 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you- 2 and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Joshua 6

20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Joshua 7

14 ” ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the Lord takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the Lord takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the Lord takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!’ . . .

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord,  the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel.

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. . . .
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.

Joshua 8

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

. . .

24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai.

Joshua 10

13 So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
. . .

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.

. . .

29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

. . .

38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Joshua 12

7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. . . .

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself.

12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. . . .

20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive. 23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions.
Then the land had rest from war.

Discuss

Do you see any conflict between the commandment not to kill and the Israelites’ perception that God directed Joshua to annihilate the inhabitants of the land?

If we see a conflict between “do not kill”  and “but kill and uterly destroy an entire people and all life associated with them”, can we reconcile these scriptural passages?  Are they reconcilable?

If either see no conflict, or if we reconcile them, have we used some form of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral in doing so?

If  you were living during the time of Joshua, how would you know when Joshua told you, “thus saith the Lord – kill all that lives and breathes in the land” that the order was in fact sanctioned by God?  If Joshua were living today and said God told him that you were to kill all people of a certain religion other than our own, would you believe it and act on it because he was Joshua?

Do Christians today claim God’s call to destruction of our enemies or of those that we believe are enemies of God?  How do we test the claims made for what is God’s will?

How do we reconcile these passages with the command of Jesus to love our enemies, or to turn the other cheek?

 

Next blog post: Offenses Punishable by Death               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/68

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but . . .

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality

See http://www.jeramyt.org/gay.html for a gay man’s scriptural defense of homosexuality.

Discussion

How different is the approach of this author from those condemning homosexuality?

How convincing is it?

Do both condemnation and justification fall short of convincing?

 

Next blog post: The Wesleyan  Quadrilateral               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/52

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position

See http://www.evangelsociety.org/francisco/gaychange.html for the Sinful, but Love the Sinner position.

Discuss

How would you summarize the “hate the sin but love the sinner” position?

What fears does it express?  How does it address those fears?

What about the scriptures it cites?  Is that appropriate use?

What points do you believe are valid?

What are your concerns about this position?

What is the practical impact of our judgment of the person we profess to love?

On us?

On them?

On our relationship with them?

On their relationship with the community?

Deepak Chopra has written in his book, The Third Jesus, “. . . [H]is teachings have been hijacked by people who hate in the name of love.” p. 7.  How does that apply or not to this position of hate the sin but love the sinner?

 

Next blog post: A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/46

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position