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

10a My Scriptural Response to My Friend

My Friend, I appreciate your desire to give a thoughtful response.  I will share with you scriptures from Old and New Testaments that I consider to be conflicting on their face, challenging us, which I include in discussion of GLBT issues:

Guiding principles:

Micah 6

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

What does it mean to act justly? To love mercy?  To walk humbly with your God?

Mark 12

The Greatest Commandment

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-11), interpreted to be condemnatory of homosexual acts.

Biblical provisions:

Abominable and detestable things

The Old Testament clearly calls homosexual acts abominable or detestable.  There are other things and acts that are also abominable or detestable:  Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean, Leviticus 7:19; eating fat or blood of otherwise clean animals, Leviticus 7:22; anything in the water that does not have fins or scales,  Leviticus 11:12; certain birds, Leviticus 11:13; all flying insects that walk on four legs, Leviticus 11:20; every animal that moves about on the ground, Leviticus 11:41; do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, Leviticus 18:22; and anyone who does any detestable thing must be “cut off” Leviticus 18:23.

Commandment not to kill, but commands to kill

Exodus 20

13 You shall not kill.

Exodus 21

12 Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.

15 Anyone who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death.

16 Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.

17 Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Leviticus 20

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any alien living in  Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him.

9 ‘If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.

10 ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

11 ‘If a man sleeps with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

12 ‘If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads..

13 ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

14 ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.

15 ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.

16 ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

27 ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’

[Four reasons that seem obvious, I find it interesting that in 1 Samuel 28: 3-25, after Saul expelled all mediums, the Philistine army camps in opposition to Saul’s army.  Saul is frightened.  He calls upon the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him.  Samuel had died, but Saul yet found a medium who, at Saul’s request, called up the spirit of Samuel.  Samuel’s spirit asks Saul in verse 15, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” – so says the Bible.

Leviticus 24

15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible;

16 ‘anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

17 ‘If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death.’

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.

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.

It went on and on . . ., yet to this day.

Deuteronomy 7?

2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, . . .

5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.

Deuteronomy 13

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” . . .

9 You must certainly put him to death.

Deuteronomy 21

18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son . .  .

21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.

Deuteronomy 22

21 A woman who has been given in marriage and who is found not to be a virgin shall be stoned to death.

22 and 23 [Both adulterors shall be stoned].

Hosea 6

6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Zechariah 7

8 And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah:

9 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.

10 “‘Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'”

Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

2 and he began to teach them saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Mark 12

The Greatest Commandment

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

31 “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.'”

Luke 6

Judging Others

37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

. . .

41 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.

45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

John 8

1 But Jesus went to the  Mount of Olives .

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.

3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group

4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.

5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

Romans 13:10 

10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

 

1 Corinthians 13 [I think much more than just a wedding reading.]

Love

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known..

Colossians 3

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Rob

 

Next blog post: 10 b My Second Response to My Friend: the Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/345

 

 

10a My Scriptural Response to My Friend

“Fundamental” Problems

I am thinking of the awful fruits of the massacre of innocents in Norway by a Christian fundamentalist gunman.  How is this evil different from that of the Muslim extremists in the 9-11 atrocities?  How is it different from the attacks of the Christian fundamentalist and political right against the GLBT community?

At least in my lifetime, “Christian fundamentalism” has been used in reference to Christians who believe the Bible to be dictated by God to humans who wrote it into books that, by Divine guidance, came to compose the present Bible.  Being God-dictated, they believe the Bible to be literally true, both historically and scientifically.   Catholic fundamentalists may expand that dictation to include the Appocrapha and Mormon fundamentalists may expand it further to include the Book of Mormon.  Likewise, fundamentalist Muslims and Jews consider their scripture sacred and literally true as they read it.

“Fundamental” is perhaps an unfortunate choice of words.  I would consider that the word, fundamental, would describe my own view of the Bible, the “word of God,” and the “will of God.”  I seek to get to the core of the messages of the Bible, some of which might be a mix of history, reflection of the  writer or editors’ observations, inspiration, ignorance or even prejudice.

To my mind, the core of Jesus’ teaching that is fundamental to my Christian belief and practice is expressed in these statements which provide: 1)  a simple command: “Love God and your neighbor as yourself;” 2)  A measure by which you can recognize the validity of actions on the claim of faith: “By their fruits you will know them.”  3) how we show our love of Jesus: “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me;”    and lastly, 4) the present and eternal reward: “The kingdom of Heaven is at hand . . . enter into your reward.”

I will accept the current use of “fundamentalism.”  Jimmy Carter addressed it and its consequences across various religions when asked by Trista Tippet on National Public Radio’s Speaking of Faith why so much violence in the post Cold War era has a religious dimension.  He responded:

I think it’s because of fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is a characteristic of dominant males who, first of all, subjugate women and derogate women’s rights. Secondly, an aspect of their fundamentalism is that they assume that they have a rare or unique relationship with God Almighty, whatever god they define, and their beliefs, therefore, are ordained by God. And since their beliefs are God’s beliefs, they are infallible. They cannot make a mistake or acknowledge a mistake. Anyone who disagrees with them, by definition, is wrong because ‘the disagreement is with me and with God.’ And being wrong, you are inferior and, in extreme cases, you are considered to be subhuman. And so that’s where violence erupts and condemnation erupts and value of a human life within a person who disagrees with you has little or no value. And that’s where the violence comes out, and that’s where the unnecessary war comes out, and that’s where what we define as terrorism comes out.

I think of the fear and hateful language and acts by American “Fundamentalist Christians” against the GLBT community.  That isn’t so different, other than in lethal scope, than the horror and pain inflicted by that Christian fundamentalist in Norway.

 

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate, and Fearhttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/211

“Fundamental” Problems