6 On Implications of a Dualistic World

Robert Wheeler: If I believed in a dualistic world, spirit above vs matter below, and in the notion that humankind lost its “image of God” to Original Sin, Frank’s argument (hmm . . . man’s logic getting in the way of living?) might be appealing. I see “righteousness,” not as a passing grade on God’s rules of the game test but as living in right relationship. We, again, will have to lovingly agree to disagree?

Of course we can disagree and I’m glad we’re both in agreement that disagreement does not equal hatred. But you have to admit, Frank accurately reflects what the Bible actually says, he didn’t make this up.

Dualism can mean a lot of things, not at all sure what you intend. Spirit above vs matter below seems to have a bit of a yin-yang connotation that is not at all how God reveals himself in His Word. By definition we are different from God, though uniquely created to be a reflection of God’s image, according to the Scriptures.

SMS: I haven’t had time to read any of the sermons, but hope to do so soon. However, your comment about humankind loosing it’s “image of God” to Original Sin is an interesting perspective. I think I can agree with that. Also, whoever is judging those who are homosexual had better be careful of their own sins. A sin is a sin is a sin is a sin!

SMS, you’ll find that you share Frank’s perspective that sin is sin, that’s critical to Frank’s point. The Gospel makes no sense apart from seeing what God reveals as his perspective of sin. His perfect holiness and perfect justice could only be reconciled with his love in Christ on the cross. The message of Scripture is not that SOME sins are not okay, but that ALL sin is not okay and we all have a problem of eternal magnitude in the coming judgement. Jesus said we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect – we all miss that mark and eventually discover we didn’t just miss, we were aiming the opposite direction. Unless God himself does something we’re doomed, and that’s exactly what he did do in Christ Jesus…offered to all who will repent and rest their hope in him.

According to Scripture we aren’t to judge those outside the church, we are to declare truth and offer them the hope of salvation and deliverance from their sins. For those in the church, we are commanded to build each other up in the grace and knowledge of God, encourage each other to holiness, obedience and dependance on Christ alone with an attitude of thanksgiving. Judgement begins with the household of God, says Paul.

 

Next blog post: 7 The Gospel Message That I Hear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/507

6 On Implications of a Dualistic World

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

It’s a Matter of Choice

It’s a Matter of Choice

We often hear of objections to the GLBT community: “It’s a matter of choice – to sin or not to sin.”  I believe the resolution of the conflict in the various Christian churches over full inclusion in the life of the church is a matter of choice, not of gender or sexual orientation, but of where we put our faith.

I note in the article concerning Rev. Amy DeLong , http://www.rmnetwork.org/trial-of-rev-amy-delong-approaches/, that it concludes that the trial is “incompatible with scripture . . . [and] with our larger Church Tradition . . .”  I do support Rev. DeLong in this matter.  But I think it is as mistaken to quote scripture as though it is definitive on loving inclusion of the GLBT community within our own  as are the various biblical arguments for judgment and exclusion.

To some degree faith is a gift; but it also involves choice.  I am reminded of Hans Kung’s book Does God Exist?  He proceeds through the proofs of God and concludes that there is no ironclad proof of God’s existence.  He then traces the proofs that there is no God to its ultimate conclusion of nihilism. He likewise concludes that it cannot be proven that there is no God, or that there is no purpose in life.  As I interpret my recollection of the book, one is left with a choice: choose God or no God and take the consequences: meaning in life or no meaning.

Eric Fromm, in Psychoanalysis and Religion asserts that a healthy religion is necessary to mental health.  Interesting coming from a person popularly categorized as an atheist and a humanist. He defines religion as that which gives us an object of devotion and a sense of orientation.  Rev. Bruggeman says that the command not to worship idols also means not to reduce God to our private purposes, as in church fund-raising.  Have we idolized God into the form of our image, our prejudices or our purposes?  That would certainly be contrary to the Jewish (Christian Old Testament) notion of the nameless God and the living God.

How does this apply to my view of GLBT issues?  We must accept that the Bible can be used to support almost any position, no matter how disparate.   We find the same of Jewish, Muslim and other sacred scriptures.  We like things to be black and white, right or wrong.  But, as our world is a mixture, from our individual point of view, of good and bad, so is our scripture.  The Wesleyan Quadrilateral recognizes this.  In this blog, I have attempted to set out the various biblical arguments used by some Christians to judge GLBT issues (sometimes politely distinguished as “discernment”) and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I set out a homosexual’s biblical argument justifying his sexual orientation.

I suggest here and in the blog that we will not find clear, consistent answers in the Bible on the issues of gender, sexuality or sexual orientation.  We are in the same position Hans Kung found himself on the issue of whether God exists:  we must make a choice, and that choice will have practical effects: ranging from “life has meaning” to “it has no meaning;” or from, “I am the center and condition of all existence”  to “life is bigger than I am;” or “I am the author  of my fate” to “life is something that happens to me.”  My father, Rev. Edgar F. Wheeler, once put it to me this way, “People think Christianity is all about dying and going to heaven.  I say, ‘No.  It is about living a life of eternal significance.’”

For my part I choose for my object of devotion and sense of orientation Matthew’s quotes of Jesus: “Inasmuch as you did or didn’t do it unto others, you did or didn’t do it unto me;” “By their fruits you will know them.”  To paraphrase a great figure in another day and situation, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”  Life involves choice.  It just does.  Make your choice and see what kind of fruit it bears.  Does it bear hatred and exclusion or love, respect and inclusion?

In this blog, I note the biblical contradictions and I suggest that if you can find an honest way to both judge and to love unconditionally, to both judge the act and love the “sinner,” and if it bears good fruit, do it.  As for me, I must make a choice between the two.  I can’t hold onto judgment of another’s gender or sexual orientation, whether by choice or circumstance, and still love the person.  I choose to love unconditionally and share in the rich give-and-take of community.

 

Next blog post: “Clergy Call for Justice and the Quality” by Bishop Minerva C, Carconia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/151

It’s a Matter of Choice

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a A Tool To Understanding The Christian Faith

http://www.fmcsb.org/quad.html:

Among Methodists the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, provides a useful tool for understanding the Christian faith. Derived from John Wesley’s theological approach, the Quadrilateral refers to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. For Wesley scripture was the primary source, but the Christian tradition, reason, and experience added depth of discernment.

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral

“[John Wesley] demonstrated a holistic understanding of the Christian faith that superseded his particular skills a bibilical exegete or sytematic theologian.”

Wesley “appealed to tradition, reason, and experience as complementary sources of religious authority. These sources, together with the primary religious authority of Scripture, contributed to an approach to theology that continues to provide insight for Christians today.”

-Donald A.D. Thorsen

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral” by Donald A.D. Thorsen (©1997, Light and Life Communications).

http://www.kantwesley.com/Wesley/Quadrilateral.html:

We see the scriptures and the personal experiences. These personal experiences can also be conceived to encompass the tradition, i.e., the experiences and thinking of the church “fathers” as well as the experiences of all sorts of people from peasant to pope who have been possessed of the Holy Spirit, e.g., the life and experience of Francis of Assisi as well as Thomas Aquinas, etc., etc.

The fourth side, and which might even be considered as the foundation, is reason or rationality itself, and not only as the source of experience and science in general, but also and more specifically as the formal repository of the voice of God as expressed in the conscience, and whereby we are kept from falling into sheer subjectivism. I am speaking of the moral law of God which so amazed Immanuel Kant, i.e., “the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me!”

And so now we can grasp the elements of Wesley’s quadrilateral altogether now as a unity: scripture, tradition, reason and experience, all working together reciprocally to fashion the “Christ in me” such that I too can speak authoritatively with regard to right and wrong and good and evil, and of the power of God, for the same spirit that moves me, moved the bible writers and the line of Christians from Christ to myself, and all under a rubric of rationality and sense.

 

Next blog post: Scripture Accounts of How God Has Been Heard to Speak               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/55

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral

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