Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Apostate Emergent: Friend or Foe

Before I talk about the appropriate treatment of men like “Ted” I think I should say a little more about his views. As a presuppositional, reformed, covenantal, Baptist Christian, I subscribe to the view that there are really only two worldviews. There is the Christian worldview that involves complete submission of the intellect, the will, and the emotion to God in all things. All-embracing submission to God is the central concern of this worldview. The Summum bonum of the Christian worldview is the glory of God alone. Then there is the non-Christian worldview. This worldview demands, at all cost, the defense and elevation of autonomous man regardless of the shade of that specific cloak. One cloak comes in the shade of atheism while another in agnosticism and another in pagan religion, and so on and so forth. Regardless of the number of shades the non-Christian worldview comes in, it has the same principle beating in its chest when you remove the cloak: human autonomy. While the shade of the worldview changes to the eye, some lighter, darker, and of various colors, the fabric itself is all of the same essence: human autonomy. Essentially, the two worldviews available to man are summed up either in the total acknowledgement of the divine sovereignty and Lordship of Christ or the intrepid and supercilious claim of the unconditional autonomy of human reason. There is no middle ground. In fact, when examined through the proper lens, the entire process of Christian sanctification is the purging of human autonomy from the Christian life. The mark of the true Christian is the struggle against his own autonomy, his actions to eliminate the ungodly idea from his daily life.

Nothing places human autonomy on greater display than the manifest willingness of men to call into question the authority of “thus says the Lord.” Human autonomy was launched in the garden when Eve willingly called into question the Word of God. She placed herself over the Word of God in an arrogant attempt to judge the holy edict itself. The key to eliminating the ungodly attitude of human philosophy is situated in the purifying power of Sacred Scripture. Scripture is the only source by which human autonomy can be purged. Outside of Scripture, there is no hope for man, no escape from the godless attitude of man’s absolute, unconditional independence.

Yet, my detractor “Ted,” along with the Rob Bells of the world have much more in common with men like Sartre and Locke and the pagan philosophers of the world than they do with Peter, Paul, James, and John or any one of the prophets. Ted wants to place reason in the position of determining whether or not revelation has occurred, which is precisely reflective of Locke. At the same time, he argues for a radical freedom in man not unlike that of the philosopher Sartre. The move that has to be made if you wish to stand in judgment of the Bible is that you must replace the Bible as your final source of authority for what is and is not true knowledge with some alternative. The moment you make that move, you have now demonstrated that it is your conviction that there is another source that is more reliable, more dependable, and more authoritative to determine what is true knowledge than the Bible. Moreover, this is true even if you want to create an unholy mixture of the Bible + Science + human reason. Anything other than the sufficiency of Scripture and the authority of Scripture alone is the obvious removal of Scripture from its proper place as judge of humanity and final arbiter of true knowledge. This move results in the obliteration of biblical Christianity. Hence, anyone making this move is an opponent, an enemy, and a hostile foe to traditional, historic, biblical Christianity.

Now, what is interesting is that the philosophical move here is the exchange of one criterion for true knowledge for a different criterion for true knowledge. And this has been where I have pressed Ted on several occasions without must result. Like Rob Bell, Ted only wants to talk about what he denies rather than what he affirms. He seems to operate under the delusion that it is possible to deny claims without also, at the same time, affirming counter-claims. Such a tendentious approach is fatal to his philosophy. The reason is that unless Ted can come up with defensible criteria for how he knows the things he must know if he is to call into question orthodoxy, then he really isn’t demonstrating anything at all. And that is precisely what we have seen from Ted from the start. It almost feels like Rob Bell has his hand in a puppet’s back when we read Ted’s views.

The basic problem is Ted’s criteria. This is the core issue in his approach and it is one you should point out to anyone like Ted that dares to make these kinds of arguments. Ted has developed a certain set of criteria, albeit undisclosed as of yet, by which he judges whether or not Scripture is authoritative, binding, inspired, and inerrant. Now, the problem with any criteria is that it requires certain presuppositions in order to get off the ground. Suppose your job is to pick and process apples. Good apples make it in the basket and bad apples get tossed into the applesauce sack. In order for you to determine that an apple is good or bad, you must have previous knowledge of what a good apple is. How else would you be able to judge it? In order for us to decide upon a criterion for true knowledge, we must already have in mind what true knowledge is. And if we already know the answer to the question prior to asking the question, then why should we bother with the question to begin with? If we already think we know what true knowledge is, then how can we possibly establish a supposedly objective standard for how to judge the truth-value of any proposition? It seems that whatever criteria we invent it will be viciously circular in nature designed only to prove what we think we already know to be true. This is a serious defect in Ted’s argument and for whatever shade of the non-Christian worldview we are evaluating.

The second problem is Ted’s inability to justify his non-Christian system. Yes, I am employing a very specific kind of rhetoric and yes it is intentional. No, it is not intellectual bullying. It is forcing someone to face the full force of a logical argument. Every system rests upon what we call self-justifying beliefs. Alvin Plantinga calls them properly basic beliefs. A properly basic belief is a belief that does not rely on another belief in order for it to be the case. That is to say, a properly basic beliefs requires no argument. The reasons for believing them are self-evident and self-sufficient. “Christian belief in the typical case is not the conclusion of an argument, or accepted on the evidential basis of other beliefs, or accepted just because it constitutes a good explanation of phenomena of one kind of another.” [Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief] Ted seems to want to subject Christian dogma to the pagan philosophical principle known as verification. This view states simply that every belief must be verified by other more basic or more obvious beliefs. But how does the pagan philosophy justify his principle of verification without eventually ending up in an infinite regress? That has yet to be seen.

According the model, experience of a certain sort is intimately associated with the formation of warranted Christian belief, but the belief doesn’t get its warrant by way of an argument from the experience. [Plantinga] He goes on to say, “In the typical case, therefore, Christian belief is immediate; it is formed in the basic way.” What we have with Ted’s approach is similar to what we have with so many rationalists who think themselves genuine Christians. Every Christian dogma is subjected to the criteria of either modern science or human reason or a mixture of both for verification and testing. This method has not only proven to be philosophically fantastic, it represents the non-Christian method of thought at its core. It relies on the absolute, unconditional autonomy of human reason. How do we know we are the children of God? The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God. (Rom. 8:16) How did the disciples finally come to understand the Scriptures about Christ? This profound statement is recorded by Luke: τότε διήνοιξεν ατν τν νον το συνιέναι τς γραφάς· Then he opened their mind to understand the Scripture. The work of God is necessary for genuine Christian belief. This is the system of biblical Christianity. Rational argumentation and evidence without the work of God on the heart, as we have seen, produces shallow, rational, faithfuless profressors of Christ that inevitably end up challenging the most precious and basic of Christian tenets. They will tare Christianity apart from the inside out if we allow it. Ted is an excellent representation of this sort of Christian.

The final problem is Ted’s reliance on a form of literary criticism that is not appropriate for the literary type found in the Scripture. Ted believes that the Jewish authors of Scripture wrote exactly as did their ANE counterparts ~500 BC and earlier. The OT is filled with the same sort of legend and myth employed by other ANE writers. First, Ted is employing the methods of higher criticism in his evaluation of OT literature. Well, perhaps what Ted is likely doing is adopting the conclusions of these pagan literary critics more than he is actually doing literary criticism himself. Suffice it to say, a word about higher criticism is in order, albeit a very brief one.

The Historical-Critical Method typically embraces the following tenets: 1) that reality is uniform and universal; 2) that reality is accessible to human reason and investigation; 3) that all events historical and natural occurring within it are in principle interconnected and comparable by analogy; and 4) that humanity’s contemporary experience of reality can provide objective criteria by which that could or could not have happened in the past can be determined. It seems obvious to me that (4) is especially problematic for the would-be student of OT studies. For that matter, it is problematic for anyone approaching the sacred text of Scripture. Eta Linnemann tells us, “For that reason, no one who reads this book should feel obligated any longer to heed the suppositions of biblical criticism just because it makes the claim – without justification – to convey scientific results. Its arguments were tested at hundreds of points, and not one of them passed muster. The colossus of historical-critical theology has clay feet. [Eta Linnemann, Biblical Criticism on Trial]

Any approach to the interpretation of Scripture is grounded in a system. I think I have said enough about the impossibility of the contrary to that argument. The question is whether or not that system is pagan or Christian in nature. What are the basic beliefs and presuppositions that serve as the foundation of that system? It is Christ-centered, God-centered, submissive to the divine revelation that is Scripture or it is at core, pagan, humanistic, autonomous, and faithless. Ted’s approach is pure postmodern in its method. “What the postmodern discovers behind various worldviews are political interests and power levers. For these postmodern disbelievers in knowledge, philosophy is not about truth but about power, rhetoric and ideology.” [Vanhoozer, First Theology] Often enough we hear similar arguments from the younger crowd as they fearlessly challenge tradition, practice, and even the most basic of Christian tenets. What is the ground of their challenge? What serves as the foundation of their own worldview from which these attacks are launched? Human autonomy? Postmodern philosophy? Goldsworthy writes, “In the end, it becomes human reason that judges what is reasonable evidence about the nature of the Bible. As soon as we admit this, then we see that it is choice of two opposing circular arguments: one that assumes the ultimate authority of God and his word, and the other that assumes the ultimate authority of unaided human reason.” [Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics]

In the end, the emergent apostate, while sounding humble, and seeming to be kind, turns out to be a ravenous wolf seeking to turn men away from the faith that has been handed to the elect from the hand of Christ through His Apostles. We must understand that apostates among us is a serious matter. We can ill afford to take them too casually. They are in hot pursuit of the destruction of biblical Christianity even though they tell us that all they want is to recover it. 

Clever are the ways of the wolf, seemingly harmless at a distance, a majestic site to behold, even beautiful ...until he has driven you to the ground and is standing over you, with saliva running out of his mouth dripping onto your bloodied face just before he begins to rip your throat out with his massively powerful and razor sharp incisors.  









When you see a wolf, you can either see a cute cuddly furry animal or you can see the truth!
See the truth and react accordingly

62 comments:

  1. While waiting to see if you answer the questions asked of you in the next post, allow me to point to some factual mistakes you have made in this one.

    Nothing places human autonomy on greater display than the manifest willingness of men to call into question the authority of “thus says the Lord.” Human autonomy was launched in the garden when Eve willingly called into question the Word of God. She placed herself over the Word of God in an arrogant attempt to judge the holy edict itself.

    When I am seeking God's Will, God's Way, the Right, etc, and I disagree with Ed's personal human opinion on an interpretation, I am not placing myself over God, I am doubting the wisdom of YOUR personal human opinion. Thus, we are BOTH in the place of asking "Does God think... X" and that is a smart thing to do, IF you are seeking God.

    I say, "Clearly, Genesis is written using a figurative mythic style" and you respond by saying, "Did God REALLY say...?" and that is your prerogative when talking about MY opinions. It is not a bad thing to question a fellow human being when they offer an opinion about God's will. And questioning a fellow human being's opinion is NOT the same as rejecting God's Word.

    Do you understand this? Do you agree?

    One more false claim on your part...

    In the end, the emergent apostate, while sounding humble, and seeming to be kind, turns out to be a ravenous wolf seeking to turn men away from the faith

    Now, this is just silly and easily disproven. You can make many claims about me. You could suggest I lack wisdom, you could say that I am a sinner, you could say that I am extremely mistaken in my opinions. What you can't reasonably or factually say that my intent is to cause harm - and saying someone is "seeking to turn people away..." implies a negative, evil-minded motive. I am only seeking to walk in God's Ways, as best I understand them. Nothing else.

    Now, could I be mistaken in my understanding? Of course I can, as can you. We are mere humans and not God and thus, we are fallible. But my intent is pure and only to follow God.

    So, there is factually absolutely NO evil intent, no "seeking" to cause harm of any kind. There is only respectful disagreement with your opinions.

    cont'd...

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    1. Only when you interpret God's Word correctly have you, in your possession God's Word. Your a priori treatment of the Genesis account is born in unbelief. What is so incredible about a historical Adam? You have dismissed numerous other witnesses all using normal plan language describing Adam as a literal man and Eve as a literal woman. There was no literal fall in your interpretation.

      Your intention is to convince people, Dan, that the Bible should NOT be viewed as the Word of God. That men are NOT born wicked, hating God. That God would never send a 16 year-old to eternal hell. That there was no literal fall of man. That the creation account is just a myth. That God is not opposed to gay sex. These views, if adopted by individuals, result in a different kind of Christianity that is not really Christianity at all. You seem to think that Christian "belief" is up for grabs, that we do NOT have to affirm certain things about Christ, God, behavior, etc. You have missed the entire occasion of the writing of the NT.

      The history of Judaism and Christianity, along with the documents that now make up the Bible contradict everything you are saying.

      Jesus and His apostles seemed to think that they could rightly interpret the OT and that their interpretations were right, and subsequently authoritative. Read what they thought about men that dared to disagree with their interpretation.

      Jesus repeatedly rebuked the Jews for their interpretation of the Tanakh. They damned themselves.

      Paul repeatedly, again and again, corrected the communities and warned them about men who would pervert the truth. He called them things like ravenous wolves and ministers of Satan. He pronounced curses on them. Why? Because their interpretation was contradictory to the tradition, the faith, the standard, the teaching that was handed to them by our Christ. No only did Paul believe that right interpretation was possible, he believed getting it wrong on the core beliefs at least was disastrous.

      Peter tells us that some had misinterpreted Paul's teachings the same as they had done to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Peter believed he understood Paul, that Paul was understandable, and that to mishandle Paul resulted in destruction.

      29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; Ac 20:29.

      1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Pe 2:1.

      14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
      Mt 15:14.

      1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 Jn 4:1.

      3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
      4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Ti 4:3–4.

      Concerning you Dan and many like you, John wrote:
      19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 Jn 2:19.

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  2. The problem with these sorts of repeated false claims on your part are...

    1. They are a false witness, a falsehood. Now I am entirely willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and that you make these claims from a place of ignorance or getting emotionally carried away or being blinded by your cultural agendas... ie, that there is no evil intent on your part. But the fact remains that it is a falsehood to suggest deliberate evil intent.

    2. The are a slander of a fellow human being and, in fact, a fellow Christian. Slander, false witness, arrogant presumption... these are wrongs we should not engage in.

    3. But beyond the sinfulness of the behavior (even if in error/ignorance), the other problem is that you are placing yourself in the place of God, to presume that you know someone's motives and intent, when you are factually mistaken and just not a god to know other people's motives.

    Now, perhaps your words are not intended to suggest motive. When you say "seeking to destroy" and other sorts of language, I believe that is your intent, but maybe you just misspoke and chose your words badly. If you think I am sincere but mistaken, and that sincere error is destroying/causing harm, even unintentionally... and is reason why you don't accept my Christianity. But the problem with this then is...

    4. You are adding to God's Grace a requirement that people have perfect understanding. I can't be mistaken - even sincerely mistaken - about some topics and still be saved. One can't be sincerely mistaken about "Is the bible authoritative?" and still be saved, then you are implying that one has to have at least a partially perfect understanding before one can be saved, and that becomes a salvation by works error, what people have called a "heresy..." and both these latter errors (presuming that you are able to determine people's motives and adding to what it takes to be saved) are serious moral and rational errors, as well, I believe, as a biblical error.

    Do you see where you have gone astray?

    Or have I misunderstood you, in part (and it happens, and if so, I will gladly admit it and apologize, but it sure sounds like you're saying what I've just outlined...)?

    In Christ,

    Dan

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    1. How can you call a claim false when you admit that you do not have a philosophy of fact? A fact is defined as a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred. But to know a fact requires a theory of knowledge. And a theory of knowledge is bound up in a theory of reality. You say that my claims are false, but offer nothing more than your admittedly weak, finite opinion.

      1. The Scripture speaks clearly about the evil hears of fallen men universally saying not one of them is good. They all love iniquity and have been deceived by their father, the Devil.

      2. To accurate describe men as wicked sinners who are born hating God is not slander Dan. It is the gospel. This is why I see you as an enemy of the faith. You deny the essence of the gospel and blindly think you love God. When you accuse me of slander, you accuse God of slander because it is God who actually said these things rather than me.

      3. Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23 tell us something about the hearts of men. It is deceitful and wicked and full of all sorts of wickedness.

      4. You can be mistaken about some topics and still be saved. But you cannot corrupt the basic tenets of Christianity and possess genuine faith. If you were in my church, you would eventually be publicly excommunicated for your views. The elders would inform the church of your views, ask them to teach you, correct you, and rebuke you. If you insisted on holding your views, your name would be read before the church as an obstinate sinner to be treated as we would treated as an unbeliever.

      Satan destroys the church most effectively by sending false ministers of light into her. The reason I am harsh with you is because you run around the internet and in person, attempting to deceive others into believing your putrid ideas.

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    2. The reason I use this language Dan is that I am not like other bloggers or other Christians that debate these issues. I think my opponent serves to read to whole truth. I think we deal with error and heresy and we must take it to its practical end as well as its logical end. My hope is that God will grant you repentance.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Ed...

    Only when you interpret God's Word correctly have you, in your possession God's Word.

    You keep making arrogant and unsupported claims, as if All that Ed Speaks is All that is True. You, brother Ed, are not the sole arbiter of God's Word. God has not died and placed you in charge, brother.

    You make empty claims and demand that people take you at your word, but you have nothing to back it up. You keep dodging reasonable questions that point to holes in your arguments.

    Given your bullying, arrogant and intellectually cowardly way of holding conversations, I will have to bow out of this conversation. If you are ever interested in actual dialog, with some basic human respect (never mind Christian behavior), let me know.

    Since you like to quote bible verses, here are a few I will leave with you:

    Thou shalt not bear false witness.

    Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

    Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

    being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful (from a list of behaviors of those not behaving in a Christian way...)

    But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

    =====

    ...and on it goes. Your pride is undoing you, Ed. I rebuke your arrogance, divisiveness, bitterness, falsehoods and slander in the name of Jesus, the Christ, the God whom we serve. I pray that you may repent from these behaviors and embrace grace, the grace by which we are saved.

    May God grant us all grace and wisdom,

    Dan

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    1. You accuse me of arrogantly claiming to interpret the Scripture correctly and then offer as the basis of your rebuke, your own interpretation of the Scripture. By doing so, you engage in the very same behavior you are attempting to rebuke in me.

      Additionally, you must have some pretty certain knowledge there Dan if you are going to rebuke my behavior. How is it that you have cornered the market on certainty, and then you turn around tell us that the best we can do is offer opinion?

      Are you attempting to rebuke based on "thus saith the Lord" or is it based on your meager opinion or weak, fallible interpretation Dan?

      Your entire position places you in the very awkward position of not being able to say anything at all without demonstrating the glaring contradiction in that exists between your claims/arguments and your actual behavior. What you do is a much better indicator of what you believe sir and based on this comment, I think I can conclude that you actually do NOT believe a lot of what you say you do. But that is what I call "the liberal's conundrum." They can never act out their theories with any consistency because their views simply reduce to irrationalism and clearly do not reflect reality as it has come to be.

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    2. You see, Dan, the Bible speaks with a certain authority as well as with a certain clarity. One cannot read it without getting the sense that its communication is coming from an authoritative source. Also, one cannot read it without recognizing that it speaks with a certain clarity, using simple, plain language, and this is true even when it employs certain literary devices. These two doctrines are foundational to Christianity: The Authority of Scripture and the Perspicuity of Scripture. If they are going to be displaced without the total destruction of the Christian faith, the burden will be on you and men of your ilk to do it. And you will need more than uneducated, untrained, faithless opinions that are the hallmark of postmodern philosophy.

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  5. Ed, do you understand that almost every time you say, "you are saying..." or "you claim..." or "you are doing..." that you are factually misunderstanding what I'm saying and doing? Almost every time.

    Do you understand how poorly that reflects upon your reading and comprehension skills? Ed, seriously, you are simply mistaken as a matter of demonstrable fact on almost all your claims. You are welcome to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

    Does this nearly complete inability to read my words and understand my meaning even give you a slight pause in your confidence of your claims? Does it not make you want to say, "Wait? I'm mistaken? Oh, I'm sorry, my bad... I must have misunderstood..." at least to consider owning up to your factual mistakes?

    Embrace humility, dear brother. Arrogance does not fit well when you are so clearly factually mistaken.

    Dan

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  6. No Dan, it does not. If anything, it is a reflection on your ability to grasp your own double-speak. You cannot indict for arrogance because I cite Scripture and cite Scripture yourself to rebuke me. And that is what you are doing. The truth is that you do not like the consequences of your own beliefs.

    Again, you completely ignore my point. Skeptics are biggest hypocrites on the planet. They claim a position of humility all the while telling the rest of us how THEY KNOW we can't possibly know and how certain they are that we cannot possible be certain. Amazing.

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  7. Again, you completely are not understanding me. For just one example, I do NOT cite Scripture to rebuke you. I rebuke you for being arrogant and presumptuous and for making false claims. The false claims are, themselves, demonstrable and factual. The arrogance-claim is based on your refusing to admit or correct your false claims.

    I'm not a skeptic, Ed, except of your brilliance and your perfection. Of THAT, I am skeptical, but then, you are skeptical of my wisdom, as well. The difference between us is that I am making no claims to a perfect knowledge in parts of my views and I am not conflating my opinions with "facts" or God's Word.

    And I CAN tell you, with complete certainty, that when you say "Dan believes X" and I happen to know that I do not believe X, that you are factually mistaken. And how can I be certain of that? Because we're talking about my own beliefs.

    Again, repent, brother Ed. This arrogance and refusal to admit simple errors just undermines your credibility.

    In Christ,

    Dan

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    1. Ok Dan, let do this: I want you to give me one short example of what I accused you of believing that I was wrong about.

      Then, tell me what you actually believe regarding that thing.

      Please be specific.

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    2. Well, I already gave one, in that I did not cite Scripture to make my case, you were wrong because your claims were false and not factual and apparently came from a place of arrogance, not knowledge.

      But here's another one...

      the emergent apostate, while sounding humble, and seeming to be kind, turns out to be a ravenous wolf seeking to turn men away from the faith

      If you are referring to me as an "emergent apostate" (even though I've never read the first bit of literature from Emergent types, even though I'm not apostate, "1.
      a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle..." - that I disagree with human opinions on various beliefs is not to say that I have renounced Christianity... if THAT was the measure, then everyone is an apostate, because everyone disagrees with some other human opinions about religion... at which point "apostate" becomes meaningless)... IF you are referring to me as an emergent apostate, then you are making the claim that my INTENT is to drive people away from the faith.

      My intent is to defend the faith. It is my concern that people like you (many conservative fundamentalists, in general) are driving people from the faith unintentionally, because of the hubris and lack of grace is so appalling to people, that you scare people from the church. And I do not hold this opinion based on nothing. Our church has been called the "Church of the Last Chance..." because we hear from people all the time that they were just nauseated by traditional Christian religionists, turned away from church because of the lack of love and grace in so many churches. It is a serious problem and I hear it all the time.

      So, given that, my INTENT is to defend the church from well-meaning people who, I fear, are not truly embracing that Grace by which we are saved, the actual Good News of Jesus' teachings. And so, demonstrably, it would be false to say that my intent is to drive people away from church, from God... that is the OPPOSITE of my intent.

      So, again, your claim:

      the emergent apostate/// turns out to be a ravenous wolf seeking to turn men away from the faith

      Reality:

      I am seeking to be true to God and keep people coming TO the faith, not being driven from it...

      Not only is it a false claim, it is the polar opposite of reality.

      Is that clear and specific enough to understand?

      ~Dan

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  8. Ed, let me try to help you see and understand your factual errors. First of all, you start off with...

    No Dan, it does not. If anything, it is a reflection on your ability to grasp your own double-speak.

    "It" does not? What is that in response to? Oftentimes when you respond to me, you begin sentences like this, following a comment where I make multiple points. What does "it" refer to? It's hard to say, and you don't make it clear.

    This is just a simple communication fault on your part, no harm, no foul, just poor communication skills. I'm sure I do it all the time (although often times, I will try to quote your comment to which I'm responding, to make it clear - you may find that helpful if you are interested in actually communicating your points).

    Secondly, you go on to say...

    You cannot indict for arrogance because I cite Scripture and cite Scripture yourself to rebuke me.

    As I just noted, this is a misunderstanding on your part. I did not cite Scripture to rebuke you. I rebuked you for the false claims you were making and your arrogance in not even acknowledging it. Just a factual mistake, but in this case, you have criticized me for doing something I have not done. I did cite Scripture, but the point was absolutely NOT "So, James says X and you X, therefore you are wrong..." As I have pointed out with you: Treating the Bible like a rulebook is a misuse of the Bible, in my opinion. So, clearly, I am not treating it that way. We might say, of the bible, "See how Paul criticizes people in his time and context for arrogance or false witness? Yes, that is something that is wrong, Paul saw it, too..." But the point is, it's wrong because it harms, it divides, it destroys... it's wrong because of the effect it has, NOT "it's wrong because there's a line in the bible..."

    Perhaps you have not understood me when I've repeated this idea several times, but hopefully you understand now.

    You went on to say...

    And that is what you are doing. The truth is that you do not like the consequences of your own beliefs.

    And here, I believe, is where you are making your great error.

    You are reading Dan say "I believe 1, 2 and 3..."

    You then extrapolate OUT BEYOND what Dan says and conclude, "Well, if Dan believes 1, 2 and 3, then he MUST believe X, Y and Purple..." but your extrapolation does not necessarily follow. It may SEEM TO ED, that if Dan believes 1, 2 and 3, then he must also believe X, Y and Purple, but that is not a given. It is your human opinion.

    And just like your interpretations and hunches about Bible teachings... just because YOU extrapolate out extra meaning from the words of the Bible, does NOT mean that "therefore, God thinks these extrapolations, too..." or that your human extrapolations that are unproven and unprovable are "known facts..."

    Your error, therefore, is in concluding that you can extrapolate anything out beyond someone's words and your extrapolation is factual and/or the only logical conclusion. Or, in other words, it is an error of arrogance, in presuming your human extrapolations and hunches can not contain error.

    And that is a serious error.

    The problem, I believe we'll see to be, is that you probably can't even read my words explaining this and understand my point. You'll hear me saying, "I don't trust the Bible!" or something that I have not said. And, in missing my point, you continue down a path of factual and rational errors. I hope this is not the case. I pray that you might humble yourself and sort out the difference between Ed's opinions and facts.

    Can you do it, brother Ed?

    ~Dan

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    1. If the Scriptures do not serve as the basis of your rebuke, what does? Your opinion? Then why quote Scripture at all? You just introduce confusion when you do that. And if your correcting me with your opinion, then I suppose it's okay for me to reject it out of hand. Why shouldn't I?

      I see, Dan, I am not allowed to draw logical conclusions from your stated premises. Really? I can extrapolate out the logical necessities of your beliefs. For example, if Dan says that God does not know all things perfectly, from that I can say that Dan does not believe God is all-knowing or that God possesses perfect knowledge. (I bet you don't believe in omniscience by the way). Or when Dan says, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, I can extrapolate from that that Dan does not believe the Bible is reliable. Or when Dan says, the Scriptures are not binding or authoritative, I can extrapolate from that that Dan does not believe we have to obey the commands in Scripture.

      You need to provide clear, specific examples of where I have violated the principles of logic in my extrapolations. So far your remarks remain very vague, ambiguous, general. Is that a tactic? Rob Bell is the master of this technique.

      Delete
  9. Ed...

    If the Scriptures do not serve as the basis of your rebuke, what does? Your opinion?

    No, here, I was speaking of facts. Observable, demonstrable reality. My opinion is X and you claim my opinion is NOT X, which is factually false and you appeared to not repenting/admitting the error when that falsehood was pointed out to you, so then it moved from a simple error from ignorance to what appeared to be a more arrogant attack, in spite of reality. Given those facts, I rebuked you.

    Then why quote Scripture at all?

    Because that is how you operate, I did that for your benefit. If reality is not enough for you to back down from your false positions, perhaps giving you the very Scripture which you are appealing to for a ruling would help.

    And if your correcting me with your opinion, then I suppose it's okay for me to reject it out of hand. Why shouldn't I?

    Because, in this case, we're speaking of facts. You made false claims about my positions and motivations and you were clearly mistaken, so given that reality, you should not reject it because I assume you are a good and decent man who does not want to bear false witness, to slander or to make false claims.

    Am I mistaken on that point? I don't think so.

    Here's another false claim (if you are making a claim, which it sounds like)...

    if Dan says that God does not know all things perfectly, from that I can say that Dan does not believe God is all-knowing

    Dan does NOT say that God does not know all things perfectly. Never said it. Simply factually wrong. Do you understand that?

    Or another false conclusion, albeit based at least on reality...

    when Dan says, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, I can extrapolate from that that Dan does not believe the Bible is reliable.

    That is, I am stating clearly that the Bible does not make ANY claims to be inerrant, nor do the writers imply it, and "inerrant" is not a proper term to apply to any book (which is not the same as saying the Bible is "errant," just that it's not a proper term to use/it doesn't make sense in the context of the Bible), but from that, you extrapolate out (erroneously) that Dan doesn't think the Bible is reliable. I have never said that and don't believe what you're saying.

    The Bible is indeed reliable, properly understood. That is, if you take "Pluck out your eye" as a literal command, then THAT LITERAL INTERPRETATION is not reliable, and you agree, I'm sure. But the Bible is reliable, sure, I have no problem with that. Your error is that it does NOT rationally follow: If inerrant is not a proper term for the Bible, then the Bible is not reliable... It's a bad conclusion, a wrong extrapolation.

    Do you get that?

    One more...

    when Dan says, the Scriptures are not binding or authoritative, I can extrapolate from that that Dan does not believe we have to obey the commands in Scripture.

    Dan states the fact that the Bible makes NO CLAIMS to being binding or authoritative. This is a human extrapolation, not a biblical teaching.

    Further, I don't think that the Bible teaches that the rules given to ancient Israel are universal rules. Nor does Ed, at least in part. Ed probably eats pork and shrimp. Ed probably does not cut his hair according to the rules for ancient Israel. Ed does not kill disrespectful children. Ed does not believe that all the rules in the OT are universal rules and, thus, we do not have to heed them, indeed, we would be wrong to try to obey them. Am I correct?

    Almost certainly, Ed agrees with Dan that, just because there is a rule in the Bible does not mean that we ought to obey it.

    Am I correct?

    Or have you plucked out your eye? Have you always heeded Jesus' command to give to ANYONE who asks of you? Have you heeded Jesus' command to not store up any treasure?

    You need to provide clear, specific examples of where I have violated the principles of logic in my extrapolations.

    Done and done.

    Now?

    Dan

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    1. The knowledge of God was an example Dan. If you do not want people to think you are quoting Scripture to them as a basis for your rebuke, you should not embed it into the rebuke Dan. Any reasonable interpretation of your comment would draw the same conclusion I did.

      The problem with your communication and arguments is that you want to boil the ocean. You are all over the map and won't stop long enough to just address one issue thoroughly.

      Any Christian that has been around in a solid church long enough knows that the Bible uses hyperbole. We do to. What really irritates the fire out me Dan is that you want to claim literary devices where there is no reason to insert them outside of your philosophical commitments, such as Adam. There is nothing in the grammar to suggest Adam was a myth. And it does not follow that because other writers employed myth in radically different ways that the Ancient Hebrews did as well. That is a leap for which you have offered no support.

      We continue to go around and around Dan. I said the Bible does not have to claim inerrancy for the doctrine to stand. The Bible does not have to make metabiblical comments about its authority in order to be binding. You ignored my arguments. You just blew right past them. We are NOT arguing about whether or not the Bible claims inerrancy for itself in black and white statements. We are NOT arguing about whether there are metabiblical comments about the authority of the Bible. What we are arguing about is whether or not the BIBLE IS in fact the Word of God and whether or not the BIBLE IS in fact authoritative and whether or not the BIBLE IS in fact inerrant in its autographs of course. We are NOT arguing about explicit statements that the Bible does or does not make.

      I have said it is poor logic to reject the authority of Scripture on the basis that it never says in exactly those words that it is authoritative (even though I am certain that it does).

      Why don't we do a google + debate on the subject Dan.

      Ed versus Dan
      Is the Bible the Word of God?
      Ed takes the affirmative
      Dan takes the negative
      By "the Bible" I will stipulate the 66 books of the Old and New Testament Canon as outlined in protestant orthodoxy in their original form, that is the autographs of course.

      Or we can do a google handout and chat about this issue.

      Delete
  10. While I am waiting, I'll put this another way. Where you say...

    when Dan says, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, I can extrapolate from that that Dan does not believe the Bible is reliable.


    You asked me "to provide clear, specific examples of where I have violated the principles of logic in my extrapolations."

    With this claim

    "IF the Bible is not inerrant
    THEN the Bible is not reliable..."

    It is a conclusion that does not necessarily follow, rationally, logically speaking. It's like saying...

    IF the basketball players are not perfect in their execution of the game
    THEN the game is not interesting...

    It's just not a necessary conclusion. At all. And you have not made the case that it does, and you can't make the case that it must follow because that just is not a rational, necessary conclusion.

    All manner of books or other sources of information are reliable, even if they are not inerrant, for starters. A cookbook, for instance, is not rationally called "inerrant," I would not say... it's not intended to be inerrant and not necessary to be inerrant. But it can be reliable even if it is not inerrant. Or a book of fables. There is no real sense in saying "This book of fables is inerrant..." - and that isn't to say that the book of fables IS "errant" or does contain errors, just that the term is not an appropriate term for the book. But, even though the book of fables is not rightly called "inerrant," it is still reliable, for what it is: A book of fables.

    The Bible, I'd say, is like that. It's entirely reliable for what it is (and what it is, is a collection of stories, poetry, lessons, words of wisdom, history (more or less), myth, etc, with some figurative language (a point with which you agree) and some literal language and no Key to tell us authoritatively which is figurative and which is literal and its stories are reliable, rightly understood. But, as with ANY text, if taken wrongly, then the interpretation is not reliable.

    The person who takes a Dentistry manual to "teach" that it's okay to pull people's teeth while they're asleep and without their consent... well, he's taken the text in a crazy-wrong way and that interpretation is not reliable.

    Same with the Bible. If one takes the stories of Genesis to say, "Hmm, there is a loving God-Creator..." I think one has taken it aright. But, if one takes the stories to mean, "There was literally a guy named Adam who lived 6,000 years ago who was created on the literal 6th day of creation..." then I think one is taking it mistakenly, given what we know of the age of the earth and the development of humanity and the age of human history. If one takes the stories where Israel is commanded to kill disrespectful children as a Guide for Good Parenting and then kill their disrespectful children, then I think they're taking it wrongly and, thus, that interpretation is unreliable. But it's not the Bible that's unreliable, it's the twisted interpretation of it.

    Regardless, the point is sound: Your reasoning falls apart logically because it just does not follow perforce that IF the Bible is not inerrant, then the Bible is not reliable.

    Does that make it clear? Can we agree that this is a simple rational mistake?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. It is not at all like saying that and I can't even begin to understand how you think it is. First of all, there is no connection between the quality of play and the element of entertainment. Sloppy play can be quote entertaining so long as it doesn't spill over into intolerable stupidity on the court. At any rate, there is no logical connection between perfection and entertainment. Why would you use basketball as an analogy for biblical inerrancy.

      If the bible is not inerrant, then the bible contains errors.
      If the bible contains errors, then the bible is not reliable.
      The bible contains errors.
      Therefore, the bible is not reliable.

      One could say that the first premise is superfluous and I would probably grant that it is. I left it in for clarity. This argument is valid top to bottom. But it is not sound. Why? Premise 3 is false. If you claim that premise 3 is true then you will have to come up with a counter argument that can logically conclude that the bible is both errant and yet reliable.

      I want a logical argument that refutes the one I just put together.

      A cookbook that does not have any errors in it is inerrant. When we say inerrant, we say it is without any errors.

      Your hermeneutic is like the Greeks who wanted to make their gods less offensive. You allegorize the biblical record, not because there is good science to refute the Bible, but because your philosophy despises a God who would stone disrespectful and disobedient children. Your cool with a God that is loving in terms you can endorse. But your not so cool with a God that smites Egypt with a plague or wipes humanity out with a raging flood, drowning every wicked person in sight save eight.

      Contrary to your views of communication, we do have markers that we use to understand the text of Scripture. We use normal, plain rules of grammar. We are able to allow the text to speak for itself concerning the type of genre we are reading, the literary devices that are or are not employed, and what the author was doing when he was writing the text. It is nowhere near as complicated as your postmodern pals have led you to believe.

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    3. But it is not sound. Why? Premise 3 is false. If you claim that premise 3 is true then you will have to come up with a counter argument that can logically conclude that the bible is both errant and yet reliable.

      I want a logical argument that refutes the one I just put together.


      I am not saying the Bible contains errors. I'm saying that your interpretation contains irrational and inconsistent ideas. I still don't think you are understanding what my actual position is, Ed.

      I'm NOT saying (with me so far?) - NOT NOT NOT saying that "the Bible contains errors..." (it may or may not, but that is not my argument). I'm NOT saying the Bible is "errant."

      Do you understand that much?

      I'm saying that the Bible is nor properly understood as "inerrant..." that the various biblical writers never spoke of the stories as being historically or scientifically "inerrant" in any terms. That is not the same as saying the Bible is errant.

      Thus, the claim...

      If the Bible is not inerrant, then it contains errors...

      1. is not a necessary conclusion and
      2. is not exactly my claim. My claim is that the Bible is not properly understood as inerrant.

      Inerrant: free from error

      If you are making the claim that the stories in the Bible, taken as literal science and scientific history, are free from historical or scientific error, I would say that is a factual mistake. But further, I would say it is a claim not demanded by the Biblical authors. Does Luke, who said he was trying to present the history of Jesus and the early church, ever claim that he did so perfectly or without error, as it relates to every minute being exactly recorded? No, who would do that?

      So, I am not saying that the Bible is errant. I'm saying that it is mistaken/unbiblical to treat it as a history or science books in the modern sense, free from historical or scientific error. Why would we?

      Do you understand that much?

      Dan

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    4. You have said Luke was mistaken when he included Adam and Seth in his genealogy and that we could not tell what God's opinion is on that subject. That is saying Luke got it wrong! You cannot have it both ways Dan. If Adam was a myth, then Luke should never have included him in a genealogy.

      Delete
    5. The same science you rely on to evaluate the reliability of the historical account denies God exists, that He created anything at any time no matter how far back you, rejects that men are made in God's image, denies the resurrection of Christ, and mocks any notion of life after death in any way, shape or form.

      When I accuse you of being your own autonomous arbiter of truth, what I mean is you side with science when it agrees with your philosophy and you side with Jesus when he fits your philosophy. Either way, you are not committed to science or to Christ. You are committed to you. You are the judge, jury, and final arbiter of all truth, to include whether others possess true knowledge about these things or not.

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  11. Ed...

    I have said it is poor logic to reject the authority of Scripture on the basis that it never says in exactly those words that it is authoritative (even though I am certain that it does).


    And I have NOT SAID that it MUST use those terms. NEVER SAID it. In fact, I was pretty clear that it not only does not use those terms, it does not IMPLY those ideas.

    So, do you understand that I'm not arguing about the exact words?

    Do you understand that?

    I'm stating that I don't think it teaches those IDEAS, not even implicitly.

    I do not think the does imply either inerrancy or authority (depending on what exactly you mean by that).

    You do.

    Is that much something we can agree upon?

    And yes, I read your reasons why you hold your hunch about what the Bible implies. I do not find your reasons convincing, reasonable or biblical. Instead, I find them full of circular reasoning, self-fulfilling opinions and question begging fallacies.

    Now, what?

    On what basis does your opinion win out?

    Are you suggesting I should just say, "Okay, you have your reasons, therefore you're right, even though I don't find them compelling or rational or biblical..."?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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    1. Ok Dan, I think we will get specific. I have referenced two texts below. I want to know if you think Paul wrote them as options or if he considered his communication as binding and free from error. What was he saying? And was he saying it with authority or not? Is there anything in the text that implies authority? Now, I could do this with you for months since you are so CERTAIN that the Bible does not even imply authority or inerrancy. We are going to use simple rules of grammar to see if you are even close to being correct.

      6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
      7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
      Ga 1:6–7.

      7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
      8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
      9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
      10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. Ga 5:7–10.

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    2. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction ain this letter, take special note of that person band do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 2 Th 3:14.

      9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
      10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;
      11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 2 Jn 9–11.

      You do understand Dan that there are 1621 imperatives in the GNT don't you? There are only 7956 verses in the GNT. That is one command for every 5 verses. Do I think the NT implies authority and presumes itself on us as binding? You better believe I do. In the LXX, there are 6750 imperatives.

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    3. What I am saying Dan is your reason for concluding that the Bible is what it is, is arbitrary and your argument is constructed on a philosophy that reduces to irrationalism. That is what I am saying.

      Delete
    4. Interestingly, that is how your arguments (as presented thus far) appear to me: As if they were based on nothing but the whim of Ed, with no data to support it whatsoever. That you have no consistent criteria by which you interpret the Bible, but rather that your bible study is riddled with eisegesis... with you reading into the text that which is not there and then insisting that what you read into the text is equivalent to God's Word or "fact..."

      I think if you answer the questions that are being asked of you, you will yourself reveal the whimsical and ungrounded nature of your opinions... that they are ultimately an appeal to your own authority or, at best, to tradition or numbers. But we know that appeals to tradition and numbers are logical fallacies, right?

      Here's hoping you'll get around to answering the questions... who knows? You may surprise me and make a solid case and have some actually rational and/or consistent reasons why you think what you do.

      I'm just saying that at this point, I don't see it.

      Dan

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  12. Ed...

    If you do not want people to think you are quoting Scripture to them as a basis for your rebuke, you should not embed it into the rebuke Dan.

    Well, I am sorry you misunderstood my actual position, but now, you DO understand why you were in error and that what you inferred is not what I was implying, is that correct?

    Dan

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    1. What I believe about you Dan is that you are filled with unbelief concerning the Bible, the teachings of historic Christianity, and the God described in Scripture. I have given you several verses for us to discuss and for you to demonstrate that none of them should be taken as authoritative or binding and that they are so vague that rightly interpreting them is impossible. Your in the batter's box. I also made the point about the incredibly high number of commands in the NT and that isn't even the final count. Subjunctives, the most common of the oblique moods in the NT, often has a volitional aspect and "should" is quite often an acceptable gloss for it.

      Let's get to the specifics Dan. No more playing with general statements which can be like trying to nail jello to the wall.

      I am going to expose you fallacious and radically subjective hermeneutic by demonstrating that one, you either have no rules for interpreting Scripture or two, and most likely, you apply them at your whim and I intend to show that the factor that drives your decisions is your heart motivation which is driven by a powerful philosophical commitment that will ONLY permit a very specific kind of Christianity.

      Now deal with the texts I gave you and answer my questions please.

      Delete
  13. I will be glad to answer your questions as soon as I get a chance today.

    In the meantime, some questions I've asked you that are yet unanswered...

    You had said...

    The Bible COUNTS as proof Dan.

    To which I responded and asked...

    Your first line begs the question: The Bible INTERPRETED BY WHOM counts as proof?

    If merely saying, "I read it in the bible and I think it means X" is definitive proof, then I have proof that my views are right, therefore you are wrong...

    do you see the problem in this? WHOSE interpretation of the Bible counts as proof? On what basis?


    and...

    ON WHAT BASIS do you say you can't be mistaken in your unprovable opinion?

    and...

    do you think that there are some "facts" that exist (about God's Will, for instance) that you can't prove, but are somehow "known facts..."? If so, based on what, if it can't be demonstrated/corroborated?

    and, along the same lines...

    As to what you called my "principle of verifiability," all I am saying is that those things that can be verified are what we can reasonably call "known facts..." I would ask you: How do you "know" something you can't verify? On what rational basis is that "known..."?

    There may be some slight overlay in these questions, but this general line of questioning, I have not seen answers from you, as of yet. I'm sure they're forthcoming because you said you would answer my questions, so, just when you get a chance, please answer.

    Thanks.

    Dan

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    1. Lets get to a real example and stop this foolishness.

      1. Christianity holds the Scripture to be self-interpreting. The Holy Spirit, who authored the Bible, who also works to regenerate hearts, provides believers with the ability to understand Scripture. I have provide instances of this repeatedly. So, let's focus on one and only one.

      45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Lk 24:45.

      What does this verse mean Dan? Do you read Greek by the way? Or Hebrew?

      Do you NOT agree that it would be highly irrational for God to send us a message and then make it so complicated that 99% of us would be completely unable to interpret it rightly?

      Give me your interpretation of Luke's historical statement. What does he mean?

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    2. I've answered dozens of your questions, Ed. I'll let you take a turn. You did assure me that you would answer my questions and I am confident you are a man of your word, so, once you catch up a bit (being true to your word), I'll take another turn at your questions.

      Thanks,

      Dan

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    3. Regarding our education:

      No, I don't read Hebrew or Greek. I have not attended a seminary. Just read the Bible all my life (52 years, now... of course, I only had it read to me the first 5 years of my life...)

      Is your degree (do you have a degree?) from an accredited school or from some online Bible college with no accreditation?

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    4. Do you hold that one has to be able to speak Hebrew/Greek to understand the Bible? Is speaking Hebrew/Greek necessary for salvation, in your opinion? Is that another rule you are adding to what it takes to be saved, according to Ed?

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    5. Another question for you. You stated as a matter of fact...

      Christianity holds the Scripture to be self-interpreting.

      Source? Says who? On what basis?

      Jesus never made this claim and I am a follower of Jesus (ie, "Christ-ian," literally), so how is this claim that's NOT from Jesus part of "Christianity?"

      You can't just assert claims and demand that they be accepted as facts. The "self-interpreting" thing appears to come from an 18th century theologian, John Brown, not from the Bible or Jesus.

      What is your source for this claim?

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    6. The principle Regula Fidei is the logically necessary outworking of the view that Scripture is the inspired Word of God. By what standards do we measure Scriptural claims? By Scripture itself. We interpret one text through a harmony of other texts. This approach is the only approach that preserves the nature of Scripture as the Word of God and guard against postmodern idiots who claim Scripture contradicts itself. If we interpret a text in way that our understanding clearly contradicts another, less complex and more plain text or number of texts, we must correct our interpretation so that it harmonizes with the clearer more evident teachings of Scripture.

      Any other approach invokes an external authority over Scripture, a standard that is not God-given, a schema that is the product of biased men with a proclivity to hate God and pervert His truth. That sort of a standard can never be trusted.

      Hence, my source for the principle that Scripture is self-interpreting is the only source it could be logically speaking: Scripture. If it were any other source, I would be making a logical blunder now wouldn't I.

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  14. Or here's another one, my very last comment yesterday, where I asked...

    I am sorry you misunderstood my actual position, but now, you DO understand why you were in error and that what you inferred is not what I was implying, is that correct?

    And you DID respond, but your response was not an answer to my actual question. You responded to the above by saying...

    What I believe about you Dan is that you are filled with unbelief concerning the Bible, the teachings of historic Christianity, and the God described in Scripture.

    Do you understand how that is a bizarre response to the question asked? Did I ASK "Ed, what unsupported and from-a-place-of-ignorance opinions do you have about me?" If I had asked that, your response would have been rational. As it is, it seems to have come from right field and have absolutely nothing to do with the question being asked of you.

    This causes me to wonder if you think you are answering my questions when you say things like that? Was that supposed to answer my actual question?

    Look, you are free to think that I have purple horns growing out of my head that shoot out balls of green fire. I don't really care if you have totally bizarre and nonfactual opinions about me. It's crazy, but you can think whatever you want. Just as long as you realize it's not based on fact or from you, you know, actually KNOWING me and my life. But as a point of fact, I am not "filled with unbelief concerning the Bible." That I disagree with YOUR PERSONAL human opinion is not to say that I doubt the Bible.

    Do you understand that?

    Dan

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    1. I understand your equivocation very well Dan. You tactic is to reduce the most basic teachings of Christianity to mere human opinion and then proceed to dispense with them at your own whim because, after all, they are all mere human opinion.

      I also understand that you hate it when I call it unbelief. Well, that hatred is an excellent example of how you feel about the God revealed in Scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments. I understand that Romans 1 describes you perfectly:

      21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
      22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
      23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
      1:21–23.

      That is what I understand.

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  15. Ed...

    Let's get to the specifics Dan. No more playing with general statements which can be like trying to nail jello to the wall.

    Indeed, trying to get straight, clear, solid answers from some people CAN be like nailing jello to the walls. Do you understand, Ed, how this is exactly how it seems trying to get you to answer direct questions directly? Do you understand the irony of you making this comment about me, apparently?

    Moving on to your specific question, you cite Galatians 1...

    I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

    and Galatians 5...

    You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
    8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
    9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
    10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.


    and ask...

    I have referenced two texts below. I want to know if you think Paul wrote them as options or if he considered his communication as binding and free from error. What was he saying? And was he saying it with authority or not? Is there anything in the text that implies authority?

    Clearly, Paul is passing on his opinions about what, specifically the Galatians, specifically, should be doing. He is speaking as if he has the authority to tell them this.

    Specifically, Paul is concerned that people might be abandoning GRACE... they were embracing some more salvation-by-works ideas, contrary to the ideals of Christianity. Perhaps they were saying "You HAVE to have perfect knowledge on these tenets and agree with OUR human opinons about that knowledge, because after all, WE have that perfect knowledge and can't be mistaken...," I don't know the details, but they had fallen prey to "Judaizers" people who were emphasizing the law, not grace.

    cont'd...

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    1. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB95)
      13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

      Paul made repeated claims that his writings and preaching were the Word of God. These writings make up what we have come to call the Bible. Therefore, the contents of the Bible claims that the Bible is the Word of God.

      What in this text allows you to interpret Paul to be sharing his mere opinion? Grammatically, there is nothing in Gal. 1:6-8 to support any interpretation that does not conclude that Paul was writing from a standpoint of absolute authority. In His mind, he believed he had the right and the authority to bind his teachings upon the Churches in the Region of Galatia, and to every audience he wrote to as far as that goes. Now, you may think that Paul was wrong. You may deny that Paul had any such authority that Paul was like any other human giving his opinion of the gospel. But you cannot possibly interpret Paul himself this way based on his writings. And if you do, you reveal a level of extreme bias or incompetence or both.

      Delete
    2. First, Paul claims he was sent by God not man nor through the agency of men. To say God sent me is to claim the highest authority.

      Second, Paul is pronouncing an anathema on anyone preaching a gospel that is at variance with his gospel. If Paul is only sharing his opinion, what basis would he have to pronounce a curse on them? Clearly Paul does not think he is merely sharing his opinion. If he does, then he is mad.

      Third, in v. 12, Paul says what he teaches he received from Jesus Christ Himself. Why would he make such a claim if he thought he was only sharing his opinion?

      The reason I wanted us to get into the details is so that people reading this can experience your true beliefs and see not only how ungodly they are, but how downright illogical and foolish they are.

      Delete
    3. From this I conclude that your interpretation of Galatians has nothing to commend it. Specifically, your understanding that Paul was only sharing his opinion is the product of your philosophy, your view of Scripture top to bottom and that view is not informed by divine revelation. There is simply no reason for me to think Paul thought this was just his opinion.

      Delete
    4. In His mind, he believed he had the right and the authority to bind his teachings upon the Churches in the Region of Galatia, and to every audience he wrote to as far as that goes.

      ? Do you TRULY think you can read Paul's mind and speak authoritatively for Paul, 2,000 years after his death and without the ability to verify?

      Do you recognize the level of megalomania and delusion this seems to indicate on your part? I don't say that as an insult, but out of concern for you, brother Ed.

      If you can authoritatively speak for Paul, tell us what Paul INTENDED and what his motives were, please provide some data to support it. Saying "I read the Bible, therefore I 'know' I am interpreting it correctly" is not sufficient because I, too, have read the Bible.

      Dan

      Delete
  16. I'm sure you're familia with this, but if not, you can find support for that in multiple sources online, including this one...

    http://cutpaste.typepad.com/understanding/2012/08/galatians-1-why-did-paul-write-to-the-galatians.html

    So, to your questions:

    I want to know if you think Paul wrote them as options or if he considered his communication as binding and free from error. What was he saying? And was he saying it with authority or not? Is there anything in the text that implies authority?

    It appears clear to me that Paul is speaking as one who is concerned for the Galatians, who is concerned for their well-being and worried that they are abandoning grace.

    Does Paul think his communication was "binding"? Authoritative? I don't know WHAT Paul's thoughts were regarding the binding nature of his words. Do you? On what basis? Are you actually expecting me to be able to read Paul's mind and guess as to his motives and feelings and claim authoritatively that I KNOW WHAT PAUL WAS THINKING?

    On what basis would anyone expect someone to be able to do that? Do you recognize how some people would find that presumptuous?

    Now, having established that I can't possibly know what Paul was thinking (!) - nor can you - does it appear to me, given this text, that the author appears to be speaking authoritatively towards his audience? Yes, it does appear that way. Does it appear that the author that he was free from error on the topic? I simply don't think we can tell from the text if the author thought he was wholly free from error. He does seem sure of his position, but being sure of one's position is not the same as claiming to be "free from error..."

    In reading Paul's letters (or the letters attributed to Paul, to be more specific), Paul does come across as a strong and opinionated person. If we are going to guess at Paul's motives and feelings, it is entirely possible that Paul, at some level, thought that on the topics he was writing about, he could not be mistaken.

    We see in Acts 15 the certainty of Paul's belief in his own position was so strong that he had arguments and parted ways with Barnabas. Paul certainly appears to be an opinionated man, and often certain in his own opinions.

    But even if Paul thought his human opinions were free from error, does that mean they were? Was Paul always correct? Not according to Paul's own testimony. So, on what basis would we presume that, even if we GUESSED that Paul thought he could not be mistaken (a guess that is unprovable and a bit silly, over this great time period) on these points, there is another leap to conclude "...therefore, Paul WASN'T mistaken..."

    So, do you agree that we can't know perfectly Paul's thoughts lo, these 2000 years later?

    Or do you have some data to support a claim that we can perfectly know Paul's thoughts?
    If so, please provide the hard data.


    cont'd...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you know that I can't establish what Paul was thinking? Are you certain of that or is that just your opinion? If it is just your opinion, then you could be wrong about it. If you are certain about it, then you can know what others are thinking based on what they are writing. After all, you seem to know what I am thinking based on what I am writing just fine. Your view is self-defeating Dan.

      If you can't know what others are thinking based on what they are writing, then you should not be able to interact with me. If you can interact with me, then you can know what I am thinking based on simple straightforward interpretations of what I am writing. And if that is possible, it is possible to know Paul was thinking based on what he was writing as well.

      If you can't know what others are thinking, then you cannot know that I cannot know what Paul was thinking. But if you can know, then your statement that you can't know is false.

      Delete
    2. How do you know that I can't establish what Paul was thinking? Are you certain of that or is that just your opinion? If it is just your opinion, then you could be wrong about it...

      If you can't know what others are thinking based on what they are writing, then you should not be able to interact with me.


      The argument is not self-defeating, of course. With you, I can in theory ask you questions to get you to clarify what you mean (it remains to be seen if you'll actually answer them, but in theory...). You do not have the option of asking Paul what he meant nor of asking God if Paul accurately summarized what God thought.

      Again, what is and isn't verifiable? But by all means, Ed, verify that you "know" what Paul was thinking. NOT simply what he wrote (I can read the words he wrote) but Paul's intentions, motives, meanings beyond what he wrote.

      If you can demonstrate it, then you can make your case. If you can't demonstrate it, then you can't make your case.

      Ball's in your court.

      Dan

      Delete
  17. But an appeal to the text is just not sufficient to support the claim. There's not sufficient data there to make an authoritative conclusion. Take reasoned guesses? Sure, but not make an authoritative opinion, certainly not to call it a fact.

    Look, consider: My father has taken many photos over the years. In one from my childhood church, from about the time I was a baby, I found a photo of some men dressed up in women's clothes, laughing, behaving silly. I had a vague memory of an annual tradition of the men of the very conservative Baptist Church doing an annual "Womanless Wedding" where the men dressed up as both the men and women at a wedding. It was a skit, a joke, something Uncle Miltie-ish that they did for humor. I asked my dad about the photo and he was able to confirm that this is what was going on.

    Now, years from now, when I am dead and gone, as well as my dad and everyone of his and my generation, and our grandkids find that photo, will they think that this very conservative Baptist church was okay with cross-dressing? With transgender issues? With drag queens? Well, they might think that, but it would be a greatly mistaken belief - it would be the polar opposite of reality! So, how can they "know" with certainty what the context of that photo was? Are there any church documents explaining it? No. Anyone alive who can confirm what was going on? No. Could they take guesses, perhaps learn about Uncle Miltie (comedian Milton Berle, in case you're too young to know who I'm speaking of) and extrapolate out a guess that it was just a skit? Sure, perhaps they could take that guess.

    Now, separate that photo by 500 years. 2,000 years. How can people separated by that kind of time "know" with perfect authority WHAT the meaning and context of a photo, a text is? We can't ask to verify, so that's out. We get down to educated guesses, and that can get us pretty far, but it's still a guess, even if it's educated.

    Hope that answers your questions, let me know if not.

    And hopefully now you'll be getting your answers to my questions out.

    Thanks,

    Dan

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    1. That analogy fails Dan because it assumes people will not do their historical critical homework. If they look at more than just the picture, say read a sermon from that era, read things about that sort of church or that particular church, they can get to the truth and that without much difficulty. We do that very thing with Scripture today. That is part of the interpretive process.

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  18. I will just add that I find it ironic that you offered up two quotes from Paul about the problem of people breaking from grace and emphasizing the need for works for salvation to defend your position that we can and need to have a sort of perfect knowledge in order to be saved.

    I think that passage (while directed specifically towards the Galatians and not you, specifically, or what we might call modern Judaizers) does show that this problem of abandoning grace is a timeless one.

    This, I think, is how we properly understand the Bible: As a collection of stories of the sorts of problems and wisdoms, failures and successes of older peoples in these ancient cultures. Seeing their stories acted out, seeing their mistakes and wisdoms CAN help give us insight to God's Ways, but not as a Rule Book where all we have to do is find a line that gives us a ruling on how to behave on a certain topic, but as stories that show the human condition.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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    Replies
    1. And that view Dan, is not based on anything objective or transcendent. It is arbitrary wishful thinking on your part because you have an idea of who you want God and Jesus to be, what you want Scripture to be and to say, how you want to live your life and so forth. Your approach is based entirely on an arbitrary hermeneutic adopted to support your uncritical philosophical assumptions.

      I have another question for you Dan. Are you a homosexual?

      Delete
  19. I am sure you have all sorts of questions for me, Ed. And I have demonstrated a great willingness to answer your questions.

    You, on the other hand, mostly have not. Now, you have given your word that you WILL answer my questions and I am still waiting.

    Ed, if you are not a man of your word - if you fear these questions or if you are just douche-y enough that you refuse to answer questions to be argumentative and lazy, or if you refuse to answer because you recognize that your answers will undermine your positions... if you are not a man of your word, then I will end this conversation.

    I don't mind that you disagree with me, I don't mind that you make all sorts of false and unsupported charges against me, but I do expect Christians to behave with at least at a minimum level of honor and trustworthiness.

    It's time for you to answer questions, Ed. Live up to your word or this conversation is over (and it will be clear to all who was loving, respectful, polite, courteous, helpful and prepared to answer questions, and who was not... again, you are only undermining your own arguments...)

    In Christ,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have another question for you, Ed. Are you an honest man?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Here is what I think, and I am a pretty good read of people. I think your a homosexual man. I think you grew up in a conservative Church and changed your views because they rejected your lifestyle. I think you have spent years trying to come up with as many twisted arguments as you can to ease your conscience because you know in heart that such a lifestyle immoral.

      Now, not only am I a good profiler, I am also a good researcher. Either tell me to truth or I am going to go find out for myself.

      Delete
  21. I have answered your questions Dan. If you mean have I answered them in the way that you like, the way that paint you in the most positive light, or the way a cross-examiner would prefer, well, no. I prefer to answer that questions in a way that provides a defense of my answer at the same time I give the answer. Perhaps I missed one or two, if so, I would be happy to come back to them.

    I would like to know your sexual orientation Dan. Are you a homosexual? I see a pattern of reasoning here that raises the question. Maybe you are not, but I would NOT be shocked if you affirmed that you are a homosexual.

    ReplyDelete
  22. So much for your claim to be a "pretty good read of people..." I'm a straight guy, happily married to one woman for 30 years, the father of two children.

    http://throughthesewoods.blogspot.com/2010/05/happy-25th-anniversary.html

    Thus, you are NOT a good reader of people, so far as I can see and not only that, but your fixation with my sexual orientation is a bit weird. AND, I notice that you still have not answered my questions.

    I have answered your questions Dan. If you mean have I answered them in the way that you lik

    ? No, Ed, you have not. And it has nothing to do with me "liking" your answers. You factually have not directly answered the questions that I asked you. You may have responded, as I noted earlier, with a response wholly unrelated to my actual question, but you have not as a point of fact answered my questions.

    But here, Ed, I'll give you a final chance to demonstrate that you are an honorable man and not a blatant liar. I'll paste one of my questions. All you have to do is paste your direct answer to that actual question and you can demonstrate that you have answered it.

    do you think that there are some "facts" that exist (about God's Will, for instance) that you can't prove, but are somehow "known facts..."? If so, based on what, if it can't be demonstrated/corroborated?

    I'll wait.

    ~Dan

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    Replies
    1. Why would a straight, married man attend a gay and lesbian church? I had to look into you a little more Dan because your comments were just not adding up. Life at Jeff Street Baptist tells a story for sure.

      Just because a group of people gather together and talk about Jesus (whoever they might mean by that symbol), that does not mean you have a church.

      There is no such thing as a gay Christian and there is no such thing as a Christian affirming a gay Christian.

      It is clear to anyone that typically reads this blog that your views are views that contradict biblical Christianity top to bottom. Your affirmation of gay sex and gay marriage are affirmations that arrogantly reject divine fiat. You want to debate views that you are obligated to believe.

      I will answer this last question, but then, we are finished with this conversation.

      Do I believe there are facts that exist about God's will that are known facts but that I cannot prove?

      My philosophy professor said that proving God's existence is both the easiest thing to do and the most difficult thing to do. It depends Dan. It depends on one's criteria for epistemic justification. I believe that humans have minds, but if asked to prove this by means of empirical verification, I could not do so. But since I am not an empiricist, I reject the idea that empirical verification is necessary in order for proof to exist. By the way, I will remind you that you are the one that said you do not have a philosophy of fact.

      Now, can something be known as a fact without the person knowing it being able to provide proof? Another problem is that providing such proof requires certain skills that that person may lack. So their inability to be persuasive has nothing to do with their having proof that a thing is known even though they cannot effectively articulate their proof(s).

      So here is your conundrum: what will you offer as a standard for proof? In other words, you may claim that known facts can only be known if there is proof for them. But isn't that statement claiming to be a known fact? If so, where is its proof? And where is that proof's proof...ad infinitum...ad nausea.

      What facts do I claim to know that you think are absent any proof? Well, I suppose my claim that the Bible is the Word of God, or that it is infallible, binding, self-interpreting, etc. The only evidence that can be offered for a self-authenticating document is the document itself. Otherwise it is not self-authenticating.

      Here is the known fact that I believe: The Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, self-authenticating, fully inspired, God speaking in written form.

      Here is my proof: My proof that God is speaking to me in Scripture itself, is the binding of the sacred text to my heart through the miraculous and necessary work of the Holy Spirit. The proof for my fact is Scripture itself. Christianity teaches that only the Work of the Holy Spirit can convince you of this truth Dan and only the Holy Spirit can open your heart to understand these truths.

      You will say that this is just my human opinion, the same as you said of Paul, which you probably evenly apply to all the writers of Scripture. Every ancient Christian community would have excommunicated you Dan. Every one of them. So too would my church. Your claim to genuine faith would be tested and rejected based on your views.

      Additionally, I would answer that it is just your opinion that this view of Scripture is my opinion and you have no objective reference by which to measure it. You have nothing to refute my statements other than your own arbitrary opinion. However, for me, there is the Scripture. There is thousands of years of ancient Judaism followed the ancient Christianity up through the reformation to the present day. Whether you believe it is authoritative or not, it certainly presents itself as such and only a cavil could miss that.

      Delete
  23. No, it's not just my opinion. That your opinion IS in fact your opinion is a fact. That, if you can't prove a claim is a fact, that your opinion is not a proven fact (by you) is also a fact.

    I'm dealing with facts, here, Ed. You're dealing with opinions.

    Ed...

    I will answer this last question, but then, we are finished with this conversation.

    So then, you just flat out lied when you gave your word that you would answer my questions? Does that not bother you? You object - sight unseen and lives unknown - to my church family and my faith, but you have no problem blatantly lying, bearing false witness, slandering and making false and unsupported charges?

    Have you no decency? Do you not see the irony or pathos or hypocrisy in your position?

    Repent, brother Ed. This arrogance only undermines you, to the point that I fear that you do not even see your hypocrisy or arrogance. I would just remind you of Paul's words you quoted about the Judaizers... those who'd try to push the Galatians into a salvation by works heresy. Read and learn, brother.

    If you ever do repent and decide to be honorable and live up to your word, let me know.

    May God grant us wisdom and grace,

    Dan

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  24. Dan, your dealing with YOUR interpretation of my position. You can't really know for sure what my opinion is. Hence, everything you say and believe, since it is your meager interpretation comes down to being just your opinion. You cannot escape the logically necessary clutches of the self-defeating end of your thought.

    But, on the other hand, if you can understand me, using simple rules of language and you can determine certain facts about me and my beliefs based on my communication with you, then I can do the same with you, and with others. I can even know things about people that are written in the past. And I can know things about Paul, Peter, Luke, James, John, and Jude. I can know things about Jesus. I can know facts about them. Paul was converted to Christ on the road to Damascus. I can know that the writers of the NT thought they were writing in God's place because they all from the standpoint of explicit authority. The use of the word Apostle carries the sense of representing the divine authority of God with them. Our argument about Scripture has to be from Scripture itself. I gave you examples that would correct any objective person's perspective, but my theology says there is no objective person. Everyone is either loving God, His holy Word, His divine commandments or they are despising God, perverting His holy Word, and rejecting His divine commandments. Keeping God's commandments does not save us. God saves us. Keeping the commandments is loving God. Those whom God saves, love God. Therefore, they keep His commandments. His commandments are His Word, the Scriptures, the Bible. To deny the authority of God is to deny the right God has over your life. It is the epitome of arrogance and is an outrageous act of blasphemy.

    You want Galatians to be Paul's opinion and you want it to be at least authoritative enough to bail you out. You are a walking contradiction.

    Paul told the Churches in Galatia that those who practice the works of the flesh will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

    Paul told the Corinthians that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Who are the unrighteous? Those who are idolaters, fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunks, revilers, and swindlers. Also, back in Galatians, he said heresy is included in the works of the flesh. A heretic is one who REJECTS apostolic tradition, and seeks to convince others to do the same.

    You are part of a blasphemous pseudo-Christian group that has rejected the teachings of the churches of Jesus Christ in preference for your own views about God and Christ and with an ethic that is anything but having its source in God. Your defense of your existence is entirely arbitrary. You did what YOU wanted to do and you will continue to twist the Scriptures, deny their right to rule over you, and impugn the Righteous Judge until He either saves you or eternally damns you.

    I hope God grants you repentance. Until he does, I hope true Christians will lovingly hold you in contempt for the things you teach and believe.

    ReplyDelete
  25. on the other hand, if you can understand me, using simple rules of language and you can determine certain facts about me and my beliefs based on my communication with you, then I can do the same with you,

    Two points:

    1. We are able to misunderstand each other. You, for instance, in spite of multiple corrections and clarifications from me, STILL are wrongly interpreting about 90% of my positions. Ed, if you can't understand my words, written in the same language and same culture and time you're from, on what basis do you think you can rightly understand the Bible? You have demonstrated a profound inability to understand words.

    2. Nonetheless, even though we are able to incorrectly interpret the written word, we DO have the option of clarifying by asking the author, "Did you mean...?" You can't do that with Paul.

    You are simply factually and logically wrong on this point. Your own words undo you.

    Dan

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    1. You are a member of a cult that is pseudo-Christian at best. A group of you went out, like the secessionists in 1 John, and decided you would ignore 2,000 years of orthodox Christianity, the creeds, the confessions, and even sacred Scripture and sat up your own cult community. Please do not post on this site any longer as your posts will be deleted. I will not give you a platform to push your God-hating deception.

      Delete

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