Heretics ‘R Us

I dropped by The Reverend Chuck Currie’s blog to see what The Reverend Chuck Currie had to say.  Because, after all, The Reverend Chuck Currie is a reverend.  You can tell, because it says so in his blog title.

He is a leader in the United Church of Christ denomination, a group that is apparently not too keen on sound doctrine.  This guy just got ordained and he is continuing to preach heresies.

Oddly, his sermon on John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”) was on a single verse, and his key points were to claim that Jesus was not the only way to the Father, that other religions such as Islam should inform our view of the Gospel, and that the Bible is not accurate or reliable. I downloaded the sermon and quoted a few parts below.

Got that?  You are sitting in a United Church of Christ building ready to hear a lesson from the Word of God, only to have the “Reverend” tell you that the Bible is not the Word of God and that Jesus is not the only way to salvation.  You can trust what other religions teach you because God apparently revealed himself accurately in them, but He did not reveal himself properly in the Bible.  And this guy just graduated from a “Christian” seminary.  Check.

Here are some excerpts from his message:

Is John 14:16 (sic) the literal word of God or is it a human reflection that speaks to how the early Christian community understood their faith?

Biblical scholars in mainline seminaries agree that Jesus never spoke the words attributed to him in our reading from this morning.

Looks like someone went scholar-shopping and found just what he was looking for.  And don’t you love the patronizing bit about those deluded early Christians who gave their lives for the faith but were just imagining that Jesus really said those things?

The Gospel of John was written some 100 years after the death of Jesus and in no other writing is Jesus said to have made such exclusive claims about the faith.  So why after 100 many years have passed since the his death would someone remember things so differently – so starkly differently.

First, the dating for the Gospel of John is much earlier than 100 years after the death of Jesus.  Chuck has been corrected on this point but he ignores it.

He also ignores that there are 100 passages stating that Jesus is the only way.  He pretends that John 14:6 is the only Bible verse making this claim.  He has also determined that the gnostic Gospel of Thomas is more authoritative than the Gospel of John – even though the early church did not even hint at holding that view.

It might be better to read this passage as a statement of faith from the early Christian community, who believed with conviction that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life.  I share that conviction today.

No, he doesn’t.  If he really thought Jesus was the way then he wouldn’t stand in a pulpit and spread these lies.

But I’m not so arrogant to think that my own understanding of God surprasses all other understandings of God . . . Is it possible that God speaks through Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and the world’s other great religions?

Ah, there’s the passive-aggresive tolerance trick.  The reverend dogmatically states that Jesus is not the only way, that the Gospel of John was written 100 years after Jesus’ death and contains falsehoods, the Gospel of Thomas is authoritative, the Bible is not, etc.  But he’s not going to be arrogant like those who don’t hold those views!  How humble.

And no, God does not speak through other world religions.  They may contain some truths but that doesn’t mean they are from God.  If you took even 10% of the Bible seriously you would never make that claim.  Religious pluralism is intellectually bankrupt.

Let us resolve as members of the Christian faith to be open to hearing God speak through other voices, and as we preach the Gospel message let our hearts welcome new insights about God from other faithful traditions.

What kind of nonsense is that?   He says we are supposed to preach the Gospel, but we’re supposed to let other faithful traditions inform our views.  Huh?  What Gospel is that?  What is the standard of truth now that he has tossed out the Bible?  What do the Koran and the teachings of other false religions have to teach us about Jesus that the Bible does not?

I would encourage the reverend to meditate on this verse, except that he has probably eliminated from his slim-line Bible already:

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

I say with complete confidence that the gospel (small “g”) that The Reverend Chuck Currie preaches is radically different than the one the Apostle Paul was referring to.

“Reverends” like this mock the cross and the blood of the martyrs.  I am glad we live in a country where people have the freedom to preach whatever they like.  We even have a name for people who hold these views: Non-Christians.

More here.

98 thoughts on “Heretics ‘R Us”

  1. Dan

    Sorry for replying late, but my internet connection died most of yesterday due to storms.

    You asked for help in determining where your inconsistencies lie. Here you go. These statements were made by you, just on this thread.

    “I have a problem with willy-nilly rejecting great portions of the Bible…”

    “Denying the essential teachings of Christ would be a definite [bad thing]”

    “I reckon I view Jesus’ moral teachings as what is the more essential than most of our religious tenets, which are often extrabiblical or marginally biblical.”

    “I’d hesitate to define as “essential” (on behalf of God) that God has not defined as essential.”

    umm – OK. These statements definitely conflict with each other. So do YOU define what is essential (moral teachings) or do you not? IF God has defined what is essential, then why would you pick the moral teachings over the rest?

    Then, again in this very thread, there are these little gems:

    “But I’m guessing … that Pastor Chuck probably has no problem with the idea that Jesus came to offer his life. But does that necessarily have to be defined in terms of “atonement”?

    “Yes, I’ve glanced over the Gospels a time or two. Probably since you were in diapers. And I did notice that whole part about the crucifixion and resurrection. I even noticed a few places where it used some language that seemed to frame all of that in terms of an atoning sacrificing.”

    ahem! Note the differing view on atonement there? I do

    And yet again on this thread, this:

    “I believe that God as Trinity is a somewhat logical and acceptable way to think of God, that the evidence we have indicate that Mary was a virgin, that God is creator of the world.”

    “I believe in many orthodox tenets, I just question those tenets (virgin birth, “inerrant” bible, trinity) as being essentials of the faith. There is nothing in the Bible calling for us to believe any of the above…”

    Wow. Just – wow.

    Finally, this:

    “If Jesus ever said, “you have heard it said, ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die,’ but I tell you, believe that my mom was virgin and believe in the atoning power of my blood – THAT’s what’s important!!” then I’d be more inclined to hold those teachings as essential as Jesus’ other teachings”

    It seems you are taking from the Bible only what is comfortable for you to take. In the process, you are getting confused as to which parts you actually believe.

    This is just from one conversation. Consistency in your statements would help. Some of your points in other posts I absolutely loved. But now I’m not sure you meant any of it…

    Now do you see why it’s hard to follow your points?

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  2. Dan Said: “I disagree with Reverend Chuck on some of his points, too, but I just don’t understand the need to make God-like decisions about what others’ think (regardless of what they’ve said) or of whether or not others are Christians.”

    and later in that same comment:

    “What if Chuck is saved by God’s grace and full of the Holy Spirit? By saying that he is NOT saved, are you speaking against the Holy Spirit and thus blaspheming?

    Tread carefully when you make claims about what God does and doesn’t do, who God has and hasn’t saved. That’s all I’m saying. We’re just not omniscient enough to make that sort of claim, seems to me.”

    It is not a “God-like” decision that, once we’ve examined a mans words and works and we see that his words and his actions do not align with the Bible, we then make a statement and take actions to correct him or to warn others of his err.

    Look for the many instances in the NT where false teachers are warned agaisnt by name, where rebellious are named and God is entreated to remove His protection from them that they might suffer discipline here and repent rather than suffer eternal punishment apart from God.

    We are further warned throughout the scriptures, both OT and NT to judge the spirits, to test them against God’s standard.

    There is a surfeit of evidence which compells me to conclude that we are indeed to be aware of others spiritual condition, correct and counsel those who are in the wrong, witness to those who are lost, and support and encourage those who are in Christ.

    We are called to be both wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We do not indeed harm the person to confront him with the truth. The truth often hurts, but not all hurt is harm.

    Chuck is indeed teaching a false doctrine. The summary of his ten minute sermon is that while he has chosen the particular path of Christianity as his personal means of being a good person (he does not, to my recollection, mention the end reward of any religion) he does not expect to hold his own views to be the absolute truth. He begins the sermon quoting the prayer given before the US Senate recently by a Hindu teacher, and while I would agree that the American Family Association did little to advance the cause of Christ with their interruptions of the hindu teacher during his prayer, I disagree with the rest of his talk. Rev Chuck does not believe Jesus is the only way to God. Therefore he denies the concrete statement made by Jesus “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me”.

    Neil mentioned this in the original article nearly ad nauseum:

    “Here are some excerpts from his message:

    Is John 14:16 (sic) the literal word of God or is it a human reflection that speaks to how the early Christian community understood their faith?

    Biblical scholars in mainline seminaries agree that Jesus never spoke the words attributed to him in our reading from this morning.

    Looks like someone went scholar-shopping and found just what he was looking for. And don’t you love the patronizing bit about those deluded early Christians who gave their lives for the faith but were just imagining that Jesus really said those things?

    The Gospel of John was written some 100 years after the death of Jesus and in no other writing is Jesus said to have made such exclusive claims about the faith. So why after 100 many years have passed since the his death would someone remember things so differently – so starkly differently.

    First, the dating for the Gospel of John is much earlier than 100 years after the death of Jesus. Chuck has been corrected on this point but he ignores it.

    He also ignores that there are 100 passages stating that Jesus is the only way. He pretends that John 14:6 is the only Bible verse making this claim. He has also determined that the gnostic Gospel of Thomas is more authoritative than the Gospel of John – even though the early church did not even hint at holding that view.”

    By denying the supremacy of Christ you deny the efficacy of His sacrifice. There is no room to quibble here. If Christ is not the only way, there is no other way which teaches that a God-man came and lived among us sinlessly and laid down His own life to pay our sin debt before a just and loving God, therefore God accepting anyone who sincerely believes in any other “acceptable” way does not necessarily need to accept the atonement offered on the cross. If Christ is not the only way, why did He die at all?

    Rev. Chuck does, by implication, deny the necessity of the atonement. This is false doctrine, therefore we are completely justified in calling into question the veracity of his faith. As you point out, we do indeed need to be careful when making such serious claims. But observing the evidence, the standards of care are met, and it is not a false claim.

    As you also said, words do indeed mean things. Chuck may have spoken flippantly, or he may have chosen his words with care. Either way, what passed his lips is religious pluralism born from moral relativism, both ideas contrary to scripture, not just “orthodoxy” or “classic Christian teaching”.

    Jesus taught a paradox. His gospel is both inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive in that all are welcome, all may come, all are actually required to make a decision sometime in their lives. Exclusive in that His is the only decision offered. If you choose another way, you’ve said no to the atonement. You’ve denied the forgiveness and cleansing of your sin. And when you stand before God in judgement, He will see only your sin, and in His holiness He is not able, by His very nature, to allow you into fellowship with Him. You did not seek that fellowship in life, you will not be allowed that fellowship in death.

    Dan, you then state that:
    “Denying the essential teachings of Christ would be a definite red flag to me.”

    We have exhaustively shown you the facts which show unequivically that Rev. Chuck is denying the essential teachings of Christ.

    You continue:

    “Jesus said, for instance, that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Those calling for us to act unlovingly towards our neighbors always concern me.”

    Would you agree that to deliberately lead your neighbors down a false path is an act of UN-love?

    But then you allow the slightest bit of revision of what was actually said. I do not know if this was intentional, your own interpretation, of merely oversight, but I must bring this to your attention:

    Jesus did not say that the greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

    In Matthew 22:37-40 He says:

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

    The first and great commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The second is like it, but it is still the second. A true love of God will grow and nurture in us a true love of our neighbor, but it is still the second commandment.

    You then go on and state that of particular importance to you is the act of being unloving towards our neighbors. I agree that this is a bad thing. Jesus indeed devotes much of His ministry here on earth to loving people very practically, meeting their physical needs, and very eternally, meeting their spiritual needs.

    I would argue though, that had He been primarily interested in their physical condition He would have been very different from what He was in reality. A Jesus primarily interested in people’s physical wellbeing would have been a warrior and a king. He would have called the legions of heaven to throw out the Roman oppressors, chasing them all the way back to Rome as He took over the land as a benevolent God-Dictator. He would have opened a free clinic where He would have healed all who came to Him. He would not have accepted death on a cross because He could accomplish more physical good by remaining alive.

    Jesus did none of these things. Instead He preached a stumbling block and a hinderance. He taught a division of hatred between father and son. He did not once speak against the Roman conquerors, instead commending in highest terms the Roman Centurion as being a man of greatest faith, and He taught physical and spiritual support of the leadership in tithes and praying for the leaders. He then gave Himself up to be the payment, the atonement for our sins. This is the crux of the Bible. The atonement stands at the end and the beginning. All history prior to it pointed towards it and all time since has looked back towards it. Without the atonement there would be no purpose to God’s plan. No reason for our lives, and no hope for our future.

    What is the point of Jesus’ moral teachings unless we are storing up rewards in Heaven by doing them? All ethics and morality boils down to “Might Makes Right” unless you assume that God is the Might and that He defines the Right by His very being.

    Later you state:

    “And the Jewish school of thought that dealt with animal sacrifices is one analogy that we could make for such an action, but not necessarily the only way of thinking about Jesus’ life and death?”

    This is not just the “Jewish school of thought” though. God defined this as the way things were to illustrate to us His need for justice. Someone must pay the price for sin. All the animals that were sacrificed were merely types, icons, images of the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus. The whole of scripture tells of out inability to be good enough contrasted with God’s extreme standard of perfection. The atonement is by implication throughout the Bible, the primary doctrine. And atonement can only happen by the shedding of the blood of one who is innocent, who has not sinned AT ALL.

    In answer to your comment regarding your age superiority relative to some discussing with you, I would remind you of Peter’s comments in Acts 10:
    “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

    The first phrase there is alternatively translated “God is no respector of persons”.

    Your age does not give you any inherent superiority, but instead is a measure of the time God has given you to know more about Him. How you’ve used that time is your responsibility and is not to be used as a bludgeon to dodge valid questions.

    This last quote of yours is the primary reason for my statement that you do not hold a correct view of Christ;s work, God’s nature, and the Christian walk:
    “For God so loved us, that God gave God’s only begotten son, to improve our lives, to give us a chance to reform and follow in those beloved steps making progress towards better conditions for the least of these, that God’s kingdom may come, and that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    You get the first phrase right, and the second, but the third is wrong and it only goes downhill from there, all while sounding very good and nice.

    God does indeed love us, that is a popular one. We all like a lovey-dovey God.

    The second one trips a few up, but it’s still palatable for most. Jesus did indeed walk this earth, and many say He was a good man, a teacher who was misunderstood. They say He wanted us to get along, to love each other like God loves us. The old man upstairs just wants everybody to get along.

    This is where your gospel goes wrong Dan. We do not get along with everybody because God loves us. We live at peace with all men with as much as is in us because we hope to save some with our witness and because it is God’s nature, love is, and because it brings glory to God when we go beyond out own small selves to show others their value in the eyes of God.

    God sent Jesus, not so that we’d get along. He’d already told us how to do that in the Old Testament. He sent Jesus to show all those people who were getting along already that there was a greater purpose to their following God’s law. To show that while they knew they couldn’t do it on their own, God was aware of their shortcomings and was offering Himself as payment for their sins. We work towards better conditions for everybody in order to show them Christs love and care. I don’t care for people’s physical condition as much as I care for their spiritual condition, but I know that one very powerful way to show someone how much I care for them is to do something physical for them. Do not confuse the purpose with the evidence. Physical care is only evidence, it is not and never is the purpose.

    God’s kingdom will not be ushered in by a swell of peace here on earth. We are explicitly told in Revelation that wars and fightings and strife and death and suffering will bring the end of this world and the birth of the next.

    Dan, you do need to go back to the Bible and search out those things of what you speak. You do need to go and listen to Rev. Chucks sermon if you wish to continue to contribute to this discussion in any meaningful way. But I’m sure that having done that I for one will welcome any discussion with you. You have a good mind. I pray for your heart.

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  3. Wow. There’s a lot there, Matthew and Mark (where’s your buddies, Luke and John?). I hesitate to go much further because this is not my blog. Suffice to say that, while I may need to make myself more clear, you all are not representing what I’ve said, but rather your interpretation of what I said.

    First, Mark, this:

    OK. These statements definitely conflict with each other. So do YOU define what is essential (moral teachings) or do you not?

    At least, Mark, with your statements, I can see where some confusion might come in. But confusion is not the same as you being correct that my views are conflicting and therefore not consistent.

    On the one hand, God is the ultimate arbiter. God says what is right and what is wrong. What is essential and what is not.

    In that sense, no, I do not define what is essential, rather, God does.

    BUT, having said that, since I do not KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt what God thinks is essential and not, it is up to me, to you, to each of us to work that out the best we can with our flawed little brains.

    Yes, certainly, we can agree that the Bible is a source of God’s Word. But whose interpretation of the Bible shall we rely upon? I read the Bible sincerely and with a desire to seek God’s ways and I find that it’d be ridiculous to assume that the world was created in six literal days (for example). Others read the Bible sincerely and come to the exact opposite conclusion on that topic.

    Clearly, one of us is wrong. We are flawed human beings and will not always correctly discern God’s will.

    So, in one sense, God is THE final arbiter in defining what is essential. But, on the other hand, WE have the responsibility for figuring out the best we can exactly what God’s Word says on any given topic.

    So, I see no real inconsistency there. Right?

    Or here you say:

    It seems you are taking from the Bible only what is comfortable for you to take. In the process, you are getting confused as to which parts you actually believe.

    Not at all. I believe in pacifism. That is not a comfortable position to take. It has caused me to take at least one punch in my life and deal with it non-violently. I believe in living simply. While I find a great deal of beauty and joy in that, at the same time, it’s not always a comfortable life.

    No, I am trying to discern God’s Will from the Bible and it’s not always a comfortable walk. Comfort is not a deciding factor in my interpretations and I don’t believe you can point to any places where I’ve indicated such with what I’ve said. You didn’t hear, you just offered that opinion unsupported.

    And this is what I’m getting at. We need to listen to what people are saying as at least a starting point. If there is some inconsistency, point it out.

    But an inconsistency would look like this:

    Dan: “I think we ought to get rid of all cars and just ride bicycles, to be better stewards of God’s creation.”

    Gus: “But I notice that you own ten cars, three of which are hummers!”

    Dan: “Well, I mean, OTHERS should get around on bicycles. I have my reasons for needing those ten cars…”

    THAT would be an inconsistency. But this:

    Dan: “For God so loved us, that God gave God’s only begotten son, to improve our lives, to give us a chance to reform and follow in those beloved steps…”

    Gus: “We’d all like God to be just lovey-dovey, but there’s more to God than that!”

    In that case, Dan didn’t say anything AT ALL to suggest that Dan thinks God is “only” lovey-dovey (whatever that might mean). Rather, it is an attempt (I’m sure unintended) to suggest that Dan thinks of God in ways that are childish and not representing the full nature of God. But Dan didn’t say that.

    Discuss inconsistencies, by all means. Mark, I think you asking a question to clarify what I mean by WHO defines what is essential and not is fine. But, to hear something that makes you think that the other person is being inconsistent or saying X about God and then accuse the person based on what you THINK they’re saying rather than what they ARE saying, is just jumping to unsupported conclusions.

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  4. Matthew, I appreciate the thought that went in to what you’ve written, but honestly, you’re not representing what I believe. At all. And it’s certainly not what I’ve said.

    If you’d like to continue this at any point in the future – with me or anyone else you disagree with – wouldn’t it make sense to say:

    Dan, you said this, “For God so loved us, that God gave God’s only begotten son, to improve our lives, to give us a chance to reform and follow in those beloved steps…” and TO ME, that sounds like you’re saying that God is a milquetoast weinie God who is only concerned about making us feel good. Is that what you’re trying to say??

    I feel I must take some responsibility for people not understanding me and for that, I apologize for a lack of clarity.

    But I’m not sure how to work around this problem where I say, A, B and C and someone else accuses me of saying X, Y and Oldsmobile!

    My best idea for how to deal with this problem, is to do what I just said: Quote the offending statement, ask a clarifying question or just explain what you think the Other is saying and say, “if that’s what you’re saying, I disagree because of …”

    “Dan, when you say you think Hitler is a hero, I think that’s nuts! He was a horrible villain.”

    Saying that when Dan just said, “Hitler is a hero.” would make sense. Saying that when Dan just said, “Hitler’s rise to power was at least partially due to the Versailles Treaty…” is at best confusing and at worst, slander.

    Ya dig?

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  5. Dan

    Again. Wow – just wow. I cannot make myself any more clear than I just did. If you can’t understand my prior post, then it is beyond my abilities to communicate with you. I’m sorry for that. In the future, I will be contributing to conversations, but I will not be reading or responding to your contributions as it will only frustrate me. Maybe I’m taking the easy way out, but that is my perogerative…

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  6. Dan, I want to say “Huh”, but I don’t want you to repeat that again. 🙂 I’m still dizzy from the last time. Have a good evening, Dan.

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  7. Re, “You don’t really have the choice which parts of the Bible you believe are accurate or not.”

    Oh yes. I do, as a Christian — especially under Christian liberty.

    Re, “You do have the choice to accept them completely or reject them completely.”

    Yawn. False dichotomy.

    Re, “I do urge you to examine the historical record and see if you can find the basis for trusting the whole of scripture as being the inerrant word of a Glorious God with a grand plan.”

    The historical record as a whole is silent on matters of faith.

    Even the record of Christian faith itself presents options for how to deal with Scriptures — starting, more or less, with the councils in the 300-400s. Event those whose positions were voted out of the church, and whose Scriptures were denied accoptance into the Canon, showed up at the councils as professing, believing, following Christians.

    And the doors were slammed shut, in the name of orthodoxy, which is anoher manmade idol! (Sorry Neil. Just MHO.)

    Much as they are today, in the name of the prevailing doctrines of the age, which, to me, seem to be the real “broad” way.

    My position: Can open! Grace everywhere!

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  8. Neil, the point is that we ALL have to interpret the Bible. It isn’t handed to us with every point 100% explained in words that 100% of us agree with 100% of the time.

    You agree that not every line is to be taken literally.

    Therefore, we must use our own human logic and God-given reasoning to sort through the wheat and the chaff. And sometimes we get it wrong. And that’s the way it is. That’s the reality. We see through a glass darkly.

    By using terms like “dalmation theology” and some of your other comments, it seems you’re suggesting that you take the Bible as it is obviously intended to be taken 100% of the time and we’re rejecting the Bible.

    Your comment on dalmation theology:

    They don’t refer to it as such, but many Christians teach a message of Dalmatian theology, whereby the Bible is only inspired in spots and they are inspired to spot the spots.

    “Inspired” is a tricky word. Some of us prefer to look at it in terms of, “How should we take this particular passage? THAT particular passage?” It’s not so much a matter that I reject the Bible (or parts of it) as uninspired, I just don’t think of it in those terms.

    Rather, I think of it in rather practical terms of “What is this passage saying and how does it apply to my life today?”

    So, I read the passage where Jesus tells us to cut off our hands and think of it as hyperbole (as do you, I believe).

    I look at the passages where it talks about Jubilee Laws and Sabbath Laws and realize that those specific laws were directed to a particular people at a particular time and perhaps we ought not apply those directly to us, BUT they do indicate God’s concern for the poor, for the marginalized, for the foreigner, for the environment, etc… and THAT should be taken seriously.

    I look at passages where it talks about God ordering genocidal, horrifying acts and compare it to the whole of the Bible and specifically Jesus’ teachings and say, “well, they don’t both seem able to be an accurate representation of God. So, I’m not sure about the passages where genocide or rape is ordered by God, but I AM sure that God doesn’t want me to do that sort of thing, so I won’t.”

    Just because I or you reject the OT call to kill “men who lay with men,” or disrespectful children or to take captive virgins of the enemy and force them to be our wives, does not mean we reject the Bible in toto, but rather that we apply our God-given reason to sorting out these sometimes confusing passages.

    You do it. I do it. ER does it. Billy Graham does it.

    There are not two groups of people – those who take the Bible literally and those who don’t. There are simply all of us who take the Bible as God’s Word and have to sort through it.

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  9. Dan, I agreed with a lot of what you said – even though I don’t think it addressed my Dalmatian Theology points.

    But “all of us” do not take the Bible as God’s Word. That is the whole point of the Dalmatian Theology piece. If some don’t think it is all God’s Word, they are entitled to their opinions. I just ask why they think some portions are and some are not. They must have some kind of criteria to determine what is / isn’t his Word. Seems like a fair question.

    But you lost me when you got to the canard about taking the Bible literally or not. I’ve never said that and I get tired of correcting those who put those words in my mouth. Some people misunderstand things accidentally and some misunderstand them on purpose.

    “By using terms like “dalmation theology” and some of your other comments, it seems you’re suggesting that you take the Bible as it is obviously intended to be taken 100% of the time and we’re rejecting the Bible.”

    That isn’t how I defined it at all. Please read the post and critique that if you like.

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  10. There are simply all of us who take the Bible as God’s Word and have to sort through it.>

    I wonder if that could be more of a case of: (all included) I like that part of your Word, Lord but Holy Spirit don’t convict me about those parts I don’t like. If we surrender our wills to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher, I think we would not have quite so many differing views or at least our attitudes would be better. All the fruits of the Spirit would be more plentiful.

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  11. The problem, Neil, is language such as “inerrancy” or even “God’s Word,” What do those mean?

    How about this – here’s my understanding of our difference:

    I think you’re comfortable saying that the Bible is all God’s Word, but not all to be taken literally. Some passages in the Bible – where it commands us to kill disrespectful children or forcibly take wives from the orphans of the people we’ve killed, for instance – ARE God’s Word, but we ought not take that as literally applicable to us.

    In order to do that, you must say that SOME of God’s Word is not God’s Word for us to apply to our lives.

    Others don’t think that passages where God calls for genocide or rape ought to be considered as “God’s Word,” but rather as part of the Bible that does not literally apply to us. Either the authors got it wrong, or it’s a mystery why the Bible says that, or something, but that is NOT God’s Word. And so they don’t think it ought to be taken literally, either.

    So that is why I bring up the “literal” point – neither group thinks it ought to be taken literally and that it all needs to be rightly interpreted. They feel comfortable in the “rightly interpreting” process saying “Genocide is not part of God’s Word and ought not be taken literally” whereas you feel comfortable saying “These descriptions that sound like genocide are within the purview of what God can choose to do being God and therefore IS God’s Word, too, but ought not be taken as literally applying to us.”

    Or, conversely, I think you are VERY uncomfortable saying that ANY of the Bible is to be called, “not God’s Word,” and others are VERY uncomfortable calling parts of the Bible that suggest God orders genocide or rape, “God’s Word.” But both positions arrive to their conclusion out of deep respect for God and the Bible. (Them saying that it’s disrespectful to God and God’s Word to suggest that God orders genocide, you saying that it’s disrespectful to God and God’s Word to suggest that any part of the bible is not God’s Word.)

    So, in practical terms, we all agree in reading the Bible that we ought not come to the conclusion that rape or genocide is of God. So, I’m not sure that I see that large a difference, although I’m sure you do.

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  12. “In order to do that, you must say that SOME of God’s Word is not God’s Word for us to apply to our lives.”

    You changed the subject midstream. Claiming the Bible is God’s Word in no way says we must apply all of it to our lives all the time. It includes many examples of sin and its consequences, for example. It has elements that were for the Israelite theocracy and not necessarily for our time and place.

    I’m just saying it is all in the Bible for a reason, but every section isn’t there for the same reason.

    I don’t think God is in Heaven saying, “Whoa, I really, really wish they wouldn’t have put that in there!”

    If you think some of it doesn’t belong, then I call that Dalmatian Theology, and rightly so. All I ask is that you provide the edited “Dan Trabue” Bible so I can know what God really wanted there (kidding). You get bonus points for explaining why your edited version is superior to the current model.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to wrestle with all of it and seek to have a proper understanding – but all the time with faith grounded upon reason that God can and did provide us with his trustworthy Word.

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  13. See, I don’t think we really disagree so much except for some terminology.

    “If you think some of it doesn’t belong, then I call that Dalmatian Theology, and rightly so.”

    Myself, I’m not prepared to jettison any of the words from the Bible. I just think they have to be rightly interpreted, as do you. Which, in the case of God commanding genocide or rape (for instance), means that we need to interpret those passages as not being representative of God’s will for us.

    I know some, like Jefferson, have literally or figuratively removed words from the Bible saying they don’t belong. But I don’t know many folk who’d go that far. (Well, I don’t personally know any folk who’d go that far…)

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  14. “First, the dating for the Gospel of John is much earlier than 100 years after the death of Jesus. Chuck has been corrected on this point but he ignores it.”

    I happen to be one of the people who corrected him on his blunder. Unfortunately, he cares more for his peculiar doctrines than he does the vast wealth of knowledge contained in the study of textual criticism.

    Would you buy a car from a salesman who knew so little about the cars he was selling as Chuck knows about the writings of the New Testament in the original Greek? Of course not.

    Taking his word on the matter is akin to intellectual suicide.

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