Poster people for the Second Commandment

bible.jpgIn a thread at Marshall’s place a liberal theologian was claiming that Paul was wrong in some of what he wrote in the Bible.  Finding this amusing from a person who claims to be a Christian, I said, “Hey everyone, [name withheld to spare him further embarrassment] is right and St. Paul is wrong. Just wanted to clear that up!”

His response:

Thanks! I’ll cop to that on some things. Absolutely. Specifically, any thoughts of his that are defined primarily by his time and place and culture.

Oh, where to begin.  It never occurs to these pretenders that all they are doing is making a god in their own image.  They find a few points of agreement with the Bible, as if having your Venn diagram overlap a bit with another group made you one of them (Hey, the KKK is pro-life but that is about the only thing on which we agree).

They assume that wherever they disagree with Paul that they must be right and Paul must be wrong.  But they think we’re arrogant and “bibliolators” for taking the claims of the Bible to be true.  So they know what God really thinks but Paul didn’t, eh?  They pick and choose what they like and assume they have it right. 

They are just your basic Dalmatian Theologians, believing the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  They follow their hearts, but live in ignorance of Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?  They claim to follow Jesus, but ignore his views on the Old Testament, marriage and so much more.

Then there is the question begging of saying they are thoughts of Paul’s and assuming God didn’t inspire them.  Paul claims to speak for God and Peter viewed Paul’s writings as scripture.  Presumably this expert thinks Peter was mistaken as well.  So if Paul wasn’t speaking for God and if the ~3,000 specific instances where God is quoted are wrong as well, then the Bible has so many lies that I don’t know why these folks bother to open the book.

And they assume that their views aren’t unduly influence by their time, place and culture — never noticing that their beliefs are virtually indistinguishable from the far political Left and that they discovered Paul’s “errors” regarding same sex unions at about the same time that MTV did.  Go figure.

Sometimes it is just best to let others write all they like and let their words convict them — such as when they put their words over scripture.  Sort of a blogging version of Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy. 

I really like this quote by Dionysius, an early church leader:

I myself have read the writings and teachings of the heretics, polluting my soul for a while with their abominable notions, though deriving this benefit: I was able to refute them for myself and loathe them even more. 

0 thoughts on “Poster people for the Second Commandment”

  1. My wife caught me the other day. She said: “don’t repay evil with evil”. I said: I actually disagree with Paul on that one 🙂

    We had a good laugh. LOL.

    my 2nd favorite that I plan to use one of these days would be:

    That particular verse is not in the earliest of manuscripts!

    Prof. Bart Ehrman would be proud of me 🙂

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  2. How wonderful that your theologian is blessed with knowing where the bible is right and where it’s wrong. He must be feeling particularly burdened with this knowledge and feeling obliged to correct all who think otherwise. I’ll pray for you, Neil, if he stays in your group 🙂

    My personal favourite stunner Iheard is that the God of the OT and of the NT are different.

    But putting aside my sniggers at their opinions, I must say I find it difficult sometimes when to take it literally and when to say it’s only for that time. I end up going to reliable commentaries and my pastor for help. For instance, some of Paul’s writings are a bit confusing to me… I’d have to cover my hair at all worship services (which I really would rather not do).

    Anyhoo, keep up the great blog!

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  3. Hi Philippa,

    Good points, thanks! Just to be clear, I’d be the first to say that there are parts I find confusing. I applaud your consultation of commentaries and the guidance of others. I’ve changed my views on plenty of passages as I’ve learned more. But I never say, “The Bible is wrong,” just because I don’t like what it says.

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  4. My personal favourite stunner Iheard is that the God of the OT and of the NT are different.

    Wait….I think I’ve heard that one before. Wasn’t it Montanus? Second century heretic, right? I get my early Church heretics mixed up sometimes. Funny thing is, Satan’s not really that creative. He just keeps recycling the same old lies every few centuries or so – just updated packaging.

    I do the same thing re: cultural standards. Matthew Henry via Blueletter Bible.com is a great source of insight, I’ve found.

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  5. I wrote a piece about the OT God vs. NT God myth here – http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/old-testament-god-new-testament-god/

    I usually like to throw this part out when I hear people say that: If one is selective in what Scriptures they use, one could make the opposite case – namely, that the Old Testament God is more forgiving. After all, Jesus talked much more about Hell than the Old Testament does. God gives evil nations hundreds of years to repent, and destroys or drives them out only when they are completely irredeemable. And God is quick to forgive the Israelites over and over.

    Of course, the real answer is that it is the same God throughout.

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  6. It does indeed seem to be very coincidental that the views of this theologian, and some others we both know, parallel liberal thought and politics so well. I’m waiting for some explanation on the first who found these errors or noted the different translations and how it all came about. Was there some dude reading the earliest manuscripts who jumped up and said, “Hey! This doesn’t mean monogomous, loving and committed homosexual relationships at all! The Pope has it all wrong!!” or did someone go looking for loopholes? I’m guessing it was the latter. Shamefully, when I first did a cover to cover, I was looking for permission myself, for behaviors I wasn’t keen on changing. I never found that permission and changed my behaviors, figuring that was the way it should be. I now know that we are to study Scripture from the standpoint of being empty and fill ourselves with what it truly says as opposed to what we’d like it to say.

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  7. Shamefully, when I first did a cover to cover, I was looking for permission myself, for behaviors I wasn’t keen on changing. I never found that permission and changed my behaviors, figuring that was the way it should be. I now know that we are to study Scripture from the standpoint of being empty and fill ourselves with what it truly says as opposed to what we’d like it to say.

    Amen, brother! I saw/see myself in this statement.

    Best,
    Joseph

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  8. MA,

    This is a great point. Don’t we all try to find loopholes for our personal sins. Personally, I would love for the Bible to look at some of my stuff differently. It might be an interesting post sometime.

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  9. Yes, that is a problem with liberal theologians. They have a set of beliefs and think the beliefs overlap with the Bible (or at least what they think the Bible says). Then the co-opt the name of Christ and act as if all their beliefs are endorsed by him. It is basically making a god in your own image, 21st century style.

    We all face the challenge of reading the Bible for what it is and not some sort of buffet.

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