The slightly bright side

warning.gifAs frustrating as the oxymoronic “same sex marriage” debate is and as destructive as it is to the church, there is a bright side: It enables you to spot false teachers and churches with great precision.  They not only deny what the Bible clearly teaches about sinful behavior but they encourage the behavior.

As I’ve often noted, all Christians are saved and at least a little confused in that none of us have an absolutely perfect grasp on theology.  But at some point people aren’t just confused but are outside the realm of Christianity.

While Romans 1 has the clearest and most emphatic condemnation of homosexual behavior as sin in the New Testament, there is so much more to the chapter and the book.

Paul was laying out how upside down the world is, morally speaking, and how people suppress the truth about God in unrighteousness and what a grave sin that is.  He describes how their worship has gone completely wrong, and how they worship and serve created things rather than the creator.

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Then he gives an example of just how wrong the world has gone behaviorally.  What does he pick?  Homosexual behavior is the prime example, where people mock their creator by using their created bodies in the opposite way from which they were intended.   

 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 

Then he lists other acts of rebellion.  Note the last section where he notes how they don’t just do these things but they encourage them:

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Ignoring sins is bad enough.  But when “churches” openly promote sin they are just poster children for Romans 1.  That is what you get with theologically liberal churches today.  They promote homosexual behavior, abortion (see the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice) and more.

As irritating as these false teachers are, at least they are waving a big warning flag.  They snuck into the church pretending to be authentic, just as Satan masquerades as an angel of light.  But they are quickly abandoning all pretense of subtlety. 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

0 thoughts on “The slightly bright side”

  1. And if there were any doubt about the Bible’s position on homosexual behavior — and there isn’t — Genesis 2 explains why we were created male and female in the first place, and Matthew 19 records that Jesus Christ Himself explicitly affirmed this teaching.

    You’re right about the silver lining in this controversy: it clarifies things. I worry that too few care about what is revealed by these clarifying moments, but there are plenty of such moments for those willing to see them.

    The dictatorial leaders of the western democracies’ enemies praise our new president, as does a prestigious prize committee that’s recently been focusing its efforts to constrain the United States in its foreign policy. It’s possible that Obama is on his way to fulfilling the worst-of-all-world’s scenario where the United States is treacherous to its allies but harmless to its enemies.

    The Roman Polanski controversy is another such moment.

    I digress because Jonah Goldberg basically made this point in an article at National Review Online. He writes that there shouldn’t be a controversy about the monstrous immorality of what Polanski did; but there is a controversy…

    And that’s the main reason I am grateful for this controversy. It is a dye marker, ‘lighting up’ a whole archipelago of morally wretched people. With their time, their money, and their craft, these very people routinely lecture America about what is right and wrong. It’s good to know that at the most fundamental level, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    The same point can be made about the Bible and homosexuality. The Bible really is clear about this issue, and so those who argue that the Bible permits homosexual behavior in any context reveal — at best — that they are ignorant of the contents of the text.

    At worst, their claim reveals that they don’t care what Scripture actually teaches, and that they’re more than willing to subvert the Bible to advance their own agenda.

    It clarifies who they are.

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    1. It clarifies who they are.

      Yes, it does. It shows that they’re people who don’t trust stone-throwing savages to write, with stated authority, about something they clearly had no understanding of. Unless the field of psychology been stagnant for the past fifteen hundred years, that is.

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      1. Straw man argument (they weren’t stone throwing savages) and question begging (assume God didn’t inspire it, when He most certainly did). Not sure how psychological advances, if any, militate against the rather obvious notion that male / female sexual relationships are natural. Even the evolutionists should concede that.

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  2. I read once that when God makes a covenant, it is always sealed in blood. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this before but when man conducts himself according to God’s designed plan, then upon consummation of the marriage it is sealed in a covenant with God in blood. If this is true, it would be a hidden affirmation in scripture of traditional marriage, not that we need anymore affirmation on the truth of the matter, or that it would phase those who can’t read what is clearly written and interpret it as meaning what is clearly said. But it also affirms the idea of one man and one woman for the entirety of their lives, and the seriousness with which the marriage covenant should be considered; as well as the seriousness of promiscuity.

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  3. HEY! C’MON, MAN! Paul’s talking about shrine prostitutes!

    Just kidding. But the sad part is those who say such things actually want to believe, or have been convinced to believe such blatant nonsense. A few claim their God-given reason leads them there.

    Pray for the lost.

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  4. Thanks for the correction! I was fooled into thinking that he wasn’t talking about shrine prostitutes because he didn’t mention shrine prostitutes.

    Seriously, yes, pray for the lost.

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  5. Pray for the ignorant. Pray for the Bible worshipers. Pray for those who dare stand in judgment between God and God’s grace and those who need it.

    Pray for Neil. Pray for Bubba. Pray for MA. And pray for ER.

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    1. Pray for the ignorant.

      OK.

      Pray for the Bible worshipers.

      Straw man, as usual.

      Pray for those who dare stand in judgment between God and God’s grace and those who need it.

      A rather ironic straw man coming from a universalist masquerading as a Christian. If everyone is going to Heaven, as you have so strenuously defended from the scripture that you “worship,” then it would be impossible to stand in the way of God’s grace. We’re the ones who see the need to share the Gospel with everyone. Liberal theologians preach the fake gospel that people are OK without trust in Jesus.

      Pray for Bubba. Pray for MA. And pray for ER.

      OK.

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  6. Close enough, Brother. Yer confused there in the middle, but as usual, yer the one who thinks that kind of stuff matters, not me. 🙂 Again, for the umpteenth time, I only said I lean toward universalism. Just, i suppose, like you only lean toward bibliolatry.

    But I’ll accept prayers from anybody, Christian or not. Which means, that I accept yers, regardless!

    And the bloggers said: Amen.

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  7. I, too, accept all prayers. I don’t presume that all are answered or even can be. That’s out of my hands for sure. Knowing God’s will isn’t so tricky as He revealed such through Scripture. I can’t see how that stuff DOESN’T matter, and folk like ER haven’t explained it, either.

    And by the way, I don’t stand between God and anyone. I seek to stand by another’s side and point out the way, the way revealed in Scripture. I even go so far as to let people decide whether or not to take that path. But I won’t be ashamed to claim I’ve a handle on how to walk that path. Again, it’s plainly revealed. I’m not being judgemental by merely relating that revelation. I’m fully aware of Who the real Judge is.

    If you ride with someone exceeding the speed limit, or making a U-turn where prohibited, or if you have a neighbor who is violating some local ordinance, or perhaps know a co-worker is in breech of some company policy, will you not attempt to correct them, EVER? Not much of a friend, neighbor or fellow citizen to simply let people screw up when a simple word might correct them or lead them to the better way. Definitely not Christian to allow people to go on sinning without a word of instruction in hopes of leading them toward righteousness or to help keep them on the right path.

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  8. ER:

    Have you ever noticed that Jesus Christ Himself affirmed the authority of Scripture to the smallest penstroke? That He repeatedly appealed to Scripture as if it were the final authority, not only in answering others’ questions and traps, but in repelling Satan’s temptations? That He argued for the resurrection of the dead from a single verb tense in Jewish Scripture? That He even pointed to Scripture as proof of HIS OWN authority, explaining to His disciples that “the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms” all taught about Him and that their teachings must be fulfilled?

    If you have, I wonder, do you dismiss these many passages as untrustworthy, or do you denigrate Jesus Christ Himself as a “Bible worshipper”?

    If you don’t trust the historicity of these numerous passages of the canonical Gospels, then you really cannot have any confidence about what Jesus did and taught.

    But if you do accept these passages as trustworthy records of the words of Jesus, then logic absolutely REQUIRES you to dismiss Jesus as an idolater.

    After all, the respect we theologically conservative Christians have for Scripture is not more than the respect that Jesus showed for Scripture, in His teachings and by His own example.

    And, in fact, a decisive reason for our respect for Scripture’s authority is that we are trying to follow Christ’s teachings and example: we respect Scripture because He did so first.

    Jesus is our leader and teacher, we’re just the servants and students. I wonder why you limit your criticism to us and not expand it to Him.

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  9. ER, I initially approved your comment but changed my mind. If you want to answer Bubba’s questions without resorting to your Jesus Seminar sound bites, then try again.

    But I refuse to let you post more pagan silliness about how you know which words Jesus “really” said and which he didn’t, as if you had a clue about that. If you conceded that you aren’t a Christian it would be different. I just have so little tolerance for fakes.

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  10. ER: I’m a deacon at a church that hosted a Jesus Seminar on the Road a few weeks ago. Two professors at the seminary I attend are fellows of the Jesus Seminar, including one I have for a class this semester.

    That says it all.

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  11. Neil, if it’s technically possible and if you don’t mind doing so, I’d like to see ER’s comment restored in full: give the man enough rope to make himself a noose.

    I did include the possibility that ER doesn’t trust the Gospel accounts…

    If you don’t trust the historicity of these numerous passages of the canonical Gospels, then you really cannot have any confidence about what Jesus did and taught.

    …but I did this mostly for completeness, since I suspected instead that the problem is one of hypocrisy — not criticizing Christ for affirming Scripture’s authority — rather than an outright denial that we can trust what the Gospels attribute to Christ.

    But if ER wants to go that route, I say, LET HIM.

    Let him make it absolutely clear that his conception of Jesus bears only a passing resemblance, not only to what has been held by the church since the very beginning, but what is clearly taught in the New Testament. We can then give his tirades about ignorant, judgmental “Bible worshippers” all the respect that they’re due — by dismissing them as nonsense.

    I absolutely agree, Neil, that the Jesus Seminar is ridiculous and fraudulent. They have no rational basis for determining that so much of the Gospels are inauthentic; they just seek to legitimize their bias against the supernatural, and they do so with absurd assumptions, such as the belief that the Jewish teacher who founded the Christian church would never utter anything that resembles Judaism or Christianity.

    And so I understand the desire not to allow others to pollute this blog with their lies.

    But I think you should let ER provide just what we were discussing earlier: a clarifying moment, so we can see exactly what he is and what he believes.

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    1. Hi Bubba,

      He basically dodged the questions and tried to change the subject. He did note this in his usual double speak way:

      I dismiss nothing in the Bible. I do not however, accept that very much of it at all is accurate, historically, when it comes to what Jesus said or did.

      As far as Jesus as an “idolator” — hardly. Some of the most reliably words attributed to Jesus are the ones where he points to God. Some of the least reliable, historically, are the ones where Jesus is claiming to be God. That’s an interpretation of who Jesus is, whether in the text of the gospels, or in the words the gospel writers put in Jesus’s mouth in making their theological claims about who they believed Jesus was.

      Note how he “dismiss[es] nothing” but knows which words of Jesus are allegedly lies or mistakes by his followers. Now where have we heard that kind of talk before?

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  12. Thanks, Neil!

    I’m sure we’ve seen that kind of double-talk before: it stands to reason that attempts to subvert the church would tend to lead to obfuscation.

    As I asked earlier, it seems that ER really does “dismiss these many passages as untrustworthy.”

    He may not dismiss them as completely useless; he may find some benefit in deducing what the early church thought from these passages, but he said it himself:

    I do not however, accept that very much of it at all is accurate, historically, when it comes to what Jesus said or did.

    I’d love to know how he discerns the wheat from the chaff, to determine, for instance, that Jesus never made any claims about Himself. I doubt that there’s any persuasive argument behind that conclusion, particularly an argument that doesn’t require question-begging assumptions against the miraculous or for dissimilarity.

    I believe that ER’s conception of Jesus Christ is not based on anything solid.

    We theologically conservative Christians — a phrase I find increasingly, but not quite fully, redundant — do not worship the Bible as God. We respect the Bible as God’s written word.

    We do not believe God is the Bible. We just believe that God authored the Bible.

    ER’s accusation of idolatry against us is therefore slanderous, but it’s also a distraction, because it is Erudite Redneck who has constructed a phantom conception of God rooted in clear revelation.

    He’s the one who has created an idol.

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  13. Re, “I believe that ER’s conception of Jesus Christ is not based on anything solid.”

    Yes, but Bubba will never know. Because Neil, in his wisdom, again, is editing ER’s words to suit his own self.

    Neil, you will answer for your dishonesty.

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    1. Oh, stop whining. You know the only comment I ever edited of yours before was when you are on a BWI rant.

      I was nice and let you comment a couple times (it was a slow sp*m day and I noticed you had visited). You know the rules. Plus, if you are going to lie and say I edit your comments then I might as well do it, right? Seriously, all I did was copy / paste the relevant parts. Your rank heresies are very well documented here and elsewhere so it isn’t like this was something new.

      You will answer for your false message.

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    2. Oh, and the one I edited before was to save you embarrassment, and I immediately told you about that. Funny how you never did thank me for that and always forget those pesky details when bearing false witness against me.

      The rules are the same. You comment all you like, I post all I like (if I want to and if I even see them before dumping the sp*m filter).

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    3. Just to demonstrate what an utter liar ER is, here is his whole unedited comment. As noted above, I just pulled out the relevant part without edits. I italicized the previously unpublished parts, which are nothing more than ER’s non sequitor. Apparently his degree program isn’t aware of books that address Bible difficulties.

      Bubba, ol’ buddy.

      I dismiss nothing in the Bible. I do not however, accept that very much of it at all is accurate, historically, when it comes to what Jesus said or did.

      As far as Jesus as an “idolator” — hardly. Some of the most reliably words attributed to Jesus are the ones where he points to God. Some of the least reliable, historically, are the ones where Jesus is claiming to be God. That’s an interpretation of who Jesus is, whether in the text of the gospels, or in the words the gospel writers put in Jesus’s mouth in making their theological claims about who they believed Jesus was.

      Now, I am studying even as you blog the different sources, writings, timing, redactions, etc., of the O.T. So, I have a couple of questions for you in light of your assertion that Jesus was just as rock-ribbed conservative in his approach to the Hebrew Bible as you are to the Christian Bible.

      1. Which of the two creations accounts, the one in Genesis 1 by the distant, hard to fathom, awesome but not very personal Creator, a Hebrew word translated “God,” or, the one in Genesis 2 by the intimate, personal God who was so intimate and close as to not only walk in the Garden but to actually breathe life into Adam’s nostrils, a Hebrew word translated “the LORD.” The two creation accounts are irreconcilable if taken any way besides allegorically. So, pick one, and tell me which one you think Jesus would pick.

      2. Naaman was a man of God. He took dirt with him so he could worship God because, the Israelietes believed, God was present only in Israel, and since he was leaving Israel, he took some of “Israel” with him, so he could worship. Was God actually only present in Israel? Was Naaman being anal? Were the Israelites wrong in their belief that God was present only in Israel. Or, was Naaman right and the Israelites right, which means we’re all in big trouble?.

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    1. Well, uh, yeah . . . whose rules did you expect? Hey, at least you haven’t threatened physical violence for a while. That’s an improvement.

      Cheers, ER. Have a good life. Hope you convert someday.

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    2. Thanks for the link, but my Internet filter is programmed to block your site. Seriously. I get all the worldly pagan views I need from Reuters and the Houston Chronicle and don’t waste my time reading blogs like yours or Geoffrey’s.

      But keep the links coming!

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  14. I read it this way:

    The first quote from Paul ends:
    “…exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

    then

    ” Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…”

    and

    ” …he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done… every kind of wickedness… envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful…”

    What I see is the transgression of idolatry: man’s setting up man-made idols and man-made images and man-made wisdom.
    It causes the list of behavioral afflictions as a result, the first of which is homosexuality; prime in the sense of first, but not in the sense of “epitome”, unless we infer that from the space devoted to it.

    The existence of such behaviors argues that we are idolatrous. There is no logic to changing the behaviors without changing the idolatry that caused them.
    Yet, who among us will admit to their idolatry of Images, Icons, Symbols, and all man-made things, mental or physical?
    No one will. The example of Mr. Goldberg makes it obvious that the “morally wretched” are the “others”, not ourselves.

    (note: It seems ER’s point on “Bible worshippers” was his possible belief that such worship was itself idolatrous.)

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