I realize it is a risk to feed a narcissistic, attention-loving personality, but I am posting this as a public service. While Dan Trabue is a small-time false teacher, he uses my blog to go to other sites to share his false beliefs. He is predictably disingenuous, but it is very time consuming to replay the same conversations over and over. Comment threads can literally go into the hundreds when refuting him. He uses the same basic script, posing as an otherwise-orthodox Bible-believing Christian who was dragged kicking and screaming to his current pro-gay theological positions. But the truth is something quite different. He delivers a deceptive fallacy-fest on many topics.
Not surprisingly, he bears false witness about me by claiming I bear false witness about him. Here’s what I mean: He knows he continued to comment at my site after being told to stop, that he continued to email me after being told to stop and continued to follow me to blogs and reply to me after being told to stop — and he even wrote my pastor! These are all facts of history that he lies about in trying to claim slander, gossip and false witness — but of course he’s the one slandering, gossiping and bearing false witness.
Now before you act surprised, remember that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing doing the work of Satan. Of course he doesn’t mind lying about these things.
What is amusing is that when I post a link to this page after Dan denies my simple request and replies to me on blogs he has followed me to, he tries to claim I’m bearing false witness. But his replies prove my point. I made one more attempt to get Dan to stop bothering me by posting this at another site. It only took an hour for him to ignore my simple request and prove my point about him.
Dan: “Where is the love? Where is the grace?
I sadly rebuke you in the name of Christ our Lord.”
Neil: Thoroughly documented blog-stalking false teacher Dan Trabue claims that he views me as a brother in Christ and loves me. When one considers how love manifests itself, it usually involves some sort of sacrifice — giving of time, giving of money, or sacrificing health, safety or even life itself. At least that’s how Christians throughout the century showed love.
Now carefully consider what I have asked Dan Trabue to do to show his “love”: Nothing. Literally nothing. I don’t mean I didn’t ask him anything. I did ask make a request of him: Do nothing. Do not comment on my blog, do not email me, do not reply to me on other blogs.
So has Dan the “loving, tolerant brother-in-Christ” demonstrated his love by adhering to my simple request to do nothing? Nope. He continually responds to my comments even though I never address him.
So here we are once again, wasting valuable time because Dan cannot perform what is literally the easiest request ever made in the history of the universe: Don’t reply to my blog comments.
So prove me wrong, Dan. Don’t respond to this comment or to any other comment I ever make, and I’ll do the same for you. What could be easier? Just do nothing and you will have exhibited the tiniest amount of evidence that you can accommodate the simplest and easier request for love ever.
If you type so much as an “OK” in response or if you ever reply to me again then I’ll update the post on my blog and re-post it, noting how “loving” Dan Trabue literally couldn’t bring himself to do nothing in response to a request from someone he insists is a brother-in-Christ to him. (If you want to complain about me on your blog, then by all means do that. I don’t read it so I don’t care. I just don’t want to interact with you, ever.)
Will you comply with the easiest request in the history of man to give the slighest bit of evidence of your alleged love, or will you prove yourself a hypocrite for all time? Your call! I’m good either way.
Most authentic Christian blogs ban Dan once they figure him out, though some perform a great public service and keep him engaged and limit the damage he does elsewhere (sort of like how engaging Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons keeps them from sharing their false teachings with your neighbors).
People like him can be confusing to seekers and he and his kind are the ones causing great divisions in the church. I say without exaggeration that the Book of Jude is about people like him (read it all, it is only 25 verses). Therefore, it is important to demonstrate his errors in the most concise way possible. Otherwise, he wastes an inordinate amount of your time and gets his (im)moral victory of leaving the impression that these topics are toss-ups for the real church.
Dan is the guy who contacted my pastor because I took away Dan’s commenting privileges here and asked him not to email me. Yes, the Internet can be a creepy place. My pastor and I had a good laugh over it, as he is a true man of God and quite comfortable with my theology. Dan tried to say it was part of a Matthew 18 church discipline issue, but he doubly begged the question by assuming that he is a brother-in-Christ and that I had sinned against him. My point was that someone with his views and approach is no brother-in-Christ of mine, and highlighting his false teachings is a moral good and not a sin against him.
The false teachers highlighted in the Bible probably referred to themselves as “brothers,” but that meant as much as it does when false teacher Dan says it.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
So this will be a one-stop shopping post. When Dan plays his game you can just link here to give an overview of his views and his mode of operation. I’m glad to see people whale on false teachers who are more honest (in a perverse sort of way) about their heresies, but it is best not to feed one like Dan who poses as a Bible-believer.
“Prebuttal” to Dan: This isn’t slander, as you typically claim when I recount these facts, because slander is verbal and libel is written. And it is all true, so it isn’t libel. And it isn’t gossip because you open yourself to criticism when you post your heresies publicly. I know you read this blog religiously (heh) even though I ignore yours.
Bubba is one of my all-time favorite commenters and has been remarkably thorough and patient in exposing Dan’s false teachings and style at other blogs. He graciously let me borrow one of his comments to post here. They include links to Dan’s and other sites as evidence. There is so much more that could be added, such as his un-biblical views on the atonement and communion, but this should be sufficient.
Again, I normally have a “don’t feed the trolls” policy, but I think many of you will be glad to have a link like this handy as a shortcut in addressing Dan. Many thanks to Bubba for his excellent work.
I’d like to make clear that my intent wasn’t to offer some exhaustive list of Dan’s character defects or most controversial statements, or even to document what I think are his worst traits. It’s just that I believe that, in isolation, Dan Trabue’s comments sometimes gives the false impression that he’s a poltical and theological moderate who so thoroughly respects all of the Bible’s teachings that he wouldn’t make claims about the Bible that the text doesn’t make for itself. Even if everything he writes only implies all this and the explicit claims are strictly accurate, the total effect can be misleading because there are substantial material omissions. My goal is to provide the context that provides some of the more noteworthy details of his beliefs, in order to correct that false impression his writing may create.
I hope your readers notice that I do a lot of explicit quoting, linking to the original discussions so people can judge for themselves. Even when I describe his position in my own words, I merely describe and try to do so without judgment. I do not think it can be reasonably argued that it’s an ad hominem attack simply to provide neutral descriptions and sourced quotes of a person’s beliefs regarding the Bible.
So far as I know, Dan has never substantially changed his position on anything I quoted. He has routinely claimed that I grossly misunderstand him, but he’s never explained how. I’d love to hear an unambiguous clarification that, of course, Dan believes that God actually did command everything the Bible attributes to Him, that Christ’s death caused our salvation, and that His bodily Resurrection is a truly essential doctrine. I’m not optimistic on that front.
Here’s Bubba’s original quote posted at this site.
Deriving from Lev 18 and 29 (and Gen 19) a universal prohibition of homosexual behavior may be like stumbling onto the right answer for a math problem despite some arithmetic errors. The destination’s right, but the route was wrong.
As a general rule, it’s not the case the Old Testament regulations for the nation of ancient Israel (the only true theocracy, governed by God through His prophets and judges) apply to the church under the new covenant.
Dan Trabue goes too far. Even if certain passages prohibit homosexual behavior only in certain contexts, it’s still true that the Bible condemns the behavior EVERY time it’s explicitly mentioned. That those times are few isn’t determinative, nor is the context of Canaanite behavior. AFTER ALL, Leviticus 18 and 20 also prohibit adultery, incest, and bestiality. The latter is mentioned even less frequently than homosexuality, so should we start examining whether our condemnation of sheep-bothering is merely cultural and not really biblical, on the pretense that it was forbidden only in the pagan temple but not in the bedroom or barn, as the case may be?
Dan concludes that the Bible doesn’t explicitly condemn every possible configuration of homosexual behavior, but Bible study alone simply does not explain the leap from that conclusion to the conclusion that God blesses ANY configuration.
He notes that fidelity, mercy, etc., are good for everyone, but it doesn’t follow that God condones all possible familial arrangements in which these qualities aren’t excluded — prudence is good, but God doesn’t bless bank robberies if they’re well planned — and it’s possible that God made us male and female for a reason, and that reason is lifelong heterosexual monogamy.
It’s true that the Bible permits deviations from that arrangement, celibacy being perfectly moral, divorce being an explicit concession to our hard hearts, and polygamy being perhaps an implicit concession to a fallen. But, just because the Bible permits SOME exceptions, it doesn’t follow that it permits ALL exceptions — or this PARTICULAR exception of so-called “gay marriage.”
Anyway, we shouldn’t look primarily to the Old Testament when the New Testament is clear enough about which rules are carried forward. In its concluding chapter, Hebrews tells us not to worry about dietary regulations (13:9), but we should keep the wedding bed undefiled (13:4). Paul wrote that we shouldn’t be judged by what we eat but should refrain from “porneia,” sexual immorality (Col 2:16, 3:5).
Paul is also quite clear in Romans 1: because of man’s idolatry, God gave up the unrighteous to impurity (1:24), to dishonorable passions (1:26), and to a debased mind (1:28), leading to all manner of evil, including envy, murder, and slander. Even if one were to put a heavy emphasis on the fact that this consequence of homosexual behavior was in the context of idolatry, it’s still impossible to conclude that homosexual behavior is biblically permissible.
AFTER ALL, God wouldn’t “hand over” an idolator to behavior that is good or even morally neutral. “They were idolators, and so God gave them over to prayer and almsgiving” DOES NOT WORK as a logical progression, nor does the idea that they were idolators, and so God would give them over to morally neutral behavior like square dancing and poetry readings.
If that weren’t enough, Jesus Christ Himself made clear, in Matthew 19, that God made us male and female so that a man (male) would become one flesh with his wife (female). He immediately included celibacy as a righteous alternative, but nothing else: divorce was permitted only as a concession. The fact that this passage occurs in the context of divorce isn’t determinative: the principle, rooted in man’s very creation, is obviously universal and has wide-reaching consequences. It’s completely incoherent to tell a man that God made him male to become one flesh with a woman, only to turn around and say that God blesses a “marriage” with another man.
I’ve never met a Christian who had a plausible argument that the Bible permits such an arrangement, and I believe I know the Bible well enough to know that I never will.
I certainly don’t expect such an argument from Dan Trabue. It’s been a while since we’ve cross swords, but he and I have spent literal years and thousands of words in verbal combat.
My opinion of him is not very high at all, to understate things drastically, and Dan insists that I constantly misunderstand him. It may help those who don’t know him to have a little context about his beliefs, from his own hand.
Here, Dan laments when word games and biblical exegesis are used “for political ends,” but it’s not as if he’s a political moderate or an agnostic, and it’s not as if he has a problem invoking Christ’s name on the subject of politics. On his own blog he has written, “in my experience, the vast majority of US/western type of socialism/communism supporters are supporting a more egalitarian, just, equitable system that looks to take seriously the teachings of Christ.”
On the other hand, he wrote a poem for “W and his spawn” accusing free-market conservatives of deicide and the idolatrous worship of a bloodthirsty god. The poem must be read to be believed, and Dan is proud enough of the work that he published it twice in two years.
Here, Dan writes that he loves the Bible. Elsewhere he has written, “I DO love the Bible, but I DON’T accept that every line is a perfect representation of God’s Will.”
What lines are questionable? Well, the Old Testament passages where God commands wars of annihilation, Dan speculates that they could be essentially revenge fantasies: “Sometimes in the Bible, you have a powerless people who have been oppressed and it is completely natural for them to want to see a God that would take revenge for them, or allow them to take revenge. It’s a natural human response to oppression and we ought not judge it too harshly, especially we who have never known oppression.”
He entertains the possibility because he believes that the Old Testament attributes to God commands to commit literal atrocities:
“When we read that ‘God says’ to kill disrespectful children or that when we invade a country, we are to kill everyone – including the children and babes, BUT to save the virgin girls so we can make them our wives – when we read passages like that, we don’t need a Bible verse to straighten that out for us. CLEARLY, our God-given sense of logic and morality shouts out that such behavior is atrocious and wrong.”
(He does this on the way to arguing against the OT prohibition of homosexuality. Here he writes, “Sometimes, rules in the bible are time/people-specific.” Apparently, sometimes, the rules are altogether immoral for all people, or so Dan believes.)
The New Testament has its own problems, as Dan believes that it is “doubtless” that some of Paul’s letters betray some combination of sexism and homophobia.
Here, Dan writes that he esteems the Bible as a “book of truths.” Elsewhere he has elaborated on that position, writing, “that is not to say that I consider all the stories therein to be likely strictly fact-based.”
He even stated it more bluntly: “I think the Bible is a book of Truths. Not facts.”
What facts does he doubt? On the Passover — the central event of Judaism, commemorated annually for literally millennia, and the event through which Christians understand Christ’s death — he writes, “I find it hard to believe as a literal historic event.”
Dan affirms the “Big Truths” of the Bible, but not necessarily the “little details.”
Little things, like the story of Jonah, the Tower of Babel, and — ahem — THE VIRGIN BIRTH…
“For myself, if I were to find out that Mary was not actually a virgin or that Jonah was not actually swallowed by a great fish or that the tower of Babel story is just a mythological explanation of how people learned different languages, not a factual explanation, if I learned any of that to be factual, my faith in God would be intact because, well, my faith is in God, not these details.”
…and THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
“Why can the resurrection spoken of in 1 Corinthians not be metaphorical? …if he were raised spiritually, not bodily, is that not a resurrection, too?
“Why can’t we be wrong on details as long as we get the big Truths right?”
Dan will be clear to state that he believes in the bodily Resurrection, but then again, he’s written, “I and my company are not of the sort that insist upon a literal interpretation of the Creation or even the Resurrection story.”
So far as I know, Dan has never written that the Crucifixion is one of those dispensible little details — but he hasn’t written otherwise, either, and he denies the direct causal connection between Christ’s death and our justification, forgiveness, and salvation from sin. He believes that we are saved by God’s grace but not Christ’s death, and that the latter is only an expression of the former.
“I believe we are saved by grace AND because of that grace, Jesus died for us. In THAT sense, one might say that our salvation is caused by Jesus’ death (as it is a representation of God’s grace). As I have said, it is not a scriptural phrasing of how we are saved (ie, the Bible does not SAY our salvation is caused by Jesus’ death) so I don’t think it’s the most biblical way of expressing it.”
I think one should keep all of this in mind when evaluating Dan Trabue’s positions on the teachings of the Bible.
22 thoughts on “False teacher profile”
I think your piece today is a lovely example of “quiet strength.” As we know, quiet does not mean silence any more than meekness is the same as weakness.
Thank you for an authentically respectful, yet pointed rebuttal to one with apparently too much time on his hands. Idleness continues to prove itself as the devil’s workshop, doesn’t it?
I wonder what sin Dan claimed you committed against him by banning him from your blog? I didn’t realize banning was a sin!
Dan has consistently called me a gossip and slanderer, even on other blogs when I encounter him. Truth is something he doesn’t seem to understand, nor does he really want to understand it when it conflicts with his ideology. I had to finally delete an entire comment string from one of my articles because he hijacked it so badly.
I love that quote: “I think the Bible is a book of Truths. Not facts.” Since when is the truth not a fact? Just a demonstration of his poor logic skills.
Having this great link as a response will certainly reduce the time dealing with this false teacher and heretic!
Neil, you’ve published many words to say what I have been saying about Dan for years: He’s an idiot.
Dan is such a troubled soul, he brings nothing but trouble to those who encounter him. May the Lord truly open his eyes one day, that would be the One who dies on the cross for our sins… that Lord.
O my, I find myself having to clarify the simplest of terms so they are not taken out of context or twisted is so often the case when DT shows up. 🙂
Interestingly enough, this post has sparked quite the ruckus over at Dan’s place. If I may be so bold, why not let Dan or one of his cronies respond to this post. I am quite sure that they will be able to be able to provide precise and relevant rebuttal to what you have written. Either way it would be gracious, and it could be interesting.
Yeah, I figured that would happen.
Yes, that would result in a few hundred comments here. But those things were asked and answered many times with Dan already. I feel bad that I already gave him more attention than he deserves.
Dan will have nothing new to add and, as Neil pointed out, he will do nothing but lead to time-wasting hundreds of comments going back and forth. He has no right to any more hearings.
I understand where you are coming from, and agree that it could go down that road, but it would still be good to give him at least some sort of limited response. Your call, but I think it would be worth it.
I agree, although I’m not sure “limited” will do it. There are a lot of things covered by Bubba’s comments alone.
You guys are welcome to host him!
Seriously, I know exactly how it will turn out. The post was a summary of all the nonsense he’s thrown out for years and to invite him to respond would truly be feeding the trolls. If the SuperFans(TM) want to wail at their sites, they are welcome to.
I agree with Neil. The only thing positive I will say about Dan is he is tenacious. Here is Dan’s entire argument about Homosexuality in a nutshell:
Homosexuality is natural and normal. Why” Because I say it is, and you misunderstand me and bear false witness if you disagree with me. Jesus says nothing about homosexuality so he must agree with me. I did not say what you said I said, even though you quoted me exactly. You are bearing false witness against me. I am right, and you, common sense, the Bible, God, and Jesus are all wrong. Stop misrepresenting me and bearing false witness.
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I laughed all the way through this. Mark, you have captured 100% the tenure of Dan’s arguments! This looks just like the stuff he had so much of on my blog. Thanks for that great summation.
The best, or only, reason to allow Dan T to respond here is because he undoubtedly will prove the point. One link within this post to his site (Bubba provided many to his words, but I haven’t clicked on any of them, so I don’t know which leads to his blog) would provide all the support for Neil’s point that one could hope for.
I think it also takes the wind out of one of his biggest complaints. That mean old slanderous gossipmonger is so mean he won’t let me comment.
I don’t think he has that right. He has commented here too often. This is to warn others about him, not to give him another open forum. So what if he complains! I don’t let him on mine any more either.
Yep. He commented here over 400 times and I addressed him countless times at other site. His claims of not being listened to are just more lies.
Sorry. I started to explain why I agree with Neil and got sidetracked. If he gives Dan a chance to defend himself, all he will get is 100+ comments that all say basically the same things as the above.
If someone wants to give Dan a forum to defend himself (in addition to his own blog, that is), more power to him, but I would recommend that he know exactly what he’s getting into.
In 2009, Dan and I had a torturously long discussion over the course of four threads between two different blogs: one, two, three, and four.
Other topics were covered, and other people commented, but the conversations were dominated by the two of us hashing out exactly the sort of issues I mention in my comment above, such as the causal connection between Christ’s death and our salvation and the absolute necessity of a bodily resurrection.
(The conversation really gets going here, on June 8th.)
We didn’t end up covering every topic under the sun, and notice that most of the time wasn’t used debating the merits of a particular position: it was used trying to ELICIT Dan’s positions in the first place. Literally tens of thousands of words were exchanged over the course of about half a year, and barely any progress was made in seeing more clearly what Dan Trabue actually believes.
I would also recommend that one considers the main points Dan’s making at his own blog, first in his criticism of Neil and then in the next immediate post, a seemingly unrelated excerpt of a recent sermon at Jeff Street.
In the first entry, Dan implausilby claims to quote conservative bloggers (without attribution) in order to address their ideas and avoid addressing them as people. He then points out the supposed irony (he means hypocrisy) on Neil’s part, for complaining about Currie while banning Dan for his own site. Defending himself from supposed slander, Dan accuses those who have banned him of cowardice, fear, and intellectual laziness: the problem couldn’t be with him, gosh no, and those who have shown him the door would make excellent subjects for a psychological study.
In the VERY NEXT entry, he quotes a sermon that urges giving one’s enemies the benefit of the doubt.
The sermon was made in the context of the killing of Osama bin Laden, who quite vocally claimed responsibility for 9/11. Dan seems completely unaware of the possibility that he could apply the lesson to “W and his spawn,” whom he accused of deicide and worshipping a bloodthirsty god. Nor does he seem to realize that he hardly gives Neil the benefit of the doubt with his conjecture about cowardice and laziness.
Give Dan another forum to present his views, and I have no doubt that we would see the same thing: the willful obfuscation, the hypocrisy, the sanctimony, and the utter lack of self-awareness.
If someone does choose to give Dan the opportunity to defend himself, I’d want that person to ask one question:
When is it appropriate to express doubts about a person’s claim to be a Christian?
On his own blog, Dan is incensed that people have concluded he’s not a Christian despite his claims to the contrary. He believes the conclusion is slanderous.
(Affirming that a person is a Christian isn’t a form of praise, since no one becomes a Christian by his own merit; so, in a sense, it’s no insult to say that a person isn’t a Christian. If he claims to be a Christian, to disagree is to call into question his understanding or his honesty, but I really don’t think Dan is all that honest of an individual.)
That sort of claim — Mr. So-and-so isn’t a Christian — isn’t an anamolous event in all of human history. Old-school Catholics occasionally say it of Protestants (and vice versa), and Christians say it of Mormons (and vice versa, to the extent Mormons are honest about what they believe).
In no case is it slander, by itself.
Catholics may believe that a Christian must belong to the church, but they also believe the church is limited to those under papal authority. I disagree with the latter claim (strongly), but I understand it, and according to their (incorrect) definition, Protestants don’t qualify as Christians. It’s incorrect but NOT slanderous of them to say so.
On the flip side of the coin, Mormons are polytheists. Christians believe that monotheism is an essential doctrine and so we conclude that Mormons aren’t Christian because of that significant doctrinal deviation. Again, it’s not slanderous to reach this conclusion.
Apparently, Dan thinks that it’s slanderous to doubt anyone who claims to be a Christian.
I’ve asked him if that means an atheist can be a Christian without abandoning his denial of God. Dan has never provided a clear answer, always conflating “is a Christian” with “is saved.”
(Abraham wasn’t a Christian, and he’s clearly saved; Enoch wasn’t even arguably Jewish, and he too was saved.)
Dan will emphasize the roles of grace and faith (not the cross) in salvation, but he won’t say that he therefore believes that the literally faithless aren’t saved.
In the thread that prompted my comment above, Dan wrote about how God’s will includes the idea that we are to praise God, but he has no trouble accepting into the membership of Jeff Street an atheist (or “non-theist”) who CANNOT POSSIBLY be sincere in praising a deity whose existence he does not affirm.
Is it always wrong to question a person’s claim to be a Christian? Not biblically, it isn’t, not going by John and Paul’s condemnation of those who deny the Incarnation or preach a different gospel.
But if Dan thinks its always wrong, he should say so.
Or if he thinks that there are beliefs that contradict the claim to be a Christian, then — AT MOST — he disagrees with us only on where to draw the line. Such lines aren’t “hoops” to jump through to be saved, but they are recognition that Christianity involves a creedal faith.
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Just fyi — this post has been updated with Dan’s latest silliness.
Thanks for the update. It was largely due to your warnings about his disruptive behavior that I banned him from my old blog. He won’t be allowed at Makarios Aner either.