Tag Archives: Old Testament

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

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Here’s another reason the “Christian” Left denies that Peter wrote 2 Peter: He describes them perfectly!

This passage is about wolves like the “Christian” Leftists, who not only dismiss Paul’s writings (at least all the parts they don’t like) but Peter’s as well. They mock the early church as rubes who didn’t “know” that the writings attributed to Peter weren’t authentic.  Of course they must do that! See how Peter affirm’s Paul’s writings as scripture and then describes the “Christian” Left and their ilk in the most unflattering terms, outing them as ignorant and unstable scripture-twisters.

2 Peter 3:15-16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

—–

More on the “Jesus vs. Paul” false dichotomy of the “Christian” Left:

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

The Tiny Bible of the “Christian” Left: Read it all in 5 minutes!

This started off as a tongue-in-cheek exercise, but I just kept thinking of more and more examples until my fingers cramped from typing so much.  Seriously, the more you think carefully about what the “Christian” Leftists teach and claim to believe about the Bible the more obvious it is that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

—–

There used to be a video store near us that rented movies with objectionable parts removed so the whole family could watch them.  I remember thinking, “What a time saver — you can watch Pulp Fiction in 5 minutes!”

In the same way, you can read the Theological Liberal Bible in about that time, and that is barely an exaggeration (although in this case there are no objectionable parts — at least to believers!).  Thomas Jefferson famously made his own religion with his “Jefferson Bible.” The “Christian” Left just goes many steps further.  I’m pretty sure this post is longer than their Bible.  Just think about all the things they have to leave out:

First, they must delete the many warnings against false teachers.  There are loads of those, even in the Sermon on the Mount that they think they like but don’t really understand.

Matthew 5:17–18 has to go from the Sermon on the Mount because it shows how Jesus fully supported all the Old Testament.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Then they need to delete various passages that warn not to add or remove anything from the word of God.

They must cut the 100+ passages passages explicitly or implicitly teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  You can’t have that while you’re busy teaching that all religions lead to the one true God.

They must delete the ~3,000 verses and surrounding texts that claim to directly speak for God.  In their hypocrisy many will claim that God is still speaking to them – such as with the UCC slogan “God is still speaking;” – but they don’t believe the original claims made in the Bible.  They treat it as a purely man-made book.  Why should we believe He is speaking to them in a reliable way?  Are we to believe that God has always been a 21st century far Left politician and was just waiting until the culture drifted his way before He was brave enough to speak?

All the claims that the Bible is the word of God have to be cut.  Psalm 119?  Gone.  2 Peter 3:16?  Gone.  And so on.

The beginning of Genesis must go, because they worship Darwin more than God and they “know” how we really came into being.

The countless passages in the Old Testament commanding us not to worship other gods.  For those of you who have actually read the Bible, you know how hard it is to go more than a couple pages without that warning or without reading about the horrible consequences of disobeying it.

The whole book of Joshua, because they think it would have been genocidal for God to clear out the promised land — even if the Canaanites had sacrificed babies and committed other atrocities for 400 years.

The messages about Adam & Eve, Sodom & Gomorrah, Noah and Jonah have to go, of course — as well as Jesus’ unapologetic commentary on them and his treatment of them as real events.

The whole Exodus passage, because they can’t believe that those miracles happened or that God would judge Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  And most of the wilderness experience and the Tabernacle creation must be removed, because they don’t think God really did miracles like providing manna or gave guidance to the Israelites.

The whole book of Judges, because they think God wouldn’t really punish Israel for cycle after cycle of turning from him and worshiping false gods.

Psalm 139 is out, because it teaches how we were knit together in our mother’s wombs by God.  And the same goes for all the other passages acknowledging the humanity of the unborn, such as when John the Baptist kicks in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.

All the do not murder / do not shed innocent blood passages have to be cut to support unrestricted abortion rights.

The book of Daniel, plus all other prophetic works, because their stunning accuracy leads theological Liberals to say they must have been written after the fact.  They seem to think that the proper Christian worldview is that Bible writers were big liars, so how could you possibly include those books?  After all, their god could never know the future like the God of the Bible.

Most or all of Paul’s letters, because they think he was a homophobic misogynist who could not have spoken for God.  There goes nearly half the books of the New Testament plus a big chunk of Acts.

The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, because they think God wouldn’t do that.

All the animal sacrifices, because PETA opposes those and God wouldn’t really command blood to be shed as payment for sins.

All the passages about God having the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom taken into captivity for disobeying him and worshiping other gods, because the god of liberal theologians would never do that!

The beginning of the book of Acts, because it has Jesus there after a physical resurrection.

All the passages about judgment and Hell (that’s a whole bunch of the red letters, btw).

All the Gospel presentations in Acts, because they never mention how much God loves us unconditionally but they continually mention that Jesus died and rose again for our sins and that we are commanded to repent and believe.

1 Corinthians 15, because it claims that Jesus was physically resurrected.

Most of the passages about the crucifixion being God’s idea, because that would be divine child abuse.

All the claims for Jesus’ divinity.

All the claims for the virgin birth.

All Jesus’ miracles, because they “know” those couldn’t have really happened.

All the Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead.

All the passages saying Jesus died for our sins.

All the passages about sinners and how humans can’t be good on their own.

All the passages about Satan and demons (there are more than you might think).

Most of the passages about human sexuality, marriage and parenting, because they view that version of God as homophobic, misogynistic and hopelessly politically incorrect.

All passages about God’s wrath.

They even have to take out Leviticus 19:18 (” . . . love your neighbor as yourself”) because they dismiss the rest of Leviticus with their flawed “God hates shrimp”argument.

Pretty much all of Revelation, and especially chapters 2-3 where Jesus addresses the faults of many churches.

And so many more!  Truly, they are the original Leopard Theologians, claiming that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theologians, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Leave a comment with others I missed and I’ll update the post.

So what’s left? Roughly a dozen verses, which they take out of context or just plain misinterpret.  Examples:

  1. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. They don’t have time to read the next 4 verses that explain how He meant not to judge hypocritically – which, ironically, is exactly what they do when they use that verse in isolation to judge you.
  2. Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. They use that to oppose capital punishment, among other things, even though it is hard to turn the other cheek if you are the victim of murder and to apply it would mean you’d oppose not only capital punishment for murderers but any punishment at all.
  3. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ They love mentioning the least of these to justify asking Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B, but of course that isn’t what Jesus meant.  And they ignore the other language of eternal judgment in the passage.  Oh, and they are pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer-funded abortion, which means they are pro-abortion.  I can’t reconcile that with helping the “least of these” or with loving your neighbor.

Seriously, we have a precise, highly technical theological term for people who hold those views about the Bible: Non-Christians.  Run, don’t walk, from their “churches.”  Highlight their errors until your throats are raw and your fingertips are calloused.  It is the loving thing to do for scores of their church members headed towards Hell.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to ignore those who claim his name then lie about him.  He didn’t call us to be politically correct.

If you love him you should agree with him about the Bible.

Things you find in 2 Chronicles 18: Bible sarcasm and false prophets dramatically outnumbering the real ones

Really, folks, you need to read the entire Bible.  So many great things in the word of God!  Every now and then you’ll find sarcasm in the Bible.  I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

In this example, the king asks 400 false prophets whether he should go into battle and they all say yes.  Then he asks a real prophet who gives him an initial sarcastic answer and then the truth.

2 Chronicles 18:5–6 (ESV)

5 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” 6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?”

2 Chronicles 18:11–16 (ESV)

11 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph. The Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”

12 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” 14 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” 15 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ ”

SPOILER ALERT!

The king ignores the real prophet and gets killed in battle.

So don’t be surprised when you feel outnumbered by frauds like the “Christian” Left.  Those worldly people* are bound to outnumber authentic believers.

Oh, and do listen to the real prophets whose testimony is in the Bible.  Do not trust the false teachers who try to discredit the Bible.

P.S. This story is so good it is also told in 1 Kings 22.

—–

*Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” have nearly identical views to the world. It shows who their real father is. Jude 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Tiny Bible of the “Christian” Left: Read it all in 5 minutes!

 

There used to be a video store near us that rented movies with objectionable parts removed so the whole family could watch them.  I remember thinking, “What a time saver — you can watch Pulp Fiction in 5 minutes!”

In the same way, you can read the “Christian” Left Bible in about that time, and that is barely an exaggeration (although in this case there are no objectionable parts — at least to believers!).  Thomas Jefferson famously made his own religion with his “Jefferson Bible.” “Christian” Leftists just go many steps further.  I’m pretty sure this post is longer than their Bible.  Seriously, think about all the things they have to leave out:

First, they must delete the many warnings against false teachers.  There are loads of those, even in the Sermon on the Mount that they think they like but don’t really understand.

Matthew 4:4 is gone because Jesus says that all of the Old Testament is the word of God and you can’t just read the “red letters.”

Matthew 5:17–18 has to go from the Sermon on the Mount because it shows how Jesus fully supported all the Old Testament.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Then they need to delete various passages that warn not to add or remove anything from the word of God.

They must cut the 100+ passages passages explicitly or implicitly teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  You can’t have that while you’re busy teaching that all religions lead to the one true God.

They must delete the ~3,000 verses and surrounding texts that claim to directly speak for God.  In their hypocrisy many will claim that God is still speaking to them – such as with the UCC slogan “God is still speaking;” – but they don’t believe the original claims made in the Bible.  They treat it as a purely man-made book.  Why should we believe He is speaking to them in a reliable way?  Are we to believe that God has always been a 21st century far Left politician and was just waiting until the culture drifted his way before He was brave enough to speak?

All the claims that the Bible is the word of God have to be cut.  Psalm 119?  Gone.  2 Peter 3:16?  Gone.  And so on.

The beginning of Genesis must go, because they worship Darwin more than God and they “know” how we really came into being.

The countless passages in the Old Testament commanding us not to worship other gods.  For those of you who have actually read the Bible, you know how hard it is to go more than a couple pages without that warning or without reading about the horrible consequences of disobeying it.

The whole book of Joshua, because they think it would have been genocidal for God to clear out the promised land — even if the Canaanites had sacrificed babies and committed other atrocities for 400 years.

The messages about Adam & Eve, Sodom & Gomorrah, Noah and Jonah have to go, of course — as well as Jesus’ unapologetic commentary on them and his treatment of them as real events.

The whole Exodus passage, because they can’t believe that those miracles happened or that God would judge Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  And most of the wilderness experience and the Tabernacle creation must be removed, because they don’t think God really did miracles like providing manna or gave guidance to the Israelites.

The whole book of Judges, because they think God wouldn’t really punish Israel for cycle after cycle of turning from him and worshiping false gods.

Psalm 139 is out, because it teaches how we were knit together in our mother’s wombs by God.  And the same goes for all the other passages acknowledging the humanity of the unborn, such as when John the Baptist kicks in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.

All the do not murder / do not shed innocent blood passages have to be cut to support unrestricted abortion rights.

The book of Daniel, plus all other prophetic works, because their stunning accuracy leads theological Liberals to say they must have been written after the fact.  They seem to think that the proper Christian worldview is that Bible writers were big liars, so how could you possibly include those books?  After all, their god could never know the future like the God of the Bible.

Most or all of Paul’s letters, because they think he was a homophobic misogynist who could not have spoken for God.  There goes nearly half the books of the New Testament plus a big chunk of Acts.

The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, because they think God wouldn’t do that.

All the animal sacrifices, because PETA opposes those and God wouldn’t really command blood to be shed as payment for sins.

All the passages about God having the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom taken into captivity for disobeying him and worshiping other gods, because the god of liberal theologians would never do that!

The beginning of the book of Acts, because it has Jesus there after a physical resurrection.

All the passages about judgment and Hell (that’s a whole bunch of the red letters, btw).

All the Gospel presentations in Acts, because they never mention how much God loves us unconditionally but they continually mention that Jesus died and rose again for our sins and that we are commanded to repent and believe.

1 Corinthians 15, because it claims that Jesus was physically resurrected.

Most of the passages about the crucifixion being God’s idea, because that would be divine child abuse.

All the claims for Jesus’ divinity.

All the claims for the virgin birth.

All Jesus’ miracles, because they “know” those couldn’t have really happened.

All the Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead.

All the passages saying Jesus died for our sins.

All the passages about sinners and how humans can’t be good on their own.

All the passages about Satan and demons (there are more than you might think).

Most of the passages about human sexuality, marriage and parenting, because they view that version of God as homophobic, misogynistic and hopelessly politically incorrect.

All passages about God’s wrath.

They even have to take out Leviticus 19:18 (” . . . love your neighbor as yourself”) because they dismiss the rest of Leviticus with their flawed “God hates shrimp”argument.

Pretty much all of Revelation, and especially chapters 2-3 where Jesus addresses the faults of many churches.

And so many more!  Truly, they are the original Dalmatian Theologians, claiming that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theologians, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Leave a comment with others I missed and I’ll update the post.

So what’s left? Roughly a dozen verses, which they take out of context or just plain misinterpret.  Examples:

  1. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. They don’t have time to read the next 4 verses that explain how He meant not to judge hypocritically – which, ironically, is exactly what they do when they use that verse in isolation to judge you.
  2. Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. They use that to oppose capital punishment, among other things, even though it is hard to turn the other cheek if you are the victim of murder and to apply it would mean you’d oppose not only capital punishment for murderers but any punishment at all.
  3. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ They love mentioning the least of these to justify asking Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B, but of course that isn’t what Jesus meant.  And they ignore the other language of eternal judgment in the passage.  Oh, and they are pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer-funded abortion, which means they are pro-abortion.  I can’t reconcile that with helping the “least of these” or with loving your neighbor.

Seriously, we have a precise, highly technical theological term for people who hold those views about the Bible: Non-Christians.  Run, don’t walk, from their “churches.”  Highlight their errors until your throats are raw and your fingertips are calloused.  It is the loving thing to do for scores of their church members headed towards Hell.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to ignore those who claim his name then lie about him.  He didn’t call us to be politically correct.

Favorite dish of the theological Left & skeptics: Shellfish

shellfish.jpgAs always, this is about careful thinking and proper analysis of the Bible and not about picking on homosexuals.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Many liberal theologians, skeptics and pro-gay lobbyists use the “shellfish” argument to undermine and/or dismiss parts of the Bible they disagree with, often mocking about how they love shrimp and such.  They use the same reasoning with other Old Testament restrictions such as not eating pork or mixing fibers in garments.  This video by Jack Black is a recent example.

Their argument goes like this:

  • Yes, Leviticus 18:22 says Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
  • But Leviticus 11:10 says, And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the waters, they are an abomination unto you
  • Therefore, the Bible cannot be the word of God and homosexual behavior must be moral because the Bible is an undependable, contradictory book that equates shrimp eating with sexual immorality.  And people who teach that homosexual behavior is a sin are bigoted hypocrites who only follow the parts of the Bible they like.

Search for Leviticus shellfish or see sites like God Hates Shrimp for more examples.

The above exercise proves that anti-gay fundamentalists selectively quote the Bible. They enthusiastically and openly embrace those parts of the Bible which affirm and justify their own personal, pre-existing prejudice against gay people, while declining to become as enthusiastic about verses like the ones listed above.

After all, how many times have you heard a fundamentalist say that eating shellfish was an abomination? But they sure don’t hesitate to say it about gay people, do they? What does that tell you?

Actually, I find those questions to be ironic, because I think the facts will show which side is most likely to pre-judge, selectively quote the Bible and take it too literally.  I hope they take this analysis seriously and reconsider whether their premises and conclusions were sound.

On the one hand, their argument is effective because it is catchy and very few people know how to respond to it.  Many people can’t even articulate the simple Gospel.  When was the last time anyone read Leviticus?

On the other hand, their argument is ineffective because the facts do not support it.  Also, it deliberately and unnecessarily undermines confidence in the word of God.  I expect that from skeptics and non-believers, but I am always disappointed that those claiming to be Christians use it to attack the word of God.

The argument appeals to those who take passages literally when it suits them.  Both passages say abomination (or detestable, depending on what translation you read), don’t they?  And if eating shellfish is obviously a morally neutral act then homosexual behavior must be as well, right?

However, if you follow the basic principle of reading things in context and you attempt to understand the original languages better on difficult or controversial passages, then you’ll realize that the shellfish argument is not supported by the facts.

The short version: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination.  They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.  The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.  

The longer version

1. The words translated abomination in the original Hebrew are different.  In Lev. 11:10, it means detestable thing or idol, an unclean thing, an abomination, detestation.  This word is typically used in the Bible to describe unclean animals.

In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners.  As noted below, the word is also used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest.

Therefore, the entire “same word!” argument self-destructs immediately.

2. Even a plain reading of the passages shows that the homosexual behavior is considered detestable to God, whereas the shellfish are to be detestable to the Israelites because it made them ceremonially unclean.  Those are key differences.  Being detestable to God is quite a bit different than being detestable to a person.

3. The broader contexts show completely different types of regulations.  Read Leviticus 11 and Leviticus 18 yourself and note the contexts.  I’ll wait here.

The beginning and end of chapter 11 make it clear that this passage is about dietary rules just for the Israelites:

Leviticus 11:1-2 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat:

Leviticus 11:46-47 These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.

Now consider the beginning and end of chapter 18, where the Israelites are told not to be like the pagan Canaanites.  God expected the Canaanites to follow these moral laws and was about to vomit them out of the land for failing to do so.  Therefore, they obviously weren’t Jewish ceremonial laws.

Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

4. The punishments for eating shellfish and homosexual behavior were radically different.  There were about 15 things in the Israelite theocracy that could result in capital punishment, and homosexual behavior was one of them (And no, I’m not suggesting that should be the punishment today.  The punishments were for the Israelite theocracy, which is clear when you read the context of those passages.)  But eating shellfish just made one ceremonially unclean for a period of time.

Again, note how the moral laws with their steep punishments are tied to offenses God held the pagans responsible for, yet the unclean animal passages were for the Israelites only and were brief.

 Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:22-26 Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

5. The ceremonial dietary laws were clearly and emphatically overturned in the New Testament, whereas the commands against homosexual behavior (and other sexual sins) were not.   Also see Acts 15:28-29 (It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.)

6. The claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they anyone claiming to be Christian who complained about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, gay-bashing, etc. would also be inconsistent if they didn’t obey the Jewish ceremonial laws.  That is transparently false.  You should use this counter-argument against “Christians” making the shellfish / mixed fiber / etc. claim: Unless you also follow the Jewish ceremonial laws, then you shouldn’t advocate for any of your [allegedly] biblical views about government, helping the poor, gays, abortion, etc.

And if someone tries to play the “Leviticus is outdated” card, remind them of this verse and ask if it still counts: Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Remember, anyone calling themselves a Christian should be seeking to hold the same views as Jesus.  And Jesus fully supported the Old Testament law, including the most controversial parts.

So if anyone uses the shellfish argument with you, ask a few questions to see if they have really thought it through.  Everyone I have ever seen use it was either unaware of these responses or deliberately ignoring them. 

Also see Problems with Pro-Gay Theology.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.