Things I Think

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304 Responses

  1. Steve Wright says:

    These are excellent.

  2. filbertz says:

    I would imagine the Apostle Paul publicly calling out the Apostle Peter for his two-faced behavior toward Gentile believers would qualify as a biblical reference to righteous “skepticism.” I don’t have my Bible in front of me, so someone else will have to provide the text from Acts.

    The stifling of female voices is done out of ignorance, backwardness, or arrogance. Little wiggle room in that assessment. 😉

  3. Michael says:

    “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

    (Galatians 2:11–14 ESV)

  4. everstudy says:

    I think it was great running into Erunner at church yesterday.

  5. 1. Important to keep your mind open to both sides. And yes, online media should always keep an eye to the truth.
    2. Yep.
    3. Definitely.
    5. Xenia had a good point on that last week IMO.
    6. Doubt it. I think people generally cover up to protect power, male or female.
    8. Amen!
    9. Agreed.
    10. Back to #1.

  6. 1. SGM and other churches, at a very minimum, should have reported abuse to authorities (rather than doing in-house investigations, reconciliations, etc) and put those facing allegations on administrative leave until all was resolved, Oh, but he’s a good teacher… we need him to carry on his good work doesn’t fly. Good teachers, cops, healthcare workers etc all step down when facing allegations of child sexual abuse. It should be no different for the so-called “God’s anointed.”

    That many of the leaders in the SGM movement have expressed little or no concern about the allegations and spent more time patting themselves on the back, going about business as usual, makes it difficult to be sympathetic on their behalf. Lacks dignity, integrity, and stinks to high heaven.

  7. Michael says:

    Once Upon A Time,

    I don’t disagree with anything you said…however, we are still assuming guilt.
    I’m not advocating for anything other than that we act with the same integrity that we demand in others.

  8. Michael says:

    We’ve reached a point where any allegation is treated as true until proven otherwise.
    I’ve seen someone gain traction recently in another situation where the allegations are absolutely ludicrous…but because they are against someone perceived as an enemy they are embraced uncritically.
    The SGM debacle stinks indeed…but I wonder if we aren’t becoming what we despise.

  9. Michael says:

    If my #1 was another statement ripping the hide off SGM, I’d have 40 comments by now…

  10. Rob Murphy says:

    Michael – I’ve been wondering if (and I’m not a ‘there’s a demon of discouragement loose in my house because the milk went sour kind of guy) there’s a specific spiritual attack happening. . . it seems there’s a great nobility to attacking and believing the worst about certain institutions / ideologies.
    To the peril of my own theory, I will not cite the examples I’m thinking of because it will derail the conversation. But I’m reminded of your emphasis over the last few months about the essential chilling of love among Christians. Isn’t it interesting that from the Agape love that Paul talks about in 1 Cor. 13 (and sorry, I can’t resist, but lately it’s hip to question Paul’s validity as an author of actual Scripture, interestingly) that we could take – if we take Paul’s words as Spirit breathed – that our default as possessors of Agape love from the throne of God requires us to “believe the best”, and if we combine that thought with Galatians 6.10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” that maybe we’re supposed to believe the best first and foremost about other believers.

    I know, Paul isn’t really Scripture and we’d rather the Galatians passage be about shopping with Christian merchants. But just imagine if it were possible that those two passages could be used to theoretically form an ethic for interaction among Christians.
    I know, it’s silly.

  11. When accusations of harm are as dangerous as child sexual abuse,( or rape, murder and other heineous crimes) for the protection of society, in the event they are proven guilty – it is only prudent and safe that the accused be distanced from possible further victims until the presumed innocent is indeed found innocent. Whether by being removed from job that gave access to victims or in extreme cases, incarcertation pending outcomes of investigation and trial.

    I agree that the danger to become that which we despise is huge. I also am aware that our justice system breaks down for the accused as well as those accusing in way too many cases. Cases being tried by the courts of public opinion is a messy endeavor no matter which way you slice it.

  12. Michael says:

    Rob,

    I’m convinced that the” loss of the first love” in Rev 2 was the love that the church had for each other…
    ““ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
    (Revelation 2:2–5 ESV)

  13. Josh Hamrick says:

    1. I definitely see the need to withhold judgement, and many that I respect have decided that if Maheney is sinking they are going down with him. I have to say though, in most cases, where there is this much smoke there is usually some fire. I guess to err on the side of protecting children is the best way to go.

    2. I think there is a time to boot someone from fellowship and tell them don’t come back.

    3. Yeah. A consistent stand by the church is what is needed…but that’s not gonna happen.

    4. I feel pretty wormy some days. I’m glad that He gave me the right to become a child of God.

    5. I think it is an indictment on the particular way many of the neo-Reformed want to do church. If correct beliefs lead to correct actions, this is definitely a smudge on the SGM belief system.

    6. I don’t think it plays a part. The early church stifled female voices much more than SGM and CC. Whether or not that was supposed to be continued forever is up for debate, but the fact that our earliest models did not allow female voices is not up for debate. So, in my mind, two separate but important issues.

    7. I don’t know who I really am.

    8. “The more of us who pray for each other, the more people who will be giving thanks when God answers.”
    Well said!

    9. No doubt. BUT, imagine that your very best friend in ministry was part of such an accusation. My guess is that you’d prayerfully, hoping for the best, keep it quiet for as long as possible. Not that you’d want to bring harm to the accusers, but that you’d have such trouble believing those awful things about someone you love, and you’d have trouble pulling the switch if he was the one strapped to the electric chair.

    10. Yep. We scream for accountability among ministers….but there is NO accountability among online commentors.

  14. Michael says:

    If correct beliefs lead to correct actions…we’re all indicted.

  15. Frosted Flake says:

    The reporting laws are clear when comes to child sexual abuse. To come forward after the statute of limitations is up means gross ignorance and negligence of the law. Churches everywhere are guilty of this, hence the “culture of coverup.”

  16. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 14 – Of course we are. However, that seems to be the theme of Paul’s letter to Titus. Paul talks about other preachers who are disqualified because of their bad works. Then, he tells Titus to be different that those guys. Oddly enough, he doesn’t harp on being different by doing good works, but by teaching correct doctrine.

    I definitely thing the right beliefs are crucial for us to be able to walk out the good works that God has called us to.

  17. Michael,
    You posted,
    “3. The reason homosexuality is poised to become an even bigger issue in the church is that this is the first time that the culture has declared an established tenet of the faith to be potentially illegal.”

    I’m really confused, when did Jesus ever make the issue of homosexuality a tenant of the faith?

    Thanks.

  18. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 15 – “Churches everywhere are guilty of this.”
    Woah. Churches everywhere are guilty of child sex abuse cover-up?

  19. Believe says:

    1. “We don’t believe him.”

    I don’t, but I’m biased having seen how easy it is for a pastor to lie and get away with it.

    “The question before the house is this…is that unbelief righteous?”

    I don’t think it’s an issue of righteous vs. unrighteous, I think that is to over-spiritualize being human and not trusting certain Groups of people.

    2. “The goal of church discipline is always rehabilitative and restorative, not retributive. The church isn’t in the business of being punitive. If yours is, you’re in the wrong church.

    Agreed.

    3. “The reason homosexuality is poised to become an even bigger issue in the church is that this is the first time that the culture has declared an established tenet of the faith to be potentially illegal.”

    Disagree. I think the church is guilty of over-playing the homosexual card as a special sin and exercising unequal scales in railing against homosexuality and making it an issue vs. the way the church tolerates and even endorses and participates in so many other sins…like adultery (Don Stewart, David Hocking, and a long list of others) and child abuse and financial abuses etc etc.

    I think if the so-called church treated homosexuality like it treats fornication, remarrying divorcees, adultery, greed, lying, gluttony etc…there wouldn’t be the societal acrimony and contention on the issue of homosexuality that there is now.

    4. “Any liturgy that speaks of people as “worms” doesn’t understand the biblical doctrine of adoption.”

    Agreed.

    5. “The SGM mess isn’t an indictment of Calvinism…it’s a reflection of what happens in any denomination when there is no mechanism for justice and the power is centered in a network of a few.”

    Agreed.

    6. “I do wonder if the complete stifling of any female voice adds to the institutional problems in places like SGM and CC…”

    I think you’re onto something here. Women have more compassion for the abused and seem to have clearer heads when it comes to dealing with abuses in the church. I have encountered many more women than men who seem to have the heart of Jesus when it comes to helping those hurt by the church. Women seem, in general, to have more a Jesus sense of mercy in this area, whereas (in general) the guys tend to default to defending the status quo and exampling an attitude of “it’s not my problem”.

    7. ”It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are – even if we tell it only to ourselves – because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing….” – Frederick Buechner

    Agreed. I think most wear masks and fake it…but I know this reality and know that all is not as it seems on the surface. We’re all afflicted with the same disease.

    8.“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”(2 Corinthians 1:8–11 ESV)

    For those of you (like myself) who find ourselves being crushed on every side, listen up. You need to stop relying on yourself and rely on God…who has the power to raise dead dreams and dead hopes as well as dead people.Those resurrections happen…and are happening and will certainly happen. The more of us who pray for each other, the more people who will be giving thanks when God answers.”

    Make your own miracles. I think God “helps those who help themselves” 1 Ben Franklin 3:16

    9. “There is no amount of power or money that could move me to cover the abuse of a child. Period.”

    What if it was enough money for you to end poverty and help a ton of people and keep them from starving? Situational Ethics 🙂

    10. “Nobody in the last 500 years of Western culture has a more undeservedly bad reputation than John Calvin. The reason for this is that two of his enemies wrote scathingly slanderous books about him and those books have been quoted as gospel ever since. How much more power do we have today to build and destroy a persons reputation in a world where once something is online it is online forever?”

    Pretty much the same with any Guru or Public Figure. Their allies and followers will see them in a positive light, their enemies will see them (and cast them) in a negative light and those in a neutral position will sift through the information (if so inclined) and arrive at their own opinion. Truth is often relative and a function of perception and interpreting the available data.

  20. Rob Murphy says:

    hey, there it is.

  21. Michael says:

    Gman,

    As you know, I affirm all of Scripture as being as inspired as the four Gospels.
    However, even in those Gospels, when Jesus speaks of marriage, He is speaking of a man and a woman…

  22. Michael says:

    Actually, God helps those who can’t help themselves…

  23. Believe says:

    “He is speaking of a man and a woman…”

    Jesus is a man and I’m to love and be married to Him and I’m a man.

  24. Michael says:

    Believe,

    Metaphors are not your strong suit.
    You are part of a Body, called the “bride”.

  25. Believe says:

    Am I not the “bride of Christ”? Sounds like Gay Marriage to me 😉

  26. Believe says:

    Paul the Apostle withheld sexual relations so he could be married to Jesus.

  27. Michael says:

    Believe,

    That’s ridiculous.
    It’s also bordering on blasphemy and I won’t tolerate it.

  28. Scott Miller says:

    Concerning the SGM thing. I don’t think that those on this blog have been very fair. When the lawsuit was released, the SGM leadership was assumed guilty…and then it was thrown out…..egg on your face. Proverbs 18.17 doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously here. It’s easy to charge and convict on an internet blog, but when asked to step up and prove it in a court of law…not so much. Where is the “innocent until proven guilty” thing? Why do we assume the worst about others without hearing them out first? Has anyone here actually talked and interacted with SGM leadership?

  29. covered says:

    #2 is always a tough one. It seems as though the person(s) in need of restoration are usually too stubborn or prideful to recognize the issue. Part of the process for this person is usually to throw everyone under the bus while kicking and screaming. A wise friend told me that being kind is much better than being right and that will always be my approach. As recently as last week, an ongoing problem with a couple (husband and wife) leaders has forced me to begin a restoration process. While I have every intention of loving the socks off of them, they are in denial. I think that like the young prodigal, we need to wait for some to “come to himself”. My fear is that the longer this couple procrastinates a meeting, the more damage they are doing to themselves and the church.

  30. Michael,
    Thanks, I wasn’t sure how you understood it to be so. Honestly wasn’t trying to be provocative.

    Have an awesome day.

    Believe,
    Don’t go making trouble there, mister. You know full well what a “figure of speech” is.
    The 10 commandments are pretty much summed up on one small fortune cookie slip, “Don’t be a…”
    😉

    You have an awesome day too.

  31. Michael says:

    covered,

    It is always difficult and when damage is being done to the Body as a group, then someone has to be removed.
    If I’m reading Paul right, he fully expected God to use the devil as a tool to bring someone to repentance, but only after they were removed from the assembly.

  32. Michael says:

    Scott,

    Actually, I was involved in helping set up one of the first blogs that was dealing with SGM many years ago.
    They have a history of being stiff necked and beyond correction and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
    Having said that, my questions in #1 and your response do have merit.

  33. Michael says:

    Scott,

    The lawsuit wasn’t thrown out on merit, but on the statute of limitations.

  34. Scott Miller #28. To also be fair, it was thrown out on technicality. Specifically statute of limitations.

  35. Sorry, didn’t see that Michael had already answered that.

  36. covered says:

    I agree Michael. One of my struggles is that if these two weren’t leaders, the issues would not be as serious. Because they are looked on by the church as leaders, they feel as though the problem is with everyone else. Because of how they are responding to my request to meet, they are making the problems worse.

  37. Michael says:

    covered,

    That’s a bear of a problem…and it’s almost a no win situation without divine intervention.

  38. fyi says:

    #6 is unfair. Who says female voices are stifled in CC? Certainly not at my CC and the others I know of. The fact that they are not permitted by Scripture to be leaders (pastors, elders) doesn’t stifle them at all. I am infinitely richer because I have many female voices I can listen to, the most notable the one in my own home/

  39. fyi says:

    Derek Thornton, you’re really Matt Bonner with a berard, aren’t you? 🙂

  40. Michael says:

    fyi,

    I don’t think it unfair at all…I included my tribe (Calvinists) in the post.
    I don’t think women have a voice in these organizations…and from my mail I can tell you that they don’t think they have one either.

  41. #39 Not an NBA fan, had to google him. No, he looks a lot better than I ever will. 😉

  42. fyi says:

    and he shoots 3-pointers better, too, I’m sure. Thanks Derek for letting me have some fun.

  43. mike says:

    Michael.
    Your #10: regarding Calvin’s reputaion being unfairly and inaccurately maligned? I think you aren’t being completely open to all the evidence and testimony available on both sides on that one, but I’m not going to try to change your mind. Let’s just leave it at I respect and receive you as a Brother in Christ with a different opinion.

    Good challenge for study for us all would be to write down all the people in church history or doctrinal stances that we’ve been told by ‘the powers that be’ or our own tradition are ‘heretics’ or not to be read… And then READ them ourselves, considering with an open mind, heart and spirit what they say and whether it matches what see in scripture.

    Not too many these days break out of their own moulds to consider other ideas. I know I’m not the model for this, but I try.
    Enjoy the day
    -MIC

  44. Michael says:

    mike,

    If you knew what I have read on Calvin you would laugh…I have literally hundreds of volumes by him and about him, from friend and foe alike.

  45. Believe says:

    “That’s ridiculous.
    It’s also bordering on blasphemy and I won’t tolerate it.”

    Blasphemous is what passes for the church. I think God understands my comment and I just talked to Him and He says we’re good. In fact, He laughed his “hinder parts” off.

  46. mike says:

    I wasn’t commenting on the diversity of your reading list, but your openness. Didn’t comment to start a back and forth. As I said, not prepared to argue with you over it. Consider it dropped from my side at least.
    -MIC

  47. Michael says:

    mike,

    You confuse arguing doctrine with seeking historical truth.
    We can find historical data about Calvin’s Geneva without holding to any particular doctrinal position.
    The historical analysis you have put forth here has often been inaccurate and that is what I have called you on.

  48. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ok, I hate to even enter this convo because Calvin is kinda the golden calf…but I’m assuming this is about Servetus?

    Did Calvin not write the letter that said basically if Servetus was around him, he’d want to kill him?

  49. Scott Miller says:

    I’m not sure if charging the SGM leadership of very serious crimes on blogs is how it should be done. Where is THEIR (SGM Leadership) voice in that? And do you expect them to respond to every charge on every blog that have no factual filters? I prefer letting them defend themselves in a court of law. There is simply no way to know fact from fiction by reading the blogs. And, as of now, the courts have thrown out the case. I have to assume innocence unless THEY can prove their case. They didn’t prove their case. It wasn’t even deemed worthy of a criminal trial. There’s a good legal reason for statute of limitations. The courts would be in chaos without certain parameters like that. So the burden is on the anti-SGM crowd. Prove your case legally by putting facts on the table. If not, then we should assume innocence. Proverbs 18:17.

  50. Believe says:

    When I talk to God and listen to Him, He has quite a sense of humor most of the time. I wonder why God is so serious with some of you? Why does He relate to you differently?

  51. Josh Hamrick says:

    Or according to Wikipedia:

    “Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here, but I will not give my word; for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive ” – Calvin (in a letter to William Farel)

    Now, are you saying those words are falsely attributed to him?

  52. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 49 – Worst case scenario, they are raping children and covering it up. Where is the victim’s voice in your scenario?

    And please read anything I’ve said about SGM before lumping me in with a bunch of others.

  53. Believe says:

    Calvin was a man and not God, I can state that with all certainty.

    I think, like with most of written human history, Calvin’s story is one part truth and 10 parts fill-in-the-blank from both his friends and his critics.

    He, like us, probably made a lot of mistakes, got some stuff right and probably sinned a lot.

    God tells me that it’s not kosher to make man idols out of gurus. Not sure what He’s telling you.

  54. Believe says:

    I think CC values women a ton.

    Someone has to do the cooking and cleaning and lead the women’s ministry 🙂

  55. Michael says:

    Josh,

    If we are going to speak of Calvin (or any other historic figure) we need to speak of them in the context of their culture, not ours.
    First, lets’ deal with Servetus.
    John Calvin didn’t kill Michael Servetus.
    He couldn’t, he didn’t have any authority to do so.
    Calvin wasn’t even a citizen of Geneva until about four years before his death.
    He was the chief prosecutor (his job as pastor of the city) in front of the city council that did have the power.
    In 16th century Europe, heresy was considered a capital crime because it was akin to treason or sedition.
    Servetus was a renowned heretic and before he came to Geneva he was in a French prison waiting to be executed for the same by the Roman Catholic church.
    He escaped by climbing out of the top of an outhouse and made a beeline for Geneva.
    He was spotted, captured and tried and found guilty.
    Before his sentencing, the Genevan city council sent out to all the other Reformed cantons and cities and asked what the penalty should be…and they all called for his execution.
    Calvin petitioned for a more merciful death than burning and was declined.
    Now, in the 21st century we can talk about the folly of mixing church and state and all the other reasons why this shouldn’t have happened.
    Calvin didn’t live in the 21st century…

  56. Believe says:

    Appeal to cultural context and relativism above ^^^

    What Calvin did, from an Absolutist Position, is either “right” or “wrong” in all contexts.

  57. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 55 – I agree, mostly. But even at the time, some strongly opposed Calvin after the execution, right? I mean, it sounds like something he would have done well to stay out of. I don’t think it negates any positive contributions that he made, but its kind of an ugly scene.

  58. Believe says:

    The example of Servetus illustrates the danger in creating a Theocracy and Theocratic Government construct.

  59. Josh Hamrick says:

    Believe, you are back to communicating in a wonky fashion.

  60. Michael says:

    The opposition to Calvin in Geneva had nothing to do with Servetus.

  61. Josh Hamrick says:

    Even Castellio?!?

  62. Believe says:

    Josh, I’ll fix that right away, once I figure out what you mean by wonky 🙂

  63. Michael says:

    Castellio’s disputes with Calvin had their genesis long before the death of Servetus.

  64. Michael says:

    Calvin was a fascinating guy…there are two recent biographies that are excellent and quite readable.
    Bruce Gordon of Yale and Herman Selderhuis both wrote outstanding books on him.

    We try to make people simple…when all of us are a mixture of light and darkness.
    Calvin was complex and brilliant and troubled…and well worth studying past Wikipedia and traditional repeats of old slanders and praises.

  65. Michael says:

    I’m off to get Trey.

  66. I haven’t read all the comments, so someone may have mentioned this already. What is the big deal of homosexuality, the culture and the church.
    The culture says adultery is legal – the culture says divorce is legal.

    The church is under no obligation, legally, culturally or any other obligation to declare them acceptable or allowable – In The Church.

    So why the huff about homosexuality? Don’t affirm it in your church regardless what the culture says.

    Besides, look around – many churches are ahead of culture and embrace it openly.

    Another non issue.

  67. Believe says:

    “We try to make people simple…when all of us are a mixture of light and darkness.
    Calvin was complex and brilliant and troubled”

    From my reading, I agree with that assessment and it meshes with what I know of humanity.

  68. Believe says:

    The devil inside, I think all the gurus and even the apostles dealt with this dynamic that seems to be a truth.

    “Get behind me satan!” said God incarnate to Peter, an anointed Apostle.

  69. Believe says:

    Do we take God incarnate as literal when he referred to Peter the Apostle as “satan” or do we say “well Jesus didn’t really mean….”

  70. Josh Hamrick says:

    “when all of us are a mixture of light and darkness.”

    Of course, and I’ve never said anything otherwise.

    “and well worth studying past Wikipedia and traditional repeats of old slanders and praises.”

    I’m sure you are correct, but time does not permit. I don’t think, however, I’ve repeated old slanders, and I gave you the opportunity to correct me on that.

    I think history agrees with me, that Calvin didn’t benefit from the Servetus stuff. That’s all I’m saying.

  71. Believe says:

    God has told me that the devil isn’t a real entity and that demons are not real entities either. It’s a metaphor. The devil is the adversary to anything that is “good” and of the Spirit and akin to the use of Anthropomorphism for evil and sin and the flesh and man’s worst tendencies.

    Hell is not a literal place, it is a metaphorical place of torment for those who separate themselves from God and the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

    Most of the “consequences of sin” is Reaping and Sowing dynamic, and the rest is random. Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no reason.

    Much of the Old Testament was man and not what God intended. It has never been “right” and “righteous” for a father to stone / murder his child or for the men of a city to stone / murder a woman caught in adultery etc. The ways of the Taliban have never been righteous. God told me so 🙂

  72. Josh Hamrick says:

    “God has told me”

    Come on man. Don’t make us go through this.

  73. Believe says:

    Josh, what is God telling you then?

  74. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m out. I can’t deal with this version of Alex today.

  75. Believe says:

    It’s an interesting consideration (the “God told me” which is what we all essentially assume and it’s what all Gurus and church Groups assume), but it’s too challenging for most. No problem.

    I wish you: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. I assume that if God is real and active in His Creation, then He “directs our path” and when we pray to Him, it’s a two-way communication. His Spirit is “alive” and speaks through the bible and He speaks to us through prayer etc.

    The function becomes what does it all mean? That is where what we assume to be “God speaking” takes quite a divergence as the text is ripe with metaphor and parable and anthropomorphism and analogy and obscure prophecy etc.

    I think the Spirit moves in mysterious ways and “feeling” and doing and “good fruit” is the real magic.

    Help someone, love folks, unilaterally forgive, don’t beat up others about sin and don’t beat yourself up. Live, love and embrace the Grace.

  76. Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot. ~Rufus T. Firefly

  77. Believe says:

    THE TWO WOLVES
    A CHEROKEE STORY

    A young boy came to his Grandfather, filled with anger at
    another boy who had done him an injustice.
    The old Grandfather said to his grandson, “Let me tell you a
    story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that
    have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate
    wears you down, and hate does not hurt your enemy. Hate is
    like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have
    struggled with these feelings many times.”

    “It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one wolf is good and
    does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does
    not take offence when no offence was intended. He will only
    fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the
    other wolf, is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a
    fit of temper.”

    “He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot
    think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless
    anger, because his anger will change nothing. Sometimes it is
    hard to live with these two wolves inside me, because both of
    the wolves try to dominate my spirit.”

    The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked,
    “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

    The Grandfather smiled and said, “The one I feed.”

  78. Believe says:

    Does anyone think the Cherokee who worshipped “the Great Spirit” were possibly “saved”? Any of them? Did they all go to hell even though many didn’t hear the Gospel until the “Christians” killed them and conquered them and took over their lands?

  79. Nonnie says:

    Re: number 3

    So many changes have taken place in the American Christian culture, just in my lifetime:
    **Divorce: My husbands parents (back in the late 1930’s) were shunned by his father’s Christian family for several years, because my husband’s mother had been divorced. The family reasoned that God hates divorce and it was not something that could be accepted in good Christian circles. Because she was a divorcee’ their marriage was not valid because by God’s word, she was committing adultery. Today, divorce is common place in the church. Pastors divorce and remain behind the pulpit.
    **Women: Today many churches have women pastors/ministers. Even in some CC’s Women are worship leaders and ministry leaders.. I’m guessing the male drummer and male guitar player would be expected to “submit” to the female worship leader in her choice of songs, arrangements, etc.
    **Head Covering: I can remember that as a little girl women had to have their heads covered in church. We had to cover our heads in church (protestant) with a hat or little piece of lace. Today that isn’t the case in most churches. What changed in God’s word about head coverings?
    **Sexuality: Teen pregnancies in the church. (Don’t misunderstand me…..I’m not calling for shunning or shaming) I am just saying that what was formerly a “scandal” or a shame is now common place in the church and nothing said or addressed in most cases.

    I am trying to point out that there are so many issues in the church that WERE considered sin or unacceptable just a generation ago, that are now commonplace and/or accepted in most Christian circles.

    How do we argue against one issue, based on scripture, and let go, or just shrug at others?
    Honestly, I do honour and love God’s word, but I struggle with all of this.

  80. filbertz says:

    I’d rather hear the women speak today. See y’all later.

  81. Muff Potter says:

    fyi at # 38,
    you wrote regarding women in the Church:

    The fact that they are not permitted by Scripture to be leaders (pastors, elders) doesn’t stifle them at all…

    Although I can respect your CC belief system and the way it is taught to you by your leadership, there are many evangelical Christians out here who believe that the Bible teaches no such thing.

  82. Xenia says:

    Nonnie’s #79

    At my parish, headcoverings are still the norm. It can’t be entirely cultural because of that enigmatic phrase “because of the angels.” As long as there are still angels, I think that verse still applies.

  83. Believe says:

    Yes, agreed. I’m out. The Women are full of grace and wisdom on here (most of them). I think Nonnie’s stuff is very valuable to think on.

  84. Xenia says:

    There’s a small sign in the entrance of our church which says that women should wear modest skirts and headcoverings and men should not wear jeans or shorts. Visitors show up dressed in all kinds of inappropriate garb but if they like what they see and choose to keep attending, their clothing choices falls into place without anyone ever saying a word to them. (In case anyone thought we might bar someone from attending a service if they showed up inappropriately dressed.)

  85. Nonnie says:

    Xenia, your 82. I guess that is my point. You cover your head because you say it is in the scriptures.

    50 years ago most Christian women covered their heads, because it is in the scriptures. I don’t have a good answer as to why so many churches can change views on that and other issues, but not on homosexuality.

    And I’m asking because that is what I am being asked by Christians and non Christians alike, and I don’t have a sufficient answer.

  86. Xenia says:

    Not all Orthodox parishes ask women to cover their heads, by the way.

  87. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “3. “The reason homosexuality is poised to become an even bigger issue in the church is that this is the first time that the culture has declared an established tenet of the faith to be potentially illegal.”

    Disagree. I think the church is guilty of over-playing the homosexual card as a special sin and exercising unequal scales in railing against homosexuality and making it an issue vs. the way the church tolerates and even endorses and participates in so many other sins…like adultery (Don Stewart, David Hocking, and a long list of others) and child abuse and financial abuses etc etc.

    I think if the so-called church treated homosexuality like it treats fornication, remarrying divorcees, adultery, greed, lying, gluttony etc…there wouldn’t be the societal acrimony and contention on the issue of homosexuality that there is now.”

    True although I still get tired of the media pushing the agenda down peoples throats. Even the sports league are jumping on the band wagons. Homosexuality does seem to garner a certain disdain in the scriptures. Bottom line is we gotta love unbelievers and what do we have to do with judging those outside the Church.

  88. erunner says:

    everstudy @ #4, You have no idea what a pleasant surprise it was to see you there. And I’ve never been called Erunner off the blogs before! 🙂 Hopefully we can get together soon.

  89. mrtundraman says:

    “Not all Orthodox parishes ask women to cover their heads, by the way.”

    Only a couple of the old ladies from the old country do in my parish.

  90. Michael, you make a good point about possibly becoming what we despise. On the other hand, the number of allegations in the lawsuit must mean something.

  91. Bryan says:

    Michael, have you read the complete Institutes? I know I haven’t. I think for any of us to be fair to Calvin, we should read what he wrote rather than what others said about him. We read far to many secondary sources, and spin off into unwise speculation. That often contributes to unwarranted criticisms.

  92. Michael says:

    Bryan,

    I have and most of his commentaries and tracts and lots of his letters…I enjoy Calvin.

  93. Bryan says:

    I come on here once in awhile because I like to read some of Michael’s thoughts. I think he tries to take a moderate position in most cases. He certainly has a lot of patience with many of you.

    If we boil all the internet blog traffic down to a few take aways, I’d offer a few.

    1. Most of what I read is unnecessary pontificating. Makes one wearier than Solomon alone in his library.

    2. Internet demeanor is mostly mean and contentious. It’s a bunch of Sumo Wrestling, and just as ugly.

  94. Bryan says:

    Very good. I intent to as well. JI Packer is one of my “mentors”, and he holds up the Institutes as the most influential set of books in his life outside the Bible.

  95. Bryan says:

    Chesterton’s Orthodoxy is very telling in regard to some people’s tendency to draw very constricting circles around themselves. The thing about studying theology is that it should humble us. Who can understand the full nature of God? And we all should be convinced we all act like gods at times, and need to be checked once in awhile to dismount our high horses.

    As we point a deserving critical finger toward a brother or institution, let us also offer healing words that bind the sores and build better communities. Good night.

  96. David sloane says:

    I liked the Irish king in brave heart. He dialoged with God and it made him appear as a typical street person until he shows up with an entire army. Never judge a book by It’s cover. Many who post here are actually quite deep.

    Speaking of women voices in church, CCCM ordained two women back in the 1990’s. Donna and Massy. Apparently one of them had financial wherewithal and there was some coercion that the church would have a battle royal on it’s hands if the women were not ordained. They were ordained…

  97. David sloane says:

    PS
    The women went through CCCM school of ministry.

  98. brian says:

    “Apparently one of them had financial wherewithal and there was some coercion that the church would have a battle royal on it’s hands if the women were not ordained. They were ordained…”

    Now that is how it is suppose to work, right up front and in your face. I have seen that so many times, cash is king.

  99. David sloane says:

    “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

    Roman Empire

  100. mrtundraman says:

    I can’t see structurally how CC would prevent a local church to ordain women.

  101. Believe says:

    “Believe,

    Metaphors are not your strong suit.
    You are part of a Body, called the “bride”.”

    Ya, ditto there with regard to Genesis and God “walking in the garden” and a talking snake and eating the “fruit” of a “tree” call the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” (still can’t find that genus anywhere….)

    I think Fundamentalists are tone deaf when it comes to metaphor and aren’t qualified to have an opinion on the subject in the face of fact and observation that is provable and verifiable.

    BTW, what language did God “speak” to Adam and Eve? Adam and Eve were created with an innate language to literally “talk” with God? Were they speaking biblical hebrew?

  102. Believe says:

    Maybe they were speaking Klingon. The Fundamentalist assumes there is direct Hebrew lineage from Adam to Noah to Moses to Jesus…yet the earliest recorded language that we can tangibly see is Sumerian languages and then Egyptian languages.

    Biblical Hebrew had many previous versions that preceded it, including a proto-Canaanite language…but well after Sumerian.

    Why didn’t the language that you assume is literal that God spoke back and forth with Adam and Eve not survive the generations of Hebrews?

    When Cain got banished and arrived in an already inhabited place, what language was he speaking to the folks there? Sumerian? Egyptian?

    Hebrew doesn’t arrive on scene until much much later and that is a fact Jack.

  103. Believe says:

    …but I can’t make fun of metaphor without being scolded and I’m to accept the stupidity of Fundamentalists claiming a “talking snake” is literal as well as a Knowledge of Good and Evil tree.

  104. Josh Hamrick says:

    Why is a talking snake in crazier than a virgin birth?

  105. Believe says:

    “Why is a talking snake in crazier than a virgin birth?”

    We assume that the virgin birth was a one time occurrence and supernatural miracle that was attested to by others as a sort of witness, whereas snakes were not created with vocal chords and “the serpent” was clearly a metaphor or sort of animalmorphism to tell a story.

    It’s not ‘crazier’, more a clear indication that the ancient text is ripe with metaphor.

  106. Michael says:

    Many of us stupid fundamentalists (like J.I. Packer, John Stott, Tim Keller, and others) believe that Genesis 1-3 are a type of what Packer calls “prose poetry”. They are ancient liturgies, narratives, that tell us Who, but not how, when, or why.
    They are ancient celebrations of creation and the Creator.
    We do this while still believing in a historical Adam and Eve and Fall…as the rest of the Scriptures do.

  107. Xenia says:

    I believe Satan in the form of a serpent spoke in the Garden and I believe Balaam’s Ass also spoke. I think the world of talking animals and miracles is more real than the world of science.

  108. Josh Hamrick says:

    Genesis 1-11 is definitely written in artistic form. Actually the entire book is, but those 11 chapters in particular. The main thrust of the book is not creation, but Abraham and his descendants. When we put more emphasis on the creation story, we do so against the will of the original author.

    “We assume that the virgin birth was a one time occurrence.”

    Do you know of another talking serpent episode? Seems to be a one time thing. Plus, it was pre-curse, so who knows what the actual serpent was.

    Furthermore, if you believe the serpent is just a symbol for evil, like you mention in 105, I have no problem with that. Either way, it is a brilliant story about sin entering the world, and we can see the same thing played out, metaphorically, in our lives everyday.

  109. Josh Hamrick says:

    And I agree with Xenia.

  110. Xenia says:

    I can’t see structurally how CC would prevent a local church to ordain women.<<<

    I believe that the Sr Pastor is the one with the affiliation, not the local CC. CC could disaffiliate the Sr. Pastor and then the church would no longer be a CC. (I think this is how it would work.) Chuck comes from the Four Square tradition, which as we all know, was founded by a woman.

  111. Xenia says:

    I also think one of the way the serpent is working today is to convince us of a new god, the god of science and technology, always forcing the question “Did God really say?” now as he did in the Garden. Test yourself: if you read a sentence in the Scriptures and a conflicting sentence in a science book, which version do you automatically assume is the truth? <—- That will determine who is your God.

  112. Believe says:

    “Did God really say?”

    Jesus: “All who have seen me have seen the Father”

    Bible: “No one has seen God at any time”

    Jesus: “Father forgive them (unilaterally) they know not what they do”

    Jesus: “It is finished”

  113. Xenia says:

    I do not agree with Wright although I am sure many modern people find his words comforting.

  114. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    You might be right.
    I was reading Calvin late last night and he was commenting on science…and how he welcomed it and didn’t fear it in the least because all true science was teaching us something about God we didn’t know.
    That’s pretty much what I believe as well.

  115. Xenia says:

    You know, Believe, this has been explained to you many times here.

    No one has seen the Father in His essence, this is true. We have seen His energies. Likewise, we have seen God the Son in the OT as theophanies and christophanies.

    The Son is the Express Image of the Father, so if you’ve seen the Son, you have seen the Father, in effect.

    “It is finished” = “My time on earth and my passion on the cross has come to an end.” (That one seems obvious, even though it has been extrapolated to mean all kinds of stuff.)

    Jesus forgives everyone unilaterally. You just have to accept it.

    See? All cleared up. 🙂

  116. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Jesus: “All who have seen me have seen the Father”

    Bible: “No one has seen God at any time” ”

    The quote you use from Bible, is from the prelude to the Gospel of John. It is poetic language which was probably used in the early liturgy. It is brilliantly written and sums up the entire Gospel in 18 verses. This is before the narrative starts and actually brings Jesus into the picture, but if you just read the rest of the verse, John explains it the same way Jesus does.

  117. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Jesus: “Father forgive them (unilaterally) they know not what they do”

    Jesus: “It is finished” ”

    I have no clue what you are going for there. Is that supposed to be a contradiction.

  118. Believe says:

    Yes, Josh, always an explanation and nuance and a twist here and a turn there akin to “Did God not say?”

  119. Josh Hamrick says:

    Where did I twist anything?

  120. Josh Hamrick says:

    Reading the bible in context as it was actually written is way different than twisting.

  121. Xenia says:

    The Bible is a very long book. It has a large cast of characters and a complex plot that embraces the Remote Past and projects into Eternity. It has a Defining Moment (the Incarnation and Resurrection) where all the went before is seen in a new light. Plucking a phrase from the OT and comparing it with a phrase in the NT that appears to contradict it is to willfully ignore this fact.

  122. Josh Hamrick says:

    I was OK with the Adam and Eve video, up until the end. Drives me crazy about NT Wright, but he can’t resist. When ever he makes a statement that he knows is a hair outside the evangelical norm he has to throw in there, – To not see it this way is really bad. Gets on my nerves. I wish he could just present his point without that rhetoric.

  123. Steve Wright says:

    Isn’t there a legal objection when a question has already been asked and answered? In part to avoid being battered repeatedly by the same stuff?

    How is this an example of wrestling with understanding the Bible? These are the same old questions and examples, and the same answers of people of the faith are provided. People of faith can even come to 2-3 different conclusions on some of these points like the early Genesis stuff.

    But all I see is someone arguing the Bible is simply an ancient collection of texts – well, join the millions of people in the world that believe the same thing. They don’t typically self-identify as Christians, and they don’t typically devote their energies to Christian blogs.

    I just don’t get it. (And what happened to this incredible life changing breakthrough supposedly from last week?)

    Going back to my opinion of post #1 (my only other post here) – This WAS an excellent Things I Think.

  124. Josh Hamrick says:

    “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

    That’s the rest of John 1:18, and clears up Believe’s contradiction. John asserts that Jesus IS God, and John himself had seen Jesus.

    See, in Believe’s hermeneutic you don’t even read the context of a whole verse.

  125. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’ve now watched the Genesis video, and I’m OK on it. He throws out dates in the beginning, but I can’t imagine a serious argument for Genesis being written a few hundred years BC. I could imagine (though I don’t believe) later editing of much older material, though this would seem to pertain more to the other books of the pentateuch than to Genesis is particular.

  126. Josh Hamrick says:

    IS Believe furiously googling for more contradictions?

  127. Believe says:

    I don’t google them, I just read the bible all the time.

  128. Believe says:

    Josh, “you have an aura of bull***t”

    I wish I could take credit for that, but it was coined by a friend of mine, LOL.

  129. Believe says:

    Josh said, “Reading the bible in context as it was actually written is way different than twisting.”

    That may be the single most ironic and hilarious statement ever made on here 😆

  130. Believe,
    I’m not assuming bullroar, actually what I’m reading from you is very familiar.

    Keep asking questions, just know that if you ask questions of the same persons you will probably get the same answers.

    I’m wondering, are you more just daring to ask the questions because of the liberation of actually voicing them for the first time in your life? I know in my deconstruction / reconstruction of my faith I went through a season of that, not so much needing to hear anyone’s answers, though that was a vital part of it, as much as daring to finally say something “forbidden” out loud and finding that though the conservative christian community might bristle, Jesus isn’t at all surprised or rejecting anymore than He did with Thomas, giving him the answer he needed in the right time in the right way.

    Welcome to a normal chapter in your faith walk.

    Persevere.

    Jesus will not abandon you, and neither will those committed to seeing you through.
    You are not alone.

  131. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Josh said, “Reading the bible in context as it was actually written is way different than twisting.”

    That may be the single most ironic and hilarious statement ever made on here ”

    I realize you are more about insult and profanity than actual conversation, but why do you say that? You accused me of twisting scripture with no backup, and now you say I’m ironic and hilarious with no explanation.
    So what are you yacking about this time?

  132. Believe,
    During my season of reconstruction I found I needed patient Samaritan healers who would bind up my wounds and endure my moaning more than professional theologians who expected their words to end my doubts once they hit my eyes and ears.

    Perhaps you would do well to seek and find the Samaritans. They know what it means to be outsiders.

    The talk my friend Dave gave that I mentioned? He posted it…

    “poor and blessed
    dave brisbin | 5.5.13”

    http://theeffect.org/resources/messages.html

    Perhaps you might want to check it out.

  133. Josh Hamrick says:

    ” if you ask questions of the same persons you will probably get the same answers.”

    That seems about right.

  134. Steve Wright says:

    BTW, what language did God “speak” to Adam and Eve? Adam and Eve were created with an innate language to literally “talk” with God? Were they speaking biblical hebrew?

    Why didn’t the language that you assume is literal that God spoke back and forth with Adam and Eve not survive the generations of Hebrews?

    When Cain got banished and arrived in an already inhabited place, what language was he speaking to the folks there? Sumerian? Egyptian?
    ————————————————————-
    In nine recent posts these three are the only QUESTIONS I see asked. (I note that, despite no actual answer from any of us on the first one, the later questions assumed what he wanted (note the back to back posts) – so it is generous to even call THIS a question.)

    Maybe step one is to stop calling declarative statements, interrogatory statements.

    There is a difference, as even a student in elementary school is aware.

  135. Josh Hamrick says:

    I did actually answer the first two, I just did it in the questioning thread. When I assumed we should try to be respectful.

  136. Josh Hamrick says:

    This was my answer:

    What language did Adam and Eve speak?

    The bible doesn’t say, so I don’t know how a bible believer could be dogmatic about it. Was someone basing their faith on this? No? Then who is believe arguing against this time?

    Strawman.

    Was that original language lost, or why was it lost?

    The tower of Babel story in Genesis 11 talks about languages being split and such. Its an interesting story, written as a chiasm.

  137. Steve Wright says:

    Thanks, Josh. But even your answers came after the fact. He wrote both posts within minutes and you responded the next day.

    I’m sure a lot of preachers have said silly things about Biblical Hebrew being the first language in the garden. Some of them probably from my tribe even. If the Bible is to be judged by every incorrect thing any random preacher (no matter how famous) might have said, then we certainly are in another discussion..

    It certainly would not be accurate to talk about Biblical hebrew in the garden – at least not as I learned in seminary when we discussed the origins of languages and their spread and offshoots. A seminary which nonetheless holds to the highest regard for verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

  138. Josh Hamrick says:

    Oh Steve – there you go twisting stuff again.

    Talkin about fancy learnin an such. We won’t have any of that around here!

  139. Believe,
    Yep, Samaritan healers over theologians and logicians, spend your energy and invest your questions with them. You’re only going to torture yourself and get more frustrated if you don’t. Remember the story, the man was beaten and abused, and it took the compassion of the outsider, the stranger who was not of the approved class, who didn’t have his religion approved, but acted anyway because he was moved by compassion, he got Jesus’ approval.

    There really is light at the end of the tunnel and, no, its not a freight train

  140. Josh Hamrick says:

    My point is not when I answered, or if my answer is even sufficient, only that we often answer, and he doesn’t then interact with what is said.

    He doesn’t like the answers, what can you do?

  141. Josh Hamrick says:

    Everyone who has remained in the conversation with Believe is the Good Samaritan.

    He doesn’t like the color of our bandages.

  142. Believe says:

    “The bible doesn’t say, so I don’t know how a bible believer could be dogmatic about it”

    The bible doesn’t mention the “Trinity” either, or the “rapture” or a bunch of stuff that Fundamentalists claims it says. You use reason to connect dots extra-biblically

  143. London says:

    Best answer I ever got from someone when I was going through the “how can you possibly believe this, it makes no sense” phase was “I don’t know about that…but what I do know is this…”

    Made all the difference in the world that someone I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was smarter than me (not that common :mrgreen:) didn’t have all the answers and was completely comfortable saying so. He offered me some other things to think that I couldn’t refute, even though I was in the middle of questioning everything he believed in. (he started it)

    If I had continued asking the same thing over and over, especially in a baiting or beligerent way, he would probably have tossed me out of the airplane we were in. He would have been totally justified because that’s just plain old annoying!

  144. Steve Wright says:

    “I don’t know about that…but what I do know is this…”
    ——————————————————
    Amen.

  145. Steve Wright says:

    The Samaritan actually did the work that brought healing though…the bandages, the medicine, the hotel for rest and recovery. He did not offer a snake oil cure, nor did he just pray for the man.

    When the topic is God healing spiritual wounds, and not man healing bodily wounds, at some point faith must enter the picture.

    To refuse faith to heal spiritual wounds, is the other side of the coin that has parents refusing medical care to their children because they trust only a spiritual solution.

  146. Spoken as a theologian, not a Samaritan who used the effective outsider mix of unapproved healing methods 😉

  147. Believe,
    Stepping away.
    Let me know if you check out the link I offered.
    Pure Samaritan fare 😉

  148. Steve Wright says:

    Final comment for now.

    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    The moment someone starts talking about God, Scriptures in the original language and a life in relationship with Him – that person becomes a theologian, at least in the broad use of the term (as opposed to a narrow scholarly usage). Even if they have a hip website and their theology is contrary to some more traditional understandings throughout the history of the faith and Church. It’s still theology.

    Getting answers about God from someone rejecting the title of theologian (in this broad sense) is like getting your tumor removed from someone rejecting the title of medical practitioner. The guy might pay the bills as a janitor, but if he is also removing a tumor he is practicing medicine while he does it.

    (Of course, we have laws against practicing medicine, law, insurance, and other professions without a license….no such law for espousing ideas about God….but in the end, God has His way of indicting for malpractice.)

    Peace.

  149. Believe says:

    G said, “I’m wondering, are you more just daring to ask the questions because of the liberation of actually voicing them for the first time in your life?”

    Yes, pretty much. I think that’s a fair assumption. It’s not 100% the reason, but certainly a factor.

  150. Believe says:

    “Getting answers about God from someone rejecting the title of theologian (in this broad sense) is like getting your tumor removed from someone rejecting the title of medical practitioner. The guy might pay the bills as a janitor, but if he is also removing a tumor he is practicing medicine while he does it.

    (Of course, we have laws against practicing medicine, law, insurance, and other professions without a license….no such law for espousing ideas about God….but in the end, God has His way of indicting for malpractice.)”

    My apologies to Josh above, Steve’s is now the most ironic and idiotic statement in history 😆

  151. Michael says:

    These are not questions…they are statements of mockery and derision.
    If someone truly has questions about the faith…and is seeking reasons to believe…we should do all we can to help.
    We have lots of people to offer answers and even more resources we can point to.
    However, if someone simply wants to mock the faith of others, I’m not going to entertain them anymore.
    Period.
    I do not believe that Believe is seeking answers, he is seeking to mock and hurt a group of people who he believes have betrayed him and done him wrong in some form or fashion.
    No one here has intentionally harmed him, many have sought to support him as they could.
    In short, I’m done with this.

  152. Michael says:

    To complete my thought…
    I’m not going to engage him in this mockery of God and I strongly suggest that the rest of you ignore it as well.
    I will completely moderate the posts if I have to…or I’m seriously considering moving the whole operation to Facebook where I don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis as he unfriended and cursed me for answering him in a post.

  153. Michael says:

    The other side of the coin is that for those who do have doubts or honest questions about the faith, I hope we can provide some answers, or failing that, some companionship on the journey with waiting for answers to our own questions and doubts.

  154. Believe says:

    I’m tired of you scolding me like I’m a child and telling me to read another book like I’m an idiot. I groaned about the Oklahoma tragedy, but it wasn’t in the manner that was acceptable to you. I unfriended you for your benefit, not mine.

  155. Michael says:

    When I’m struggling with some text or theological concept there are people I’ll email or call.
    They refer me to texts that I haven’t read that may help me unravel the knot.
    If I refuse to do the work, they refuse to answer me.
    I have a stack of those books by my bedside now as I’m working through some of my own issues.
    If you’d taken my suggestion about Packer or others on Genesis, then your comments on this thread would have been answered…even if not to your complete satisfaction,it still would have been leaps and bounds beyond what you can get on a blog.

  156. Passing by says:

    Michael, you have the patience of Job…

    My sense is the same as yours in that Believe isn’t seeking sincere answers to questions he’s grappling with. To me, he appears to be a man that bores easily, has too much time on his hands and likes to make sport and a mockery out of folks he deems to be way below his intellectual aptitude. Unfortunately, there are still too many here that get sucked into this circular dialog of useless interaction with him.

    For him, he sees himself as shooting fish in a pond.

  157. Michael says:

    Occasionally, my inquiries reveal me to be an idiot in comparison…one of my professors sent me a paper written in Dutch that I was supposed to understand…
    I didn’t… 🙂

  158. Xenia says:

    Dutch…. hoo boy.

    That reminds me of the time a prof loaned me a book written in Catalan. It was purported to be the perfect resource for my project but who could read it? Not I!

  159. London says:

    Of course, I did have to think it was possible that someone was actually smarter than me to make that whole conversation work out. 😉

  160. Michael says:

    Passing By,

    One of my strengths and weaknesses is that I don’t give up on people easily.
    Someday…I hope we are all able to look back on these last couple years with Believe and celebrate what God has done.
    If the stress doesn’t do me in first… 🙂

  161. Michael says:

    London,

    I don’t even know what Catalan is…so I’m more ignorant than you. 🙂

  162. London says:

    or the rest of us 😉

  163. London says:

    Well…I don’t know either…I thought it was a board game…Settlers of Catalan…

  164. London says:

    My ignorance at the time was thinking I was so damn smart.

  165. Michael says:

    I was disabused of that notion about myself long ago.
    My only strength is finding people who are smart and hoping they help me.

  166. Xenia says:

    Catalan is a Romance language similar to Spanish that is spoken in eastern Spain and parts of France, in the area of the Pyrenees Mountains. Some of the heretics I was studying spoke it. Whatever they wrote about their beliefs in this mystery book I shall never know.

  167. London says:

    “I was disabused of that notion about myself long ago.”

    I’m a slow learner 😉

  168. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Only you would know that here!
    We all are smarter now. 🙂

  169. Xenia says:

    Here’s the thing about Michael: He loves the underdog. It’s more than just wanting to champion the cause of an underdog, he really loves them. If Michael sees someone being beat up either in word or deed he rushes to their defense and sort of adopts them. And this brings up a second thing about Michael: he is loyal to his friends, long after most people would have given up.

    In Michael’s world, an underdog is anyone who was abused, especially by a parent or a pastor.

    Applies to stray cats, too.

  170. Michael says:

    Xenia,
    Thank you…that’s my world in a nutshell.
    The cats are easier to deal with…. 🙂

  171. Xenia says:

    Here’s the kind of people I am attracted to: lunatics.

    If I meet someone who can talk for hours about medieval mysteries like the Templars or the Holy Grail or crazy Saint stories or the Bermuda Triangle, if they can talk about these bizarre topics with any degree of credibility, especially if it involves conspiracies, I am totally sucked in and will listen and correspond and communicate with them for years until I realize the person is a total fruit cake and then I am stuck with them and long after I am tired of hearing about UFO’s in Siberia they are still calling me on the phone with the lastest sightings.

  172. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I know someone like you…and while I don’t understand them, they are never bored. 🙂
    The lunatics always feel affirmed in some way and it’s actually a grace she gives.
    I think it’s a gift to be able to listen like that…a gift I don’t have.

  173. Xenia says:

    I somethings think I am the lunatic in a few peoples’ lives…

  174. Xenia says:

    The typos ought to improve after I get my new glasses next week!

  175. Gary says:

    Michael #153. Thank you.

  176. Neo. says:

    Hey guys. In sincerity I’ve been thinking through something, love to get your feedback.

    It pertains to a literal Adam and Eve. My view up to this point is without a literal Adam, Romans 5 is voided out and that particular passage of Grace to humanity is my Good News, my hopeful message.

    Lately though I’ve been pondering a allegorical Adam. His name meaning “Man” and Eve meaning “Life” and how it relates to Creation and Evolution.

    Could it be that references such as coming out of dust, their eyes being opened, ect speaks to a certain point of development when innocence was lost and thus shame entered into the equation? And that Irenaeus, 2nd Century, was more accurate than Augustine, 5th, in their assessment of Adams Pre-Fall state?

    In the West, We have largely adopted Augustine’s view about Adam when he said, “Adam was endowed with supernatural powers and yet fragile enough to fail.” This presumes a superhuman who fell from glory. Irenaeus, on the other hand, stated about Adam before the Fall, ” Comparable to innocent but morally undeveloped”. This gives room to a being that was developing and (maybe?) got in over his head through an evil moral agent.

    Further piquing my interest is Irenaeus’ view that what Scripture refers to as “putting off the old man/ the flesh” is overcoming our baser and even animal instincts by God’s grace.

    I thought of this in light of the question, “Which language did God and Adam converse in?”, thinking the above thoughts, if true, might make that question moot.

    So? 🙂

  177. Neo. says:

    …or instead of thinking these things through, we can throw up our hands in the air a declare Biblical Interpretation is a free for all and walk away. I prefer to wonder at the mystery of God and Scripture and enjoy the wonder of His Table.

  178. London says:

    I’m no theologican (for Neo cause it got mad at me a million years ago for calling him that) 😉 and I used to think that it didn’t matter if there was a literal Adam and Eve, until I had lunch with Dread one time and it told me it was “essential” for the story.
    Without an Adam and Eve, then the “seed” that eventually results in Jesus doesn’t happen and the whole story doesn’t work right.

    Of course, he’d have to fill in the blanks of the rest of the covenant pieces of the story, but I’ve sat in his class on this twice and it makes sense to me. (but don’t tell him) I’m not 100% sold but, hopefully, he’ll come by and tell the Cliff Notes version of what I’m mangling.

  179. Neo. says:

    London. Yes, that’s how I’ve felt. But I’m wondering if the Seed and Original Sin can be compatible with a kind of Allegorical genre reading of the Genesis Account.

    BTW. I’m an “Amateur Thelogian”, lol.

    Thanks for the response, London.

  180. Neo. says:

    See, can’t even spell “Theologian” correctly, lol.

  181. London says:

    Hmmm…don’t remember him addressing “original sin” in context with this story.

    Might have to ask him, but I’m 99.9% sure he’d say no it can not be allegorical. Unless, of course, he’s changed his mind since he told me that it wasn’t.

  182. Gary says:

    Just as sure as evening and morning were the first day, there was a real Adam and Eve, Otherwise Adam was a myth and Eve is the mother of all allegories. Where does that put Jesus? Paul?

  183. London says:

    Paul who?
    They aren’t related, so he has his own lineage to deal with.
    The essential of Adam and Eve is about God saying to Eve that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent’s (devil if you will) offspring.
    Paul has no more to do with that story that you or I.

  184. Gary says:

    Says you.

  185. London says:

    Well yeah…Me and the Bible and thoudands of Christians throughout the ages.

  186. London says:

    Read the begats….Paul’s names not listed anywhere

  187. Michael says:

    Neo,

    If you lose a historical Adam and Eve you lose a lot of the NT, plus the lineage London spoke of.
    I can’t go there…

  188. Gary says:

    No one said Paul was in the messianic line. Pay attention.

  189. London says:

    Well since you were so vague with your snarky rark I had to guess what the hell you were talking about.

  190. London says:

    And now frankly, I don’t give a fig.

  191. Gary says:

    I’m not in the market for a fig you’re a tively speaking off course.

  192. Neo. says:

    I’m positing the possibility that Jesus as the “Son of Man”, The Fall, Original Sin, The Penal Atonement, and Paul’s doctrine concerning Federal Headship ( Romans 5 still being one of my beloved Scriptures) may still be compatible with an Old Earth, Theist Evolutionary, Allegorical view of Genesis 1-3.

    Thinking out loud can be dangerous. 🙂

  193. Gary says:

    Neo, are you a literal person or an allegory? Being existential can be dangerous too.

  194. Gary says:

    I have a hard time reconciling the 2 ideas. For theistic evolution to be true, wouldn’t there have to be someone before Adam? Or do you not really believe in Adam?

  195. Believe says:

    Adam is an archetype. There were certainly humans before a literal Adam. Do the math on the genealogies. We have discovered “men” older than Adam, a lot older. We have a Sumerian language and an ancient Egyptian language that is contemporary with Adam.

    Here’s what probably happened if the bible is true and Genesis is a metaphor:

    Man evolved. Man was around for a long time, then became “Intelligent” (Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil metaphor) and became “conscious” and self-aware and “like God”

    This happened throughout the world roughly during a similar period in history.

    Man started communicating, creating societies, doing the things intelligent beings do.

    We have evidence of this today throughout archeology and it is fascinating how for millions of years there are no languages, no evidence of organized cultures etc…then BOOM, the Time of Intelligent Man begins: There’s your “Creation” scenario.

    Adam is an archetype and possibly a literal figure as well. He was probably the first Intelligent Man in the line of Jesus and the “Chosen Race” of the Jews.

    When Cain gets banished, he goes to an already populated area many miles away and marries and carries on there, it was not his sisters and brothers he married into and inhabited the already-now-a-city with.

    Throughout church history man has filled in the blanks with all sorts of whacky stuff like the Trinity (which the word doesn’t appear in the bible anywhere) yet man can’t connect some simple dots we see tangibly today in archeology, science, the historical record etc.

    It’s because most men have an Agenda, and that Agenda isn’t discovering the Truth where it leads, their Agenda is protecting Dogma and Church Tradition and their version of “orthodoxy” etc.

  196. Believe says:

    The “Garden” is a metaphor. Man was not intelligent and like the animals and communed with God in a non-soul state. When man became intelligent and “like God” is when he gets the metaphorical boot from the Garden of Eden.

    It’s largely a metaphor of the conscious mind and the spiritual dimension that has some physiological realities.

  197. Believe says:

    One ironic support for a Deity or Deities is that at the same time in human history, man becomes intelligent and all the early cultures and societies of mankind have a Deity belief in some form.

    Atheists have a hard time explaining this fact above. It begs an innateness to the belief in a Deity or Deities that is a by-product of “evolution” (and I would assert theistic evolution, while the hard-line atheist is forced to try and explain away that glaring fact and reality we observe in the archeological/historical record).

  198. Gary says:

    You trust shakey science. I choose to believe what God said. I will say to you what Jesus said to Peter when he spoke as you do. He said “Get away from me, Satan. You are an offense to me. You do not savor the things of God but the things of men.” It takes zero faith to believe what you do. ZERO

  199. Michael says:

    Gary,

    While I don’t support the thesis that Believe (and perhaps Neo to a degree) are positing, it is possible to still hold to the kerygma while doing so.

  200. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think the system that Believe has laid out makes Genesis into an even MORE amazing book. Think about that. The perfect metaphor for life, creation, sin…if it is allegory, it is absolutely brilliant. Maybe superhuman?

  201. Gary says:

    I had to look this up:
    Kerygma (Greek: κήρυγμα, kérugma) is the Greek word used in the New Testament for preaching (see Luke 4:18-19, Romans 10:14, Matthew 3:1). It is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō), to cry or proclaim as a herald, and means proclamation, announcement, or preaching.
    If the bible was written by fallen men and subject to criticism, how much more is science! It is spewn out by fallen men who are unregenerated and in many cases at war with God as ‘believe’ is. Who has the more agenda? Over and over science is proven wrong.
    Let’s allow the bible to mean what it says. God is not a chicken covering Israel with literal physical wings. NO. He is way more protective than a dumb bird. Metaphors are used by unbelievers to diminish the meaning of words and texts. Did God really say…?

  202. Michael says:

    Gary,

    In theological terms the kerygma refers to the essential Gospel as proclaimed in the NT.
    It refers to the doctrines that are repeated, especially in the preaching of the book of Acts.
    Thus, the birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ are those essentials.
    These are not affected by the possible interpretations of Genesis that are posited above.

  203. Gary says:

    Then isn’t there a disparity in believing in the NT Jesus and not believing His references to OT scripture?

  204. Josh Hamrick says:

    Gary, I would say that it seems Jesus believed in a literal Genesis, and thus, I do, too. I think there are many Great Christians who believe in a non-historical Genesis. I disagree, but it doesn’t get them kicked out of Heaven.

  205. Michael says:

    Gary,

    I believe that in some form you must have a historical Adam.
    That doesn’t speak to the rest of the OT references which are not in dispute here.

  206. Babylon's Dread says:

    Without a historical Adam the narrative is built on sand. Nothing is more central to the veracity of the scripture witness to Jesus than the connection of Jesus historically to the Biblical family. Nothing is so copiously treasured more than the genealogies. This is not to assert that the genealogy must be inerrantly recorded but it must be credibly so.

  207. filbertz says:

    if the historical Adam is suspect, so is the Last Adam. Allegory requires consistency too.

  208. Believe says:

    I think Adam is both archetype and historical figure.

    Archetype in the sense of the Genesis Metaphor to sum up Creation (which in reality, as a Science book is theistic evolution)

    Historical Figure in terms of the first intelligent man in the line of the Hebrews and Jesus.

  209. Believe says:

    If we are to acknowledge what is true and factual as observed by science and reality, we must assume we don’t know what the text is really saying as literal…much like “you are the Bride of Christ” is not a proof-text to support Gay Marriage.

  210. Believe says:

    If the genealogy accounts are nearly accurate, Adam starts around the same time as the recorded ancient history of Intelligent Man in the rest of the world during what is called “Recorded History” beginning with the Sumerians and Ancient Egyptians.

    This is supported by the fact the bible and Genesis account specifically references metallurgy that is found in these early periods and not far removed from Adam of Genesis.

    Whereas. in Pre-history, we have evidence of biological “man” that well predates a literal Adam and metallurgy etc.

    If you claim any part of Genesis as “literal” then it self-contradicts what we find in the historical and archeological records.

    You are forced to assume both Archetype and Literal Historical Figure…and in that context, the pieces can fit together.

  211. Babylon's Dread says:

    Believe… I like 210 … 211 is a bit much but a nice attempt

  212. Believe says:

    From Genesis:

    “17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

    19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of[g] bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.”

    This is an accurate description of the Recorded History period of the Calcholithic and Early Bronze Age.

    Adam and Eve as Intelligent Man in the line of the Hebrews and Jesus maybe reached back a bit farther than this period (from the Genealogies) into the Neolithic Period, but no further back than that.

    There is Pre-Recorded History of Man that has tons of verifiable evidence that predates the literal portions of the Genesis account.

    At some point, if you are to accept any part of Genesis as literal, you are forced into the reality that it describes Human History in a manner we can observe through archeology and written recorded history and the numbers of the Genealogies support the evidence we see in the tangible historical records.

    The Pre-Adam period is full of biological “man”…but pre-Intelligence, pre-written pre-recorded history which supports my “Intelligent Man” theory of Adam as both Archetype and Literal Historical Figure.

    (copyright 2013 above).

  213. Believe says:

    The other possibility is to embrace a “Gap Theory” that even Chuck Smith sees as probable.

    But, that theory has much bigger holes.

    It is remarkable how the Genealogies and descriptions of what Adam’s immediate descendants accomplished ties in very directly with the archeological and historical record we can verify.

    The Theory that fits the best with what we see and can verify in Recorded History and Archeology is an Intelligent Man Theory that makes Adam both Archetype and Literal Historical Figure.

  214. Believe says:

    ^^^ This is why I keep hashing stuff out until it makes some sense. I think this is likely true.

  215. Josh Hamrick says:

    As long as you are OK with most people disagreeing with you, I see no major issue with your theory. There could be a “house of cards” type effect if you ever try to resolve the Genesis creation account with the NT, but you can re-think it then.

  216. Steve Wright says:

    Three essential keys to evolution (theistic or otherwise) are the fossil evidence, large amounts of time, and mutations.

    These are crucial to THEIR evolutionary theory.

    Yet, just looking at these three standards, and what the evolutionists declare, the theory collapses on itself. None of the three are sufficient to support evolutionary theory (including the billions of years argument if allowed)

    And that is before we get into other evolutionary problems like complex systems and their interaction with each other, the complexity of the DNA and so forth – and WAY before we start looking at the Bible and see over and over and over again the reference to God as the Creator of all things.

    I understand why good Christians 100-150 years ago embraced the possibility of theistic evolution when Darwin burst on the scene….but now, after all the discoveries (and lack of discoveries as well), all the revisions to Darwin by Gould and others trying to “help out”…. why Christians insist on trying to accomodate something this bankrupt.into our Bibles is beyond me.

    I think it is no different anymore than homosexuality acceptance. And just like I will gladly wear the label of “intolerant hater” by those who insist I accept sin as normal, I will wear the label of “ignorant and uneducated” especially when it comes from people who just swallow what they are fed on evolution and have not done 1/100th of the study on the issue that those like myself have done. And almost all those “swallowers” are doing so from a construct that denies God – so why do I need to accomodate them?

    Don’t get it.

  217. Believe says:

    The huge glaring Problem in the Genesis account (besides the obvious talking snake stuff) is the reference to Metallurgy and Tubal-Cain.

    That puts a literal concrete point on the board in verifiable human history to only as far back as the Early Bronze Age. There is overwhelming evidence to accurately date that period and contrast it to much earlier periods in human history.

    Doing the math dates the literal Adam and Recorded History and first recorded Language, at best, is a contemporary of a literal Adam, but Adam in no way precedes this period from a literal read of genealogies and Genesis.

    Again, you are forced to either say that mountains and mountains of tangible evidence in archeology is false and a vast conspiracy of the devil, or that Adam is an Archetype as well as a literal historical figure, but certainly not the first literal biological man or the only literal biological man, just probably the first Intelligent Man in the line of the Hebrews and Jesus.

  218. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I confess that I have almost completely and willfully ignorant on the subject.
    To be blunt, I’ve never found the arguments against a Creator compelling enough to take note of.
    My interest is in how we view the text itself, which is a completely different discipline.

  219. Believe says:

    Steve, read Dawkins. He is an Evolutionary Biologist and has documented some facts that are pretty hard to refute to the point that even the most brilliant minds of our day and age can’t debunk Dawkins stuff in the realm of Biology. Now, Dawkins crosses over into Philosophy all the time, which is unfortunate. He seems to think his observations through scientific method prove a “no god’ thesis, largely because of what I believe is a Straw Man that Fundamentalist Christians present Genesis to be (which it is not a science book, IMO).

  220. Michael says:

    Now, science has it’s own limitations.
    “Facts” that were “facts” thirty years ago are often todays discarded theories.
    We are always in the process of discovery.
    I stand here with Calvin…that which we know to be true science will never threaten the Word of God…it simply adds to our knowledge of it’s Author.

  221. Believe says:

    Another glaring anomaly is Language and speech.

    The history of the Hebrews had to be passed down in some fashion, we assume through verbal tradition until the authors wrote the Torah/Penteteuch and Minor Prophets, etc.

    A study of language quickly reveals that the Biblical Hebrew that the OT was recorded in was a much later version of than earlier Hebrew and a much earlier Proto-Canaanite.

    We assume that Adam talked to God, we assume Adam communicated with his relatives and that through oral tradition the history and genealogies etc were passed down.

    There is a Recorded HIstory of Languages, it’s verifiable and dateable…and there were other languages that were either Contemporary to Adam or even preceded a literal Adam if the Genesis account is literal and the dates of the Genealogies are correct.

  222. Josh Hamrick says:

    Is Dawkins presented as an unbiased observer?

    Really?

  223. Josh Hamrick says:

    What date have you seen on any genealogy given in Genesis?!?!

  224. Believe says:

    I agree with that Michael. I think Science is in a constant process of Discovery. All it “proves” is that we don’t understand much about the Universe (both Christians and Atheists).

    My contention is that the bible is neither science book nor scientific record. It’s at best a history of the Jews from Adam until Jesus and then an account of the Jesus of the Gospels and the early church.

  225. Josh Hamrick says:

    “My contention is that the bible is neither science book nor scientific record.”

    Again, I don’t think you’ll find much argument there.

    There is history written in the bible, but it is theological history. In other words, it is written with an agenda. The Creation account is a very small story compared to the rest of Genesis, much less the rest of the Old Testament. Obviously, it is not meant to be an exhaustive account.

  226. Believe says:

    Josh, there is a biblical genealogy that is commonly accepted and constructed from the literal text, here’s one example that is pretty detailed. Others show the dates/ages of each person recorded in the bible.

    http://www.d.umn.edu/~jbelote/bible2.html

    http://www.complete-bible-genealogy.com/genealogy_of_jesus.htm

  227. Believe says:

    Stuck in mod due to links.

    Josh, there are dudes who use the bible to construct the Genealogy Charts, They are pretty consistent and taken from the literal text of the bible.

    Here’s another good one:

    http://www.actscambridge.org/assets/images/bible_genealogy_a1_chart.pdf

  228. Josh Hamrick says:

    Oh, so you are talking, again, about someone else’s commentary on what the bible says. Yeah, we can shoot holes in that all day.

  229. Steve Wright says:

    I stand here with Calvin…that which we know to be true science will never threaten the Word of God…it simply adds to our knowledge of it’s Author.
    ———————————————————
    Agree 100%.

    I love true science. And every Christian should at least support learning as much about our creation as possible. Whether through the microscope or the telescope (or anywhere in between)

  230. Believe says:

    Josh, what you’ll discover is that we can get a very accurate Date/Timeline of when each assumed literal person walked the earth.

    We can easily do some math and know when Tubal-Cain was making Bronze tools (and it coincides with the Early Bronze Age). The stuff is quantifiable.

    We can trace further back to Adam and put a pretty accurate Date/Timeline on when he was walking the earth as a literal human.

    We can compare these facts to what we observe in Recorded Human History, Languages and the Archeological Record. There’s overwhelming amounts of tangible evidence.

    What it does is show us that Adam was merely one of many “man” and those of his early descendants were one of many “man” and that there was a history of biological man that preceded the literal Adam.

    The only thing that makes sense, if Genesis is at all true, is that Adam is also an Archetype of the first Intelligent Man with consciousness, knowledge of good and evil, and an eternal soul in the line of Jesus.

    The facts are overwhelming due to Dates, Genealogies, specific references to Metallurgy being attributed to Tubal-Cain in Genesis 4 etc, that Adam was not the first “man” in the sense of biological homo-sapien, nor were his immediate descendants the first Intelligent Humans, as evidenced by Cain getting banished and finding other Intelligent humans who were already building cities etc (which is shown in Archeology and Recorded History to evidence a much later period in biological man’s history, whereas there is much evidence of biological man having lived in much cruder, non-language, non-city-society environments well before that).

  231. Steve Wright says:

    For example, spend a day studying mutations. Spend a week for that matter.

    Mutations are observable, happen all the time. People, other mammals, insects, birds and so forth, all susceptible to mutations.

    Learn all you can about mutations,

    then read what evolutionists ascribe to mutations in order for their theory to “work”

  232. Believe says:

    “Oh, so you are talking, again, about someone else’s commentary on what the bible says. Yeah, we can shoot holes in that all day.”

    No, they are extremely literal documentations of the specific people mentioned in the bible and the biblical Genealogies. They are not subjective, they are entirely objective and literal charts that illustrate what the bible reports literally.

  233. Josh Hamrick says:

    Yeah, I completely disagree with you on that, but that’s OK.

  234. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 234 – Then why were they linked to some geocities type fundy sites?!? Come on man. Those sites you linked are not the end all of bible interpretation. Geez.

  235. Believe says:

    What is ironic is that Fundamentalists, when confronted with the Cain Problem, often resort to something extra-biblical: “Adam and Eve had other kids that the bible doesn’t mention!” and that when Cain was banished, he was banished to a Land of his other unmentioned brothers and sisters.

    Well, that seems a stretch since the Hebrews/Jews were such sticklers on Genealogies, etc.

  236. Josh Hamrick says:

    Who are these fundamentalists?

  237. Believe says:

    Josh, even the Genealogies present an anomaly that has to be resolved as you point out, but it is much more objective than a doctrine.

    It is odd that the Genealogy of Jesus is much different in Matthew than it is in Luke. Why do you think that is? Is it an error?

  238. Believe says:

    Matthew Jesus Genealogy:

    “1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

    2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

    3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

    4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;

    5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

    6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;

    7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

    8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;

    9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;

    10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;

    11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

    12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;

    13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;

    14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;

    15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;

    16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

    17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

  239. Josh Hamrick says:

    The genealogies discrepancy in Matthew and Luke is EASILY explained. Take a good look at both of them, and then you tell me the difference.

  240. Believe says:

    Luke Genealogy of Jesus:

    “23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

    24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,

    25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,

    26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,

    27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,

    28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,

    29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,

    30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,

    31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,

    32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,

    33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

    34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,

    35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,

    36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,

    37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,

    38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”

  241. Believe says:

    Josh, are you saying that there is no error in the bible?

    Is the Genealogy in Luke 100% true? Inerrant?

  242. Josh Hamrick says:

    YES!!!

    And Matthew. And you can figure out the discrepancy with the tiniest bit of thought.

  243. Believe says:

    Josh, do you agree that the bible states in Genesis that a dude named Tubal-Cain was a literal historical man who existed and did Metallurgy, specifically “bronze and iron”?

    Where does Tubal-Cain fit in the Genealogy in Luke that I assume you would say is accurate and without error? We can extrapolate a date using simple math knowing how long ago Jesus lived incarnate and back to David and Jacob etc.

    It’s easy math and we can easily put a point on the board of the History of Man and observe what other human civilizations were up to during Tubal-Cain, and then we can trace back just a bit from Tubal-Cain, and a little further back, until we get to the literal Adam.

    It’s really easy and extremely verfiable, if you say that Luke and Genesis are without error…

  244. Believe says:

    Josh, I know, the point is that you claim the Genealogies to be without error.

    If the Genealogies are without error and if Genesis is without error with regards to Tubal-Cain existing and doing bronze and iron work, then we can do some objective math and do some objective observations of Recorded Human History and Archeology and realize that Adam and his immediate descendants weren’t the first or only biological humans.

  245. Believe says:

    The only other explanation is that Genesis 4 is errant and fallible and the Genealogies presented in the bible are errant fallible and leave out a ton of history.

    If it is literal and not errant, it adds up and we can date it and observe it against other History and Archeology.

    If it is errant and has mistakes and leaves a ton of stuff out or the dates are wrong etc, then the bible isn’t inerrant and infallible and contains errors.

  246. Believe says:

    Fundamentalists are kind of screwed either way you go with it.

  247. Josh Hamrick says:

    Believe, again, I disagree.

  248. Josh Hamrick says:

    Are History and Archeology inerrant?

  249. Believe says:

    History and Archeology are not inerrant insomuch as they are tangible pieces of evidence from history in the form of datable evidence such as implements, weapons, tools, writings, recorded language, etc.

  250. Josh Hamrick says:

    But they could definitely be errant, right?

  251. Believe says:

    Can a written story found in history contain errors? Yes.

    Is bronze tool that was found only during a certain date in history an error and at no other time in history? No.

  252. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 253 – 1.) Your two sentences are contradictory.

    2.) So in your view – I choose to believe an “errant” Bible, you choose tobelieve errant history, archaeology? Right?

  253. Steve Wright says:

    Steve, read Dawkins
    ————————————–
    Believe you ask what you claim are questions as you supposedly wrestle with finding answers, and then express to us how insulting and demeaning it is when Michael suggests reading a book that might help answer your questions.

    Then, someone like myself does not express questions, but rather declares his belief system and notes that this belief system did in fact come from much study….and your first response is to tell THAT person to read a book – to challenge the convictions of that belief system

    This once more confirms for me that you are not wrestling with questions and seeking answers. You have all your answers. You are now on a mission to proselytyze – and that mission is not just focused on changing views on Genesis, but to trash the Scriptures as a whole. To place man’s fallen, limited understanding above the majesty of the revelation of God.

  254. Believe says:

    You can only find bronze tools and weapons during the Bronze Age, it is consistent, no “error”. It is a verifiable definable date/period in human history. Tubal-Cain, if Genesis is inerrant, was making tools of “bronze and iron”…that dates him.

    Adam preceded Tubal-Cain by an easily determined range of years if the Genealogies in the bible are inerrant and accurate.

    We can put Adam at a particular period in Human History and observe what we find in History and Archeology from that same time period. We find languages, inscriptions, tools, implements, evidence of social order etc.

    We can further back than Adam and find evidence of no language, no writing, but tons of crude tools, fossil records of humans, cave drawings, etc.

  255. Josh Hamrick says:

    “You can only find bronze tools and weapons during the Bronze Age, it is consistent, no “error”

    You sure about that?

  256. Believe says:

    Again, the evidence seems to point that mankind was Pre-Intelligent (no language, no writing, no recorded history, but lots of evidence of implements, drawings, fossil records, etc) and then mankind became Intelligent (language, writing, communication, advances in technology etc). Adam and his immediate descendants seem to have shown up in the Jewish History at this point in time: The Intelligent Man era.

  257. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 258 – Again, I and most of Christendom disagree.

  258. Believe says:

    “You sure about that?”

    More sure than a talking snake.

  259. Xenia says:

    Every science class I have ever taken began with the prof announcing that the $100 textbook we just bought (current edition) is now out of date and contains errors.

    Every history class- including the ones I have taught myself- contains phrases like “We used to think this is what happened but now we believe this is what happened.”

    But the scriptures are different, they are god-breathed.

  260. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 260 – Exactly. You choose to have faith in fallible history / archeology / science.

    You aren’t the first person to make that leap.

  261. Believe says:

    Did the talking snake go extinct? Was it a reptilian being that had intelligence and could speak the language of Adam and Eve? Is the devil a literal reptile?

  262. Josh Hamrick says:

    Have we shifted back to the talking snake? Ok.

    It was a pre-fall event. The serpent was cursed after that.

  263. Believe says:

    Science is in the business of observation and disproving hypotheses. It doesn’t claim “truth” (unless a Dawkins crosses over into Philosophy) it merely claims process to verify what is factual and true with regards to a particular hypothesis, largely based on results of testing and what we know of natural physical laws of our Universe.

    Science is very solid in the areas of archeology, as it finds tangible pieces of human evidence that we can test and observe. For example, there is no doubt that you assent to the fact of the Egyptian people and society, that they existed and left behind evidence of their existence, correct?

  264. Believe says:

    Josh, was the snake in the Garden the devil or a literal animal?

  265. Josh Hamrick says:

    Uhh, there are still people in Egypt.

  266. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 266 – Satan in the form of a serpent.

  267. Believe says:

    Biblicists rely on archeology all the time to support their claims. In fact, the biblicists appeal to original texts to define what is legit and what isn’t.

  268. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Science is very solid in the areas of archeology”

    Archaeology is the most speculative science, just in its nature.

  269. Josh Hamrick says:

    Is a biblicist kind of like a fundamentalist, or more like a selective fundamentalist, or maybe an evangelical?

  270. Neo. says:

    Here is what I am am pondering:

    Hitherto, I’ve always adhered to the above statements that if Adam is allegorical than everything else in our Doctrine falls apart like a house of cards. After all, Jesus is a literal, historical Man and Paul basis our whole justification of Jesus literally (and spiritually) undoing what Adam got us into.

    However, as I continue to look at “the facts”, presented on both sides of the Creation Controversy, I am wondering if there is not a harmony between Science and Scripture in this regard: There was a literal Adam at some point yet he may have not been the first being. He is both represenative of all human life up to that point and also the one that first was conscious of the Person of God. Interesting that the first two chapters of Genesis refer to God as Elohim but when God interacts with Adam, God is referred to as Elohim Yahweh, the covenant and personal name of God.

    Maybe when it speaks of “their eyes being opened” to their nakedness, the crafty serpent (another allegorical image for the Evil One) knew that by taking from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not only was Adam rebelling against this God of Whom Adam had interacted but in doing so was getting in way over his head in terms of consciousness. And if one was to think employing “consciousness” in this conversation tilts towards some kind of New Age mumbo jumbo, keep in mind the whole Book of Hebrews deals with our conscious and how Christ gives us a perfect concious that is free from sin consciousness, in other words healing of guilt and shame from our internal condemnation that comes from being less than perfect, far from perfect.

    I always thought it amazing that it was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. What is wrong with knowing what is good and what is evil, right? And yet God at that time did not want Adam to know the difference, He wanted Adam to be innocent (might I even say naive) about good and evil. It wasn’t the Tree of Sin and Perversity or the Tree of Porn and Gossip after all.

    Jesus referred to the Creation, Jonah, and Lot’s wife. Therefore, I have always held that if He took the literally so must I. But now I am wondering if they are truths that may or may not be literal (I definitely fall on the literal side, just thinking here) and they are just as true as if they are literal or not.

    One thing though. I cannot ever question the validity of a literal Resurrection of Christ. And so if that can happen supernaturally, so can a woman turning into a pillar of salt.

    Again, using this blog as a sounding board. This is not a matter of eternal salvatioin or damnation so no need to be vitriolic, right? 🙂

  271. Neo. says:

    ….and again, I refer you to the writings of Irenaeus, 2nd century, as opposed to Augustine, 5th century, when considering Adam’s nature in the Garden.

  272. Believe says:

    Josh, OK. Egyptian language has been dated back as far as 3,400 BC, there is tangible evidence (a lot).

    The Hebrew bible says Enoch disappeared during this same exact time period.

    Pre-Noah. Pre-Tower of Babel.

  273. Neo. says:

    Further, I hope that I never have to read Dawkins. He is worse than Ken Hamm.

  274. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ok. Of course, you are still acting like Genesis has dates stamped on it. but that’s cool. We believe differently.

  275. Neo. says:

    Choosing between someone like Hamm and someone like Dawkins is like choosing if you want to die by burning or freezing.

    Truth, it seems to me, is most often in the middle somewhere.

  276. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 277 – 🙂 lot of truth to that.

  277. Believe says:

    Sumerian was first observed as written and spoken around 4,000 BC (6,000 years ago) and is the first recorded language we see in history, well before any version of proto-Canaanite or ancient Hebrew.

    It’s why I ask, “what language did God use when He talked to Adam and Eve in the Garden” if that part of Genesis is literal and not metaphorical?

  278. Neo. says:

    Why is all this significant to me? Cause I am trying, like Paul in Romans 7, to figure out why I am trapped in this “body of death”.

  279. Believe says:

    What language did the devil in the form of a snake use to talk with Adam and Eve, if literal? Sumerian?

  280. Neo. says:

    Believe. Like Yahweh, he used whatever language was employed in Adam’s time.

  281. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 279 – Does the Bible say which language was used?

  282. Josh Hamrick says:

    Beleive, no one could answer the “language” question from the bible. It simply doesn’t say.

  283. Believe says:

    The very earliest “Hebrew” inscriptions aren’t found until around 1,000 BC or 3,000 years ago.

    Why’s that?

    Seems if God was talking with Adam and Eve literally, as well as a talking snake, they were speaking a language, no?

    Sumerian, then Egyptian way pre-date any evidence of proto-Canaanite or archaic Hebrew…

    Did Adam and Eve pass down Sumerian to their descendants? What language did Moses speak?

    We see Moses in 1600-1300 BC range showing up in history as a literal figure.

    We assume Moses wrote the Torah/Penteteuch or at least that’s what Tradition tells us.

    OK. Then what language did Moses first write it in? Egyptian? Why no evidence of Hebrew during the time that Moses was supposedly parting the Red Sea?

  284. Believe says:

    “no one could answer the “language” question from the bible. It simply doesn’t say.”

    Bible doesn’t say “Trinity” either, nor does it say Adam and Eve had others kids besides those mentioned, doesn’t say “rapture” either.

  285. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Bible doesn’t say “Trinity” either, nor does it say Adam and Eve had others kids besides those mentioned, doesn’t say “rapture” either.”

    This is good logic. Since the bible doesn’t say Trinity, I can assert anything else that it doesn’t say, such as God is a Watermelon, and then easily defeat that premise.

  286. Believe says:

    There just comes a point where what we observe as facts in archeology just don’t support a bible-story literal narrative in some areas. I don’t think it proves no God or no Jesus, but it does prove that we don’t know much and that Genesis is not necessarily a science book and is loosely a Jewish History passed down in oral tradition and codified sometime after Moses in a more ancient Hebrew language. By the time we actually see it in writing, it is in a language well after Moses is reported to have lived according to the bible itself (though simple math and Genealogies etc).

  287. Josh Hamrick says:

    If you want to talk biblically about language, again, there is a big shift in Genesis 11. Moses was well after that, so if you want to attribute why Moses would speak different than Adam (if in fact he did) that is pretty obvious.

  288. Believe says:

    “Since the bible doesn’t say Trinity,”

    I use that example because it illustrates how man has used Reason and appealed to an extra-biblical term and concept to resolve a very difficult contradiction in the bible

  289. Believe says:

    I don’t know what to do with your #289, it makes no sense, IMO.

  290. Believe says:

    Gotta run, not dodging you Josh, just need to get some work done. Thanks for the discussion.

  291. Josh Hamrick says:

    “what we observe as facts in archeology”

    So, is archaeology inerrant?

  292. Josh Hamrick says:

    Quick explanation of 289 – There have been 4,000 questions about all different things. You asked about Adams language – which God doesn’t tell us about, and you asked about Moses language.
    If there was a difference in language between Adam and Moses, And how could anyone know, but if there was a difference, Gen 11 explains that pretty cleanly.

  293. Josh Hamrick says:

    “I use that example because it illustrates how man has used Reason and appealed to an extra-biblical term and concept to resolve a very difficult contradiction in the bible”

    The trinity is not a difficult contradiction in the Bible. It is a word that is used to sum up a biblical concept, rather than use a much longer biblical explanation.

  294. Neo. says:

    Who cares anyway? Let’s just read the Book of Ecclesiastes. 🙂

  295. Believe asks funny questions. Since we do not know how tall Adam was, we have no authority to say there was a real Adam – obviously if the Bible were true, it would have mentioned Adam’s height.

  296. Jim says:

    CJ’s T4G business partners posted a statement on their FB page, which they took down this morning. See below.

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/e3623beb-3591-4ba2-a332-30f2e94bb79c/48ade443a4715458c112553f82acf8c9

  297. Believe says:

    Typical. I could have written that letter by “church” Gurus of the T4G.

    Don’t buy the bullspit, church is as corrupt and “cover your arse” as business and politics…maybe even a bit more. There is no difference between the groups.

  298. Believe says:

    Josh, Science accepts when it is wrong and makes the adjustment, Dogmatism in Religion is confronted with error and doubles and triples down and makes their explanations whackier. That’s the difference, the big difference.

    It’s why religion is viewed as so dishonest and is increasingly being discovered for the fraud it can often be.

  299. Believe says:

    Neo. I prefer the Song of Solomon, it’s like bible p0rn LOL 😆

    Read that book in a Christian Singles bible study ROTFLOL 🙂

  300. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 302 – TMI. Geez.

    @ 300 – I’ve seen plenty of churches and denominations admit to being wrong about a long held belief.,

  301. Steve Wright says:

    Unless Believe’s wife wants to personally log on to ‘Amen’ the above post, I think it should be moderated for her sake.

    I’m sure Believe would say she has no problem, but I think she needs to say that for herself – or else be protected.

    I can’t imagine posting about one’s wife in such a fashion on a public blog like this.

  302. Sarah says:

    Steve…I’ll put it in moderation and let Michael decide when he has time.

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