Feb 262013
 

imagesSome of you have probably heard of the “Jefferson Bible”.

Founding father Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the ‘supernatural” parts of the Scriptures, though he claimed to hold to the moral teachings and principals found therein.

Evidently he held to them except when he was sleeping with his slaves, but I digress…

 

So…he just clipped out the parts of the book he didn’t like and assembled the ones that suited his Enlightenment perspective.

Jesus virgin birth?

Snip.

Jesus casting out demons?

Snip.

The resurrection?

Snip.

You get the picture…

Yesterday I posted these Scriptures that demonstrate from Paul and our Lord what our attitude toward lawsuits in the church should be.

“To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!”

(1 Corinthians 6:6–8 ESV)

““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

(Matthew 5:38–42 ESV)

This was immediately met with disagreement…these pertain only to that ancient culture and they must be reinterpreted to fit our culture and our far superior political and legal system.

That was pretty much Jeffersons argument too.

Snip.

The problem is that both verses harken back to the Sermon On the Mount…the most counter cultural manifesto ever written in a sacred text.

It’s radical…and it says that those who follow Jesus will be those who embrace it’s tenets of radical love and self sacrifice.

Let me say that again…radical love and self sacrifice.

That’s what I believe we’re called to a life of… just as Christ loved and died for us.

What troubled me yesterday wasn’t the wrangling over the letter of the law, that’s part of “theologizing”.

What troubled me was the neglect of the spirit of the text.

Suffer wrong.

Be willing to be defrauded.

Turn the other cheek.

Live sacrificially.

Love each other and the church enough settle things righteously.

Love sacrificially.

Jesus modeled these things for us and as a pastor I believe I am called to model them to others…if these are the things that I indeed preach and teach.

Pastors and teachers have the greater responsibility.

I have not done it very well…and in the places where I have done it I am suffering greatly for the effort.

Jesus said that would happen too.

In another place in the book, He said this; “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”(Revelation 2:3–4 ESV)

I believe that he was speaking of the love that church had for each other…a fervent love that proved their love for Him.

It seems to me that we’ve taken our Jeffersonian scissors and systematically snipped out those places where we’re called to love sacrificially…to love the alien among us, the poor, the prisoner,the enemy, the sinner…and each other.

We’ve taken our scissors to the spirit as well as the letter.

We choose instead to protect ourselves, our traditions and our organizations.

I’m as guilty as any.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”(Mark 8:35 ESV)

Snip.

 

 

 

  90 Responses to “The “Fill In The Blank” Bible”

  1. Well someone should perforate the pages.

  2. Yes, that is one of my prevailing Theses, I call it: Selective Fundamentalism

    There are no true Fundamentalists (except maybe the EO).

    There are Liberals and Selective Fundamentalists.

    “Homosexuality and being a woman disqualifies you from being a Pastor/Elder!”

    “We ignore the rest of the Qualifications, they aren’t actionable or applicable!”

    ——————–

    “Don’t judge!”

    Paul the Apostle: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”

    ——————-

    “It’s a PRIVATE family matter!”

    Paul the Apostle, the Bible: “Rebuke them publicly”. “Expose the deeds of darkness”. “Warn others”.

    ——————-

    “We are all 100% Independent!”

    Paul the Apostle, the Bible: “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

    ——————-

    “It’s ok to lie to protect God’s ministry and my anointing!”

    The Bible: “God HATES liars” “The devil is the father of lies”. “Lying lips are an ABOMINATION to the Lord”.

  3. I purposefully avoided the convo yesterday, but I read it. This doesn’t seem like an accurate perception of what I read.

    You do realize this post says, basically, “If you disagree with me, you don’t believe in the Bible”?

    Usually not a very attractive stance.

  4. Josh,

    I’m saying nothing of the sort.
    Not at all.

  5. My work week starts now…please keep it civil and as kind as possible.

  6. I think it’s pretty clear that the Bible in practice and in reality is really just a set of guidelines as evidenced by so much disagreement over the centuries, 9,000 to 30,000 denoms, Mainlines, etc, so many Sects, so much duplicity, paradox, contradiction, pick-and-choose in both word, but more importantly in deed/practice (which shows true Belief).

    All appealing to the same “bible” (or mostly the same as some have a difference in “official Canon of Scripture which illustrates yet another anomaly).

    Can’t really get around it, no matter how much some will deny the obvious. If the devil is the father of lies, then truth and intellectual honesty is not of the devil.

  7. What I read yesterday was a generally agreeable conversation, with the exception of one guy. His disagreement wasn’t over the scripture in question.

    Those who did discuss the scripture in question didn’t seek to snip it from the Bible, but to properly understand it in its context. I didn’t see anyone disagree with Paul, just asking, how universally is this to be applied. If that is wrong, then put your silent women in head covering and stop eating shellfish.

  8. Josh said, “Those who did discuss the scripture in question didn’t seek to snip it from the Bible, but to properly understand it in its context. I didn’t see anyone disagree with Paul, just asking, how universally is this to be applied. If that is wrong, then put your silent women in head covering and stop eating shellfish.”

    Yes, you illustrate that it is not to be taken “literally” and “simply” and that is open to broad interpretation appealing to your particular Interpretive Model/Framework with you and/or your particular Group deciding what is the “proper context”.

  9. I’ve asked this question before b/c it has a way of driving home the point:

    Can a Homosexual or a Woman be a Pastor/Elder? Why? Why not? (in light of Josh’s response and Michael’s article).

  10. I was going to comment, but I see we are back to the whole Subjective/Relative, Selective Fundamentalism, capitalize this word and not that word argument. I may read this one, but after this won’t participate.
    I agree with Josh. I did not see the disagreement. I must admit this post confused me.

  11. I won’t go down this endless path, only to say, I don’t know of any person or group who claims 100% infallible understanding of the Scriptures.

    It is not showing the fallibility of Scripture to admit that our understanding of it can be flawed.

    To not read scripture in its original historical / cultural context will bring you to a flawed understanding more times than not.

  12. Alex @ 9 – Do you remember me explicitly answering those questions a week or two ago?

  13. Could it be, as Josh stated above, appealing to “just asking, how universally is this to be applied. If that is wrong, then put your silent women in head covering and stop eating shellfish.”

    …that that was then, this is now? That we have to apply “context” to the head covering, the women being silent, the shellfish and the “no suing” and the rest of the Qualifications, the Body of Christ being “one” and not “independent” etc as “not universal”…that we cannot take the text as “simply” saying what it says, we must filter it through the lens of today?

    …this “could” include pretty much anything, then, no? Yet, we pick and we choose based off our particular biases and prejudices…

  14. That will be my last post, I don’t want to offend the Group.

  15. Is this that hard to understand?

    Yes, not only could it apply to anything in the scripture, it DOES apply to everything in the Scripture. IT is not reading “through the lens of today” to ask questions about the original audience and the author’s intent. That is responsible reading. To take the Bible out of historical context, we can make it say anything we want.

  16. Alex @ 14 – AS long as you are actually interacting, I don’t see a problem. The constant repetition of old themes (asking the questions in 9 again) after I answered them so recently is when people get irritated.

  17. Josh, I’ll have to bow out, the problem is you and others don’t successfully refute the assertion I made from a Philosophical Logic perspective, that’s why there is the repetition. I’ll just bow out for the sake of the Community. No offense on my end and I hope there is none on your end as well. Have a good day bro.

  18. We may not snip out passages with our scissors as Jefferson did,

    but we often dive into the details of Bible study and get lost in the weeds of exceptions, before we look at the plain and overarching meaning.

    We miss the heart of the matter,
    … the point,

    upon which the remaining details will hang …

    in a more meaningful way.

  19. Do these verses apply to Alex and Co as well? It would be rather hypocritical to apply them only to Bob. Has the blog forgotten that both parties have been involved in lawsuits?

  20. X, I agree, valid point. I didn’t want to sue b/c I thought it was wrong, per a simple interpretation of the bible, but was told by CC pastors and others that I should sue Bob and not bug the church.

  21. …and some pastors said I should sue b/c I would find no justice in the church.

  22. My position on the subject now is like many positions I currently hold: I dunno what the right answer is, I do know that Child Abuse and Corruption in the church and other Instituions is “wrong”…not sure who is the right venue to bring justice and accountability, if it is the courts and the church, the church or the courts, etc. I just know that what I’ve experienced first-hand and what is reported to me by others who I trust and who are credible to me is “sin” and “wrong” and illegal.

  23. ” I didn’t want to sue b/c I thought it was wrong”
    Maybe. Some might think you didn’t because you don’t have a case.

  24. Bob had to sue.

    If he’s innocent, he can’t let anyone keep saying these awful things about him.

    If he’s guilty…well, he can’t let someone keep saying these things. One way or the other, if Alex was going to keep talking, and I don’t begrudge him that, Bob had to fess up or sue.

    I don’t, however, think this will go well for Bob. Don’t be shocked if God works through this whole thing.

  25. ” like many positions I currently hold: I dunno what the right answer is,”
    Saying “i don’t know” IS NOT HOLDING A POSITION. I think that’s another thing that is very frustrating.

  26. Josh, I agree with your 10:30 . As long as you hold that women may go uncovered in the 21st century, you are Jefferson. Which means we all are Jefferson. Which is why Jefferson is so cool.

  27. Jim Jr. said, “Maybe. Some might think you didn’t because you don’t have a case.”

    Kelly Clark thought I had a case and took me as a client. The statute of limitations in California prevented a suit. At the time, the CA Supreme Court was in the middle of ruling one way or another. Once the ruling came down, Kelly told me there was nothing he could do.

    I made the decision to pursue it with Kelly based off of input from many pastors, including Calvary Chapel Pastors. Some of the pastors said it was right and righteous b/c the church wouldn’t do their duty, others said it was right and righteous regardless.

    Most agreed I would not get justice in Calvary Chapel.

  28. Marci Hamilton of Cardozo Law thought I had a case after reviewing the info and referred me to Kelly Clark. She is a leading Child Abuse advocate and Professor of Law.

  29. We’ll be discussing all of this on the Google News site “God Discussion” on March 15 for the 2nd hour of the show, right after a segment on Separation of Church and State.

    Some have said these issues aren’t that important, that they are a “private family matter” and that there are not broader implications.

    Many big players disagree, including the New York Times, Newsweek/Daily Beast, OC Weekly, Daily Kos, Fresno Bee, The Wartburg Watch, PhoenixPreacher, Marci Hamilton of Cardozo Law, Kelly Clark leading Child Abuse advocate, “God Discussion” and many others I am being contacted by.

    The issues have very broad implications and our “private family matter” is spin and mythology, it is a microcosm of a much larger much more pervasive Problem in our churches and in our Society.

    It is a very small and increasingly smaller hard-core Group that continues to defend the BG situation as a “private family matter”.

  30. Now I will bow out, sorry to those who don’t like me posting so much.

  31. So which is it?
    ” I didn’t want to sue b/c I thought it was wrong, ”
    or
    “Kelly Clark thought I had a case and took me as a client. The statute of limitations in California prevented a suit. “

  32. Alex, I would advise not interacting with JimWho.

  33. The issue is what verses are “snipped” out. I would contend that many “snip” out verses in their views of dispensation and I would also add many add (or at least interpretation and allegory) verses where there are none.

    Alex:

    I like you but sometimes (I guess more often than sometimes) you need to just make a point or two and then sit back and let others go at it.

    Jim Jr.:

    Do you drink the kool-aid and eat the jello? Just asking.

  34. One word I’ve taken from Michael is “tension.”
    Jesus commanded his apostles to carry a sword.
    No lawsuits plus command to take a sword equals tension.

  35. Alex, Derek is giving you wise counsel @ #32. Jim Jr/Who is only here to bait you.

  36. “Do you drink the kool-aid and eat the jello? Just asking.”
    My only motivation is principles. God gave us a brain, we use them. That was Jefferson’s problem. He was just committed to his brain more than most Christians are.
    Those Christians that DON’T read Phoenix Preacher, of course. 🙂

  37. “Jim Jr/Who is only here to bait you.”
    That is untrue.

  38. Back to the Jefferson Bible discussion:

    From the thread “XX Authority of the Church” I posted the following;

    “Well… based upon this and the previous threads discussion, it would seem that if the Word doesn’t have ultimate authority in your life, then its sure that the Church’s authority would follow the same fate.

    We interpret our own Jesus and he fits our needs….”

    This would seem to echo the thought that we seem to emphasize certain Scriptures over others.

    2cents.

  39. In response to the “Who should sue who” issue:

    Bob is the authority of the church. He had the ability to agree to meet with Alex in the beginning when Alex asked to meet in order to deal with the issues. Both the law of love and the biblical call to work things out should have motivated Bob to have met with Alex. It was his responsibility as a Christian, but most especially as a Leader. (His example teaches most loudly.) Bob eschewed his responsibility.

    The elders and board members should have exercised authority to have brought the them together (plus others who are accusing Bob of abuse) to seek a resolution … at a minimum establish facts. But in the true CC Moses Model structure, they do not have that power. If I’m wrong and somehow they do, then they completely abdicated their responsibility.

    The CCOF and Chuck Smith, himself, abdicated their responsibility, as well.

    This leaves Alex & Co with no ability to obey Scripture in working this out in-house. With the sheer amount of people who say they have been damaged by Bob’s abuse (albeit spiritual, mental, physical or sexual,) the issue becomes about helping others who have no voice, or who aren’t heard when they operate alone, or who are in need of an advocate -such as the young girl who was molested by her father (step?) and Bob told her to be quiet. And because the issues includes Bob committing sexual abuse on his own blood son, as well as Bob protecting a suspected sexual abuser, this issue cannot just be absorbed by the victims in the name of love.

    If Bob were innocent, then he could have absorbed this in the name of love and spared many. Alex cannot. In the name of love, Alex (I think) is compelled to stop the abuser. If the church abdicates it’s responsibility and advises a lawsuit, at that point, I suspect one must sue.

    Again, Bob’s pain (if he were somehow innocent and everyone else is lying, including his 3 sons,) is something he could have endured for sake of Christ. His issue at that point was that he needed to stop pastoring and go to great lengths to restore love and relationship within his own family FIRST, before trying to bring love and relationship to others.

  40. “It’s radical…and it says that those who follow Jesus will be those who embrace it’s tenets of radical love and self sacrifice.”
    it’s called grace, we ignorantly presume on God’s, and we don’t understand it, appreciate it or do it very well … it has nothing to do with being a victim or a doormat – it involves self denial, but it’s not reality denial – it takes a grounded, God-loving and fearing person to exercise it – gracefully – IMNSHO

  41. Succinct version:

    Motivation for Bob’s lawsuit, doesn’t pass the love test.

    Motivation for Alex’s lawsuit, does pass the love test.

    For Bob to have not sued would have fit the Biblical mandate to take the offense for the sake of Christ.

    For Alex to have not sued would have been unloving for all those who were abused, continue to be abused and will be abused, especially since the church has abdicated it’s responsibility to protect the sheep.

  42. Clear example of when not to sue:

    Man sells car unknowingly with defect to another believer in the church. Buyer gets a lemon.

    Buyer asks for his money back and man denies him. Buyer can take that offense for the sake of Christ.

    Fuzzy example:

    Man sells car KNOWINGLY with defect to another believer in the church. Buyer is denied his money back.

    a. Buyer can take it for the team.
    b. Buyer knows this man is willfully and repeatedly bilking the church, so he asks leadership to mediate.

    If leadership abdicates, then buyer has to decide if this is something that he can ignore and it be loving, or if this buyer is abusive in his practices and the buyer should -out of love for others- protect them by stopping this seller from continuing to hurt others.

    To me the key is:
    1. Is a lawsuit showing a love for others?
    2. Is the church abdicating it’s responsibility; thereby leaving the people to have to use the court system to protect one another?

  43. To compare the denial of miracles and the supernatural with a wrestling with the text for modern application is not simply comparing apples to oranges but apples to car batteries.

    I guess my first question is why the lengthy quoting of Calvin yesterday – without the same criticism of him as is posted here towards those who engaged the thread.

    Considering that no matter how sacrificially Christians (and their local churches) may give, I guess we are all in sin because EVENTUALLY we say no to someone out of a sense of stewardship for our greater responsibilities (i.e. family) instead of giving to whoever asks of you without turning any away.

    Wooden analysis of certain prooftexts is how we end up with pastors ordering wives to stay where they are beaten, ordering people not to go to the doctors but simply pray, ordering slavery as God’s will, ordering people to avoid jury duty, even at risk of warrant and punishment, ordering Christians to not only avoid the military but all areas of law enforcement and security. No oaths of any kind, No judging of any kind

    I put an example on the table yesterday that I will de-personalize from our blog host. Let’s say our brothers, Josh or G-man write a song. That song is stolen by another who gets rich off it. They come to the pastor and ask if it is a sin in Jesus’ eyes for them to exercise their legal rights.

    In my opinion, any pastor answering “Yes, that is sin” is guilty of malpractice.

    Sure, they have the OPTION to do nothing. Just as a person has the option before the Lord to take a vow of poverty. The option to avoid medical treatment in lieu of prayer. But to argue that is the ONLY path of Scriptural obedience is to err.

    Exegesis by definition MUST involve the local context. The original author to his original audience.Not even remotely comparable to what Jefferson was doing.

  44. Now…having said that, and because I don’t think Bible application is the wild, wild west – but that we can seek to interpret Scripture with Scripture using the template of the Character of God….

    Paul speaks against brother suing brother, not lawsuits in general. Jesus speaks of the steps of reconciliation, and then concludes by saying if the offender refuses to listen, let him be to you as an unbeliever. Whether the person is or is not saved is not our issue, but the instruction is for how we are to then see and deal with this person.

    Paul did not speak against using one’s legal rights against the unbelievers. In fact, he did so himself.

    There is no doubt that Scripture insists upon reconciliation attempts among professing believers, but Jesus anticipated these not being successful and then how one is to respond as a result.

    So to my copyright example. You go to the thief privately. You go with a couple brothers. You seek the church the thief calls home. But eventually, if there is no response, you consider him an unbeliever – freeing you to also take him to court.

  45. chili @42: you cannot be serious when saying Alex passes the love test. I am sure he believes his crusade is just but there has never been any love in his rantings. Not once. Your bias is showing. At least be fair. (before responding, note I did not disagree with your assesment that Bod doesn’t passd the test. Just be real.

  46. “I believe that he was speaking of the love that church had for each other…a fervent love that proved their love for Him.”

    Yes, of course. The NLT (yes, I know, I know) says this:
    But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

    This is a verse that I struggle with daily and one that God has chosen to resound as a gong.

  47. Re: really?

    When I said Alex passes the love test it was in regards to the motivation behind his filing a law suit.

    I made no comment about how he engages on this blog.

    How is it that you think Bob passes the love test in his motivation for filing a law suit against his own son, without ever having met with him first, without ever having given it a good college try with mediators or something …. anything?

    Even the PeaceMakers teach that a person’s apology must be believable, it must acknowledge clearly the wrongs committed, and it must be backed up by actions and attitudes that show patience towards the offended and their right to be angry. The offender should make all efforts to make things right, even if it takes time and at a personal cost.

    So while Bob offered a flippant apology, he never backed it up. To follow that up with a law suit ….

    I am being real.

  48. ‘there has never been any love in his rantings. Not once.’

    Well, maybe not for you.

    Don’t speak for anyone else, please.

  49. I agree with Michael about everything.

    However the discussion has turned to Alex.

    I’ve been struggling with a few passages myself, maybe PP can give me some insight. On the sermon on the mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

    Yet in Matthew 10:34 he says, “”Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”

    So when are we to be peacemakers and when are we to go to war?

    As for Alex, God is using him for bigger issues than his stepfather. What he has started has much deeper implications than his own personal experience (which is horrible, I’m not taking away from that). When the church body rallies around Alex, it’s not taking Alex side over CC, it’s taking a stand against corrupt leadership, lack of accountability, and the Moses model in general. At least that’s how I see it.

  50. I think we must show great restraint in deciding another is an unbeliever in order to free ourselves up to sue. It’s just too easy to decide nearly everyone is an unbeliever in one way or another. We must look for the heart of what Jesus wants in not suing one another and not the technical outs … not that there never are exceptions … but we must look to the heart of the matter keeping the admonition of Scripture to not sue at the center of our thinking.

    The church should have a way of dealing with these issues. They are life issues and to be expected. I believe it’s incumbent up the leaders to make sure there is an avenue for accusations and recourse within the church. Those who wish not to participate run the risk of being sued.

    If “I’m” the offended, then I have a conscience issue. I need to look for reason not to sue first. (No one said that would not be painful or costly.) If I see others being damaged who have no voice, then the issue becomes suing to protect others. If the actions are criminal, and the church can’t or won’t help, then I have reason to sue. But it’s the fault of the church, I think.

  51. That’s how I see it, Fly.

  52. “you cannot be serious when saying Alex passes the love test. I am sure he believes his crusade is just but there has never been any love in his rantings.”

    Alex is a lot more civil and likeable in person or on the radio.

    He’s also more gracious on his blog.

    If your only contact with Alex is on here, your view may be skewed.

    Sorry Alex, just keeping it real.

    But in Alex’s defense, when someone blogs something, it does have more error for misinterpretation. I’ve reread some things that I posted and I wonder, “did I really write that?” That’s because when one is blogging there’s no non-verbal cues to judge if what I’m saying is in/appropriate. It is a true overflow of the heart. This may be good or bad.

  53. Fly, I think that is an accurate assessment, guilty as charged 🙂 No offense taken, when it’s true.

  54. Fly, your #49 is spot on, IMO.

  55. quite frankly, if the folks discussing things here were all in one location, in one church assembly, you’d be a force – when two or three **truly** gather under His banner – in His Name as His followers … you can tell

    just sayin … and … God keep

  56. I think we must show great restraint in deciding another is an unbeliever in order to free ourselves up to sue.
    ————————————–
    To be clear. I said no such thing. In fact, I think I made the point that such was NOT our job at all. If I failed at first (to others besides Chile), I will say so clearly now.

    We do NOT know if anyone is saved. Only God knows for sure. You all don’t know if I am, and I don’t know if any of you are. At best we make our determinations by the fruit and professions made by others.

    However, we live in a world where God does give us different standards of behavior, within the Church, to apply to believers versus unbelievers. We could cite several. Don’t eat with a fornicating believer, but you can an unbeliever. Don’t marry an unbeliever, but you can a believer. In the local church, issues such as serving, taking communion and so forth are reserved for believers, though unbelievers can attend worship services. And so on.

    I was pointing out the CONCLUSION of the teaching of Jesus. Jesus gives a progression that, when ending unsuccessful, results in the determination of ‘unbeliever’ and frees us, in the courts of heaven, to treat such a person as an unbeliever. Whether heaven or hell is the eternal destiny is not the point. The point is dealing on this earth with the sinning brother.

    Again, He starts by saying ‘your brother sins against you’ and ends with ‘let him be to you like a heathen and tax collector’

    As much as Matthew 18 is mentioned and cited as ‘what needs to happen’, it would seem wise to read and seek to understand the entirety of our Lord’s teaching. It comes as a package.

  57. I should also make clear as to the ‘we don’t know if anyone is saved’ part. I mean we do not have knowledge only God has.

    However, we are commanded to love, and love believes all things. If someone professes the gospel, seeks to live their lives in a Christ-pleasing manner – there is no need or desire to grill them about their salvation or be suspicious. We take people at their word.

    However, if that same person who says the right things starts to do some things that are hurting others, then the procedure is as Jesus outlined, with the possibility for closure (or further action as needed) when after the one-on-one, after the bringing of the two or three, and after the telling to the church, then, even if the person keeps saying the right things about their faith in Jesus, the church is permitted by the Lord to treat them as an unbeliever.

  58. Steve this comment threw me off:

    “So to my copyright example. You go to the thief privately. You go with a couple brothers. You seek the church the thief calls home. But eventually, if there is no response, you consider him an unbeliever – freeing you to also take him to court.”

  59. No problem, Chile. I hope it makes sense now?

    If Josh won’t mind me using his name here…A guy steals Josh’s song, so Josh says ‘Hey man, you stole my song without permission or giving credit.’ Guy ignores Josh.

    Josh joins with a couple other brothers and says ‘Look, Josh has been singing this song for five years here and it is online because we record our services and circulating in other places where you could have heard it. There is no way you managed to write the exact same song as someone else” Guy claims he wrote the song 10 years ago but just now got around to recording it. He has no proof of this though.

    So Josh contacts the church this guy is a member in, his pastor and elders, and says ‘Look, this is wrong. You have a church member who is a liar and a thief (two things the Bible does not look kindly towards). The pastor is a good guy and sees what’s happening. But the artist is unmoved (figures he can find another church anytime).

    Josh has done everything according to Scripture (Ch 18 of Matt). Jesus says this guy can now be viewed as an unbeliever.

    This is where Michael and I part ways (if I understand him these last two days and I think I do). Michael says that Josh must not take legal action against this fellow Christian.

    I disagree, but not just because I am picking and choosing Bible passages to obey, and acting like Jefferson because I don’t like these verses, but because God has in His wisdom explained how we can and are to handle such issues.

    In fact, we could ask what is the point of Josh taking those initial steps if the end result desired by the Lord is always to just be shafted. If there is so much glory in letting someone rip you off, why not take that glory early and not even try to claim what is rightfully yours.

    Now, Josh certainly could let it slide. In fact, he could have stopped anywhere along the line. Maybe after the initial call, maybe after the 2nd. But if Josh wonders if the Lord commands him to let this guy steal and lie to Josh’s detriment, while the lying thief names the name of Jesus, my conclusion, from Scripture, is a clear ‘No’

    And this is the exact line of reasoning necessary to Biblically justify a divorce from a professing Christian, who never commits adultery, but gets drunk and beats on his wife every night.

  60. Stepping in for a very brief moment just to say that I will read everything that precedes my post when I get home tonight because though I was intrigued at the subject Michael posted I have just finished a chat with an amazing believer who loves Jesus and is in a new and exciting chapter in her recovery from toxic religion and has rediscovered the joy of the adventure!

    In the meantime, if anyone is inclined to create a “Jefferson Bible” of their own you can do what I did…

    Tear away everything before Matthew.
    Tear away everything after John.

    Detail with :: that :: body of text, it’s kept me busy and challenged for a very long time!

  61. Steve: Your argument is so idiotic, I’m disgusted I even took time to read it. You’re no better than Jr., you just mask your stupidity in lofty logic and hide and twirl it in circles, so one can barely understand you. Bravo. If you ever leave the ministry, you’d make a great lawyer.

    Steve’s basic argument is this: Alex behavior is like a non-believer. Therefore Grenier has the right to sue him.

    Really? What about Grenier’s behavior?

    You deem the church has decided that Alex is a non-believer. Oh yeah… which church? The one that is protecting Bob? What about this church? What about the believers on here? Alex has overwhelming support. Even the people who don’t like him will not say that he is acting wrongfully, or say that BG is innocent. Alex’s methods are controversial, that’s where you’ll find the disagreement. There seems to be only two individuals here that think BG is innocent.

    People seem to think you’re so wise on here, but it’s so easy to see what you’re doing. Someone said it best when they said you’re a corporate yes-man. That’s exactly what you are. I’m appalled because you’ve done such good things for the Lord, yet your blinders to anything Calvary Chapel is nauseating.

  62. Fly, you are out of line. I think Steve’s points are good. Disagreeing is good.
    I think Steve made it clear that he’s talking about the principle and not some specific situation. The analogy holds if we made it about you.
    If you have a neighbor that steals your washer and dryer while you are gone for the weekend, and you return to find your washer and dryer plugged in and in use on HIS carport, what do you, as a believer, do?
    See? Happy now? Same point as Steve’s, and now it’s about you.
    And his was never about Alex.
    Tah-dah!

  63. ” If there is so much glory in letting someone rip you off, why not take that glory early and not even try to claim what is rightfully yours.”
    See, this is an excellent point. Matt 18 presupposes that things may not end for the best. If it was ALL about turning the other cheek, Matt 18 would never have been spoken by Jesus at all. Thank you, Steve.

  64. ” If there is so much glory in letting someone rip you off, why not take that glory early and not even try to claim what is rightfully yours.”
    See, this is an excellent point. Matthew ch eighteen presupposes that things may not end for the best. If it was ALL about turning the other cheek, Matthew ch eighteen would never have been spoken by Jesus at all. Thank you, Steve.

  65. Fly. My comments did not have one thing to do with the Grenier litigation. They are a continued attempt to discuss application of Scripture. Sorry if the discussion went over your head and you were not able to understand. I’ll assume others reading did not have that problem.

    They most certainly do NOT argue for a conclusion that Alex is a non-believer or Bob’s suit is in the right….as you nonetheless accuse.

  66. I have been away from a computer all day, but glancing in a couple of times to follow along. This whole conversation about how a Christian should act or do things (going to court as an example) is so typical when evangelicals, who look at the Bible as an instruction manual, discuss things.

    You folks don’t look at the Bible any differently than you look at the instruction manual for your oven – give me step one, two and three to get this dang thing lit.

    Friday night I confronted a CC pastor who made the claim that the Bible stands for
    B basic
    I instructions
    B before
    L leaving
    E earth

    I told him that he must have picked that up from a pagan, because a Christian would never think that way.

  67. Now, as for “snipping” out Bible verses, I like to confront Christians with “what part of cutting off your hand don’t you understand?”

  68. Either I need to retake Writing 101 or some folks need help with reading comprehension.
    I have acknowledged that there are worthwhile debates and discussions to be held over interpretation of these matters.
    I’m the one who posted Calvin’s view contra the one I espoused and I’ve allowed anyone who wants to to chime in.
    The point was this.
    The Bible sets a very high standard for Christian behavior and relationships.
    The expectation is that the church will do everything in it’s power to accomplish restoration and redemption of relationships and it will do so inside the church.
    This is the spirit of the passages.
    The micro application is that Calvary Chapel failed to follow either the spirit or letter of the law of love in this matter and the result is shame to the whole Body.
    The macro application is that we as a Body seem to have lost our first love and the weight of these matters seem trivial.
    Now, I’m spending the rest of my awake time with Jerry Lee and some good rum.
    Parse that.

  69. ‘We do NOT know if anyone is saved. Only God knows for sure. You all don’t know if I am, and I don’t know if any of you are. At best we make our determinations by the fruit and professions made by others.’

    What a crock of horses…. Try telling that to the apostles and martyrs of the first century, or any century, for that matter. Naw. I’ll die for nothing, because we can’t know we are saved.

    With this “logic” (actually, none), then what the hell? Just grab 100 people off the street and take them to the nearest church. What’s the difference?

    I guess the NT letters weren’t written to anyone in particular. Wait –they were written to specific groups OF BELIEVERS. The called-out ones.

    Get a brain.

  70. Lutheran,

    If I’m not cussing, no one can cuss.
    I had to edit your post until I cuss.
    Take a breath…

  71. Lutheran, #56 did seem to clarify what you commented on.

    “I should also make clear as to the ‘we don’t know if anyone is saved’ part. I mean we do not have knowledge only God has.”

    That seems to make sense to me unless I’m missing something. God bless.

  72. “This is the spirit of the passages.”
    The spirit of the passages also speak to irreconcilable differences. If it were all about turning the other cheek, Jesus would not have spoken the words we have in ch 18.
    What Paul does not address in Corinthians is if a judgment made in the church by believers is not accepted by one party in the dispute.
    I for one have been enriched.

  73. “However, if that same person who says the right things starts to do some things that are hurting others, then the procedure is as Jesus outlined, with the possibility for closure (or further action as needed) when after the one-on-one, after the bringing of the two or three, and after the telling to the church, then, even if the person keeps saying the right things about their faith in Jesus, the church is permitted by the Lord to treat them as an unbeliever.”

    This isn’t alluding to Alex? Really?

    Oh right… we’re talking about Josh’s songs.

    Okay, love believes all things. I’ll believe that you aren’t alluding to Alex and you just want a discussion as what you do as a Pastor involving litigation.

    My thought is this: every case is individual. You can’t make a universal law. Child abuse is different from spousal abuse, is different from online pornography is different from a washer and dryer.

    As for the turning of the cheek, I would think for public slander, it’s safe to turn the other cheek. Why make mountains out of molehills? Besides, the truth will become evident.

    As for spousal abuse, turn the other cheek has different set of rules. Firstly, that person does not have to live with an abusive spouse. Secondly, litigation may/may not be necessary, depending on the circumstance. If that person needs to go to jail and that’s the only solution, so be it. If the abused is sending them to jail out of malice, that is wrong.

    But here’s the catch… who is the church? Is it the Pastor? Is it the congregation? What grounds does the church judge? Do they refer back to scripture?

    This blog is unique because it could be considered “church” as we’re a body of believers but we come from such different and diverse backgrounds, different histories/prejudices, and different opinions. The only thing that unites us is our belief that Jesus is God (we are even divided on the details). Yet amazingly, we are able to have coherent, very educational discussions, even with all our prejudices. And for most matters, we can come to a universal decision, or end the debate on a “agree to disagree”.

    Why can’t the modern day “church” (the church that has a physical building and believers) do the same thing?

  74. “And this is the exact line of reasoning necessary to Biblically justify a divorce from a professing Christian, who never commits adultery, but gets drunk and beats on his wife every night.”

    Steve: you’ve created a dangerous loop here. Is this the accepted logic amongst Pastors today? A sincere question, as I’ve never entered divorce counseling.

    So, in essence, you’re saying that anyone who is in sin, if they do not repent, you can take them to court? Because of this loop, that if the “church” (we still haven’t defined what “church” is) has approached that sinner and he hasn’t repented, it’s free game.

    It seems to be at odds with the original scripture.

    Drunk/beating is wrong.
    What about online pornography? Alcholism? Prescription drugs? Verbal abuse?

    If they don’t repent, can we divorce then?

    Usually I avoid Theological discussions, they give me a headache, so circular. But this one seems dangerous, hence the only reason I replied.

  75. Lutheran, though I did not say it above, I have said it before in the context of eternal security. Yes, we as individuals can, and should, know that we are saved. The Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are the children of God.

    I have no doubt I am saved, and will be in glory the moment I die – whether as a martyr or otherwise.

    My point, as E-runner noted, is that YOU don’t or can’t really know I am saved. You certainly can have a high degree of confidence, just like I can have a high degree of confidence in the salvation of people we put into positions in the church, or the woman that I married.

    And the point of me saying this was, again, in the context of Jesus’ words on our behavior with others.

    On the judgements we are sometimes asked to make.

  76. To all…it seems at the moment that any discussion outside of the Grenier litigation is difficult if not impossible. Emotions are understandably high among many here – and my mere presence I’m sure is clearly disturbing to some. I likely should not have offered to talk about other examples and issues concerning these verses until another time. I accept that and respect Michael’s choice to focus as he has chosen the last couple weeks.

    I will say this is not academic to me. The wives submit abuses. The adultery only divorce allowance and many other situations where rigid hardcore teaching has been pounded into the head by previous pastors and I am there dealing with the messes.

    Not on a blog. But sitting next to a crying sister in the Lord.

    A final note to Alex – as God is my witness, my discussion here was not about you in any way shape or form. Nor was it an attempt to somehow change the subject and get the rest of the community focused elsewhere. I was just blogging on a theological issue brought out by our host.

    I’m sorry it caused such a firestorm….

  77. Moderators, please delete the one I have in moderation. Thank you.

  78. Hmmm, a hypothetical, such sport!

    I can’t speak for Josh but I guarantee you, if I wrote a song and someone stole it, I would absolutely NOT ask a pastor for advice on whether litigation is a sin in Jesus’ eyes because I know it’s not, based on a simple reading of the 4 gospels in context, without, as W. C. Fields so aptly put it, “looking for loopholes”.

    Jesus didn’t forbid lawsuits, but he warned of the gravity of lawsuits.
    I would have to make my decision based on the gravity of His warnings of avoiding court as a first plan and try to agree with my adversary lest I lose and lose big time. Jesus was simple and clear.

    Paul went further than Jesus’ simple warning and this is where all the confusion arises, which is why I respect Paul but do not consider his going beyond Jesus as being workable. If someone who claims to be a believer rips me off I have serious doubts about his being a believer, and am convinced he’s just hiding behind religion. This is why Jesus’ counsel is far more reasonable, that you weigh everything and count the potential cost.

    Paul’s eyes VS Jesus’ eyes, pretty simple to me. Jesus trumps Paul, and I retain my freedom and dignity.

    I would ask experts, a copyright attorney and my songwriter friends, not a pastor, do my research, weigh my options, seek a meeting with the thief and prove by my publishing records that my song had been stolen, and then go public, big time and sue if I believed I could win.

  79. G, Em, C, Am7
    G, Em, A, D

    Ok, Josh, just between us, what was the bridge suppose to be? 😉

  80. Steve: Forgive me if I’m being rude, I believe what you said has nothing to do with Alex. Actually, I wrote my last two posts to promote discussion. I don’t hate you, I just don’t understand your motives all the time.

    I just want to clear up that I don’t believe abused women should live in the same household as their abusive husbands and be at risk. Finale. No debate whatsoever.

    And what Steve brought up is an interesting discussion, it merits its own post, and would have over a hundred replies. What he is saying (please correct me if I’m wrong) is when do we turn the other cheek, and when do we ignore the literal interpretation of the word? It goes back to an earlier question, do we follow the literal translation of scripture or do we see it as an allegory? I’ve already said my peace about this, I know many disagree with me.

    This came to me in prayer today: Book of Philemon. Paul had written in Ephesians “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

    Yet in the book of Philemon, there is the prickly situation with Onesimus, an ex-slave of Philemon, who ran away and most likely stole from him, a crime that was punishable by death. But Paul tells Philemon to forgive him and to treat him as he would Paul himself.

    I don’t know the answer. My cop out answer is, every situation is different, it should be a case by case decision, and love should triumphs over judgement.

    But I’m curious as to what the PxP community thinks….

  81. Vtwinfant, (Long time lurker) offers,

    I really appreciate Michaels perspective on our mutual “version” of editing sacred scripture to suit ones comfort. What Josh calls “context” is what another calls “snip”, (antinomianism? yeah,…Iv’e been charged with that one, because I don’t wish to sign a legally binding, investment shielding, “litigation-reducing” church membership contract,….oops! uh, “covenant”).

    If I understand Michaels premise, then it’s the “we can’t ALL be correct conclusion” , as the multiple theories we practice are in fact mutually exclusive, and synthesis is not a viable option, if we hold to an objective truth.

    We are not comfortable with the “tension” that exists in this, as it scrapes dangerously close to the unbelievers charge, that there are contradictions in Gods word.

    In what we view as a “charitable” view towards our “less enlightened” brethren, we offer patronizing, go-to cliches, (“So Jimmy, what does THAT verse mean to YOU?”), lamenting the lack of reputable fill-in-the blank: __________ biblical training, as we cast a gaze of self satisfaction at our own credentials mounted in a walnut frame.

    The elephant in the room, as I see it, is that we all know that you can select a bible translation/paraphrase, commentary that supports YOUR perspective,….(at the expense of another) and SOMEBODY is wrong! (it sucks to be that guy,…but intellectual pride HAS to be shattered repeatedly, to keep us humbly dependent on God, rather than in our own “brand” of flawed theology)

    I guess that’s why many 501c3s avoid eschatology altogether,…as regardless of “context”, somebody is just plain WRONG!

    But in the meantime, keep that tithe coming in to the storehouse of the local church that you must freely, willfully CHOOSE to join, in spite of the fact that through an act of predestined, sovereign election,….irresistible grace apprehended and joined you into the body of Christ.

    Alex’s presentation of this fact is more edgy or aggressive, but no less valid as Michaels.

  82. “Every situation is different, it should be a case by case decision, and love should triumph over judgement.”

    That is exactly how the NT should be applied.

  83. Steve said, “A final note to Alex – as God is my witness, my discussion here was not about you in any way shape or form. Nor was it an attempt to somehow change the subject and get the rest of the community focused elsewhere. I was just blogging on a theological issue brought out by our host.”

    OK Steve. Thanks.

  84. To Steve: The situation has actually happened. In the mid-90’s my band played a show up in Maryland with a nationally signed band. They dug our sound, were very cool, and took a CD home with them. A few months later I went to the local Christian music shop on the release date of their new CD, bought it, popped it in the CD player…and was shocked when the first song came on. It was mine. Note for note. Must have had 100 calls over the next few weeks “Dude, have heard it?”.

    I did not consult my pastor at all about the matter. I talked to the band’s rep (they wouldn’t talk to me directly) and I talked to a lawyer. In the end, it would have been more hassle than it was worth to take it to court, and that was the only reason I didn’t sue. I don’t feel at all that I was the one being sinful in that situation.

    To G: I believe it was Em, C, Em, C, Em, C and then two bars of D.

  85. Josh,

    Awesome!

    =====================

    Em, C, Em, C, Em, C, D | D
    “Song Of PhxP”
    by Josh & G
    © 2013

    Available soon for illegal download & The Car Trunk of Bootleggers near you!

  86. This song is gonna have a bass solo, right? 🙂

  87. Only if you want the audience to start talking 😉

  88. Hey, I’m use to playing at Restaurants and coffee shops. Of course we want to keep the audience talking.

  89. Pastor Steve, I just wanted to let you know that I understood what you were saying about suing and divorce. I think sometimes people are reading things into the post that is not there. I guess that is one of the difficulties of Internet communication. Thank you for persevering and so graciously trying to make yourself understood .

  90. Steve, last night I had to delete a post, just want to make it clear that it was for writing in the wrong name. It was too late to repost.

    My post was saying I didn’t think it was a firestorm, nor that your presence created any issue.

    Again, I think it was context that drew the responses.

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