May 152017
 

1. Yesterday was Mothers Day and social media was filled with both posts celebrating mothers and posts from those who were angry that there is such a thing as Mothers Day.

I can empathize with those who want to be moms, but for a variety of reasons motherhood has been denied them. That is a sad and difficult place for many.

I can also empathize with those who don’t or didn’t have a good relationship with their moms…again a sad and difficult place.

What I cannot and will not empathize with are those who believe that their personal suffering demands that others not celebrate any event associated with their suffering, whether that be Mothers Day or Fathers Day or any of the other “days” we note as a culture. There is a common societal good that comes from these days…they remind us of common values and virtues that we find worthy of remembering.

We are in grave danger of losing the concept of a common good in favor of good that is only determined by the individual…and the result will be cultural anarchy and the tyranny of the the one.

Let us rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep…but do so within the borders of a greater community and culture…lest we lose sight of anything greater than ourselves.

2. Friday, I took T to get his very first job application. This is an exciting step for a young person and part of his transition to becoming an adult. Still, I was staggered at how different the world he is entering into is from the one I entered at his age…almost as different as our time is from say, the 16th century. The times and culture change far more rapidly now…and I have far more fear than hope for those his age…

3. I’ve received a lot of email asking how I will deal with the “gay issue” as an Anglican.

The answer is I’ll deal with it the same way I always have.

I don’t care.

By that I mean I refuse to give this issue any more gravitas than any other sin or issue that we deal with in the church and if I’m not dealing with it in the course of pastoral ministry, I’m not going to worry about it at all. If I’m dealing with it in pastoral ministry, I”ll deal with it as I would with any individual who is trying to work out their salvation with fear and trembling…as a pastor…

4. I get almost no email asking how I’m going to address the “idolatry issue”… which seems to take up a far greater amount of biblical space than the “gay issue”…

5. The most difficult part of my transition to Anglicanism is adopting the gentle spirit of the tradition…I still want to pop someone in the mouth who uses the word “retard” in any of it’s variations…

6. Anglicanism uses Scripture, tradition, and reason to form doctrine. Everyone else does too, they just use different traditions and reasons…

7. I can’t help but be curious as to what the function of a “spiritual advisory board” is to a man who doesn’t have a pastor…

8. The prophetic voice of the church is never found among the majority, it is a function of the remnant. When the prophetic voice of the remnant is no longer heard, judgment has already begun…and judgment starts in the house of God…

9. The desire for certainty about all the things of God will always result in the worship of doctrines about God instead of the worship of God. The quest for certainty should end up in worship, not doctrine…

10. It is only when I relinquish the desire to be right that I receive the desire to be holy…

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

  306 Responses to “Things I Think…”

  1. #7 The “Spirtual Advisory Board” is for rich Christian leaders to feel good about fleecing the flock.

  2. First!
    I’m going to steal #10.

    #7 – I can’t believe how many continue to make excuses for him!

  3. Bob,

    Take anything that works… 🙂

  4. This post completes the transition to Anglicanism. It completes what has been evolving in your public expression. That is no criticism just an observation. The nuances are are clear.

  5. BD,

    I’m still in transition…there’s nothing quite as spiritually exhilarating as being exposed to new ideas and great thinkers newly encountered.

    I’m just scraping the top of a new iceberg…

    The interesting thing is most of what I’m doing now is having ideas I’ve already had confirmed and clarified…and the real changes have come from praying through the Daily Office…

  6. I think you’ve found your home. Anglicanism fits you well, you are becoming more gracious in your communication, yet stalwart to your orthodox beliefs that are most closely modeled in Anglicanism by guys like Packer.

  7. Good stuff, Michael. Sorry I’m not very intellectual these days, but I find your words profound and comforting…..
    Also, I am so enjoying my local Episcopal church. I NEVER thought I’d end up in a “traditional” type of church.
    Question: Are Anglican and Episcopal the same or similar?

  8. Alex,

    I’ve found my home…and Dr. Packer laid a foundation for me that others are building on…including some Dr. Packer wouldn’t appreciate… 🙂

  9. Love #9
    God eventually gets us all to the place of #10….by hell or high water… or you name it.

  10. katttt,

    The Episcopal Church is the American wing of the Church of England…so your worship will be very similar to mine.

    I will be joining a more conservative group of Anglicans, but I rejoice that you are in a liturgical church and having your soul fed.

  11. The Eucharist has taken on such depth…..where I used to partake rarely, I now never miss because, to me, it’s given the devotion and respect intended.

  12. Katttt,

    You have discerned the important thing…keep steady and see how the whole liturgy is composed for the nurture of your soul.
    This is good stuff,my friend.

  13. I find # 1 odd and selfish.
    Isn’t mother’s day a day to celebrate your mother and not really a day to celebrate or bemoan yourself?

  14. By that I mean I refuse to give this issue any more gravitas than any other sin
    ————————————————-
    But that is enough.

    Declaring homosexual behavior as sinful (and thus, as with all sins, something to repent over and forsake) is the demarcation line. It matters not if we qualify (and I join you in this) that this sin should not be seen as somehow the worst sin.

    Simply answering, yes, it is sinful, is enough to get you stoned by the world (and by well more than half the Christians too).

    I am certainly no expert, but a quick Google search shows the Anglican Church being divided over “the gay issue” just as most every other denomination. I’m assuming that is what is motivating the emails you are being sent…..

  15. #5 – a gentle spirit is a good and God directed virtue, but there are times to go to war, to throw out the money changers or, with Jesus (& Paul) call someone “a whitewashed tomb”
    or so it seems to me 🙂 Matt. 23:27

  16. And while I don’t want to get into a big conversation about it, I refuse to accept that it is the church who is putting more emphasis on homosexuality. Our culture is obsessed with homosexuality, and can seem to think of nothing else. The church just responds in one way or another, and then is blamed for always talking about homosexuality.

    2 – If you are in a denomination with unclear markers on “the gay issue”, the gay issue for you is if you will perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples. Anything less is bigotry.

  17. #1 reminds me of the time a group of us were pretty much domineered by a few women who had miserable childhoods and refused to allow the rest of us, as a group, to enjoy days like Mother’s Day and Christmas. We had to tip-toe around these women. We noticed that they were just as miserable even after we acceded to their wishes; it made no difference, they just found other things to be miserable about. We finally said “Enough!” and went back to joyfully celebrating life. We were sorry they were so unhappy and we spent time trying to help them but they seemed to cherish their misery and were loathe to let it go.

  18. “2 – If you are in a denomination with unclear markers on “the gay issue”, the gay issue for you is if you will perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples. Anything less is bigotry.”

    That was directed at the royal “you” not Michael in particular.

  19. this thread should not derail on one issue that has the Church divided and, i think, confused
    for me there are two aspects of “gayness” one is what i’d call a birth defect and the other is the result of trauma in the formative years… the increase in the latter is an indication of a societal downward direction
    i fully understand why someone would say with sincerity, “i was created this way…” the brain is a fragile, but intense processor of our experiences – taught or accidental
    so?
    so, the Church needs to stand in compassion, but stand firm and kind IMHO
    i see the person as a victim, either way… but its increase in the population is a bellwether of a societal problem – i understand that the victim would find my conclusion uncaring and harsh and i apologize

  20. Number 1- well put Michael! There should always be room to celebrate people’s positions in life – despite what some nobody on twitter cries about.

    Number 3 & 4 – you could also say the same thing about gluttony and greed.

    Number 9 & 10 – seem to be related. I have a coworker like this and it’s absolutely draining to have to listen to them. Or read their comments on a blog.

  21. #12 – “the nurture of your soul.” … that’s what we need, all of us – directing us to the mind of Christ

  22. First question is

    Do you sit and ponder these, or do you do your morning stuff and take notes as you putz about? 🙂

    #2 trepidacious times to send a 15 year old out into the workforce. Looking at that for my own 15 yr old…
    Add to that, in six months he’ll be wanting to drive there himself. =-O
    #3 a la Carl Lentz?

    #4 good point, but the Old T was written to Jews in a theocracy striving be separate from the hedonistic societies around them. Where the NT did mention the gay issue (like Romans 1) isn’t it mentioned as a symptom of judgement? Like Sodom, it is a symptom of unconditional love of idolatry.

    #5 I feel ya. My mother was told by well meaning school psychs and teachers that I was retarded when I was a young child. I got “Retard!” lobbed at me a lot from a lot of people (not Mom 🙂

    #7 Ahab had a spiritual advisory board…

    #8 Wow. Prasch said the same thing. “All your learning has driven you mad”… 😉 I guess it depends upon whom one considers the remnant what they consider prophetic 🙂

    #9 True, you can’t be certain about everything, but we can be assured he meant what he said and didn’t speak out of both sides of his mouth. If he regards his Word above his name, we ought to arrive for certainty, without any little Nehushtan doctrines.

    #10 Or you could say it is only when I pursue Holiness that I even have hope of being right

    Good thoughts today, thanks

    God bless

  23. you could also say the same thing about gluttony and greed.
    ———————————————–
    Dan, while I hear you and recognize these are sins often glossed over in our churches, I think there is a massive difference.

    One can’t count the number of shows, articles, and interviews dedicated to losing weight, dieting, exercising and all around healthy living. Likewise there are plenty concerning responsible finances (including giving to others and charitable works)…and these are seen both within the Church and more significantly represented in large numbers outside of the Church.

    Find me one show…in fact one person in secular America who will call out homosexuality as sin. Who would encourage homosexuals to change their lifestyle akin to the calls to people to change their eating and financial lifestyles.

    There is zero comparison.

  24. Steve- you are right!

  25. Good point Steve!

  26. Another thought about celebrating certain days and people’s blessings – I believe it’s a sign of great maturity to honestly celebrate someone else’s blessings that you yourself are not blessed with, even if you are personally pained by your lack of similar blessings. I was single until my early 40s so I had lots of pain as a single person. Most of the time it was hard to be happy when another friend married. My pain and lack was mine to bear and should not be projected onto those so blessed.

  27. Speaking of shows, my favorite TV sitcom Last Man Standing was canceled.

  28. #27

    Weird, eh? Good ratings, conservative lead actor…

    Oh wait, not so weird :-/ sign o’ the times…

  29. #1

    These days, there is nothing so important as celebrating the sacrifices of parents to raise their children well. Even more so mothers, who have every opportunity and excuse and are heavily encouraged to serve the false idol of self by simply avoiding the little life inside them.
    God bless all mothers for that simple act of simply choosing God’s creation over their own needs. God keep the little ones, for such is the kingdom of heaven. 🙂

  30. “Avoiding” should be “aborting”, obviously. Silly Android…

  31. Without speaking directly to the issue of what constitutes a person being gay, I have a few observations.
    I belong to a denomination (The Episcopal Church) that ordained gay priests and, eventually, a gay bishop. When they did, I voluntarily retired from active ministry to maintain my own integrity. (Michael is looking to join another Anglican branch where this is not an issue.)

    I have a number of gay friends. This is only to say, my concerns are about a church as a body endorsing something that, for me, is problematic.

    In matters of moral theology, however, while we fixate on the “gay issue”, most of our churches unreservedly accept what I can only refer to as “serial monogamy” (sometimes multiple divorces and marriages). Furthermore, especially in larger churches, we cast a blind eye so far as premarital sex is concerned.

    Finally, we will all have to increasingly face and deal with these issues. If the Lord tarries, “the genie is not going back into the bottle” so far as society at large and the culture is concerned.

  32. “Do you sit and ponder these, or do you do your morning stuff and take notes as you putz about? ”

    I wake up on Monday morning and begin to sweat…

  33. I had nothing nice to say on Mother’s Day, so I kept my mouth shut. I did take my Ex and the kids out for lunch after church yesterday though. It was the one kindness I could do for a mother. I was both happy and sad to see everything on FB yesterday. I hope to see my mother someday in Heaven, healed of the pain, misery and mental illnesses from which she suffered her whole life. She’s somewhere in the process of becoming a ward of the state. I could see this train wreck coming for over a decade. Back then, I said that I should take her to court to get her declared incompetent of taking care of herself. She smirked, “I’d like to see you try!” I sighed and walked away. Sent her cash now and then for this or that. Like the servant in The Road to Samara, in running, hiding, and avoiding, that which was going to happen happened, what she hated: losing control of her life. It was all so avoidable, too. When people really saw into how exactly she was living (think the worst of Hoarders, and I’m not exaggerating), people were horrified.

    She has next to nothing, and even that which she has will be taken away.

    It’s too bad about the two small properties (maybe worth $80K, given the filthy, collapsing hoard-home on one which needs 5 gallons of diesel and a strike-anywhere match). The county will end up confiscating them due to back taxes.

  34. Duane,

    Well said.

    My thought is that simply that despite the culture we live in, I’m going to deal with individuals as a shepherd irregardless of their issues.

    I do fear that some will attempt to force me to go beyond what my conscience, scripture, and the tradition of the church allows, however…

  35. Duane

    Good point.
    Two questions, and this is seriously seeking info, not casting aspersion upon you.

    You were talking the other day about Jennifer Knapp and a collab with her on your album. Is this a worship album? If so, how do you synchronize your last comment and worship with an (as far as I know) unrepentant homosexual person?

    Remember Brian Brodersen’s comment about Christians attending gay weddings? Would this be something you would suggest for Christians to do or not?

  36. Michael

    LOL. Funny stuff

  37. most of our churches unreservedly accept what I can only refer to as “serial monogamy” (sometimes multiple divorces and marriages). Furthermore, especially in larger churches, we cast a blind eye so far as premarital sex is concerned.
    ———————————————————
    Once more, I disagree in the use of the comparison here to homosexuality.

    Name me the church affirming premarital heterosexual sex while at the same time condemning homosexual sex. I don’t know what “cast a blind eye” means in this discussion – should the pastor interrogate the single people that are dating someone? Should there be an expectation that they won’t just lie anyway if he did?

  38. “Name me the church affirming premarital heterosexual sex while at the same time condemning homosexual sex. ”

    I can name you a whole bunch where the pastor has been married multiple times and a bunch more where adultery was covered up.

    They dare not affirm with their mouths what they affirm with their lives…

  39. “I do fear that some will attempt to force me to go beyond what my conscience, scripture, and the tradition of the church allows, however…”

    Then they probably weren’t interested in joining the Church to begin with. Love and respect goes both ways. Progressives can be as closed minded as anyone. The enemy knows what he’s doing.

  40. #34 Michael

    I think that is wisdom. The other thing that we have to bear in mind is that life is long and we are being observed. If we have one set of rules for multiple marriages, another set for pre-marital sex and yet another set for those who self-identify as gay, we will rightly be branded as hypocrites.

  41. The New Victor

    That is tragic. I pray God will protect her from herself. Not knowing anything about you or your life, thank God there was a moment long ago when you two were inseparable as mother and child. There was that, I assume. God bless that.

  42. I can name you a whole bunch where the pastor has been married multiple times and a bunch more where adultery was covered up.
    ———————————————————–
    My stance on pastoral disqualification is well known here.

    But that is not what Duane was talking about….at least not as I read it.

  43. Not only that, but there are plenty who turn a blind eye to congregants engaged in premarital hook ups who will take no time in explaining that outrageous unrepentant homosexual sin has no place in the congregation.

  44. If we have one set of rules for multiple marriages, another set for pre-marital sex and yet another set for those who self-identify as gay, we will rightly be branded as hypocrites.
    ———————————————————-
    Again, I do not know exactly what the “rules” are that might be referenced here but I do wish to point out that the LORD, in His Law, did in fact have different sets of rules (and punishments) for different, but related, sins.

  45. #35 Descended

    No, it was not a worship album. It was simply that she was a musician with ability and talent and I felt it was important to reach out to her at that point in her life owing to the stones that were being thrown at her by so many others.

    On a gay wedding, I’ve never attended one. That being said, I think this remains a problem so long as we are acting as functionaries of the state when a minister performs any wedding. Is it civil or is it sacramental? There are a number of basic questions that need to be asked.

  46. #42 #44 Steve

    No, I was not talking about pastors but people in the church (we most likely agree on the pastoral issue).

    As to the Law – or laws – yes, there are, as I remember, 613 laws… most of which we do not keep, or apply the prescribed punishments.

  47. To be blunt, I’m weary of the whole gay discussion.
    It’s become the litmus test for orthodoxy between the church and the world and inside the church itself.
    I have other litmus tests that I find every bit as important and in reality are every bit as nuanced and complicated.
    In all the cases we find it too damned easy to forget that we are talking about human beings created in the image of God.
    Most everyone who comes in the door of a church has a besetting sin…and through the liturgy and the Lords Supper they will all have an opportunity to find forgiveness and absolution for their sins.

    The church has been clear about this sin and others for two thousand years and I have no intention of breaking the tradition.

    I have every intention of offering Christ and His work to any one and everyone.

  48. The New Victor,

    May the Lord have mercy on you and your mom…that is a tragic story and our heart and prayers are with you.

  49. Isn’t the act both civil and sacramental? When I was married the first time, we got married in Vegas, and she was not Christian. My vows carried as much weight before God in Vegas as they would have in a church or a courthouse. I always had the understanding that every person in attendance is a witness to the spiritual sanctity of the union, or there to decry the reason why it shouldn’t be taking place.

  50. #47 Michael

    Agreed…

  51. And yes, it is wearisome and I’m sorry for belaboring the point.

    Thanks Duane

  52. “To be blunt, I’m weary of the whole gay discussion.”

    Me too, but those pushing for its acceptance and unwavering approval will not be satisfied.

  53. #52 They seem to be as energetic and logical as a room full of three year olds.

  54. “Me too, but those pushing for its acceptance and unwavering approval will not be satisfied.”

    Those folks will not ever set the agenda for our church…any more than I would let those who want to bring other agendas into the sanctuary.

    In my opinion, that’s not the only agenda threatening the church today…and I’d really inflame people if I talked about the other ones that offend me…

  55. #49 Descended

    You’ve hit part of the issue. When is marriage a sacrament? A majority of the Christian world (EO, RC) do not regard a civil marriage as sacramental. In France, you have a civil marriage to satisfy the state, you then choose whether or not you want a church service, which is then held (or not) according to the precepts of the particular denomination or church body.

  56. Michael,

    Well, by all means, what’s a bomb, I mean a blog for?! I get no practice trying to be loving and approachable without discussions that get under my skin 😉

  57. MIchael and Duane,

    So many questions, so little time

    Peace and God bless

  58. Descended,

    I don’t think it’s a big secret that I find the demand that the church align with a particular political ideology to be utterly loathsome.

    More loathsome to me than the “gay issue’…

  59. I think one of the differences with the gay issue as opposed to other sin issues is that some churches nowadays verbally and formally affirm gay marriage and the gay lifestyle as acceptable and not sinful, versus other sins that churches may accept by committing them and/or overlooking them but would still verbally or formally be opposed to them.

    Doesn’t make it any better, but at least those churches who accept homosexual behavior as not sinful are up front about it. You’re not going to find very many churches who advertise or push for the acceptance of adultery or idolatry like you do those who want to push for homosexual behavior acceptance and try to shame other churches for not accepting it.

  60. The church has been clear about this sin and others for two thousand years
    —————————————————-
    How can anyone say that today? How is there any clarity…today?

    Almost every denomination is being split over the acceptance of not just homosexuals, but now of course the whole focus on marriage and pastoral/priestly ordination of homosexuals as well.

    And not a single one of the many churches and denominations is saying they are no longer a Christian church. So where is the clarity? Where is the value of 2000 years of consistency on the issue?

    In point of fact, those churches (and their leaders) will be quite quick to condemn any of us for being unChristlike in not proactively affirming the behavior. And do so with 100% full support from our secular society on top of it.

    In contrast to the wide ecumenical affirmation for support groups and ministries to help alcoholics and drug addicts abstain and reform their ways, just try to have a dedicated Christian ministry to seek homosexuals to abstain from and even transform their desires and see what sort of PR you get from these other churches, much less the world.

    For that matter, just try to fulfill your calling as a Christian psychologist who dares treat a homosexual (or transgender) patient and see what happens…..of course, that assumes your school will graduate you with their degree first for holding such views.

  61. #58 Michael

    Uh oh, I think the Anglican gentility just went out the window…

  62. Duane,

    🙂

    I tried to say it in a more gentle fashion than normal for me… sanctification is a process… 🙂

  63. #60 Steve Wright

    It is worse than you think. This last year, in a diocese in which “freedom of conscience” (i.e. it was up to the individual pastor as to whether he would perform a “gay marriage”) I had a friend driven out of his position because he would not perform such a ceremony. He has a wife and three children and his prospects have been ruined…

  64. I belong to a denomination (The Episcopal Church) that ordained gay priests and, eventually, a gay bishop. When they did, I voluntarily retired from active ministry to maintain my own integrity.
    —————————————————-
    I’ll close out with this. Look back to what Duane posted earlier.

    Here’s a man who did not disqualify himself through adultery or any other sin.

    Here is a man who no doubt was faithful to the beliefs and practice of his denomination, and did not change his doctrinal views…

    Here is a man that supported that denomination in the various ways it would require (I don’t know if that ever included financial as well, directly or indirectly)….

    and yet, THEY are the ones who go down a path of what it seems most here agree is an affirmation of sin, and something that goes against 2000 years of Church history….

    and DUANE is the one who has to retire – to stay true to Christ???

    If people don’t see the gravity of this sort of situation, I don’t know what to say.

  65. “How can anyone say that today? How is there any clarity…today?”

    Steve, I probably should state that the historical theology of the church for the last 2000 years is clear to anyone who wants to investigate it.

    The church has never affirmed homosexual behaviors.

    Some are doing so today, but that is one problem among many in my eyes.

    I could be wrong…

  66. Duane, I posted #64 before I read #63.

    Just awful. God bless your friend and his family.

  67. Michael,
    I am agreeing with you more these days. In any of the popular ideologies, “left” or “right”, conforming to the world seems to be taking the place of being transformed by the HS renewing our minds. I hope your Anglican journey will leave you free to keep being the odd ball out. I always keep remembering Jesus said, “Whose face is on the coin?”

    God Bless. I have to go for now.

  68. #64 Steve Wright

    And in the past three decades, the Episcopal Church has lost almost two-thirds of its members in the US…

  69. Michael and Steve,

    I agree with Michael about official church stance on non-affirmation of homosexuality, regardless of clerical behavior.
    As we all know, it takes a protestant to officially disregard God’s Word.

  70. Steve,

    Just to put some more gas on the fire…Duane is too humble to let all of you know what a learned and godly man he is.

    He astounds me on a regular basis in the most positive of ways.

    It is a travesty of biblical proportions that he has to give way to this…

  71. That made more sense in my head

  72. Descended,

    The goal here is that we all learn together…and we’re all grateful for all the voices shared.

    Steve just lit me up in a positive way…and Steve and I don’t agree on much… 🙂

  73. Michael said,
    “6. Anglicanism uses Scripture, tradition, and reason to form doctrine. Everyone else does too, they just use different traditions and reasons…”

    And the reasons are important. Reason gets used in a Magisterial manner or a Ministerial manner and it makes all of the difference in the world.

    In a Magisterial manner, reason gets put above scripture – because we can’t make sense of the scripture as it assaults our reason – creation 6 / 24 hour days? it does not make sense to my reason … it must be a story. Jonah living in a big fish for 3 days? it does not make sense … it must be a story. Women cannot be pastors? this does not make sense that God would bar one half of the church population from the pastorate – surely God not not hold to that in the same way. Homosexuals cannot be pastors? Well you get the point – we put our reason above scripture. This is exactly the road the ELCA has taken and the same road all of the liberal branches are going or have gone.

    The ministerial use of reason puts you reason below scripture and is used to understand and share the scriptures as they are written.

    When push comes to shove ministerial usually gets railroaded out by the surrounding culture.

  74. “It is a travesty of biblical proportions that he has to give way to this…”

    I don’t want to be captain obvious here, but…

    I think that is the point. I can and do preach against greed and gluttony and idolatry, and while it doesn’t pack the seats, it doesn’t get me run out in the streets either.

    I’m afraid that preaching against homosexuality in a similar fashion (and I do) , will end me up like Duane or his friend.

    While sin is sin and there are many issues plaguing the church, “the gay issue” really is a different sort of issue in our time.

  75. Josh,

    The issue is really one of compromise.
    Will the church compromise it’s historic stance to accommodate the culture?
    My belief is that we are just as compromised in other areas…

    The church has always faced these kinds of pressures…I was reading of Ambrose and Chrysostom last night.

    It didn’t end well for them, but the church survived…

  76. i think the “gay” issue is simply because we don’t find many prominent – secular or sacred – voices, who will stick their necks out and call this for what it is… for the secular, it is an aberrant behavior that does have reasons – reasons that can and should be addressed (IMNSHO) and for the Christian its practice is sin (there is mercy for those afflicted with the predilection for the practice)

    off topic, but i know there are some computer smart folk here… today Firefox wants me to sign back in on my Email sites, and also here… with the malware that is attacking this week, i’m not comfortable inputting that info… am i paranoid?

  77. #75 – amen, Michael

  78. I will also say, and maybe this will be my last point about all this 🙂 , dealing with, conversing with, or counselling a gay individual is a completely different monster than dealing with “the issue”. I have several gay people in my life, and I think they could all tell you my stance, while also affirming that I love them and accept them.

  79. “My belief is that we are just as compromised in other areas…”

    I would probably agree on that.

  80. John 20:29,

    Download and run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to see if you’re infected first…and then sign in to sites you need to.

    The software is free and effective.

  81. #70 Michael

    Way too much credit…

  82. MLD,

    I doubt than any tradition that uses Scripture, tradition, and reason believes that it is ever appropriate to elevate reason over Scripture.

    It may call for a fresh look at the interpretation of Scripture…

  83. thank you, Michael – will try that

  84. As we’re here… just a couple more observations…

    We don’t deal deeply with the issue of multiple marriages and divorces simply because it has become an accepted “fact of life” in the current culture. When we celebrated our 35th anniversary my wife and I tried to come up with another couple, single marriage, our age… out of all of our friends, we could come up with one other couple we knew.

    Living together, premarital sex, etc. is simply another accepted “fact of life”. We don’t ask the questions, because we don’t really want to know the answers. I’ve said this before, but asking the pastor of a large evangelical church, “How many couples did you marry last year who were not already living together?” The answer was “2” out of the numerous marriages he had performed.

    The gay issue is easy to focus on because they are “different”, i.e. not like you or me. I think we need to look at our own presuppositions in these areas.

  85. Duane @ 84… exactly.

  86. Michael,
    “I doubt than any tradition that uses Scripture, tradition, and reason believes that it is ever appropriate to elevate reason over Scripture.”

    HA! we watched that happen right here on this blog a couple of weeks ago when we had the conversation about a literal 6 day account in Genesis – several of you used the magisterial use of reason – 6 days does not make sense, or the science says the 6 days account is false.

    It is done all the time – but you are right, none of you will admit to putting your reason above scripture in this case.

  87. The pastor at our church has mentioned homosexuality now and then. He’s also called out sinful lifestyles. I got the impression that it might have been a member of the church, but he said a man left his wife to be with another woman. He ran into them at a coffee shop and confronted them about it. The woman justified it by saying that it was “God’s will!” while waving her hands in the air. He mocked it by demonstrating waving his hands in the air and said, “God’s will, really? What is that supposed to mean? Does the hand-waving somehow justify it? NO.” Then he sighed and shook his head.

  88. #7 Dang. I can’t have a spriitual advisory board. 😉

  89. MLD, we question, we wonder… that doesn’t always mean denial, just a confession of not understanding … for example everything we “know” tells us and those smarter than most of us that a literal, as we know them, 6 day creation of the heavens and the earth as we know it couldn’t happen… but anyone who truly understands that God is far above our ability to comprehend in His entirety (even a Muslim, tho he’s made up his own) has just got to say… i don’t see how, but God could have done it exactly as we read it in Genesis… just like the stars can and will fall from heaven onto earthlings, if He so chooses, eh? 🙂

    just sayin … again

  90. fil,

    You’re unofficially on mine if that makes you feel better… 🙂

  91. MLD,

    Reason helps keep us from reading Hebrew poetry as a scientific text…while still drawing out the truth the Scripture is really giving us.

  92. Michael, your #1 is the tip of a large iceberg…rule by exception. It has replaced giving ascent or consideration to the minority and empowering the exception to overrule, even replace the majority.

  93. “Living together, premarital sex, etc. is simply another accepted “fact of life”. We don’t ask the questions, because we don’t really want to know the answers.”

    I’m in my second marriage. And we are guilty of not waiting. I am sorry we didn’t wait, just as I’m sorry for all of my sins. However if the Pastor that married us would have refused we certsinly wouldn’t want him to lose his job.

    Apparently some of our homosexual brethren don’t mind putting good conservative Pastors and Priests out of work. That’s why the gay marriage issue seems to be a unique problem in the church.

  94. fil @92…you just said what I was trying to say, except you said it with far greater clarity.

    Thank you and amen…

  95. filbertz – isn’t the Phoenix Preacher your spiritual advisory board?
    on the other hand, maybe this isn’t a board, but just a collection of planks… LOL

  96. John–no, the PP isn’t hand-picked to tell me what I want to hear! 🙂

  97. Michael,
    “Reason helps keep us from reading Hebrew poetry as a scientific text…”

    That is the point – there is nothing scientific about a 6 day creation to begin with – it is all miracle. Only man’s reason placed on display above the written word would say, well this can’t be scientific so it cannot be accurate … instead of just resting that God did a miraculous act.

    Read / Google anything about the Lutheran split in the 60s and 70s that led to Seminex and you will see a classic case of putting reason above scripture. This has led the way to what we see today.

  98. now filbertz has me thinking as to how i’d spiritually advise the White House 🙂

  99. #93 Joel

    I hear you. BTW, I’m not judging behavior here. I guess what I’m hoping for is a “consistency of mercy” as we approach all these situations that modern life throws at us…

  100. John 20:29

    #98 might begin with “Surely, you must be joking”…

    to which he’d reply…

  101. #99 yes amen. It’s wonderful to here that the Eucharist is open to anyone and everyone in the Anglican tradition. We need Him. 😉

  102. #100… “my name isn’t Shirley?”
    actually, i am asking myself, would i tell the President and crew, you have a choice – choose now whom you will serve because you are going to die and there is a heaven and a hell to go to then (worse than hell here and now)…
    or would i look for ways to point them in the direction of administering their duties for the benefit of the Church…
    too much for me to ponder… i quit 🙂

  103. I’m with Copernicus and Galileo.

  104. I also believe there was a moon landing.

  105. My reason tells me that the creation account does not meet the characteristics of Hebrew poetry, and certainly the book of Genesis in which it was placed is historical narrative at a minimum of 80% (and I see no “reason” to view it as less than 100% narrative).

  106. “I’m with Copernicus and Galileo.”

    So am I. However, I don’t think they discovered the origins or the universe.

    I also believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ regardless of what science said happened or did not happen.;-)

  107. J.I. Packer:

    “The Pentateuch is the literary unit of which Genesis 1-11 is the curtain-raising prologue. That is the angle from which these chapters must be approached. The Pentateuch as a whole, whatever sources its writer (whom I name as Moses) may have drawn on, is a work of great and conscious art, and clearly Moses knew what he was doing when he shifted stylistically from the poetical-prose mode of narration in Genesis 1- 11, with its pictorial, imaginative, quasi-liturgical phraseology, its paucity of mere information and its drumbeat formulae, to the ordinary narrative-prose mode of the rest of his work. This transition of genre (for that is what it is) must not be lost sight of.

    Evocative prologues that of set purpose are informationally enigmatic but imaginatively haunting, and so pull readers into the main story, are familiar in modern book-writing, so we should not find it too hard to recognize in Genesis 1-11 an enormously powerful ancient counterpart of such prologues, to which under God Moses’ communicative instincts, literary skills, and planned strategy for the whole work evidently led him.”

    For a more complete treatment of Packer’s view (that is shared by many scholars) you may read this;

    https://pvcommunitylife.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/swjt-packer-article.pdf

  108. St. Basil would side with Steve Wright…
    St. Augustine would side with Michael…
    Irenaeus would side with neither…

    Same debate for 1800 years…

  109. Wow, Packer believes that the flood was “with its pictorial, imaginative, quasi-liturgical phraseology, its paucity of mere information and its drumbeat formulae,…”

  110. Packer expands on the topic in other places…but that little piece is one of my favorite examples of Packer at the top of his powers and theological prowess…I enjoyed reading it again immensely…

  111. John 20:29 — “now filbertz has me thinking as to how i’d spiritually advise the White House 🙂”

    Our advice would fall on deaf ears. I would advise the entire administration to come clean, and make clear to the average American why they are doing what they are doing. It will never happen, but I can dream.

  112. This guy’s a threat to our security. He needs to go.

  113. “I had a friend driven out of his position because he would not perform such a ceremony.”

    This has been troubling me this afternoon. Why wouldn’t this couple know his stance on gay marriage? Couldn’t they have found another gay-marriage affirming priest within the diocese to perform the ceremony? Where is the mercy that this couple desires for themselves for their Priest?

    I hope the Body is helping this man and his family in the midst of this injustice.

  114. Joel wrote:

    “Couldn’t they have found another gay-marriage affirming priest within the diocese to perform the ceremony? Where is the mercy that this couple desires for themselves for their Priest?”

    Here is what I think is going on:

    Everyone wants to be “justified.” The question is, will you look for justification from God or under the law? People who live in manifest sin, who will not receive the forgiveness of their sin offered by Christ, have only one other place to look – justification by the law.

    What this means is that such people want the law to justify them. Therefore, in the case of homosexuals, they want the law to justify their lifestyle by legalizing homosexual marriage and giving them equal protection under the law.

    Such people then seek to have the law applied to anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle (i.e., equal protection).

    This is how their conscience deals with sin and the accusations of the law. Change the law, enforce the law and quiet the conscience.

    “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.”

  115. Thank you Jean. That makes perfect sense. This is a heart breaking situation all around. I’m the last one to condemn anyone based on the mercy shown me. But when those who confess Christ are ok with Shepherds being let go because of their traditional views there’s something terribly wrong.

  116. Jean is all over it on that one. Well done.

    Re: Genesis and reason.

    Everyone uses reason to interpret genesis. Show me a place in Genesis where it says 24hr days…before the sun was even created. That is reasoning that says, well in my mind a day has to equal 24 hrs…even though that is measured in relation to the sun, which didn’t exist.

    To make it clear, I believe in Genesis 100%. It was not written as a rebuttal to Darwinism, or as a system for dating the earth. If we ask questions that it was never intended to answer, we will come up with strange results.

  117. bob1’s #112… have we ever had “national security?” 🙂

  118. Jean at #114,
    That was brilliant!! With your permission, I would like to copy and save that explanation for future reference.

  119. Kevin,
    Yes, you are welcome to any and all of #114.

  120. 7. “I can’t help but be curious as to what the function of a “spiritual advisory board” is to a man who doesn’t have a pastor…”

    What this type of person really wants is a spiritual SOUNDING board. They love to hear their own voices bouncing back at them.

  121. Josh – you may missed the point of what I said originally. I made the distinction between the magisterial use and the ministerial use.

    The ministerial use uses reason to figure out what the words say and how to understand them. This is a good use of reason because in the end, the words and meaning stay the same. For example, the text may not say a 24 hour day but my reason (in the ministerial sense) is seeing that the text does say evening and morning. day one – and so one. So my ministerial reason has helped me understand what God was saying.

    Now, the magisterial use begins with – ‘this passage does not make sense – it must be a story – God couldn’t or wouldn’t create in 6 literal days so there must be another answer / reading than what the words say. So then my reason (in the magisterial manner) takes my to places outside of scripture – I go as the scientist, the anthropologist, the archeologist – I immediately stopped looking in scripture.

    This happens with many things – and I think it is fair to ask those who reject a 6 day creation why they are using their reason to default to looking for or listening to a scientific explanation for creation but do not default in a similar manner when looking at the virgin conception or the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? After all, we do know that there must be a natural explanation – God did the work but did it naturally …. just like creation. So do I let science explain the virgin conception and the resurrection?

  122. Jean’s #114 – a perfect psychoanalysis of the Pharisee and Sadducee so offended by our Lord’s authority when He walked the earth (i’ve seen it in family members also)… so much more to learn from what is recorded in Scripture than just the correct doctrines, i think…

    (now i’ll post this and see if i’ve unscrambled my gravatar for this web browser…)

  123. So which one are you saying that I fall under? I don’t understand what you are getting at.

  124. “After all, we do know that there must be a natural explanation – God did the work but did it naturally …. just like creation. So do I let science explain the virgin conception and the resurrection?” jumping in here, i know… forgive me…
    point taken, but that said i will not fault the believing scientist who tries to find a fit among his scientific knowledge for what doesn’t jibe with scripture… men such as Hugh Ross, who love both the Lord and their scientific field of study…
    that is much more honest than the one who says the Bible is wrong, because science knows more than those ignorant tribesmen of ancient times IMHO

  125. Josh, I said “This happens with many things – and I think it is fair to ask those who reject a 6 day creation why ”

    I don’t know if you reject the 6 day creation or not. You said it does not say 24 hrs – but at the same time you said you believe Genesis 100% which I would take as 6 day creation, a literal Adam & Eve (or is this poetry?) and a literal worldwide flood that wiped out all of mankind except the eight.

    So you tell me where you fit in to what I said.

  126. It without a doubt says 6 days, though we don’t know the nature of those days. We have no concept of what an evening or morning would be without a sun. Maybe a trillion years? Who knows, Genesis does not answer those questions.

    But yes, as to what the text actually says, I’m in completely. Literal Adam and Eve, worldwide flood: yes. Clearly written in the text.

    Earth 6,000 years old…etc. No clue. Not written about.

  127. Why can’t Adam and Eve just be a poetic representation of first people’s but not just first two. That rib thing is hard to understand just like evening and morning.

  128. speaking of Anglicans and Episcopalians… and…
    well, well Barron Trump will attend an Episcopal private school in Maryland next year… probably an apostate school, eh?

    the one thing i really like about President Trump is that he has so many people upset…

    just sayin…

    God keep all close

  129. Not at all the same MLD. Explain to me a 24 hr day, morning or evening, without a sun. Are you suggesting that the earth was already in its current orbit before the sun was created?

    I’m not saying its poetic (though, again, if it is that doesn’t make it untrue), I’m just taking it for what it actually says and not adding a lot of other stuff to the top of it.

  130. Josh, it says day 1, day 2, day 3 etc. Why would it need to say 24 hours? But why would we then accept Eve made from a rib as literal? That one is pretty silly. Why would we accept on face value a long day? You know that is impossible – did God stop the earth without us all flying off.
    If we can buy those 6 literal days is not hard at all.

  131. What is an hour before there is a son?

    Look, if it means 24 hour periods, I am perfectly fine with that. But it does not explicitlysay that so I don’t feel the need to force it onto the text. The bible uses “day” in lots of places that doesn’t necessarily mean 24 hours.

  132. “God keep all close”

    Thank you Em. You as well.

    May He keep leading us through the darkness within and without.

  133. The earth, as in this planet, has far more evidence for youth than the age numbers tossed around by evolutionists. I just posted a video of a new island being formed before the very eyes of the lucky guys boating nearby. Cataclysm is the norm in science, and matches nicely with Biblical revelation. Uniformitarianism is a pipe dream.

    Now outer space certainly shows ancient age. And I rest in the fact that we still do not fully understand time relativity, space travel, and all the more when talking about the origin of the time, space, matter universe. As others have put the question, “Where do you place your clock?” 🙂

    Personally, the best thing one can do is take a university level course in the development of evolutionary theory from Pre-Darwin to the present in purely a secular environment. I wager if you invest the time, you will see that Genesis One takes less faith, has fewer challenges, suppositions, and contradictions. That was my experience.

  134. Josh, you do realize that an hour is a human construct. Their is nothing in the sun itself that makes an hour an hour. So, the creation of the son did not make an hour – in fact the sun has nothing to do with time.

  135. Mld, the sun has everything to do with our measurement of time. Everything. You can’t mark a day without it. Hours are divisions of the day.

  136. in fact the sun has nothing to do with time.<<<<

    The sun has everything to do with measuring time.

  137. We use the sun to measure time but the sun did not create time. Obviously by the biblical account, time existed before the sun.

  138. A day has nothing to do with the sun. It is the length of time taken for the earth to rotate on its axis. We divide it into 24 equal units, subdividing those into 60 equal units. The penguins in the south and polar bears in the north still have days with little reference to the sun.

  139. We use the sun to measure time but the sun did not create time. Obviously by the biblical account, time existed before the sun. As I said using the sun is a human construct.

  140. Not to be obtuse but time is measured by mass, gravity, acceleration forces….not a star in the universe. That’s the rub re: Genesis One

  141. But where does the earth rotate on its axis? What is the speed? Is it while in orbit? You guys are saying that the earth was rotating at the exact same speed, but sitting in place, not orbiting. I just think that adds to much to the text. Hey the earth might be 6,000 years old. Might be. The bible just doesn’t say that.

  142. And, it’s constantly evening and morning… where’s the reference point?

  143. Josh – the question still is why do you even question that? Why do you question the “how God did it – he says in the text exactly what he did — and you still come back, with that magisterial reasoning – placing your questions above the text … why.

    Is it just as authentic to start doubting that God made Eve from Adam’s side? It seems odd to me, and I don’t see that happening in biology – but I don’t let my questions rule over the text. Godmade Eve from Adam’s side.

  144. I’ll give you a good reason why…

    While taking a physics class in college, I mentioned to a lab partner how insanely precise and complex the laws of motion were, and wondered how anyone could believe they just popped into existence without a creator.

    He retorted by saying that you can’t mix science with religion.

    He knew the universe gave an old age, and didn’t buy Genesis because of it. And he said that if the beginning of the book is wrong, how could anyone believe the rest.

    I told him he was right, which gave him pause. Then I told him that the creation week fit perfectly with what nature told us. Once I informed him that the days just might not be 24 hours, he stopped dead in his tracks.

    With his background in science, he started to look into it.

    And a year later I ran into him again… as a new member of the Bible study group I led through Campus Crusade.

  145. Can someone just admit that nobody knows wth they’re talking about? The atheists would appreciate it.

  146. I forgot

    =-O

    🙂
    X-D
    😉

    and

    :-*

    PS

    O:-)

  147. Josh, I just was chiming in about the sun having nothing to do with our present calculation of a day. But to your points with MLD…

    Why is it so hard to believe God “waited” while He “counted” 24 hours “earth time” in order to give the lesson which He so clearly does give when He gets around to talking about the Sabbath – namely, everything was created in a week with the last day being a day of rest.

    We know God could have done it all instantly, but he dragged it out for the purpose of this lesson. Why God was incapable of calculating a day without the existence of the sun is not a problem for me.

    To another point, while “day” does sometimes refer to something beyond the 24 hour variety, there is not one example in the totality of Scripture where a number is attached to the word where it is NOT talking about a literal 24 hour day. So Genesis would be the lone exception to that rule, where God felt the need to teach the day-age theory by deceptively using numbers which He then used to falsely explain the giving of the Sabbath…because of poetry or something in a book of historical narrative.

    I’ve written papers, studied the Hugh Ross’s of the world, and find the day-age and the gap theories not only to be forced upon the text, but to also actually create more (truly) scientific problems than they solve. Not to mention doctrinal when it comes to sin, death, the curse.

    Now to Descended’s (snarky) point. As someone who was a (mostly) A student in secular prep school and college, with a special aptitude for math and the sciences, I picked up a thing or two then…and have been committed to going back with the new lens of the Christian faith and Biblical revelation that entered my life at age 25 and examine such material fresh and anew.

    My education for a pastor is probably woefully deficient in many areas compared to some of my peers around here – the stuff you all have studied. The books you guys talk about reading.

    But the flip side of that is I do spend my time reading and studying some things. I love to study the history of ancient Egypt, or ancient Rome, or to study evolutionary theory, or to (try) and study works on theories of how time works. And very significantly, always seek to do so from purely a secular point of view.

    Here’s a fun quote: And why I think the universe is in fact super ancient and the earth is relatively recent, with no contradiction to science, Scripture or reason. Because we just don’t understand time yet. But I guarandang tee you the average evolutionist is quite blind to their circular reasoning, their own personal “accept by faith” declarations, and their multiple contradictions, as well as their theory changes (not due to new evidence but to lack of the evidence they were sold to begin with). Case in point. Gould and Eldredge’s “punctuated equilibrium” fantasy to explain the LACK of evidence Darwin assured us would be discovered. Brilliant men, talking out of their backsides in order to keep tethered to a world explained without God, despite the evidence.

    Here’s the time quote…..”Most websites and books on the subject begin with a candid admission that time is a curious and slippery concept which continues to defy definitive explanation despite hundreds, even thousands, of years of trying. We are told that time is “enigmatic” and “ineffable”, but that does not help us much in our search for the true nature of time. Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle contended that, “time is the most unknown of all unknown things”, and arguably not much has changed since then.”

    That quote from a fun little website for the layperson. http://www.exactlywhatistime.com/

    Didn’t some of you study the “twin astronauts” thing in high school physics? There is even a wiki page on it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_paradox 🙂

  148. Wrong again MLD. I don’t question it. I accept what the text says, and no more.

  149. A bit of wisdom from St. Augustine on Genesis:

    “In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture.”

  150. Josh, do you accept that Noah’s flood covered the entire earth or do you think it was just a localized flood? Those that just believe in only a localized flood I am anxious to see how they justify that from scripture and not taking other science into consideration.

  151. Steve – Entire earth.

  152. Steve,

    I am not answering for Josh, but I am aware of one interpretive argument:

    (1) When a term such as “the face of all the earth” is used in the OT, it often means the known earth of the author. Here’s an example:

    “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”

    The flood event was “worldwide” from the perspective of the author who experienced and/or wrote about it. The whole global world was not known to him.

  153. Jean

    “The face of the whole earth”

    Different connotation and different context.

    Also,
    God is the Author of Genesis, not a man, and He was aware of the whole earth at that time. Most likely, anyway.
    😉

  154. I don’t think Jean was necessarily arguing for that interpretation, just sharing one that he was aware of.

  155. So those who were smart enough to rent a U Haul and move to higher ground were safe? 😉

    My thing is not whether it is 6 days etc – it is for people to understand how they use their reason (Michael’s earlier claim that we all use our reason) – and many times it is to place their reason above the text. This does not have to be a test of salvation or anything like that – but we must ask why.

    Look, Josh used as an example of not trusting 6 days because he cannot figure out the rotation speed of the earth before the sun was created – that is putting man’s reason above the text.

    But I am glad that the flood is being brought up. What about the person who has reasoned that the flood could not have been universal because “surely God would not wipe out all of mankind because of the disobedience of people in the middle east.” and that the point is God showing, ‘don’t piss me off or you will pay!’

    Is that an adequate use of reason?

  156. MLD – Quote once where I said I do not trust 6 days. I take that that as a serious accusation.

  157. Josh,

    If you ever trust anything I say, trust this: You will make no progress engaging MLD on this subject. He thinks he or others who side with him are the only ones correctly using reason. Once you realize from listening to him that you’re a fool, then you have only two choices: wise up by agreeing with him; or remain a fool.

    I made the mistake of trying to respond intelligently to Steve, and was told by someone else that God is the author of Genesis. What a bolt of lightening that was.

  158. Jean, that interpretation of the flood is less than convincing to me. Who told the animals to get aboard the arc? I guess those animals not part of the known world and not on the arc were also spared? That completely destroys this story for me. I don’t know but that kind of belief would shake my faith to the core.

  159. Josh, I gave you every opportunity to clearly say one way or the other. Go back and read the chain of comments. You kept coming back to ‘no sun’ no time measurement and then you finished off questioning the earth’s rotational velocity.

    Hey, you can have any opinion you want – for me and my house, we choose to follow what the Bible says. 😉 “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” etc. My reason tells me that the writer (apparently some get upset if we identify that person) knew what he was writing about.

  160. “You kept coming back to ‘no sun’ no time measurement and then you finished off questioning the earth’s rotational velocity”

    But that has nothing to do with the actual words in the bible, which I have said over and over that I trust 100%. It’s your words that AREN’T in the bible that I have questions about.

    But Jean’s right. I’ve been down this road too many times.

  161. PS – I did go back and read the comments. Try #116, 126, and 148.

  162. Josh, sorry to disagree but the words I point to are actually in the text -the text says that God looked at ALL he creasted and said that it was very good. When was this all completed? Hold on, here it comes – the 6th day.

    “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

  163. Show me one place where I disagreed with that.

  164. Considering we don’t really have a mention of “time” until the fourth day, and I am unwilling to be anthropomorphic in my understanding of God, I think I’ll stand with the first century rabbis and the Fathers of the Church, and consider much of this to be allegorical poetry by which we see the loving hand of a God who creates of his own will and volition…

  165. What is the point of the flood story? The accuracy of the details or message behind it? Maybe it’s best to not get stuck in the trees and not see the forest.

    YEC folks claiming Dinosaurs were on the Ark should give a little pause. I could be wrong.

  166. Here’s the thing to me. Can we agree that at least when we get to Abraham around the end of ch 11, the book is clearly written in the genre of historical narrative. And yet the remaining chapters still have some rather incredible events…angels showing up, fire and brimstone rained down from heaven destroying entire towns, a woman turned into a pillar of salt (and all referenced by our Lord Jesus in a very literal fashion)

    So most of us say, big deal. The Bible is filled with miracles. That is not the issue.

    Then at what point in the prior 11 chapters do we take anything literally? Babel for instance? Is that just a poetic device (i.e. a total fairy tale) to explain why there are different languages?

    How about the 900+ years of life for the ancients? Which of course cuts down immediately after the Flood.

    Did God really create an underwater irrigation system to water the ground apart from rain? Is that scientific? Why did God lie about such a detail as that?

    However, if one takes the whole book as narrative, is open to the interpretive view that this world before the curse WAS created so we could live forever, and even after the curse it took the destruction of the earth at the Flood to so change things as to the sun’s exposure and so forth that we quickly see the decrease in life expectancy, as well as the size of living things (ALL living things for we have found giant fossils of all sorts of creatures just like the ones that walk the earth today – the issue is not solely those reptiles we later called dinosaurs)

    Point being it all fits. And point being that everyone must rely on faith for their view – this is not “science” that can be replicated in the lab. Where does the evidence point us. Does the worldwide fossil evidence speak to a great Flood and drastically different environment in the past, or does it speak to uniformitarianism and slow Darwinian and neo-Darwinian evolution. I think the answer is clear…and most importantly, it matches up perfectly with the Scripture.

    (By the way, check out the tuatara – the 4th order of reptile. The one that managed to survive (cough) 200 million years.)

  167. I hope we all would study fossils. What has been found and where. Study reptiles. How they grow. Look at the scientific evidence actually found, and that which can be observed with the species that live today.

    I just can’t imagine if Jesus walked the earth to day He would quote from the Aesop’s fables or other such imaginary “teaching stories” and do so as if we should take them literally and accurately.

    I do know that as a teacher of the sacred text, I will stand before the Lord and if necessary, apologize for taking the text too literally, rather than be humbled for being influenced by atheistic evolutionary humanists to explain away and mythologize what the Scriptures teach when the Lord responds “Why didn’t you believe what I revealed. Were you there?” (Remembering Job’s encounter)

    That is my personal conviction. Your mileage may vary.

    And it comes, as I said, after studying all the supposed challenges to a literal view of Genesis.

  168. the flood story is one of the worst, a tantrum by a god, killing even the innocent babies… it’s not history! It’s the writings of someone who expressed their world view, tainted by a god of pure wrath and no compassion. We mere humans are better creators and parents than the god in that story than to destroy everything because a few went astray.

  169. ” We mere humans are better creators and parents than the god in that story than to destroy everything because a few went astray.”

    How many hundreds of thousands of babies did we kill in our country last year?

  170. “I just can’t imagine if Jesus walked the earth to day He would quote from the Aesop’s fables or other such imaginary “teaching stories” and do so as if we should take them literally and accurately.”

    It is worth the effort to see how first century Jewish rabbis viewed these stories… most were not taken literally. I believe, given the Incarnation, that our Lord would have spoken to the understanding of his listeners…

  171. Steve Wright – First, for MLD’s sake: I AGREE WITH YOU.

    However, it seems that your approach has not led most down the same path. That’s why I advocating letting science be science, and trying to understand the questions that the Scripture is actually answering.

    You say study of fossils etc. has led you to belief in Genesis, but you must know that at least 95% of the world’s scientists that have studied those matter in much greater detail would disagree with you.

    Again, for MLD, I am not saying the 95% are correct. I believe in Genesis, but it is by faith. If Genesis had a date stamped on it, I would believe it without question, but it doesn’t. So I just believe what it actually says.

  172. G-Man.

    You best be right.

    Or you may very well regret those words someday.

    “The flood story is the worst…”

  173. I just want to thank G for his ‘reasoned’ assessment – and I do mean this out of gratitude.. This is what I said earlier when someone puts their reason above the scriptures.

  174. Josh, you’re only making my point:
    baby killers = not good
    not good = the Noah god character

  175. Jesus said, “As was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.”

    You really think Jesus could have used more enlightenment? Lol

  176. Your logic is a bit shaky there, Costco. Jesus is speaking about a past event, describing the condition of things now as being like that past epoch. What Jesus does is He uniquely offers humanity the solution to follow Him, unlike the godcharacter of Noah’s story. Noah also fails to advocate for humanity.

  177. Jesus needs no enlightenment, He brings it

  178. but you must know that at least 95% of the world’s scientists that have studied those matter in much greater detail would disagree with you.
    ——————————————–
    Josh, how many of those scientists believe in creation in any way, shape, or form?

    There’s the rub, isn’t it? There is no “two sides” to the issue. It is settled, and anyone who thinks otherwise sure isn’t getting a University grant to support his dig.

    And of course, these are the same scientists who have given us more than a few frauds in the past. It took 45 years for the Piltdown Man hoax to come to light.

    And I would also note that in recent years, more and more we actually are seeing a challenge of the traditional evolutionary views as the rise in Intelligent Design has shown in a variety of scientific fields. The more scientists study the complexity of life, more and more of them are convinced there is intelligent design behind it. These are not literal Genesis guys, and typically aren’t even believers in any form. They just know their field and that it just is too complicated to have arisen by chance.

    Of course, now we are seeing the explanation often offered that the intelligent life was actually brought to this planet from aliens in outer space somewhere….

    I think the biggest problem is that we don’t realize just how short a period of time 4.5 billion years happens to be. It sounds like such a big number, and of course it is huge in the respect of imagining stuff being around that long (or even hundreds of millions of years), but given the complexity of life at the molecular level, it is a blip in time. Evolution would have to be taking place at a blindingly fast pace to get to where we are today in just a couple billion years. We would see it before our very eyes. The laws of mathematics and compound probability are totally against it.

    But as kids we are told a million monkeys typing for a million years will have one write Romeo and Juliet and we are conditioned to think anything is possible with enough time. Mathematically it can be easily proven those monkeys would not type even one intelligent sentence. And 100 billion monkeys does not make it happen either….

  179. So G…

    “As it was in the days of Noah” really means “As it was not (really) in the days of Noah”?

  180. Point is, Theodicy is where many of us have a problem with these early story’s god-characters. Based on the stories, the vast majority of human parents would never destroy their children over disobedience, never hold unforgiveness in their hearts, for even one generation, let alone multi-generations. I hate to say this but when anyone says Noah’s god or Abraham’s god is a role model, they’ve lost the story and hearer because we aspire to be better than the characteristics of those god-characters.

  181. Lizzards and dinosours look a lot a like to me. Could it be they are of the same kind but just different in size? There is quite a lot of variety within a species. Many different sizes and shapes of dogs within the dog “kind”. Size within a species has to do with environment and epi-genetics. I see no problem with baby or small variety of dinosours being on the arc. Look at the variety of people that came to be by just Adam and Eve.

    These aren’t aesop’s fables. Jonah in the belly of the fish. Its remarkable that Jesus choose to use this as his sign. If Jesus just thought this was a fable, wouldn’t that lend others to think his death and resurrection are just a cute story. No, this is all real and it will strengthen your faith big time when you become like a child and accept these stories as they were written.

  182. Reread it again, Costco. As it was in the days of Noah speaks of the human condition, and, thankfully, Jesus does not suggest that drowning all of humanity, including the innocent newborns, as any kind of solution.

    You really don’t see that?

  183. It is worth the effort to see how first century Jewish rabbis viewed these stories
    ———————————————————————-
    Duane, I really respect your scholarship as I hope you know….

    However, back to my earlier point about my convictions and knowing I will stand before the Lord to answer for how I taught His word to His people….

    I have a hard time putting greater emphasis on the same Jewish rabbis who rejected Jesus as the Messiah, despite the evidence, the fulfilled prophecies, and the eyewitness accounts…than the literal reading of the text.

    As Jesus said, “But now these things are hidden from your eyes” as Paul said (in the 1st Century) “But to this day, when Moses is read the veil lies over their heart.” Paul again “Blindness (hardness) is happened to Israel”

    Again, my conviction.

  184. G-Man.

    To me, the stakes are too high to mess around with these words of Christ:

    “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”- Jesus.

    Yes, it takes faith to take Him at His words, in those words. I realize that. Otherwise, none of it makes sense. And faith is a gift that comes from God. Having said that then, I cannot mess around with that text. That’s my perspective. And you have yours. One day, we’ll all find out. 🙂

  185. The God of Noah created a way for salvation when none was deserved. That is grace beyond human comprehension.

  186. Josh @185, Amen to that and the Arc Noah built truly does foreshadow Christ in many ways.

  187. #183 Steve

    I understand your position, but I do not agree with it… especially as a tenet of faith.

    My work in Church History makes me wholly and absolutely “Incarnational” as I approach any topic. So, in this case for instance, I have to ask myself questions. “Who was Our Lord speaking to?” “What was their understanding?” Then to other questions. “How did the early church interpret this?” “Was there a perceived need to make a certain understanding of this issue a part of the creeds?”

    Well, the rabbis, in the main, had an allegorical understanding of this. The Church Fathers (as I said above) were allegorists, literalists, and in between. For the creeds, we only have
    “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” So, for me, the manner of creation (and how I understand it) neither diminishes my love for Scripture nor the substance of my faith.

    I think we are all better at what we affirm than in what we deny…

  188. Josh,
    the godOfNoah could have simply chosen to forgive each and every human, each and every innocent baby it was considering drowning, each and every nursing child, silly toddler. It needed no precondition to do so other than infinite mercy and compassion.

  189. Personally, since God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, I never understood the insistence that death of little children equates to hell.

    We have seen today, with our own eyes, the depth of depravity that wicked men will sink to and the torture of even the smallest of infants if other wicked men online are willing to pay to see it. Who knows how bad it was at The Flood but Scripture does indicate it was continuously evil. Every intention of his heart, always. Evil.

    If God chooses to call them home, even en masse at the Flood, why do we assume it is not a blessing?

  190. Costco, that’s a peaceable way for us to walk together and I’ve always loved and appreciated you for your kindness.

  191. “If God chooses to call them home, even en masse at the Flood, why do we assume it is not a blessing?”

    because that god is nothing like Jesus of the gospels

  192. G- I guess he could have created robots with no choice to go astray. He didn’t. He loved us enough to allow us freedom. The wages of sin is death.

  193. Yeah, I’ll walk down the road with you, G. We can argue all the way home.

  194. A world with no consequence for bad behavior is not the utopia you might think.

  195. “because that god is nothing like Jesus of the gospels”

    Jesus said he was just like that God. He said if you’ve seen him, you have seen that God.

  196. Using our reason as we read these opening chapters of Genesis, do Adam and Eve need to be real people or can they just be a representation of the evolution of man out of the dust over the eons of creative time?

  197. Josh, here’s where you’re missing it, not all evil is worthy of death.
    Shortchanging someone by a dime, with calculated malice and forethought, eating shrimp, because that’s all you could catch… really? All worthy of stoning?

    …and drowning my newborn grandchild, or my neighbor’s nursing daughter, or my other neighbor’s silly kid playing ball?

  198. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
    (Matthew 24:37-39)

    That’s Jesus not only acknowledging the devastation of the flood, but saying it will be similar when He comes back.

  199. Costco, nahh, at some point I’m gonna start playing a groove on my acoustic guitar and get you moving without words

  200. G- If I believe Jesus, he says the flood happened, and does not dispute that it was sent by God.

    God is just. I cannot judge Him.

  201. “Using our reason as we read these opening chapters of Genesis” we open a collection of amazing lessons to learn, valued by those who are not only with us but those who came before us. There are stories which have a god-character. Do we emulate that god-character or dowe dare actually challenge that god-character in the face of our perception of injustice, asking that god about 50 righteous, 20, 10, 5?

    it’s all in how one approaches the text, with a willingness to support Jesus’ agenda and narrative

  202. Surely you don’t appreciate Jesus’ complicit silence on the matter?

  203. By “argue” I meant “laugh”, G.

  204. God is all powerful. If not, he is not God. People die today in many horrific ways. God at a minimum allows it. God certainly is powerful to stop this if he choose to, otherwise he is not God. The God we worship today is the same God of the old Testament. He is all loving and just and these aren’t made of fables in the old testament. Taking them at face value will strengthen your faith big time and will also see how loving God is in the midst of evil.

  205. “Jesus’ complicit silence on the matter?”
    Where might that be?

  206. Look at my 198. Jesus speaks of the devastation of the flood, and at the very least doesn’t condemn God for it. HE then says His coming will be like the flood, i.e. devastating for many.

    Jesus understood the flood in a different way than you do.

  207. Asked in 2015 by the programme’s host, Gay Byrne, what he would say to God if he arrived at the pearly gates of heaven, the actor and author replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about?”

    “How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.”

  208. I’m saying this all because the answer(s) are not simplistic, and the objections from our friends and neighbors and family members are heartfelt.

  209. #208 G-Man

    Have you seen the latest from Stephen Fry?

  210. …Well G, with #208, we are not traveling down the same road. Maybe mine is too “narrow?”

  211. We, each, do our faith in the fashion of an editor, lining through the appaling and underlining that which resonates with us, which makes sense, which move us in the depths of our spirit. Better to be honest and candid that we’re selective and share our distilled wisdom for those who struggle with the idea that God exists, that God loves them, that they are not mere ants with no value but, taking Jesus’ approach, telling the story as He uniquely does, likens God to Father, present and not distant, giving us better ways of dealing with the old stories which others have used to keep us down.

  212. Costco, I’ll let you decide, one step at a time

  213. Duane, got a link?
    thanks

  214. Josh,206
    Jesus’ point is awareness, self awareness, vigilance, it’s political, to not be so self assured that the political landscape will remain the same. The flood Jesus speaks of is metaphor. The Noah flood was a purely god-induced murder of humanity

  215. Costco, I’m also quite prone to take divergent paths as long as I keep siting the north star

  216. G, depends on what kind of music you are playing.

  217. if a mortal man could elevate his intellect to the level of the Creator of the universe, Gman would have a case… it seems that he wants a god who would never kill a baby… well, so far that god doesn’t seem to have control of this universe… but i sure hope someone is in control of it…
    on the other hand (i’m glad that most of us have two of them 🙂 ) … who killed Jesus? men did, did they not? and who allowed that death, the death of His only begotten son? it says in the Book that God did and that He did it out of love for us…

    for my part when that conundrum became my understanding of God, i accepted that this cruel world has a purpose – God’s purpose and that includes the death of babies – i worship this God – the one whose thoughts are so far above my thoughts and my understanding and i’ll wait for His explanation in the hereafter – if He chooses to give it

    one could say that they hate the Father of Jesus, if they don’t like what is going on now… or… ? …
    just declare, i don’t like what is going on and i don’t understand it, God – He’ll accept that, i suspect

    that’s how it seems to me today

  218. #216….Yeah, I do that too, from time to time. Always end up coming home and enjoying the feast.

  219. Duane, I guess since I see Jesus refer to the burning bush, to Lot’s wife, to Jonah, in the same way as He does to Noah or Adam and Eve…I have a hard time knowing when I should see Him referencing history, and when poetical allegorical lessons.

    I guess we can agree that if we are right on Jesus and the cross, we can sure be wrong on all sorts of other things…and if we are wrong on Jesus, it really matters little what we are right on in that day.

  220. Costo, anything with a groove

  221. Em,
    I decided to stop hoping that God would directly intervene and just fill the gap in front of me, counting on God to empower me to represent Him in a Jesus-like manner

  222. “I guess we can agree that if we are right on Jesus and the cross, we can sure be wrong on all sorts of other things…and if we are wrong on Jesus, it really matters little what we are right on in that day.”

    word

  223. #214 G-Man

    https://youtu.be/2-d4otHE-YI

    It is interesting to me on a personal level. When I served in NYC, I noticed Fry at the communion rail and after the service asked him back for coffee hour. He seemed like a normal Anglican as we talked. Something, obviously, has happened…

  224. If I might interject with three thoughts:

    (1) Some of our speculation is attempting to comprehend God where He has not spoken. I would suggest that we only and solely seek to understand Him in His revealed Word.

    (2) God’s wrath and God’s love intersect at the cross of Jesus Christ. That is where we should focus our inquiry, because that is where He is for us. The cross is the place where His love is poured out and redemptive, and His wrath is poured out and propitiated.

    (3) Jesus, God’s Divine Word, the Word who in the beginning “said”, is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Three Persons of the Trinity did not change their essence or attributes at any point throughout the course of time.

  225. #220 Steve

    If Basil and Augustine can disagree on such matters, we are in good company! In the end, it is about the essence of our faith, as you say…

  226. I don’t put God in a box, but I have a hard time seeing anywhere in Scripture where Genesis determines whether one receives or rejects Christ. I see lots of explanation as to why people do receive or reject, but not because of Genesis. I likewise do not see creation discussions as “pre-evangelism” in Scripture.

    My testimony is that I was an atheist (though not militant) fully steeped in secular, humanistic understanding of origins, evolution, and life. Through my college undergrad degree. What little I knew of Adam/Eve, Noah and the ark, was pure fairy tale. Mythology as far as I cared….

    When God saved me, it was all about the Gospel and Christ. The cross and the empty tomb. It was all about Jesus Christ and Him crucified for my sins.

    But AFTER God saved me, the very first thing that popped into my mind was “OK, how then is evolutionary thinking wrong”…and so I proceeded to REALLY study it with the new lens of faith and the indwelling of the Spirit of God. (And no, I did not know about Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham or any such stuff)

    I knew all I had been exposed to my entire academic life was contrary to Scriptural revelation. And since it was Scripture alone (and God’s Spirit) with no human witness, church, or testimonies that brought me to Christ, I knew only one was accurate. And it was not my old academic life.

    I study and teach creation as forcefully as I do for those in the Church. Not to argue with the lost, not to pre-evangelize, but to explain from a scientific perspective why Genesis certainly COULD have happened in the literal way the narrative is presented. If those who sit under my teaching still want to go the allegory route, that is their choice.

    As long as they know Christ crucified and raised from the dead. That is my (our) primary message.

  227. #222 – “…counting on God to empower me to represent Him in a Jesus-like manner” amen to that…
    the roots of the Universe and the evil in the world and the why of it is, to coin a lame old phrase, way above our pay grade

    God keep

  228. I do wonder how and why people make theories and give practical explanations to explain how miracles in the stories of Elijah and Jonah and Jesus occurred….

    Yet can still hold to the greatest miracle of them all? Jesus rising from the dead?

    Surely, if Jesus did rise from the dead, then calling down fire from heaven or parting the Red Sea would be no problem in comparison. Right?

  229. Jean,
    “(1) Some of our speculation is attempting to comprehend God where He has not spoken. I would suggest that we only and solely seek to understand Him in His revealed Word.”

    Um, are you saying we should not discuss this? Are you seeking to stifle honest struggle with faith? The patriarchs, with the exception of Noah, were commended for their resistance to any supposed revelation with their questioning and negotiations with Ha-Shem

  230. reading and pondering this thread today… again i have to say thank you, gentlemen, every one (don’t think any of the ladies were here?) as i have gained much and had much affirmed – my mind renewed and clarified, too

  231. Jesus rising from the dead had 2 ladies as the first witnesses, then 12, then thousands, according to the early accounts, plus the cause & effect of that event, the testimony of His followers and the effect on the Roman Empire were far from trivial.

  232. Thanks for the link, Duane. I’ll check it out.

  233. Costco,
    219
    I’m enjoying the peace outside of the camp 😉

  234. Duane,
    That’s another link corresponding to my link earlier.

  235. #235

    Yes, I see…

  236. G-Man,

    Of course I’m not trying to stifle discussion or honest struggle. However, without grounding in Scripture, the only place to look for Him is in your head, on the basis of subjectivity. Your head is corrupted by sin and can’t judge the things of God. It will not bear good fruit.

    On the other hand, God has revealed to us His external Word, which sets forth what He thinks of us and would have us think of Him. In His Word there is much fruit.

    But, these are simply my thoughts. They are not imposed, just set out, like all the others.

  237. G @ 2009,

    I don’t mean to be trite here. But when you say the answer’s aren’t simplistic I do feel that this deliberately creates a war in the mind that clouds one’s faith. This is why I go back to Jesus’ own words about having the faith of a child. A child doesn’t complicate everything. I child can easily believe. A child is niave. Its easy for a child to believe because they don’t carry all the baggage around that adults do. Now, with that said, I am not saying that life is easy. I’m not saying we should lack sensativity towards those suffering. I’m saying just the opposite to be extremely long suffering for those hurting and be extremely sensitive. I’m not forcing this faith on anyone. It is as simple as believing and doesn’t need to be made complicated. It really is quite radically simple. Possible its the questions we are asking that mess us up. We need to become more like children and less like philosphers or scientists when it comes to faith. That is my two cents.

  238. Thanks Jean, so as we wrestle with scripture, we have to dare to ask reason(able) questions, especially when we have the ethic that we are to forgive those who transgress against us. If we, through volition alone, not demanding a sacrifice first as a precondition, must so forgive, why shouldn’t God be held accountable to the same standard, to simply forgive without precondition?

  239. Steve @ 238, I’ve come to appreciate your kind heart as you engage here.
    Yes, I tend to simply CHOOSE to follow and believe Jesus, and quiet my soul.
    I wrestle with Theodicy because it’s truly an imponderable and cannot be ignored.

  240. G,
    “why shouldn’t God be held accountable to the same standard, to simply forgive without precondition?”

    Wow, you must have missed Jesus 101. God has forgiven all with no precondition – he lynched his son so that you and all mankind can have unfettered forgiveness.

    Do you believe that?

  241. G – you’ve put up quite the post count here today 🙂 Always good to see you.

  242. I’ve crafted a theology which requires my constant engagement to fulfill compassion and mercy where I find it lacking, to seek to be God’s agent. I think that’s how I best understand Jesus and why He keeps me daily.

    It’s sort of like, “Hey God, why is this thing this way?”

    And God’s response is, “Yep, what are we going to do about it, together, and who do you want to invite to join & help?

  243. Thanks Josh, good to reconnect.

  244. The problem with engaging in Theodicy is that God always, and I mean 100% of the time, comes out on the losing end.

  245. MLD

    A little Romans 3:4 perhaps…?

    Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

    “That you may be justified in your words,
    and prevail when you are judged.”

  246. God can handle honest questions about theodicy…and honest people should ask them.

  247. “G,
    “why shouldn’t God be held accountable to the same standard, to simply forgive without precondition?”

    Wow, you must have missed Jesus 101. God has forgiven all with no precondition – he lynched his son so that you and all mankind can have unfettered forgiveness.

    Do you believe that?”

    GREAT QUESTION!!!

    If that were in play in the Noah story then why the worldwide murder of humanity?

    Simple answer… The theology about God, and the world view of the writer wasn’t evolved to include a compassionate god-character.

    I believe that when the Noah story was written there was no possibility for a transcendent act of unilateral UNFETTERED forgiveness to be written into the story. No one connected to the story thought that way.

  248. G-Man,

    You asked:

    “If we, through volition alone, not demanding a sacrifice first as a precondition, must so forgive, why shouldn’t God be held accountable to the same standard, to simply forgive without precondition?”

    Let me offer two comments to your question:

    (1) We don’t need to demand a sacrifice, because Christ died for the sin committed against you. Christ was the sacrifice. Recall David in Psalm 51: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”.

    (2) Jesus actually did just as He taught us. He up an forgave sinners. “And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’ “

  249. There’s that timely attempt to stifle honest discussion by quoting a bible verse out of context. Poorly played.

  250. “The problem with engaging in Theodicy is that God always, and I mean 100% of the time, comes out on the losing end.”

    …and why is that? Did the god-character in those stories create a conundrum so powerful that it cannot overcome it?

  251. G,
    “…and why is that? Did the god-character in those stories create a conundrum so powerful that it cannot overcome it?”

    So let’s play the theodicy game and you point out where even in the question God gets an even break.Now you play along and you take the ‘god’ side.

    God, why did you kill the children in the flood?

    G, please play the role and answer for God. (anyone can play – Michael – play along, answer for God and see if he still does not end up on the losing end.)

  252. I found some of the Theodicy (Theodical?) arguments miss the big picture. Why is it more of a tragedy if I die in 2017, 2031, or back in 1975 when I was a little kid?

    The only question which should be asked is “Why death?”

    The Gospel solves that one.

  253. Jean,
    I appreciate your comments, but they don’t answer my question.
    Why shouldn’t God simply forgive without precondition?
    …all those innocents who drowned in the flood, Noah’s neighbor kids, his kids’ friends, the toddler in India, the Native American young daughter of a teenager.

    A few comments on your thoughts…
    “(1) We don’t need to demand a sacrifice, because Christ died for the sin committed against you. Christ was the sacrifice. Recall David in Psalm 51: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”.”

    That’s really not accurate. David sinned against a bunch of people, his poetic expression not withstanding.

    “(2) Jesus actually did just as He taught us. He up an forgave sinners. “And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’ “

    Jesus said that as a pre-action shocker to set the stage to fortify His ability to forgive, He heals as well. Point is, He heals by choosing to heal, he forgives by choosing to forgive, pre cross murder, pre “sacrifice”. So in this case, he chooses to forgive. Why did He not forgive those who he flooded & drowned in the Noah story? Because He was not the god-character in the Noah story. The writer of the Noah story couldn’t have conceived of a person like Jesus because the culture had no one like him pervasive within it’s writings, in contrast to Whom we have today.

  254. MLD,

    I play the theodicy game under different rules.

    First, I acknowledge to people like G that I have not thought as deeply as I should have about these issues, because my tradition said that God did it, it is good in His eyes, and therefore should be in ours, and I bought it easily.

    Second, for me the progressive revelation of God is fulfilled in the Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for our behalf and God comes out looking really good.

  255. “God, why did you kill the children in the flood?”

    ( |o )====::: I do not worship the god of Noah’s story, nor would I try to justify that story’s holocaust

  256. …”the progressive revelation of God is fulfilled in the Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for our behalf and God comes out looking really good.”

    …and I’m with Michael squarely on this

  257. And I love you, Michael, for your honesty in answering as you do for the first point. It’s a brotherly answer which colors the whole discussion with grace and mystery

  258. G-Man,

    What about when Jesus speaks about separating the sheep from the goats? Where is His forgiveness for the goats?

    What about those He tells He never knew them, away from Me?

    These stories break my heart. But Jesus says them.

  259. I love that – I don’t worship the God of the Noah story — as if there is more than one God.

    What if I make claim to be a Christian but say I do not worship the God who crucified his own son. We all agree that it is a disgusting and cruel God that would do such a bad act? Right??

  260. G,
    Much love for you, even when we don’t see eye to eye…we need to ask these questions if for no other reason than to affirm that there is holy mystery.

  261. Hi JoelG,
    I’ll read that in context and get back to you.

  262. Thanks Michael.

  263. “I love that – I don’t worship the God of the Noah story — as if there is more than one God.”

    um, yes, indeed there are.

    The man whom you claim to be a disciple of, worshiped a god who detested Jews, far from Jesus, Whom I worship

  264. off to a project meeting to enrich the lives of critical-care nurses
    =)

  265. G-Man,

    I am going to respond to the points you made in #254:

    “…all those innocents who drowned in the flood”

    God judged the the victims of the flood because (1) “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”; and (2) “God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”

    So God did not see any innocents, although “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Paul’s case in Romans that death spread to all men, because all men have sinned, is consistent with the idea that everyone, is a sinner, and none is innocent. So, whether you agree or not, it is the same doctrine of sin and its wages in both the OT and NT.

    But, we should also consider, and perhaps even praise and thank God, that by saving Noah from God’s wrath, God preserved His promise to Adam and Eve that her seed would crush the head of the serpent (which is the pro-Gospel). In other words, God saved a remnant, his OT Church, which preserved the Gospel that would eventually be handed to Abraham, etc.

    Peter indicates that God was patient, so that people could repent, but they did not. Peter also indicates that the flood and ark were a type or foreshadow of Baptism.

    This is all to say, that grace and mercy are evident in the flood story, and that we need not pit the OT against the NT when seeking God.

  266. Steve Wright said it right = “Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,”

    The problem with engaging in theodicy is the one who brings up the question (and theodicy always involves why God allows evil) that person is putting God on trial.

    The person doing the defense is guilty that (1) he thinks God needs a defense and more sinful is (2) he thinks he is capable of giving God the defense.

    Michael – the incarnation etc doesn’t not explain whyGod allows or causes evil – it explains only how he fixed it or will fix it. It does not explain why Luther put all the Jews in the gas chambers as many like to accuse.

  267. The Problem of Evil is the basic hurdle to all theology. You can’t engage without attempting to tackle it.

  268. MLD,

    The Incarnation etc doesn’t explain evil, it is God’s answer to it.

    It is the only answer we have.

    There is no good explanation for evil, it’s a mystery that is unsolvable.

    That does not mean it’s sinful to ponder these questions…it may be sinful not to to so…

  269. Suffering and death are intrinsically linked to the fall and the falleness of this world. Before the fall the universe lived in shalom. But man’s disobedience opened the door to allow evil to take root, spread, and stain everything. That’s on us, not God. But God through Christ is working to make all things right, and that in the end of salvation’s work, every crooked thing will be made straight and every tear wiped away.

  270. Josh – so how have you learned to tackle it? If we say God will fix it in the end, that doesn’t help much — and here is the killer question that blames God. Why did God allow it in the first place?

    God, please take the stand. Why did you allow evil?

  271. “God, please take the stand. Why did you allow evil?”

    If Josh knows the answer to that he should be talking to my literary agent,not you… 🙂

  272. Pineapple Head,

    That’s sound doctrine which I agree with for the most part…but it fails to comfort much when reading the story of one family heading to the Nazi gas chambers together…

  273. Sorry folks, I have a slightly different take on this. We’re grasping after answers on a time line – first God did this, and then we did that, and then God did something else…

    The Incarnation, death and resurrection reveal who God is in his essence. Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundations of the world. The sacrifice, like the nature of God is eternal, out of time, then revealed. We cannot “solve” the problem of evil. What we can do is to embrace the mystery of God’s love and forgiveness…

  274. Interesting, I’m actually working through a group study on suffering. And in many ways there is no comfort for such horrific tragedies other than embracing the justice, mercy and goodness of God as a way to cope. I understand the temptation to reframe God to fit into my theology, but that only reduces Him to being less than God. I imagine I am like everyone else here, often wondering how all the pain, death and loss works toward any good. Just last night, I read through Exodus where 3000 were killed after the golden calf fiasco. I’m always shocked by that. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

    When it comes to the issue of evil (and the suffering evil produces) in the end I can either let go of God, remake God or embrace God. From my view, my only true option is to cry in the arms of my Creator. I’m with Peter…where else am I to go?

    That said, I am a huge proponent of churches providing grief ministries to allow people to mourn and heal. My goal is not to be insensitive to the human plight of dealing with loss.

  275. “The sacrifice, like the nature of God is eternal, out of time, then revealed.”

    Wow.

    That’s why I hang out with Duane… 🙂

  276. Piney,

    I wasn’t being critical.

    I just finished a book a while back on the Holocaust and it left me in shreds…I consider the faith to go on with questions and resort finally to worship for resolution to be a direct gift of God…

  277. “We cannot “solve” the problem of evil. What we can do is to embrace the mystery of God’s love and forgiveness…”

    Which is why I think it is futile to engage in theodicy.

  278. No, Michael, I appreciated your input. Always a good reminder never lose our compassion or sensitivity as we seek to sort out such challenging issues. This actually has been a great thread, mainly because the postings aren’t offered by drive-by posters who like to blast others, but people who have interacted over a long period of time. Really good stuff! Helping me form thoughts for my upcoming group.

  279. Piney,

    Thanks…the place is in really good shape these days, thank God. 🙂

  280. I follow Luther’s approach to theodicy. I will try to outline his approach:

    (1) God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and the unrighteousness of men.
    (2) Experiencing or witnessing God’s wrath should cause a Christian to repent. (The prodigal did not return until he was in the pen eating with the pigs.)
    (3) For a Christian, God’s wrath is fruitful if it is received as discipline and draws us to Christ for forgiveness and deliverance. Remember always, God is our Father!
    (4) Christians rejoice in their sufferings because, they bear the fruit of endurance, patience and hope.

    In other words, Christians receive all of their experiences from the hand of God, with faith that He will work all things for the good of those who love Him. Nothing happens by accident.

    To me, this doctrine brings great comfort and hope. I don’t worry about a God who’s not in charge. I believe this is consistent with the Bible’s witness.

  281. Jean,

    That’s basically the Reformed doctrine of providence, which I have subscribed to for many years.

    It is helpful to a point…

  282. Jean

    I actually think Soren Kierkegaard fleshed out Luther’s basic theodicy –
    “If God is love, then he is also love in everything, love in what you can understand and love in what you cannot understand, love in the dark riddle that lasts a day or in the riddle that lasts seventy years… Right here is faith’s struggle: to believe without being able to understand.”

  283. Evil is a fact, the why of it is beyond us…
    Perhaps, God, Who is omnipotent and holy rules a universe… and beyond where there is always a chance of a rebel (a conjecture on my part).
    Does God stand between everything and chaos? there is a hint of this possibility

    That is a sobering conjecture and leads me to wonder…
    was Satan the only incidence of rebellion and will he have been the only one throughout the rest of eternity?
    Holy is His name and His name is Holy… He stands between us and disaster and, if those who complain now
    about how mean He is, do find out that my ponder is the true Truth? … there’ll be some knees hitting the ground in absolute obeisance, embarrassment, perhaps and shocked gratitude …
    well, that’s going to happen even if my conjectures are half baked or worse, of that i am sure – i’ll be one of those folk

    note – not trying to start a new sect here “The sect of the flawed Universe” – NOT doing that

  284. Duane,

    And I think Kierkegaard got Luther right in that quote. You see, what separated Luther from some of his predecessors is that Luther did not attempt to understand the hidden, ineffable God in his providential works. Luther sought God in his spoken Word. Lutherans, unlike many other traditions, accommodate paradox, because that is what Scripture sometimes offers us.

  285. To get in tune with theodicy, I recommend everyone re-read Psalm 90. A discussion of what’s taught there might be fruitful.

  286. Thanks for #274, Duane

  287. I finally got around to listening to the link Duane posted at #224 – Stephen Fry. I never heard of him before but I see at one time he was comedy partners with Hugh Laurie. I watched 2 other videos.

    I will say that he makes a great case study why we should protect the communion table – like WTF was he doing being allowed to take communion? But then I can understand the mistaken identity as Duane said he thought Fry was the typical Anglican. LOL – doesn’t say much for the typical Anglican. 🙂

  288. I will try to keep in mind that such a comment doesn’t define the typical Lutheran…

  289. No, I haven’t yet solved the Problem of Evil. I was looking for notes I had from a theology class last year. Lots of talk about the POE. Couldn’t find them. But I think digging into that conundrum is key to understanding some attributes of God. I mean, if you just take it at face value, evil must exist because God doesn’t care, or does not have the power to do anything. Both of those violate attributes that we know God possesses, so you have to work through it.

  290. Come on Michael – you must admit my comment was funny. 🙂 Hey, you have spent too much time as an undefinable independent. Now that you are in a denomination, you must learn to roll with the punches now that you can be identified with other characters who call themselves by your name. 🙂

  291. “God, please take the stand. Why did you allow evil?”

    -Found the notes. Each of these points has a scripture reference I won’t list because it would get moderated, but these are some Biblical responses to the POE:

    -Evil is good gone bad.
    -Evil is abuse of freedom.
    -Evil is lack of something.
    -Suffering is a result of sin.
    -God uses evil for good.
    -Suffering may not be tied to a particular sin.
    -Satan is responsible for some human suffering.
    -Satan is under God’s rule.
    -Jesus paid for our sins.

    An apologetic response would be “What is evil?”

    A pastoral response is to weep with those who weep.

  292. Thanks for posting that Josh.

  293. Michael wrote in #7 of his article:

    “what the function of a “spiritual advisory board”?

    Well, whatever it is, from the news today, which is getting darker day by day concerning the POTUS, I think he needs a good one now more than ever.

    Perhaps some remedial Constitutional Law 101 alongside the spiritual advice.

  294. #288 MLD

    Obviously, you have never been in a pastoral position. I must, therefore take your comments as being one in the peanut gallery. That is, willing to cast aspersions, while having no pastoral responsibility. It is clear, that sharing a personal experience with you is unwise as you only consider it fodder for a “position”. It is really less than worthy of the position of a Luther, Chemnitz or LCMS nineteenth century pietists… If you bother to read the post, I was indicating that obviously a change had taken place. I am concerned with him, as a person… not trying to score points. You are are in need of repentance and forgiveness. This is not how we treat one another in the Body of Christ. Also, your mocking of Michael is inexcusable. My God, man, think… and maybe have some feeling for others.

  295. “My God, man, think….”

    I love it when Duane goes all Dr. Leonard McCoy on someone.

  296. #296 Jean

    Only when deserved…

  297. Duane,
    I love that you are ‘in the ministry’ and I am in ‘the peanut gallery’. That comment alone says much about you.

    Where did I mock Michael?

  298. MLD

    It is to say, your experience is limited… and, your theology is off the bookshelf, not life…

  299. Duane, you have no clue what my journey has been the past 40 years.

    But I guess I can rest easy in the fact that your experience is unlimited.

    Your dismissive attitude seems to fit you well. I made a joke above and you puckered right up.

  300. #300

    I honor your journey of faith. I would hope you would honor others.

    And, not all jokes are funny….

  301. I’ve got no horse in this race in the current discussion but I’m popping in just this one time to say that while I understand his intent was to be funny, I did also find MLD’s joke to be disrespectful and of poor taste, even when it had nothing to do with me. Just my two cents.

  302. Some jokes are social commentary.

  303. Trigger warning

    Mr. Prasch has the perfect response for Mr. Fry

    “Don’t blame my God for what your god did”.

  304. If God destroyed all evil, Mr. Fry and every unbeliever would be destroyed with it. If only he knew he shouldn’t mock the patience of God.

    But he does know.

  305. A final thought about that Noah story…

    http://i.imgur.com/E93BPhG.png

    click to enlarge, scroll to enjoy

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