The Independent Fundamental Baptist Church Sounds Like Mark Driscoll and The Rest of Them

"These people do not know that while Barak trembled, Deborah saved Israel, that Esther delivered from supreme peril the children of God … Is it not to women that our Lord appeared after His Resurrection? Yes, and the men could then blush for not having sought what the women had found."  

–Jerome, after criticism for dedicating his books to women

 

 

 

Your glamorous blogger with plumbing supply line

 

As many of you know, I follow a blog called New ExChristians.net. Link. Why? The number of people professing no religion is on the rise in the United States. The New Atheism is gaining strength and their leaders, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bart Ehrman are increasingly taking on Christians for the hypocrisy of their actions as well as their theology.
 

This blog is made up of many, many people who claim to have been committed Christians but have since left the faith. They give a variety of arguments for their loss of faith. Most frequently they cite the insistence on the dubious science of YEC. It is fascinating to read their anti-testimonies in which they recount their years in churches.
 

I think it behooves all churches to see why these folks are not only leaving a particular church but why they are leaving the faith. It is always difficult, yet most illuminating, to look at ourselves through the eyes of those who used to agree with us.

 

I found this recent comment most convicting. Frankly, the writer is absolutely correct in his observations. The church has an abysmal record in dealing with pedophiles.
 

"A few years later, (I) learned that one of the “golden boys” of the fellowship (who married a popular young girl there), was arrested and imprisoned for abusing children in his position as a school photographer"

 

It's amazing how welcomed and accepted pedophiles are by the xtian community! Any question of someone's motives of wanting to work with kids, and your (sic) being "judgmental"!

 

I want to make a controversial statement. I believe the willingness to cover up pedophile activity in the church is only one symptom of a larger and complex set of beliefs. Taken together, these beliefs are a predictor of church responses in issues of abuse. I will tie this together with a statement by Cindy Kunsman at the end of this post.
 

In the following segment of the 20/20 interview, we see various “doctrines” being preached from a number of the IFB pulpits. It is important to realize that not ALL IFB churches advocate these beliefs but there are a significant number that do. I also want to reiterate that the IFB is not the only church group to advocate these “rules. One of our alert readers told us of a term called neo-fundamentalism that spans all supposed conservative Christian groups. We will show some similarities between these groups after the video.
 

Pay close attention to the following issues.

 

  • Advocacy of spanking and bruising of children as young as 2 WEEKS old
  • Women cannot teach men about theology.
  • A woman’s appearance contributes to sin on the part of a male.
  • Advocacy of patriarchy
  • Abdication of responsibility for other IFB churches due to “autonomy.”

 

 

Advocacy of spanking of children as young as 2 WEEKS old along with whacking other kids as much as 100 times.

 

We have already written a series on the Pearl form of discipline. Link. We found their methods to be heinous and now believe that any church that advocates this method should be investigated for child abuse.
 

They advocate spanking young children as much as possible to break their will. The Schatz family, spoken of in the video segment, ended up killing their 7 year old daughter by utilizing their recommended method of spanking with a plumber’s supply line. One other child was hospitalized in critical condition but is expected to survive.
 

The Pearl books and methods are often found, as well as advocated in IFB churches. However, there is a wide swath of folks from various denominations who follow the Pearls and extol their virtues. This is particularly seen in some homeschooling groups. Link
 

I found an interesting blog, IFB Survivors: Soul, Liberty, Faith, LINK,  which is run by a former long-term IFB member. Here is her observation on the 20/20 special.

 

“Although I do not believe they (Schatz) were connected to any legitimate IFB church, the child ‘training’ book they used by Michael and Debbie Pearl is sold in the ‘church bookstore’ of many IFB churches, including the one I came out of. I can not comment on whether or not they still provide the book at the cult (her view of her former IFB church) I came out of, but when I left 2 years ago, it was still being sold in their church.”

 

Update for our readers:

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz pled guilty as part of a plea bargain and their case will not go to trial. Kevin Schatz will serve at least 22 years of a life sentence and Elizabeth Schatz will serve 13 years. Link

 

 

Advocacy of the submission of women as well as patriarchy.
 

Although there is a strong patriarchal culture in the IFB, it is not isolated to this group of churches. One only has to read the materials of Council of (their interpretation of) Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), which is sponsored by just about any Reformed big dog one can imagine. Such groups routinely come out with statements such as “women being gullible and easily deceived. “
 

It is becoming evident that the term complementarian is being used to obfuscate, for many, their true view of the role of men and women. Although Russell Moore, at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, made the following statement which can be found on the ever “pro manly theology” Bayly Blog. Link

 

"Russell Moore: Gender identity and “complementarianism… I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…”
 

If one reads the comment section in that link, you will see that the readers of said blog agree with Moore.
 

 

Women have no place in theological discussions with men.
 

One of the IFB pastors in this segment makes a strong statement that a woman should not teach theology to a man. Listening to him, I can imagine why he feels this way. His theology is so bizarre that he probably feels the need to eliminate 50% of his potential detractors.
 

Once again, if you investigate groups such as Sovereign Grace Ministries, as well as many SBC and Reformed churches, you will find that women are not allowed to teach men, ever. Paige Patterson even fired a woman from the seminary for teaching Hebrew. I guess since Jesus spoke Hebrew, the language itself is now a theological matter.
 

Any guy who reads this blog, and believes that he should not learn about any theological issue from a woman, is potentially guilty of serious sin. I would suggest repentance to commence post haste.

 

 

Women are blamed for the straying of their patriarchs.

 

A woman who “lets herself go” is the reason that men are tempted to stray according to an IFB pastor in the video. Funny, nothing is said about how a poorly dressed, overweight guy might contribute to his wife's wish to go out clubbing. This theme is being picked up by none other than the “ever trying too hard to be hip” Pastor Mark Driscoll. Link.
 

"Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either."

 

As an aside, don’t you think that an overweight pastor with a penchant for tight Mickey Mouse t-shirts should be a bit more careful in pointing the finger at women? Also, to alleviate the fears of our readers, we may be discussing theology but we are always well dressed and coiffed while doing so.

 

 

The autonomy of churches excuse for not confronting sin.
 

Once again, no one is responsible for anything that happens within the IFB because all the churches are “autonomous.” Can you imagine the Apostle Paul refusing to chastise a pastor because of “autonomy?” What about the guy who was sleeping with his father's wife?
 

I believe that those pastors, who have kept their mouth shut in the face of serious wrong-doing within the SBC, SGM, IFB and others, will one day need to answer to God for their silence in the face of great evil. Such silence allows for wicked men to prosper and that, in anyone’s book, is wrong.
 

 

How do we tie these issues together.
 

There seems to be a bigger picture that can be understood when one looks at these issues as interconnected as opposed to separate problems.

 

Cindy Kunsman wrote the following assessment at her excellent blog Under Much Grace. Link.

“In a previous post, we mentioned that cultures which demand blind obedience and that operate under authoritarian styles displace critical thinking and even punish it, requiring that discernment be relinquished to a group, a system, or an authority. But this is just one piece to the puzzle – a group of conditions that create a perfect storm that dashed the Schatz Family against the rocks.

 

Moral disengagement creates yet another factor that causes perspective to dissolve into an alternate reality. Within complementarianism, religious leaders redefine women as creatures who are not only subordinate to men and of lesser essence than men, but they are said to be the natural and most dangerous adversary of men. Men are told that they are at war with them. In the Pearl's system of child training, parents are taught that their evil little domineering infants plot against them in a domestic war on the home front that will last for decades. The parent is taught to win at all costs, making grovelling (sic) peasants of their miserable rebel seed.”
 

Add to this assessment, a culture of silence and I believe we have the breeding ground for disaster. How many children will need to die, how many women will need to be blamed for their husband’s infidelity and beaten before these churches begin to understand that their insistence on certain doctrines may be the cause of violence, pain, and loss of faith? SBC, IFB, SGM, Acts29, PCA, whatever, you all have pastors and churches which are guilty of such deviant behavior. One day, you will answer to God.

 

Lydia's Corner: Joshua 16:1-18:28 Luke 19:1-27 Psalm 87:1-7 Proverbs 13:11

 

Comments

The Independent Fundamental Baptist Church Sounds Like Mark Driscoll and The Rest of Them — 112 Comments

  1. “Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives.” Mark Driscoll

    Such a remark just begs the question – How does Driscoll know this, pray tell?

    Sounds like Mark and his pastor buddies sit around and discuss their sex lives with each other instead of theology… Kinda makes you wonder what goes on at all those conferences like the one that was held last week by The Gospel Coalition.

  2. Oddly enough, though a lot of IFB pastors might like what Driscoll says, they certainly wouldn’t like the way he says it with all that cussing, and would want him to put on more “conservative” clothes to fit in with their crowd. In fact, a lot of the way he presents himself would give IFB pastors an excuse to discount anything he says. Some of their mindset, especially in the matter of personal grooming, is stuck firmly in the 1950s.

  3. Fundamentalist Christianity gives moderate Christian folks a bad name much in the same way that Islamic fundamentalists give law abiding American Muslims a bad name. It’s no wonder that the neo-atheists (Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris et. al.) are gaining such ground in the propaganda wars against all religions.

  4. Tikatu

    I may use some of your comments from yesterday in a post on Thursday if you don’t mind. You insights are helpful.

    I wonder….if Driscoll could find a button down Mickey Mouse shirt and wear it with a rep stripe tie and suit jacket with hankie, could he pass muster?

  5. Muff

    I have seen Ehrman debate in person and watched Dawkins and Hitchens debate via the Internet. They are very, very bright and Christians make a mistake to sell them short. I personally think John Lennox does a good job debating Dawkins.

    Funny story, a pastor of sorts in this area claimed he could “take down” Ehrman who is a UNC-Chapel Hill. Well, Ehrman mopped the floor with him and a couple of Christians students present were mortified. How silly to think that a simple course in Christian apologetics, armed with the nonsense of Ken Ham and AIG science could “take down” an intellect like Ehrman.

    Ehrman is not unbeatable-he has a few fatal flaws but Christians, until recently, wanted to take the easy way with him. They must become scholarly and debate on his level. There are few Christians with training to do so but there are a few.

  6. As to Mohler, et al. I have found after being around this stuff for years that much of this comes from needing another issue. It is not unlike politics and the strategy of “issues”. They take a B issue and elevate it to salvic status and start a culture war over it. It makes money and maintains the celeb status. Young men rally around their hero’s. It is a way to keep their name and face in front.

  7. Yep, New Atheists can see these men’s religion for what it is. A way to elevate themselves while at the same time reign total control over their women and children.

    Their religion is so far the opposite of the pure, true gospel, it’s an embarrassment.

  8. Well said, I love your blog!

    I do have a little trouble with lumping the acts 29 network with IFB though. I attend an acts 29 church and I have to say that this is the first church that I have been to that has made striking efforts at social justice and surprisingly the first time I have met non-complementarians. While I do lament the stated views on womans “roles,” the pastors at this particular one do not force it if you don’t agree, and certainly are no wear near as hard headed as Drisscol on it. I think though, at least a my particular acts 29 church, much good fruit is coming out of it, I’m not so sure I could say the same of IFB churches.

  9. Amandsm

    My point is that there is a fundamentalist stream that runs through may of the current “hot” churches. I am glad your Acts 29 church is not as “comp” as Driscoll portrays. However, if they were to go out on a limb and state that to be the case, my guess it would not remain an Acts 29 church for long.

  10. No problem, Dee. Use whatever you want. As a grad of BJU (yep) and a member of one of its local orbital churches, I’ve seen plenty of IFB nonsense. A couple of years ago, I’d have defended them. Now… I’m an ex-IFB, still feeling my way to figuring out what I believe instead of what I was told I should believe.

    Amandam, it’s not so much that the IFB would fellowship with the Acts 29 network; they wouldn’t. They might find some ideas attractive to them, but overall, no. However, there are a lot of similarities in what the two groups believe – at least on the social front. The “Calvinistas” that our glamorous blog queens talk about have a lot in common with the various factions of IFB; it’s just that the IFB would die before being called anything that started with the name “Calvin”. To them, salvation is “Jesus and _____”, with the pastors and their universities filling in the blanks.

    Just FYI, Dr. Camille Lewis, a former BJU professor, has been doing a lot of research into Bob Jones-style Fundamentalism, and you would not believe some of the connections she has made, especially pertaining to Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. There are lots of people out on the fringes (like Fred Phelps), and people in the mainstream (like John MacArthur) who have been influenced by BJU. I really hope she publishes a book about this; the things she has found have been mindboggling. You can read the story about her departure from IFB into Presbyterianism here. Much of what she has found is on her facebook account.

  11. RE: Dee @ Tue, Apr 19 2011 at 05:53 pm,

    I doubt very seriously that Ehrman would have had such an easy skirmish with say Greg Boyd or Chris Hedges.

  12. As much as I agree with the criticisms of IFB churches, it’s unfair to lump the vast majority of SBC, PCA, Acts 29, and similar churches with IFB. I’ve spent enough time — actively involved — with the latter sort of churches, and they are far more balanced in their complementarianism than IFB churches. They may not allow an official teaching capacity for women over men on matters of doctrine, but that scarcely involves them in the sort of misogynistic heteronomy that keeps the women silent and submissive in the kitchen. Apart from the “official teaching capacity” bit, many in the SBC and PCA are functionally egalitarian, with both spouses working and jointly performing household duties. I know because that describes my own parents and most of my friends: all in the SBC or PCA and firmly committed to complementarian convictions.

    To use another example — evolution — you’ll find a far greater open-mindedness and unwillingness to condemn in an SBC or PCA church than in an IFB church. Mohler’s diatribes against evolution is surely worrisome — as I’ve detailed on my own blog — but on the ground level, you’ll find evolutionists in the pews or, at least, people who are willing to commune with those who hold differing views on science.

    Gender and evolution are just two cases in point, but they well-illustrate the differing mentalities and attitudes between a fundamentalist evangelical and a more mainstream conservative evangelical. The former is decidedly sectarian and anti-intellectual. The latter, rather, engages the broader culture and academic world, even if their responses are sometimes inadequate and marked by obfuscation (e.g., Mohler on evolution). That makes for an important difference.

    It should further be noted that the Presbyterians are the most well-balanced and intellectually responsible within the whole “Gospel Coalition”/”Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals” crowd. This is because of, not in spite of, the depth of the Reformed tradition. The problem with many Calvinistic baptist types is that they are shallow in their knowledge and appropriation of the Reformed tradition (namely, predestination without sacraments).

  13. Kevin,

    Given your final paragraph defending the Presbyterians, how well do you believe the Bayly brothers represent the Reformed tradition? I believe they are just as patriarchal as IFB pastors.

  14. Kevin, would not your argument be akin to who was better, Pol Pot or Stalin? I don’t know your age but there was a time when the sbc was focused on the priesthood of believer and soul comptency. We were not in love with hierarchy in the Body as we are today.

  15. When I first found BaylyBlog and realized that those guys considered themselves from my tradition (Presbyterian), I was…displeased is a mild way to put it. In my opinion many of the issues with the Bayly brothers stem from their rabid defense of what is called transformationalism, a doctrine also embraced by the often very patriarchal theonomist crowd who believe that the decalogue should be the rule of law in modern nations as well as ancient Israel. Transformationalists don’t have to be theonomists, but they all confuse and conflate Christ’s rule over his church with Christ’s rule over society, believing them to be one and the same. The historic view of American Presbyterianism fleshed out around the time that our country became a country is that Christ rules over the church in one way and the world in another (this is known as the two kingdoms view and you’ll find the Baylys attacking it as vehemently as they attack Wheaton College and egalitarians – that’s why they dislike D. G. Hart so much). You’ll find other patriarchal organizations such as Vision Forum also embrace transformationalism, even theonomy.

    To back up what Kevin Davis says, several PCA geologist wrote up a comprehensive defense of OEC in Modern Reformation magazine a while back. Some in the denomination responded in a negative way (I read at least one follow-on response from a YEC geologist and elder), but I have not heard of those men having any trouble in the denomination or their churches because of their stand.

  16. I should add that you’ll find lots of transformationalists who are great people and wonderful believers who don’t fall into some of the errors of being overly authoritarian and hierarchical. The social justice crowd who do wonderful things in the world are also often transformationalist.

  17. Watcher,

    Thanks for your insights. You said: “You’ll find other patriarchal organizations such as Vision Forum also embrace transformationalism, even theonomy.” I couldn’t help but notice over on the Bayly Blog that Doug Wilson is listed under “Pastors”. Also, the Bayly brothers promote Wilson’s theological viewpoints from time to time on their blog.

  18. Deb, when you’re looking for people who love theonomists look for references to R. J. Rushdoony, Gary North, Greg Bahnsen, and the Chalcedon Foundation. Doug Wilson is active in the Federal Vision, a view that not all theonomists embrace (as evidenced by this facebook group), but until you mentioned it I hadn’t really noticed that he has ties to theonomy, although now that I think of it that explains why I disagree with pretty much everything he’s ever written on the intersection of theology and the government. As far as I know, it was his Federal Vision views that led him to spin off his own denomination, the CREC, not theonomy (although theonomy is not welcome in the PCA).

  19. what cracks me up about the Baylys and Wilson (mablog) is when one disagrees on their blog, they will insist on your pastors name and number so they can report you for discipline. they truly see themselves this way and that is what makes them both ridiculous yet dangerous.

  20. Kevin

    Great and thoughtful comment!

    I cannot help but lump Acts 29 in with this crowd when Driscoll, the de facto head of this group, is the one who has made a fair number of inflammatory comments about women. More and more women within the faith are not happy with his ridiculous and inconsiderate statements. I truly believe there is something wrong with this man and time will tell. But, he is ” the lead bully” of this crowd and the limited crowd loves him.

    My former SBC church, which caused me to forever leave the SBC, was considered a “mainstream” church until they started spouting the nonsense that one sees in the SGM churchez. They even went after kids and adults who believed in OE-throwing them out of classes if they chose to respectfully disagree.

    As for the Presbyterian crowd, the treatment of Bruce Waltke will forever be a blot of shame of those who are in leadership in the Reformed crowd. Here is a link to the post we wrote.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/04/22/reformed-theological-seminary-and-the-waltke-witch-hunt/

    Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that IFB=SBC, etc. I am saying that there is a rising swell of fundamentalism in these denominations and there are similarities to the functioning of the IFB.

    The root problem of all of this is control. Men, seeing problems with our culture, want to protect us from our selves. So, they build fences for guidance and after awhile the fences themselves become the Gospel (I know this is a quote from someone but I forget who.)

    The point they all forget that men, saved or not, are sinners and will continue to sin. We need to do more with leading people to repentance, encourage them to read their Bibles and to allow for some differences like OE, eschatology, etc. We are disunifying the Church in an effort to root out sin. We can’t. The book, Schizophrenic Christianity, show that even these rule driven pastors fall into horrendous sin. It just doesn’t work.

    I am interested in reading your blog. I enjoyed your comment.

  21. Watcher

    Could you please explain the difference between reconstructionists and theonomists? Are they the same? I new some reconstructionist types in this area in the 1980s but they have all but disappeared from the scene.

    I was fascinated by your tie in with the social justice crowd. I had no idea there were any links.

    Great comment!

  22. Lydia

    Your comment is very interesting. My only experience with an SBC church was limited to about 8 years. Frankly, it was long enough. They were into the authority gig for pastors. When did the change from soul competency occur? Was it during the conservative resurgence? Was it a way to consolidate a power base?

  23. Dee, as far as I know theonomists and Christian reconstructionists are basically the same. As far as I know they both share some theological underpinnings with transformationalists, but where theonomists are extreme those who would identify as transformationalists usually are much more moderate.

    I think the best definition of the interplay between transformationalists comes from a review of Keller’s Generous Justice that apparently loosely uses the definitions of David VanDrunen, a two kingdoms proponent:

    But this means he tries to avoid siding, at least in this book, with the so-called transformationalists, who say that our work of social justice actually redeems culture and ushers in the kingdom of the new heavens and the new earth; or siding with the two-kingdoms advocates, who would say that our work of social justice does not redeem culture or usher in the final kingdom, per se, but it signifies our citizenship before Christ the King as we seek to ensure that his redemptive rule extends into every area of our lives, physical and spiritual, secular and sacred.

    In my personal opinion, as someone who has always found two kingdoms to be the most biblical view (albeit without a whole lot of study into the matter), it’s interesting to see how one’s personal leanings – say towards patriarchy and homeschooling or the act of doing justice in the inner city – influence where one’s transformationalism leads. It’s part of the reason I’m leery of transformationalism. A lot of the neo-Calvinists (and of those whom you all term Calvinistas) would probably line up more with transformationalism than two kingdoms.

  24. Watcher

    You have taught me much in this area. I need to do a whole lot more reading. I, too, am a two kingdom person and that may be one reason that I am at odds with the Calvinista crowd.

  25. Tikatu was right on with his description of the IFB churches. The 20/20 article took the worse example they could find of some outrageous IFB pastor and threw it in the Trinity Baptist Church’s Pastor’s face. That guy at Trinity has absolutely NOTHING to do with that other guy and abhors him. The IFB is not a group, a denomination or anything. It’s just a name. Trinity Baptist Church in Concord is a “BJU” church…meaning they tend to get pastors and encourage their students to go to Bob Jones University. I think they approve of Northlands as well. Although we know BJU is a legalistic school…they would certainly not believe the crap that was coming out of that pastor’s mouth that 20/20 was using as an example. If I didn’t know better, I would have gotten the impression from the 20/20 piece that the IFB is some sort of denomination. IFB churches are truly autonomous–not to say that one church might try to rebuke another or influence a decision at times. Probably 99.9% of IFB churches abhor Fred Phelps but they have no control over him.

    Something to think about here–I personally think that maybe less intelligent types do “fall” for the IFB churches, especially the bad IFB churches. However, I know incredibly gifted and intelligent people who attend IFB churches. Some of the finest people I have ever known happen to attend Trinity Baptist church in Concord, NH. Why is that? Not because these people are terrible or stupid people! It’s because legalism appeals to our flesh. If it’s all we’ve ever heard or known then we think it is okay. We can denounce the IFB all we want but in reality we ALL are legalistic, just in different ways.

    Perhaps our response should be to pray for the people of Trinity Baptist Church to understand grace better. The new pastor certainly seems like he is trying. And of course, pray for Tina Anderson’s healing.

  26. I grew up in an SBC church in Ohio. I was at the Convention in San Antonio when Criswell called all who were not part of the first resurgence “skunks”, about 1986 or so. But the resurgence was planned in the ’70s in Houston with Paul Pressler and some others. Prior to that, every couple of decades, there would be some move to try to take the convention toward the fundamentalist side — there had been a toleration of a diversity of views, with the moderate (actually those who could tolerate diversity) faction having the controlling influence, especially in the seminaries and colleges, literature, bookstores, etc. The church I grew up in had a number of scientists and engineers and there was no issue about YE or OE, inerrancy, etc. Preaching was on the gospel, sharing the gospel, and missions. Our church conducted two week vacation bible schools in our church and two other locations almost every year, with a one-week revival the second week of each. The goal was to plant a church about every other year.

    The more recent conservative resurgence is a fight among those who took over the convention in the ’80s. There is a real tendency among fundies to purge any variants on a cyclical basis. Coupled with the fundy tendency to continually expand the orthodoxy to new subject areas, this results in an increasingly straightjacket acceptable theology and ecclesiology. Colleges become bible colleges (teach them what to think not how to think), and seminaries similarly structured.

    Many SBC churches are not committed to the fundy theology. They just aren’t involved in denominational politics and continue to send money to support the missions agencies. There is a slow movement of churches either into the committed fundy camp or away from it, the former due to hiring a pastor that leads them there, the others on discovering that their member who in committed to missions after growing up in the church can’t go because they are insufficiently extreme in their views.

  27. Anonymous

    I liked what you had to say-particularly the following: “We can denounce the IFB all we want but in reality we ALL are legalistic, just in different ways.”

    You actually said, very clearly, the message that I am trying to get across. Look at my title for Monday and Tuesday’s posts. I believe that fundamentalism-as defined by legalism-is on the rise throughout many denominations. I think the IFB only gives us example that can be applied to others.

    I do have a question for you-what do you think of the number of incidents that have been documented by Jeri Masi in Schizophrenic Christianity?

  28. Dee et al.

    I’m not familiar with the Bayly brothers, but if indeed they do self-identify with “transformationalism” then I would certainly want to distinguish that from more traditional Presbyterianism. As for myself, I am more in agreement with Michael Horton and the “White Horse Inn,” though I’m not quite as rabidly anti-Pietist as they are…but their critique of the American church is spot on.

    Yes, the Bruce Waltke situation was very unfortunate. I suspect that it has more to do with the public forum of the controversy (the Biologos video), especially with the “cult” statement. Apart from this video and the cult warning (albeit valid in my opinion), Waltke would still be at RTS. Most people already knew, for quite a while, that Waltke was open to evolutionary models within an Old Earth paradigm, and I’m sure that there are other professors and students who hold the same opinion. But, an academic discussion, within a classroom or during office hours, is a different thing than a public accusation of a cult mentality. The latter is what caused the firing of Waltke, and Waltke himself didn’t blame RTS for its actions — demonstrating his own great humility and desire to see a fine institution like RTS not be blighted.

    As for Mark Driscoll, yes, he is ridiculous much of the time. His “masculine” agenda is a massive failure in comprehending the “weakness” motif of Christ’s mission and the Pauline model for the husband’s sacrificial headship. Thankfully, not everybody in the Acts 29 network is quite as blind on such matters, but, once again, the functional patriarchy in an Acts 29 church is a far cry from that found in an IFB church. In the former, you will find plenty of women who can voice their opinion, on matters of home and church, and work outside the home without shame. They cannot become ordained ministers, but that’s a fairly respectable position on Scripture, not necessarily a mark of anti-intellectualism or agenda-driven biblicism.

    I’m sure, Dee, that we agree on quite a bit, we just differ on how best to launch a polemical battle against growing fundamentalism within evangelical churches and movements. Though, the battle should be waged.

  29. Kevin

    I watched the video and heard the “cult” statement. His comment was valid. If Christians are not careful and continue to mouth the easily disprovable science as demonstrated by the likes of AIG, we will be viewed as a cult as time goes on. Such nonsense recalls cults who believe that aliens are returning in comets to sprit true believers away. They had “science” to prove it yet it was silly. So, why did the Reformed power house get their panties in a wad? Why not investigate his claims in the spirit of truth?

  30. Kevin

    Could you please expand on what you mean by “functional patriarchy” in Acts 29? I am learning much from you.

  31. Kevin, If you want to see what the Baylys think about the two kingdoms view and how stridently they oppose it, you can check out what they write under that tag on their blog. They are fairly colorful.

  32. Arce

    Thank you for your explanation of the history of the resurgence in the SBC.

    I remember when all that was going on. At the time, I was a nondenominational church and some friends told me they were trying to get rid of those who questioned the essentials of the Scripture such as the Virgin Birth. At the time, I was dealing with three babies in short order, one who became sick with a brain tumor. So, taking the easy way out, I said “Good for them-standing on truth.”

    However, over the past years, having experienced a very weird set of circumstance, I had cause to question that premise. There are far too many committed Christian bodies littering the SBc landscape. I am concerned that there is even more bloodshed to be had as seen with Mohler’s latest Inquisition on the Creation saga.

    More hope lies in the fact, that when they get rid of people like me (I am once again in a nondenominational church), they will have to go at each other. This crowd seems to have a penchant for battle.

  33. Deb addressing”:
    Kevin,

    Given your final paragraph defending the Presbyterians, how well do you believe the Bayly brothers represent the Reformed tradition? I believe they are just as patriarchal as IFB pastors.

    One of those Bayly’s was the head of CBMW and left because they didn’t think that CBMW was conservative enough concerning the gender debate. They thought that CBMW was too liberal.

    Reminds me of IFB folk parting ways with the SBC because they believed them to be too liberal.

  34. We all have our “views”. My problem is with those who refuse to listen to anthing that refutes their “view”. As I have said before, I no longer try to work in our association because you have to agree with those who have a paid position or those who want one. To me it is amazing how political things have gotten. If you want to be black-balled just say one thing that might be supportive of say women pastors, or you don’t believe tithing is taught in the New testament and you better stay away from civil unions and you are toast to even mention marriage of same gender. Some of these things you may not fully support but surely there should be a way to discuss things without someone writing you off as a heretic. Yes, after all these yrs. of pastoring I realize i am still a searcher. Still trying to find what Our Lord’s will is. A closed mind will not accept any other thought and I think that is a real problem.

  35. Christian Reconstructionists can include people like the late Jerry Falwell and people like Tim LaHaye who are very much Dispensationalists. Phyllis Schafly is a Catholic and is also part of Christian Reconstruction. Dominionists like that Seven Mountains (?) group affiliated with Cindy Jacobs who is connected to the Brownsville revivals (Charismatic stuff affiliated with the Kansas City Prophets) are Christian Reconstructionists in the sense that they are dominionists.

    Theonomy is strictly Calvinist and, in theory, seeks to establish the church in all realms of society, drawing from Calvin’s discussion of the spheres of influence and activity in the world and church. Theoretically, it starts with personal evangelism, moves into family, church, people in cities, then changes in civil government will flow from the numbers of dutiful Christians who will come forward to serve in political office. It is supposed to be an organic thing. It derives the name of “God’s law” as a sufficient standard for all of life, and it advocates that the Bible’s moral principles should be the standard for civil law, a more peripheral goal and endpoint.

    What we see today is not really what Theonomy was all about in theory but rather an authoritarian type of Calvinism that is more about “purifying” and “cleansing” the church of whatever is seen by the “Calvinistas” as non-Calvinist and therefore evil. Things like complementarianism (an authoritarian movement and spiritually abusive IMO) are just one part of an overall theonomic/Calvinistic effort to purify the church. In the SBC, it has also manifested as an effort to make the organization a top-down, “presbyterian government” run group that is not congregational. They want to remove power and autonomy from individuals and give it to a limited number of elite leaders in the name of presbyterianism. Part of that effort has been changing the language from the priesthood of all believers into “the priesthood of the believer,” a phrase that I understand that the Calvinistas rallied to have removed entirely.

    Note that I don’t think it is an issue of Calvinism but an issue of Spiritually Abusive style which is where it all goes wrong.

    Spiritual Abuse is qualified by:
    Authoritarianism (focus on hierarchy always)
    Image Conscious (we are more special to God than you – elitist)
    Perfectionistic (intolerant and legalistic)
    Suppresses Criticism (submission)
    Unbalanced (majors on minor/peripheral doctrines instead of central ones)

  36. Dee

    The cycle happens in all human activity, just more visibly and more traumatically in religion. There is a fundamentalist impulse in humans, related to authoritarianism and patriarchy, etc. It is a personality trait that varies across people.

    In large, multi-location “organizations” or “movements”, the scenario occurs when the fundamentalist faction gets the upper hand, either controlling the message, or formally in control, or with major influence in decision-making bodies. They begin purges (with us or agin us, religiously non-believer or heretic, or some other sobriquet). Then they narrow the orthodoxy in terms of the variability allowed around a core concept, and broaden the number of such necessary-to-accept concepts. The process repeats as a cycle. Control by a faction, purge, narrowed orthodoxy per issue, more issues in the required orthodoxy, more purge, more control, etc. This process was part of the study of the Nazi phenomenon (authoritarian personality syndrome) in the ’50s to mid ’70s among a subset of social psychologists (the larger field of my Ph.D. studies) and some political scientists. Fits religious bodies like a glove: sects in Islam, So. Baptists, Presbys, IFB, even Catholics. Also political parties, academic fields (leads to the definition of new fields of study).

  37. “When did the change from soul competency occur? Was it during the conservative resurgence? Was it a way to consolidate a power base?”

    Yes, this is all a result of the CR. Of course, the SBC was in my family blood as a kid so I know a lot of history. The change from soul competency/priesthood to blatent hierarchy/obey the pastor was over time. It started really rearing it’s ugly head in deeds in the 90’s. Mainly because they had finally gotten control over most of the entities.

    Missionaries were now required to sign the BFM (there were huge problems with that I can explain since it affected several members of my extended family).

    Many people fell for the CR rally cry since there were apostates teaching no virgin birth, etc in the seminaries. But they were a handful and could have been dealt with. It was simply a way (political rally cry) to rally the troops to take over the convention. By the mid 90’s it had become a witch hunt and no one was allowed to disagree with any leader on B issues, either.

    Patterson was busing people in to the conventions to secure the vote. (Back in those days 40,000 were attending. Now they are lucky to get 7,000 and most are in paid ministry positions). Mohler, stuck his finger in the wind and became what he needed to become to be youngest president of seminary. the big thing was the culture war and he was perfect for that role because he was touted as an “intellectual”. I remeber the Time mag where he was listed as an up and comer intellectual. He is anything but. He is a political genius.

    The problem is that many of the guys shouting “inerrancy” have turned out to be serious thugs that have thrown many decent people under the bus because they do not bow to them. The way to get ahead in the SBC now is to be an sycophant to the leaders.

  38. Anonymous.

    “The IFB is not a group, a denomination or anything. It’s just a name. Trinity Baptist Church in Concord is a “BJU” church…meaning they tend to get pastors and encourage their students to go to Bob Jones University. I think they approve of Northlands as well.”

    This much is true. IFB is not a denomination. But it’s far more than just a name.

    “Although we know BJU is a legalistic school…they would certainly not believe the crap that was coming out of that pastor’s mouth that 20/20 was using as an example.”

    This is also true, to a certain extent, though there is a distinct undercurrent of misogyny in the usual “BJU churches” as well.

    “If I didn’t know better, I would have gotten the impression from the 20/20 piece that the IFB is some sort of denomination.”

    I will grant you this, despite Brian Fuller’s insistence to the contrary. Like the SBC – which also insists they are not a denomination – they look like a denomination from the outside.

    “IFB churches are truly autonomous–not to say that one church might try to rebuke another or influence a decision at times.”

    This is false. Just as in the SBC, an IFB church that falls too far to the left in some matter (music choice, using women in ministry, anything that violates what has been taught from the university that the pastor attended) will be blackballed. Not rebuked, but separated from entirely. The IFB churches are heavily influenced by the universities. They share the same Christian school associations. The same mission boards. The same camps. Their pastors belong to the same organizations (look up Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International for an example). They move from one church in the network to another, never outside the network.

    When AWANA, a children’s ministry, opened itself to other churches (even though the Bob Jones IFB pastors asked them not to), those churches dropped the program en masse. They all separated from it. I know of one Bob Jones approved, Greenville area church whose pastor wanted to go to a certain seminary. The university told him outright that if he did, he would lose their approval (and probably half his congregation when his church was put on the “off-limits” list). He toed the line and didn’t go. So to say that each IFB church is truly autonomous is just not true. There is no oversight as there is in the Presbyterian churches (for an example), but they are tied together in ways that are very visible, and beyond what they believe. The hub of these networks (which may not interact with each other) is the university.

    As I mentioned before, Dr. Camille Lewis has been finding lots of hidden or forgotten things that DO link these separate networks together–such as the fact that BJU gave Jack Hyles (of Hyles-Anderson fame) an honorary doctorate…

  39. Lydia

    No one in an SBC seminary was teaching that there was no virgin birth. What was being taught is that the language in the OT was better translated young woman rather than virgin, and that one did not have to believe in the virgin birth to be a Christian. E.g., Paul did not teach the virgin birth, at least not in what we have recorded. That is not the same thing as saying that Mary was not a virgin at the time of Jesus birth. Of course our Catholic friends have a doctrine that Mary was born without sin (her mother immaculately conceived her) and was always a virgin — never had children other than Jesus.

    There were people who twisted what was being taught into something that was not being taught and then used it to get rid of people. I suppose that 95 percent of the SBC membership that knew anything about it believed that the profs at the seminaries were teaching that Mary was not a virgin when Jesus was born.

  40. Dee,

    Yes, Waltke’s comment was valid. I’ve made the same complaints on my blog and in conversations with others. I’m an OEC who is open to evolutionary models. Yet, it was not exactly prudent for Waltke to make the cult statement in an open forum, which the YEC would obviously interpret as an attack on their intellect and soundness of mind. That’s the problem. Waltke was already a known defender of old earth paradigms and openness to evolution — as seen in his OT theology book and presumably with students in and outside the classroom — but his job was never threatened. Even someone like R. C. Sproul, though he has more recently come out in favor of YEC, was a well-known defender of an old earth and the compatibility (within limits) of evolution and Reformed dogmatics. Sproul was fully accepted within the conservative/confessional Reformed orbit and taught at RTS for many years as an old earth proponent. So, there is an explicit acknowledgment of non-YEC models within the PCA and closely related institutions like RTS, even though the YEC position is certainly the dominant one, especially among both trustees and the average person in the pew. As a representative of RTS, Waltke’s comments were seen as an attack on the validity of the YEC model within confessional Reformed education. I’m not happy with the board’s decision, but it’s at least understandable and their decision should be respected (as Waltke has admirably done).

    As for “functional patriarchy,” I just mean the actual way patriarchy is played-out in the home and the church. I think the typical Acts 29 church is more mainstream evangelical (women working, making decisions, expressing opinions, and such) than the typical IFB church, which are hardly monolithic themselves on such matters. I grew-up in an IFB church in North Carolina, so I do have some anecdotal experience in the way that patriarchy is variously interpreted and applied. As I’ve seen it, the especially oppressive forms of patriarchy are far more common in IFB churches than in more “Gospel Coalition” sort of churches and it is certainly more tolerated in the former than the latter. Driscoll may be a bit of an ass, but he’s at least a few steps removed from the oppression and closed-mindedness found in IFB churches. I have a friend (a seminary student) who works in an Acts 29 church in my town, and though I’m a bit more liberal than he is on the topic of gender, I’m not concerned about the treatment of his wife or her role in the home and church.

  41. Kevin
    Permit me an alternative explanation that ties Waltke’s resignation to Sproul’s sudden change in Scriptural exegesis.

    I believe that the NeoCalvinists, which we at TWW call “The Calvinistas” in recognition of their sometimes revolutionary demeanor (see Sandinistas) are to blame for this. Many (not all) are beholden to Mohler who has become rabidly YE, so much so that those of us who are not, are being told we throw our beloved Scriptures “under the bus.”

    There are now a number of coalitions of these folks and they control the speakers, the book deals, the influence. Sproul-Mr Calvin is getting old and “not hip.” His adherence to OE was a black mark against him and my guess is that he no longer made the “A” list of cool Calvinistas. So, he changed and suddenly, he is back in good graces.

    I believe Waltke’s error was not seeing the influence of these people. In the past, if the Reformed crowd knew of his beliefs, his one faux pas (which was not a faux pas in my book) could have been forgiven. No more. This crowd is rabid. You play their game or you don’t play at all.

    Why, for example, has Mark Driscoll’s ridiculous pronouncements been tolerated and even endorsed? It’s because he drinks at the trough of Mohler and gang so he can say what he likes and only get an occasional “tut tut.”

    Onto the Mark Driscoll analysis. Please read my last post on him last week. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/03/30/mark-driscoll-deceived-andor-deceiver/

    I disagree. I am a bit concerned about how he treats his wife. He monitors her emails “to protect her.” When she was a college student, she moved to a new campus and she was supposed to call him when she got there. She forgot. He drove, his words, 600 miles round trip to “check up on her.” When she moved into college and was placed on a coed floor, he drove to the campus (he was not a student) and banged on the doors of male residents and warned them he would “do something” if they touched her. This with no provocation.

    This sort of freely confessed activity is quite worrisome and indicates a potentially abusive individual. I believe Driscoll has a problem and, at the end of my post, expressed the hope that his wife has some confidants outside of her husband.

  42. Tikatu

    You are making my point for me. These groups, IFB and SBC, claim they are independent from one another. Except…..when they make exceptions as you pointed out. If they can influence another church in any way, they are fundamentally associated and their protests ring hollow.

  43. Lydia

    Isn’t that always the case when a group of revolutionaries want to win people to their side? They use a few outliers and make them the boogie men. It is just a smokescreen to cover their real agenda.

  44. I’ve noticed some women, empty nesters in particular, who remain at home the majority of their time despite having full capacity to “do more” for the kingdom, feel a certain guilt about not having the desire to do seemingly “unglamorous” things like, help the homeless, tutor minority children, or evangelize strippers…(not realizing how fulfilling doing those things can ultimately be) So in their efforts to justify their refusal to heed the call of GOD and go beyond their comfort levels, they cling to any and all passages which seem to “limit” women and keep them safely tucked in their white picket-fenced cocoons. (The sad thing is, many of them are miserable and guilt-ridden as a result. They resist the Holy Spirit and the grace that could be theirs!)

    Passivity is often the easy way out. Being a “woman” can be used as an excuse for “not doing much” or “not speaking out” (even when that would be the right thing to do.) So women can be just as eager as men to embrace such ideas.

  45. Radiance, You mean the SS “Cookie Exchange” does not count? :o)

    Believe me, I have seen what you describe quite often. They think the Holy Spirit is their husband. And they wait. And Wait. And wait.

  46. I do want to make one correction: I read about the honorary doctorate bestowed on Jack Hyles by BJU on this website: The Hidalgo Grain Company. (The link will take you directly to the entry in question.) I had originally attributed that piece of information to Dr. Camille Lewis.

  47. “No one in an SBC seminary was teaching that there was no virgin birth. What was being taught is that the language in the OT was better translated young woman rather than virgin, and that one did not have to believe in the virgin birth to be a Christian. E.g., Paul did not teach the virgin birth, at least not in what we have recorded. That is not the same thing as saying that Mary was not a virgin at the time of Jesus birth. Of course our Catholic friends have a doctrine that Mary was born without sin (her mother immaculately conceived her) and was always a virgin — never had children other than Jesus.”

    Arce, the Jewish translations made sure it said “young woman” but the Hebrew implies one who has ‘never had sex”, so virgin the correct translation. Even maiden would be better since it communicates in Hebrew thinking one who has not been with a man.

    It is the word Almah and it is used only 7 times in the OT. It is mostly translated as virgin or maiden.

    We have to go to Hebrew lit to see how it is usually translated. The Jewish tradition WANTS it to be “young woman” to osbcure it’s meaning that Jesus came from a virgin birth.

    Saying Paul did not teach a virgin birth is the same as saying Paul did not teach us to drive cars. It was not necessary for him to teach a virgin birth. It was a given.

    TC Robinson, one of my favorite bloggers. writes about this:

    http://newleaven.com/2010/04/22/pauls-silence-on-the-virgin-birth-of-christ-does-it-matter/

    It is a moot point that Paul does not mention the virgin birth. Others, outside of Luke and Matthew, do not mention it either, if you notice.

    “here were people who twisted what was being taught into something that was not being taught and then used it to get rid of people. I suppose that 95 percent of the SBC membership that knew anything about it believed that the profs at the seminaries were teaching that Mary was not a virgin when Jesus was born.”

    There were other things being taught that were unorthodox on the A issues but I cannot remember off the top of my head what they were. There were some problems but they were only a few.It was blown way out of proportion.

    They also used “inerrancy” incorrectly as a scare tactic.

  48. “Radiance/Lydia

    Then there is this blog…”

    And taking brownies to pedophile preachers in prison, counts. You bake, I take. :o)

  49. Arce/Lydia

    You two put me to shame. I did not know that Paul did not mention the virgin birth. I didn’t even know there was a controversy in the meaning of the word. That is why I love blogging. I am amongst thoughtful people who have gone way beyond my limited thinking. It causes me to stretch. I just finished reading the post at New Leaven and came away thinking….I need to think and read on this.

    Thank you, both of you for your thoughts!!!

  50. Dee,

    I agree with you that Mark Driscoll is in as bad a shape as these other Calvinistas ;), and perhaps worse because of his popularity. Popularity is just more power.

    I think that his issues with women and sex are just a part of a bigger issue with authoritarianism which is more of a problem and likely the source. I’m sorry, but I see him as one who objectifies women just as much or more than all of his friends in high places. Anyone remember this little ditty, or did the NY Times get him all wrong?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11punk-t.html

    Some argue that Doug Wilson is not as bad as Doug Phillips. Frankly, I don’t see much of a functional difference in them in terms of how they operate, and it’s not much difference than these big players in the SBC and among others who call themselves Reformed.

  51. It was not taught generally. Peter at Pentecost did not mention the virgin birth either. The point is, one can believe in Jesus without believing the the virgin birth. It is not necessary to become a Christian, as the thousands at Pentecost demonstrate.

  52. Arce,

    Believe me, I’m the last person to argue for a virgin birth, although I remember some college friends who wished it might be possible…but that aside, if you don’t believe the virgin birth, that would, in the best of circumstances, make Jesus the biological son of Joseph and Mary, if that’s the case then Jesus wasn’t sinless, wasn’t the Son of God, certainly wasn’t God, couldn’t have been an atonement for His own sins, let alone anyone else’s…so what exactly were the people at Pentecost believing in anyway?

  53. one problem we have without the virgin birth is that scripture states clearly that sin entered the world through adam. everyone born of parents after that is born in a corrupted body.

  54. As I understand the virgin birth, Karlton and Lydia are essentially correct. And unlike many doctrinal issues, “Born of the virgin Mary” is one of those that lands in the essential and basic confessions of faith that became the creeds of the Church. There are several issues here, not the least of which is the fact that if Joseph and Mary had pre-marital sex we could hardly call her ‘righteous’ in the sense in which she is portrayed in the NT. One must also understand that a young unmarried girl in the Jewish culture very much had better have also been a virgin.

    I think that regardless of how we understand sin as becoming part of mankind, it is clear that God had to do something special and unique in creating Jesus to make it possible for Jesus to live a sinless life. Sin is part of us, however it got here – and the implication is that a critical component of that sin nature is part of our biology. That message is communicated clearly in the need for the virgin birth, and in the fact that scripture speaks of it entering the entire human race through an event and through the ‘first pair’ of humans. Whether we regard that as metaphor or literal reality, the TRUTH of it remains, all of mankind is in bondage to sin, and a critical component of that we inherit.

    The issue the Catholics have with Mary needing to also be sinless really is, I think, something that came from men trying to solve a mystery themselves rather than simply waiting on God to reveal the truth.

    Consider this: we now know that many inherited traits require both father and mother to be expressed. Could it not be that the sin nature is just such a trait. As long as at least one ‘partner’ has none of the sin genes, it will not be expressed in the child. As an interesting aside, if that child mated, some of His children very well may have expressed the sin genes again, finding their complement in the mate.

    Be that as it may, I don’t think the ’emaculate conception’ as the RCC teaches (Mary needing to be sinless) is necessary, nor is it actually taught in scripture.

    Zeta

  55. “It is not necessary to become a Christian, as the thousands at Pentecost demonstrate.”

    Most at Pentecost were Jews. Jews would have believed what Isaiah prophesied concerning Almah. It was not necessary for Peter to mention it.

  56. “The point is, one can believe in Jesus without believing the the virgin birth.”

    Do you believe that Jesus was God in the Flesh?

  57. I believe in the Virgin Birth because it was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.

    “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 ESV

    Secondly, I believe in the Virgin Birth because of Mary’s reaction upon hearing the angel’s incredible news.

    Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34 NASB

    “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Luke 1:34 KJV

  58. Lydia, Zeta, Deb, Arce, Karl et al,

    I think the reason this comes up for discussion is the lack of emphasis in Paul’s writings. I agree with all of you regarding the basis for the virgin birth. One other thought-Joseph was torqued off that Mary was pregnant and was figuring out a way to divorce her quietly. If he was the dad, why would he do that? God sent an angel to tell him to calm down and proceed with the plan after a unique detour.

    I also did not know that some Jews started to translate virgin into young girl in order to deny the necessity of a virgin birth. So, does this mean wherever we see the word “virgin” we should think young girl? And, in that culture, did young girl equate with being a virgin?

    However, I went to bed, like Mary, pondering this in my heart since hubby was asleep and he gets irritated if I keep talking to myself and plan to do some reading on the controversy. I like it when these issues come up. It forces me to think about why I believe what I believe and the basis for that belief. I had never realized that Paul did not talk about this and I am glad to have heard about it here before I was caught flatfooted in some discussion elsewhere.

  59. Lydia

    BTW, I do read my Bible and this fact slipped right past me. This is why we need each other.

  60. Virgin Birth discussion

    This morning I wrote a dear friend and said the following

    ” My current pastor said something interesting that I think applies to this Paul situation. He said that Paul rarely quoted from Jesus’ ministry here on earth. He didn’t quote much from things like the Sermon on the Mount. He spent little time talking about the miracles.

    Why? Because his emphasis was on the Cross and the Resurrection. For him, this was the need, the question, the reason and the solution. All of the other things paled in comparison. He said that if the Resurrection did not occur, we would be fools to follow this faith.

    He spent time discussing our sin problem and the solution. He talked about the Law and its limits. He talked about our need for grace because, no matter how hard we try, we continue to sin. He talked about our freedom in Christ.

    The Epistles are our way of looking back in time and understanding all that has occurred.”

    So, he didn’t talk about the virgin birth because it was not his emphasis. Christ’s Resurrection proved, once and for all, who He was and, in some ways, validated the virgin birth.”

    When confronted with the Cross, we have to contemplate the very nature of this God/man and why His sacrifice was sufficient. He could not be exactly like us because we cannot save ourselves. So, he was different. The Virgin birth differentiates Him-at once like us and not like us-the Divine paradox. And so much about Him was that way.

    The immortal became mortal
    God became man
    The eternal stepped into time
    The omnipresent was now in Israel
    The author of life experienced death
    The creator walked among the created like one of them
    He was like us but was not like us

    I don’t understand the DNA part of it, maybe never will.

    It is good this question came up in this week as we contemplate the Life-giver dying and then once again becoming Life itself. I can only say “Amen!”

  61. I cannot understand why a believer would have a problem with the virgin birth.

    Dee, I did not note the lack of mention of the VB by Paul. It was something that came up years ago that caused m to look into it. I was astonished at what I found. This is one issue that both Jews and Muslim promote to assert that Jesus existed but only as human.

  62. Lydia,

    I would disagree with you. If you read Isaiah chapter 7 from verse 1 through the end of the chapter, and not just the famous verse 14, you will see that the “prophecy” was not Messianic at all, it was a very specific prophecy for the times, specifically for King Ahaz and was fulfilled in his time.

    Jews translate the word Almah as young woman or maiden because that’s what the word means..it is the feminine form for elem (for young males) and indicates age, not sexual purity. Matthew on the other hand translates it as virgin, because he is taking a prophecy out of context and wants to use it to establish Jesus divinity.

  63. Karl
    One of the reasons that I had a hard time reading poetry in high school is that I am a concrete thinker. A phrase or verse means one thing and one thing only. Well, that sort of thinking cause me to get low grades in the poetry department.
    A verse in poetry both what it says on one level and then something else at a different level and both of them are true.

    You are correct that the verses you mentioned mean exactly what you say but they also point to and mean something else. I believe this device is called type/antitype but I didn’t major in English so I may be wrong.

  64. Lydia

    One point that my pastor made I forgot to mention. He said the emphasis on the Cross and Resurrection was deliberate on the part of Paul. The Epistles spell out the way we are now to view the Scripture. This is through the lens on the Cross and Resurrection. All that came before culminated in these two realities. So, as we view Jesus’ ministry we focus on the reason He came. We view His birth in the shadow of the Cross. That Christmas saying “Born to die” is perhaps the most Pauline expression at Christmas.

  65. Ya’ll do know that your giving those who stand behind those speaker platforms every Sunday (and Saturday nights ) some very good material, right.

    They do read this and other blogs to speak against us “evil” basement blogger.

    come see me…

    thecultbuster

  66. Dee,

    No, there are clear guidelines which must be adhered to in order for something to be considered prophecy, not simply the “possibility” that it could refer to something else.

    What is happening in this case, is that you are simply “reading into” the verse what you’d like it to say, based on hindsight. If some “young woman” in New York, tomorrow gives birth to a son and names him “Immanuel”, was that prophecy then referring to her too? What about Immanuel Kant, his mother was still relatively young when she gave birth..was it a prophecy for him.. see how easy it is.

  67. Karl

    Progressive revelation is not new. Which guidelines are you saying I must follow?

    In fact, I am not reading into the text. Jesus, then Paul, explained the text and we use their explanation to understand the prophecies in a more complete manner.

  68. Deb;

    Thanks

    It has only just begun at http://www.thecultbuster.blogspot.com

    I never knew how deep these “extremist, legalistic, and materialistic ministerial religious” folks would go to deceive and cover up to the masses against real truths concerning issues we deem as important.

    CultBuster is on the job.

  69. Sorry…off topic, but another abuse I have seen first hand, is the outright abuse of the tax exempt status that most pastors/ chruch’s enjoy. Funny how many pastors cry wolf about the Federal Government, but have no problem running to it for special exempt status from taxes and legal liability.

  70. One more random thought-you mentioned the Exchristian site. Which is an good example of people’s stories of why and how they left the Christian faith, but I find John Loftus http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/ to be a more academic/ intellectual example of a former Christian apologist (he studied under William Craig Lane) who is now an atheist.

  71. Pingback: Wartburg Watch and IFB | Why Not Train A Child? UNITED STATES

  72. Karl,

    Landover Baptist is a parody site.

    Doubtful,

    Pastors have to pay taxes, like everyone else. Churches (and most Christian universities) do not. Exception to this is Bob Jones University, which lost its tax-exempt status due to its racial policies.

  73. Doubtful
    I have read Loftus on a number of occasions. If I remember correctly,about a year or so ago, he admitted to getting creamed in a debate with Craig or one of those guys. He is gearing up to try again. He’s a pretty bright guy but he is also quite angry which I believe harms him in debate. Christopher Hitchens and Bart Ehrman do a better job in appearing friendly and humorous.

  74. Tikatu

    I plan to quote from one of your comments on Monday. It is very helpful in understanding the IFB for those of us on the outside looking in.

  75. I believe in the Virgin Birth. There are people who do not who are Christians, who believe that God indwelled Jesus at a later point in time. Creeds are committee documents that attempt to encapsulate the majoritarian faith of the group. One does not have to follow a creed to be a Christian; rather one must follow Jesus, the Christ. Cf. John 3:16 ff.

  76. Karl,

    You said:

    “If you read Isaiah chapter 7 from verse 1 through the end of the chapter, and not just the famous verse 14, you will see that the “prophecy” was not Messianic at all, it was a very specific prophecy for the times, specifically for King Ahaz and was fulfilled in his time. ”

    This is typical of many of the Messianic prophecies – they tend to just jump out of context into a new context of Messiah. We accept them as Messianic for many reasons, not the least of which being the understanding of the Jews at the time of Christ of which verses were themselves Messianic, but also because of Christ’s direct teaching, or the understanding of the Apostles as communicated later to them and through them to the Church at large.

    But this does point to a certain hypocrisy in the conservative church as regards the interpretation of scripture. They have their little rules for the ‘right way’ and the ‘wrong way’ to interpret scriptures, and an uncomfortably large number of the Messianic Prophecies break those very same ‘rules’. That’s ok (they say), of course, because it is already established and passed down for millenia. It doesn’t really wash to me, which is one of the reasons why I don’t have a problem going back and looking at Genesis in light of what we know about the natural world. The Messianic Prophecies were placed in scripture in a form that kept them somewhat hidden until the right time. I see no reason why other aspects of scripture might not be similarly constructed.

    It, to me, is a lot like the Pharisees who accepted things in ‘the past’ as told in scripture that they would and did not accept in the day they themselves lived. And as a result, they completely missed the coming of the Messiah. If the Bible is written by God, then there are likely aspects of its teaching that are not easily understood or even possible to see using a simplistic or superficial reading of the text.

    Such is clearly the case as regards Isaiah 7:14

    Zeta

  77. The virgin birth (no human male DNA involved in Yeshua’s conception) for me anyway is one of those axioms of the faith that is non-negotiable. Since I reject the doctrine of original sin and its corollary of total depravity, I hold to the virgin birth for entirely different reasons.

  78. Dee,

    I didn’t know about the Driscoll thing with his wife. Yes, that’s disturbing. I do agree that there’s a lot of truth to your alternative scenario concerning Waltke. I do know that, at the ground level, there are still a lot of us who are fighting for a greater openness to different scientific models that comport with Scripture. Even though there is, for the moment, a resurgence of YEC in the Reformed world, I think this could just as easily backfire and turn into a resurgence of OEC and TE (Theistic Evolution). The influence of books like The Lost World of Genesis One (by John Walton at Wheaton) will gain a lot of traction and already has. Also, it should be noted that a significant sector of the Reformed world is represented by The White Horse Inn and the profs at Westminster Seminary California, who have forcefully argued that YEC is not required by confessional subscription to the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity…in other words, you can be a fully orthodox and conservative Presbyterian, adhering to the WCF, and believe in an old earth. I’m thinking of Michael Horton and R. Scott Clark. And, yes, while The Gospel Coalition is keen on YEC, I attended last year’s Desiring God conference — a bastion of Gospel Coalition leaders (Piper, Mohler, etc.) — where I also heard Michael Horton and a live taping of The White Horse Inn. So, even within these coalitions, you can find diversity.

    All the same, the resurgence of YEC as the most “faithful” interpretation of Scripture is certainly a big concern of mine. Yet, the solution is not to leave such networks but to work within. I suppose that I’m so optimistic because I’m certain that YEC is a lost cause. Evangelicalism and evolution will become friends. It’s only a matter of time; meanwhile, we have to endure the ignorant ramblings of Al Mohler.

  79. By the way, I actually think that Sproul’s change of mind, from old earth to young earth, has more to do with legitimate exegetical and dogmatic concerns. Currently, Sproul doesn’t see a way to combine a historical Fall with an old earth. The historical role of Adam (Romans 5 and elsewhere) is also a concern of his. These are legitimate reasons that I can respect, which is why I don’t want to be too flippant with dismissing YEC. I think such flippancy in the past, among more liberal evangelicals, and the lack of attention to genuine dogmatic quandaries (the Fall, especially) has caused some of the backfire recently in favor of YEC.

  80. “I suppose that I’m so optimistic because I’m certain that YEC is a lost cause. Evangelicalism and evolution will become friends. It’s only a matter of time; meanwhile, we have to endure the ignorant ramblings of Al Mohler.”

    Kevin Davis,

    While I find your statements encouraging, I am extremely concerned about all the children and teens who are being taught in churches that there is only one acceptable view of creation – YE. I wonder how many have fallen away from the faith because they grew to doubt the six day, 24 hour theory of creation and were not told that there are other views – OE.

    As far as Sproul’s change of mind from his long-term belief in OE to his curent embrace of YE, my theory is that RC Sproul Jr. primarily influenced his father. Junior, who now works with his dad, is a close friend of Doug Phillips, who is extremely supportive of Ken Ham.

  81. Deb,

    You are certainly right about people leaving the faith over evolution. A few months back, I went to a pub with a co-worker and we had a long discussion on such matters. He grew-up in a non-denominational church that was heavy on the emotions and light on the intellect. As soon as he went to community college and encountered science (and the general academic environment of critical thinking), that launched a crisis of faith that eventually led to atheism. He’s still young (mid-20’s), with much to learn. I’ve been encouraging him to broaden his horizons, concerning the church. He has no familiarity with non-fundamentalist forms of Christianity, whether more mainstream evangelical or mainline Protestant…much less Catholic or Orthodox.

    That’s interesting about Sproul Jr.’s connections and likely influence. I wouldn’t be surprised at such a connection, but from what I’ve read by Sproul on his reasons for embracing YEC (and from what I know of Sproul’s general intellectual integrity) I still think that there are legitimate exegetical-dogmatic issues that he was struggling with.

  82. Ken Davis,

    I really appreciate your dialogue here. I just Googled RC Sproul, RC Jr., and Young Earth Creationism, and was surprised to read the following:

    http://philosophyofjoel.xanga.com/549341362/rc-sproul—young-earth-creationism/

    “R.C Sproul, Sr., announced his change to young-earth creationism in a Spring 2001 issue of his newsletter. He said one of the things that changed his mind was Douglas F. Kelly’s fine book, Creation and Change. Sproule’s son, R.C. Jr., being a young-earther at that time, was probably another factor. R.C. Senior’s change of heart is especially significant because he had previously been one of the back-cover endorsers of Hugh Ross’s book 1994, Creation and Time.”

    Then this blogger wrote the following response to a commenter:

    “A big factor in R.C.Sproul’s conversion to 6-day creationism was the fact that about 2000 he did a program where he explained to his radio audience that Genesis 1&2 had all the qualities of good literature according to
    some Dutch literary analyst. In other words he treated Genesis 1 & 2 as near-Eastern literature, not thinking anything of it. And then many letters of protest started coming in. The amount of mail was of a much greater volume & amount than he had EVER experienced. Sproul did try to talk his way out of this for a long while, but it took about one year after the huge volume of mail incident, he and R.C. Sproul, Jr got on the radio together and announced his conversion to YECism because it ‘was the best interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2’”

  83. Interestingly enough, the most popular blogger of the “calvinistas”, Tim Challies, took up the topic of creation in his most recent post. It’s the hot topic these days.

  84. Deb and Ken

    My rational stands firm. I believe that Mr Biblical scholar, who spoke on this subject for years, and I can guarantee you that he had worked out the issue of death before the fall, saw the bottom line and did a switch. Troubles with his ministry in general were also ongoing.

    Liked the stuff on the radio show-good work!

  85. Joey

    They are going to gunning for everyone who does not toe the line of YEC. Statistics indicate that over half of Christians trend OE/TE/DK (Don’t know and don’t care). So, they risk isolating a large body of people. Take into account the numbers of young kids going into the sciences and who will see that Ken Ham’s AIG is a scientific laughing stock, by even Christians, and this could be the beginning of a major split in the faith.

    Once again, Mohler will be responsible harming good men and women of faith and conviction by pretending that this is a matter of primary Christian faith. I have only one thing to say-Yabba Dabba Doo.

  86. I just listened to the podcast on Challies site. I find it interesting some of the ’cause/effect’ correlations they are making. One point the spend a good bit of time on is the idea that if a lot of education is required to be able to differentiate when Genesis passes from metaphorical to historical, then somehow the priesthood of believers is violated. That is, that since the ‘common’ man can’t necessarily tell when this transition is made, somehow this establishes a ‘new priesthood’ of the intellectual elite who are required to tell the common man how to understand scripture.

    I find that a bit absurd, in that the spiritual message of scripture is not dependent on our understanding of the metaphor/historicity relationship of the text of Genesis 1-11. The message is plain, simple, and easy for almost anyone to understand.

    Further, even Paul had the problem that may people considered his teaching ‘difficult to understand’. Indeed, some even distorted it through their own ignorance – yet certainly we do not consider Paul to have violated the priesthood of believers.

    The Priesthood of believers does not imply everything in the Bible can be fully understood by anyone. Neither does the perpiscuity of scripture imply this. What it implies is that we all have a direct line to God, a single Mediator between us and God, Jesus Christ. And that the basic message of the Gospel can be understood by anyone. That if we confess Christ as Lord and place or faith and hope in him, we can indeed find forgiveness of sin and restoration to full relationship with God Himself.

    It seems to me that in almost every case those who think some aspect of the six day literal interpretation is fundamental to faith, there is some kind of misguided conflation of ideas similar to the above. It is very disheartening that supposed ‘leaders and theologians’ so popular today can’t even make such simple distinctions as the one I outline above.

    Zeta

  87. Zeta

    Remember the ill-fated debate in the Sunday school. The YE crowd insist that Scripture, in order to be comprehended, must be understandable to the palin reading of a simple plowboy. I have news for them. It is not. If it were, we would all agree on all aspects of Scripture. We don’t. Look at all the denominations and the differences in interpretation. Can you imagine a simple plowboy explaining the Trinity? Most people sitting in the pews can’t.

    Scripture can be understood by a simple plowboy in the aspects in which it discusses sin and the need for salvation. Even the simplest amongst us understand such a concept along with Jesus death and Resurrection.

    I believe the “simple plowboy” is a smokescreen for those who insist on a dogmatic, wooden, literal translation of Genesis. And these guys are dogmatic and plan to go after the majority of Christians who do not see it through their limited lens.

  88. Those making the “simple ploughboy” argument also might forget that when that argument was formed Sunday school had quite a different character – it was straight up religious education and plenty of ploughboys could recite enough of the catechism (which wasn’t so hard when your language was that of the catechism as opposed to today when many of them are several centuries out of date in the terms they use) to shame most of us.

  89. No offense intended, but… has anyone here done reading in Jewish sources/commentaries on the claims re. “mistranslation” of passages?

    I do not think anyone has done anything to misleadingly translate Isaiah, but… I am coming from a different place (I suspect) than many of you, as I grew up with people who were/are observant Jews and spent a lot of time talking about beliefs with them – and doing my own reading.

    I personally believe that many Christians misunderstand Judaism and Jewish beliefs (the latter have quite a broad spectrum, not dissimilar to Christianity + just about any other religion we could name)… to me, the claim that Isaiah has been deliberately mistranslated is actually not so far from an anti-semitic slur – although I do realize that many of us were raised believing this to be true.

    Maybe I’m overcompensating a bit, given that I’m Lutheran (since Luther wrote one of the most horrific anti-semitic documents ever published, On the Jews and their Lies), but I think there is a need for some effort on our (Christians’) parts to understand and learn from the Jewish tradition. It does entail finding out some pretty awful stuff re. how Christians were perceived by Jewish people in Europe, but there are – sadly – very valid reasons for all of that.

  90. and Lydia – I’m not singling you out or intending to slam you. I’ve heard the “mistranslation” thing from many people – and for a while, when I was much younger, I believed it myself.

  91. @ Karl: I missed your post on “young woman” and see that you beat me to the punch, as is often the case. 😉

  92. Numo,

    I wear big girl pants so you don’t have to worry about singling me out. In fact, I would prefer it to some vague accusation that “someone on this thread” is anti semetic because of what I said about “some” Jewish translations. Nothing could be further from the truth. I almost married a Jewish man in my 20’s. ! And have had numerous close Jewish friends and worshipped with Messianic Jews for several years. Trust me, when I tell you I have not been isolated from Jews but am well known as a great friend of Israel which infuriates my liberal Christian friends.

    And it is not something I was raised to believe. In fact, it came from a study on this very passage years back. I wish I had kept all my source material but it was quite a bit.

    Your “myth” was even referred to in Paul Johnson’s History of the Jews which is an excellent secular book on Jewish History. Someone borrowed it and never returned it or I would give you the references.

    The Septuagint, which was quoted most often in the NT by Jesus, renders “virgin” in Isaiah 7.

  93. Arce
    Twas me who misspelled. It bespeaks my undying desire to have a woman run the Office of the Presidency.

  94. I think it was Freudian — a slip that reveals your true feelings about the 1/2 term governor of Alaska, and full time practitioner of bombast.

  95. But the Septuagint is a translation, too.

    Translation – no matter what’s being translated – is very tricky. I have some experience with editing text (and making suggestions) re. translations from Brazilian Portuguese to English, and even though the texts were all short and seemingly simple, they were full of cultural references that were pretty much impossible to render properly in English.

    so… how much more is that the case when we are translating ancient documents written in languages that either are dead (and, in one case, revived) and/or have changed far beyond the form they were in at the time the documents were written? To my way of thinking, there is a lot of margin for error there.

    and Lydia, I wasn’t wanting to single you out, period. I have heard that from a lot of people and i genuinely DO think that it is often presented in an anti-semitic way. (Those jewish people, so sunk in their errors, etc.) It reminds me of some claims that have been made about other texts and deliberate mistranslations, by other people. (No wish to get further into that discussion than necessary, though… for me, it stops here.)

    Back to translation again: I have difficulty getting a lot of 19th century writing, if only because – as with the Portuguese-to-English texts I mentioned above – there are lots of things that go right past me. (Things that would have been common knowledge to the original readers of those texts.) How much more so with Scripture?

  96. and… not to be repetitive, but:

    Maybe I’m overcompensating a bit, given that I’m Lutheran (since Luther wrote one of the most horrific anti-semitic documents ever published, On the Jews and their Lies)

    cool?

  97. I jsut did a very quick search in Paul Johnson’s book and while I can see that he used a Bible that translates the Isaiah passage as “virgin,” I’m honestly not finding any references to mistranslation, efforts to obscure the actual meaning of that text, etc.

    He does, however, seem to have a lot to say re. Jewish beliefs about the messiah… and the ambiguity thereof. (Again, different schools of interpretation.)

    But I would really need some time to get into this further, and Lydia, I wish you still had your notes, as it would be interesting to see how this was handled. 🙂

  98. “I have heard that from a lot of people and i genuinely DO think that it is often presented in an anti-semitic way.”

    So basically, if anyone mentions the translations being different by a certain group then they are anti semantic. Great conversation stopper. As I showed above, the original audience would understand almah as someone who has not been with a man. It does also denote that she is of marriagable age. The word is never used in Hebrew to describe a “young married woman”. The almah would be thought of in that day as a virgin.

    It is not just some earlier Jewish translations but also Christian translators who have “misinterpreted” on purpose. There is simply no other explanation than trying to manipulate the meaning.

    I could give you a ton of examples but will just give a few:

    Teshuqa in Gen 3. This was translated as “turning” until around 1300 AD when the Monk Pagnini translated it as “desire”. It means that Eve would “turn” to Adam instead of God. And she did. Why change thousands of years of the translation as “turning”?

    Some of the misinterpretations do not even make sense but are nefarious such as Isaiah 3:12. Here is where Katherine Bushnell did some great research for us:

    I think we find another case of prejudiced translation in Isaiah 3:12. The word translated “children” in this verse in Isaiah, is a plural masculine participle of the verb “to glean,” “abuse,” “practice.” It is translated “glean” in Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 24:21, Judges 20:45, and Jeremiah 6:9. The word has no translation such as “children” anywhere else in the Bible, and it occurs 21 times. Another word altogether is used for “children,” and “child,” in verses 4 and 5 of this same chapter; the sense seems to have been fixed by the supposed context, to correspond with “women.” As to the word translated “women”: Two words, without the rabbinical vowel “points,” are exactly alike. One is pronounced nosh-im and the other na-shim. In appearance the only difference is a slight mark under the first letter of the Hebrew word na-shim. The first word means “exactors;” the one with a vowel mark under the initial letter means “women.” The entire decision, therefore, as to whether the word means one or the other depends upon OPTION. Those who pointed the word, evidently thought the nation could sink no lower than to pass under women rulers, and then translated the word “children” to match it. Commentators frequently call attention to the alternate reading. See Adam Clarke on the passage. The Septuagint translates: “As for my people, tax-gatherers (praktores) glean them, and exactors (apaitountes) rule over them.”

    The translation using women and children does not even make sense in light of Deborah, etc.

    Another example is “authenteo” in 1 Tim 2. Too lengthy to get into here but lets just say that Chrysostem said that men should not “authenteo” their wives. So we know for a fact it is something bad that men can do to women, too. Calvin and other translations used “Domineer”. It was not about plain old authority as some want us to think.

    Another even more nefarious example is the KJ translators adding the word “office” for functions within the Body. Laboring under a “divine” king appointed by God probably made that decision for them.

    The Paul Johnson thing is too lengthy to get into here but he does go into the different sects approach to and a history of translation of the Torah.

    “But the Septuagint is a translation, too. ”

    They are ALL translations. :o) I think it is noteworthy which one Jesus quoted quite a bit.

  99. Actually, we are not sure exactly what Jesus quoted, since he spoke Aramaic and probably Hebrew, and the scriptures were written in Hebrew. The New Testament was likely written totally in Greek, with possibly the exception of a few books. So the writer would have quoted or translated what Jesus said or used a Greek text.

  100. @ Lydia and Arce: Arce is right.

    so was karlton (many comments ago!) in stating that the original texts (not translations) of the Isaiah passage in question read “young woman.” In the Septuagint this word is rendered as “virgin.”

    But not all Jewish scholars use – or have historically used – the Septuagint. Many went back to the earlier texts… which say “young woman.” (I found this out after reading a fair deal on this history of the Septuagint.)

    The Septuagint – like the NT – is in Koine Greek, which is probably – in some ways – roughly equivalent to Anglo-Saxon (as opposed to modern English; even Middle English).

    Nowhere have I accused anyone who posts here of anti-semitism. However, I did say that I have heard some peope (elsewhere, and at other times) use the whole kerfuffle over the Isaiah passage in a way that was clearly intended as anit-semitic. (We Christians have a terrible record that way… as I mentioned re. Luther.)

    I also said that at one time (when I was very young) I believed that myself, but don’t any longer. I believed it because someone who appeared to have credibility said it. But then, later, I did some reading and found that they were in error. I think I believed them because I was in my mid-teens and looked up to them.

    And look… I’m often wrong. Have been before, will be again.

    Please, can we let this drop now? I’m regretting having made my 1st comment on this passage… if I’d read more carefully, I would have noticed that Karlton had already said something about it, and left it at that.

  101. re. “misinterpreted<" yes, people have. Because their beliefs are a certain way, they have tended to read things in a certain way.

    which is a lot different than saying that – as I have heard some people (thought nobody here!) say that Jewish rabbis and scholars have deliberately mistranslated certain passages in Isaiah (and in other books) to deny the divinity and messiahship of Jesus – this in order to deliberately slander Jesus.

    In fact, you can find statements of that kind – and much worse! – in Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies. Were you aware that the Nazis found this terrible document to the most perfect propaganda thy could wish for – far better than anything they could have concocted? They used it to bring horror and death to 6 million.

    (I am, btw, of German ancestry, so… I hope my long-lost relatives over in Germany were not happy members of the Nazi party, but I kinda think that’s too much to hope for.)

    Hope everyone who reads and comments here has a good Easter!

  102. ack! I just re-read my last couple of posts and am not sure how to take them myself.

    Lydia, if I misread you, my apologies. i have a migraine and the brain is not computing like it usually does.

    agreed completely on there being a history of some very odd and sometimes nonsensical interpretations of old texts – Scripture and otherwise.