John Piper Flirts With the Boundaries of Child Abuse. He Wants You to Sacrifice Your Kid’s Safety and Life for the Great Commission

“Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.” ― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings link

Wikipedia

Good night! John Piper sure has a way of getting himself heard. This latest pronouncement is guaranteed to go down in the annals of bizarre things Piper has said.

John Piper: Take your kids on dangerous mission trips because dying isn’t the worst thing that could happen to them and maybe they will become *good* Christians.

John Piper, following on the heels of his *sola fide doesn’t cut it” debacle, has decided that we should stop being so gosh-darn-comfortable and take our kids into life threatening situations for the sake of the gospel.™ The Christian Post reported on this in John Piper Says Parents Should Take Children on Dangerous Mission Trips: There Are ‘Worse Risks’ Than Death.

Here are some primo quotes from the man himself, taken from the original post at Desiring God. 

We are losing kids from the faith because they are too comfortable.

Perhaps we lose too many of our children because they weren’t trained as soldiers. Maybe we trained them in comfort and security, and now they won’t leave it,”

Poet Piper thinks we are raising bloated jellyfish kids.

How can I raise a dolphin cutting through schools of sharks, rather than a bloated jellyfish floating with the plankton into the mouth of the whale called the world?

We must use these verses in Hebrews to help us to be willing to shed the blood of our children in dangerous areas of the world.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:3–4)

We should be willing to sacrifice the lives of our kids because they are more likely to become Christ exalting!??

Piper gives us no reason to expect that our children will become *better* kids if we expose them to the potential of their death. He just says it and so it must be. Do those around him ever question his presuppositions?

“Why? Because the cause is worth the risk, and the children are more likely to become Christ-exalting, comfort-renouncing, misery-lessening exiles and sojourners in this way than by being protected from risk in the safety of this world,”

Why should we do this? John Adams did it with his son and the kid became the most brilliant President ever (according to Piper.) Case closed.

So, if John Adams did it, does that mean we should do it? Why? Why does he assume that the same outcomes would happen with our kids?

John Quincy Adams, in my view, was the most superbly educated and maybe the most brilliant human being who ever occupied the executive office. (American Spirit, 115–116)

If John and Abigail Adams thought that their comparatively small aims for their children were worth the risk of death, are not our aims worth just as much risk?

According to Piper, we must do even more because “God is with us” and Piper thinks it is really cool to consider sacrificing the lives of little Tommy and Muffy. We are conquerors!

We have a promise: If God is for us, no one can be successfully against us (Romans 8:31). If they take our lives, our spouses, and our children, they cannot succeed. In all these things, we are more than conquerors.

Piper has said stuff like this before.

Unfortunately, we cannot brush this off as an old man’s ravings. It appears that Piper has long been desirous of getting people to sacrifice the safety of their children for the sake of the Great Commission. In 2009 he was asked to answer this question. Should the Risk of Danger Keep Me From Doing Missions?

Kids have no say in their safety.

I found his answer particularly interesting. He specifically said that the man asking the question should respect his wife if she did not want to go but the kids have no say in the matter. As usual, he gets a bit odd. See if you agree. He seems to think about things that no one is asking.

If your wife says, “No,” you probably shouldn’t.

I’m assuming you mean danger for both of you, not like you’re going to put your wife at risk while you have a nice, secure position. If that’s what you mean then you’re selfish and you shouldn’t be in missions at all.

Married people with kids must sacrifice since single people sacrifice.

He does not blink an eye about encouraging parents to make decisions that will risk the lives of their children. This must be done so the Great Commission will be fulfilled. For a guy who is into sovereignty, it appears he thinks God really needs children to be sacrificed because it is not right for only single people to sacrifice.

But if you mean, “Should I consider a calling on my life that brings me, my wife, my children into risk?” I would say, “Yes,” because if you don’t — if everybody went that route — the Great Commission will never be finished.

Unless you say it should only be finished by single people. “Let’s let the single people suffer. We married people, we won’t suffer. We marry and then escape suffering.”

He brings up the *You must hate your mother* verse for emphasis.

This is probably to fend off intelligent and concerned people in your life who might say, “Do you really think it is a good idea?bringing your daughters into a war torn zone that makes women were full coverage burkas?”

That’s why Jesus says, “Unless you hate mother, father … wife … you can’t be my disciple.”

John Bunyan is Piper’s role model for risking your kids and family. 

Bunyan chose to stay in jail for 12 years when he could’ve gotten out of jail. And he had a wife and 4 kids, and one of them was blind. He could’ve gotten out if he had just signed, “I won’t preach anymore.” And he chose to stay there, which put them at tremendous risk with poverty.

In using John Bunyan as an example,  John Piper does what many people do. He avoids the difficult verses that might indicate a different and better course of action. 

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8 NIV)

Kent Brantley, the missionary doctor who contracted Ebola, is a far better example of caring for his family.

When the Ebola crisis reared its head on the mission field, Brantley immediately sent his wife and children back to the United States so they would not contract the disease. Perhaps Piper would consider Brantley’s approach wimpy? You can read this family story here: Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic.

Brantley is now a family practice physician in Texas.

In summary: Piper appears to think it a mighty fine idea to sacrifice the safety of your kids for the gospel as well as to prevent them from being bloated jellyfish.

I don’t think it’s automatic that you keep yourself, your wife, or your children out of risk, out of danger, and out of suffering.

Does John Piper’s suggestion that we expose our kids to dangerous situations, even death, border on child abuse?

Suppose that you, as a parent, decide to *bring the Gospel* to the infamous MS 13 gang. You take Piper’s suggestion and bring your *bloated jellyfish* kids along because you want them to grow up to be Christians, just like Piper implied. Who cares about danger?

The gang is notoriously violent, relentlessly cruel and merciless, with plenty of well-documented public crimes, such as a San Francisco member who killed a family for briefly blocking his car.

Let’s say they get caught in the crossfire and get shot? How do you think Child Protective Services would view the explanation of your gospel mission? Could/should this be considered potential child abuse?

Do you think that it is ethical to deliberately expose your children to danger because you have decided that there are “worst things than death?” Frankly, this sort of reasoning seems cult like and reeks of fanaticism.

Am I wrong here? I look forward to your comments.

Here is another question for those who believe in election before the beginning of time Ala Piper.

Since God has already selected the elect, why not wait until the kids are adults and able to make their own decision whether or not they are called to risk death in a war torn area? No one who is elect is going to end up in hell if you wait a few years to avoid dragging your kids into danger and potential death, right?

A thought on John Piper’s problem in pontificating on such subjects.

Piper seems to be fixated on exposing all the things he believes the rest of us should be doing. Maybe, just maybe he should point to himself and show us how he led his kids into the final frontier. Maybe then he wouldn’t sound so holier than thou.

It appears this person agrees with me. (I had tweeted a link to the first Piper post.)

Sola Pipera!


Comments

John Piper Flirts With the Boundaries of Child Abuse. He Wants You to Sacrifice Your Kid’s Safety and Life for the Great Commission — 688 Comments

  1. I don’t want to know where he’s been. I want to know where he’s taken his grandchildren…

  2. Went back and read it.
    Wow. Just, wow.

    Dare I say, “Don’t murder your kids by abortion. Murder them by missions work, because it’s ‘Sanctified!'”

    (Saying “Sanctified” in the voice and tone as Penny McGill, Ulysses Everett McGill’s wife from “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” the same way she says “Bona Fide!”

  3. I have said this before and I will say it until the cows come home:
    Piper is weird, and I am glad when anyone points this out, but he is not the root of the problem. The bible is the problem.
    All his nonsense comes from the bible. That book and those teachings are damaging. Let’s throw them away and stop acting like any good comes from it.
    After all, the bible wants to stone kids to death for backtalking and to force rape victims to marry their rapists (and no doubt submit to them, too). Piper fits right in.

  4. Yeah, I wonder if he’d take his grandkids to a dangerous mission field? ( The Texas SBC made the Rio Grande River priority #1 in the 1970s until they discovered it was dangerous…..never mind it was pretty scary in some of the Colonias we knocked on doors in for years….There was always rumors some in ” leadership” didn’t want to endanger their high school age kids….To heck with the ” pew sitters ” kids….)
    But take my children or grandchildren to ” The Valley” today? I would go, but my kids would stay home…

  5. I don’t understand how you guys can criticize people like Piper, but support Christianity and the bible. You bring horrible abuses to light and I am so glad and I support you, but let’s not act the bible does not embolden people like him.
    Sorry, I am just so frustrated.

  6. I started following this blog back when I was trying to better understand Discoll. I’ve criticized Piper in the past for his tone-deaf pastoral sensitivity at times.

    But seriously, this post jumps the shark for this blog. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Chill out.

  7. I agree w 98% of your content, but I’m OK with Piper’s position here. I think we ARE too comfortable, me included. If he’s hypocritical in his statements and actions, then I would look at it differently.

  8. Tim wrote:

    but I’m OK with Piper’s position here.

    So, are you saying that it is fine to take your children to a dangerous country where they could die? Have you done this or are you planning on doing this?

  9. Jeff wrote:

    But seriously, this post jumps the shark for this blog. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Chill out.

    Seriously? Could you tell me how you have risked the lives of your children to fulfill the Great Commission? Pos perhaps you are planning to do so in the future. Have you commented before? I learn a lot about people when they claim to have been reading our blog for a long time but deiced to comment at one time in particular.

  10. Libby wrote:

    ut he is not the root of the problem. The bible is the problem.

    So, how do you deal with the fact that I love the Bible and I don’t see it as the problem? The Scriptures point out the basic problem. The problem is in us. In fact, the entire trajectory of the Bible seems to mirror the world that I see around me. Even more sadly, the Bible helps me to see the problem in myself.

    Piper believes what he believes because he is a sinner just like the rest of us. He looks at the Bible and interprets things in an odd way that somehow makes him feel more at peace with himself. We all do that whether were are interpreting the Bible or any other document that demands we behave in a consistently unselfish manner.

  11. I’m not comfortable with people putting kids into harm’s way, but I have to at least give Piper more credit than Mark Driscoll on some of these issues.

    A couple of years ago, I linked y’all to a blog post Driscoll wrote where he essentially said that married parents are more valuable than single, childless adults (such as myself), so that single, childless adults are expendable.

    Ergo, Driscoll reasoned something like, it’s just betterfor singles to serve in dangerous areas to spread the Gospel to spare married couples harm-

    Or, he argued, God invented singles to be sent off to dark, scary places to get bumped off because we don’t matter as much as Married Parents.

    (It was one or the other, I forget exactly how he tried to justify his view, as it’s been a couple years since I read his terrible post.)

    According to Driscoll, my only value or meaning in life as a childless, single adult, is to risk my life getting my head chopped off in some hostile anti-Christian area of the world, handing out Bible tracts.

    No thank you.
    And how insulting to suggest my life is of less value just because I have no spouse or no kid.

  12. I always struggled with this myself. I still remember the look on my father’s face at my brother’s funeral when he died when he was 17. Something that was subtle but very clear in my personal experience in the faith is that death is a reminder of just how evil we are as people, all being under the curse of Adam and pretty much everyone also being children of wrath. My parents could not take much time off of work due to economics if I remember it was maybe two days, I took three off of school. When I came to “faith” as an adult I still struggled with my brother’s death. This is weakness as this stuff you should have nailed down in the backyard by the time one is; say, four or five years old. In one discussion Job and David came up concerning God killing or allowing Satan to kill a child/children. Basically, David’s child was killed by God because of David’s sin and to bring glory to God for Justice, Ie wrath on sin, and for saving David by exacting vengeance on the young child in place of David, sort of like Jesus. At least that was the gist of the conversation. I did mention the verse about not imputing the sins of the fathers on the children, which is another reason I struggle with original sin and some views of the atonement. The answer given me is God can do what God wants just be grateful He saved you.

    Then Job came up and how God allowed Satan to take out Job’s 10 kids, along with the livestock, but that was just fine because it brought Glory to God and Job got replacements for his kids. What else would he want? I am trying to phrase this with the cavalier attitude these “teachings” were imparted to me. You lose a child, any child, it gut’s you for life, and even if you have any “new/more” children they do not take the place of the child that has passed. This article reminded me of these events from a personal perspective.

  13. There are two issues here that I’d like to address.
    1. Should we take our children to dangerous places in the service of mission work. That is individual for every family. Piper’s emphasis in his article seems to be that parents should try to find challenging and dangerous places for us to take our children. If God is calling a family to missions, I think that the family needs to take into consideration many more things than whether the situation is appropriately challenging for the kids. When I lived in New Orleans, we worked with a missionary whose family (including some young children) lived in the Desire Street community which was a very poor and dangerous area of New Orleans. But, that was where God had called them. They didn’t choose it because it was dangerous, but because that community needs Jesus. I think the children of missionaries who grow up in some of these less safe and more challenging environments may have some advantages, at least in having had to articulate their faith and being able to navigate other social systems. That said, I don’t think anyone would agree that taking kids into a war zone or disease outbreak area is appropriate.
    2. My other concern is that Piper’s article is very focused on the missionary and not the people being served. This has apparently become a real problem with short-term missions; parents and churches want to send kids out to do mission work but don’t consider the long-term effect this has on the community they are serving. The people we are serving when we are doing mission work are people, not experimental subject. We don’t do mission work to get brownie points with God or even to develop spiritually. We must do it with the goal of loving other people and pointing them to Jesus. If it works out that a kid gets challenged in a non-life-threatening way, then good. But, it’s a bad idea to use mission work about the missionaries.

  14. So I’m raising my children as “bloated jellyfish” with too much security and comfort? Why do I get the feeling that John Piper assumes everyone else lives an insulated, luxurious life of wealth like he does? Daily life has plenty of struggle and adversity for most of us, and I don’t need the threat of my kids being shot or kidnapped for ransom on top of everything else.

  15. Don’t you know…

    For by persecution you have been saved through suffering; and that it is of yourselves, your duty to God; not as a result of comfort, so that no one may waste their tribulations (cancer).

    Piper 1:1-2

    (Just trying a little sarcasm.)

  16. Well, well, well Piper has a positive view of John Adams. Too bad John Adams could not be reached for his view on Piper. We can probably guess, there are more than a few comments from Adams on “pious frauds”.

  17. Daisy wrote:

    I’m not comfortable with people putting kids into harm’s way, but I have to at least give Piper more credit than Mark Driscoll on some of these issues.

    A couple of years ago, I linked y’all to a blog post Driscoll wrote where he essentially said that married parents are more valuable than single, childless adults (such as myself), so that single, childless adults are expendable.

    Ergo, Driscoll reasoned something like, it’s just betterfor singles to serve in dangerous areas to spread the Gospel to spare married couples harm-

    Or, he argued, God invented singles to be sent off to dark, scary places to get bumped off because we don’t matter as much as Married Parents.

    (It was one or the other, I forget exactly how he tried to justify his view, as it’s been a couple years since I read his terrible post.)

    According to Driscoll, my only value or meaning in life as a childless, single adult, is to risk my life getting my head chopped off in some hostile anti-Christian area of the world, handing out Bible tracts.

    No thank you.
    And how insulting to suggest my life is of less value just because I have no spouse or no kid.

    Daisy, it’s interesting that you should bring that up, because whenever I hear about the trials and travails of missionary kids (being sent to boarding schools, etc.), I always think: Protestants should have celibate missionaries, the way we Catholics do. There really is tremendous value in being “single for the Lord,” as Saint Paul pointed out. And on the mission field, it’s very practical: You’re not endangering young kids or neglecting them by sending them off to boarding school at a tender age.

  18. @ Tim:
    @ Jeff:

    I think we fail to realize just how much our experiences and preconceptions focus our attention on unimportant issues and blind us to the what’s really happening. The bigger issue to me is that we have a rapidly developing pharisee class that draws their importance and/or paycheck from expertise in the law. They comment on absolutely everything and seem to be everywhere at the same time. They magnify their own and each other’s exploits till the rich concept of the New Testament church becomes obscured and we all follow the exploits of Paul and Appollos; hanging on their every word and orienting ourselves based on every word that comes from the mouth of ……. While Christ founded a church where every member’s contribution is important, these “leaders” seek to rise above the “regular” members who must struggle to understand and keep up with the new and interesting things they have to say. They continue saying things,some right and some wrong, until we look to them rather than God or our brothers and sisters.

    While it is true that we all get it wrong sometimes, most of us aren’t complicit in creating a large following for ourselves; by-passing our own ability to think and discern. We debate about the things they say rather than recognize who they are and what they’re all about.

  19. Though, Piper did surprise me about seemingly giving the wife veto power over going, I am dismayed by the rest of his thoughts.

    1)John Quincy Adams’ accompanied his father on diplomatic missions, at a time when he would also have been in danger at home, as the country was involved in a war of rebellion against the British, so he might have actually been safer in France and the Netherlands than in Braintree, due to countries, even then, taking a dim view of murdering other diplomats in their countries.

    Also, Adams’ grandson Charles Francis Adams, wrote that “with the independent spirit which in early life had driven him from the ministry, [Adams rejected] the prominent doctrines of Calvinism, the trinity, the atonement and election. . . .” So how much does Piper really know about Adams, because I don’t think he sounds like a “John Piper” Christian.

    In addition, concerning John Bunyan, while his family struggled financially during his imprisonment, what Piper is advocating would be like if Bunyan had had his children in the dangerous jail with him.

    2) Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

    Would not placing your children in a dangerous situation for which they are not emotionally, spiritually, and physically mature enough to handle be provocation? Provocation that could lead them to reject the faith, or to become discouraged, as much a being comfortable could.

    3)I think Piper and his ilk are wrong, due to many conversations I had with young people from the buckle of the Bible belt who were raised in strong Evangelical churches and households, but who had fallen away from the church, many of them aren’t leaving because they are comfortable jellyfish, they are leaving because they of the hypocrisy and hardheartedness exhibited by people like Piper. Most of the ones I have had conversations with either still believe in God and are just disillusioned with the church, or more sadly their disillusionment with the church has made them disillusioned with God. But, they have a strong desire to help others.

    I remember as a child becoming disillusioned by missions, myself, when I saw that the money was being spent in places that were largely Christian. I asked why are we spending money in those countries, since they already are largely Christian? If they had answered “Yes, but they are poor so we are feeding them, clothing them, etc..,” Or, “there is great violence or drug abuse in that area.” I would have said “Ok” that makes sense, and is following the loving example of Christ, but it was “Oh, they aren’t Christian, they are Catholic,” or Orthodox, or Pentecostals, or Charismatics,or Anglicans, etc.. so we needed to change them into “our” type of Christian. I disagreed, and have been reluctant to support mission funds ever since, while I have theological differences with other Christians, I still believe and have always believed that they are Christian, even Catholics. Basically, as long as you believe that Christ was the son of God, that he was crucified and resurrected, is the Saviour of Mankind, and in the trinity, you are a Christian regardless of which church or any other non essential theology to which you hold. To me it appeared that they weren’t truly viewing missionary work as much as fulfilling the Great Commission, as it was their selfish preoccupation with numbers.

    To me the most effective model of missionary work, both at home and abroad, is just to serve others, not beating them over the head with the Bible. It is through selfless service to others that we can truly spread the glory of God, that is within us, much more than words or Bible studies ever could. Or, as I told a friend one time, “We are not saved by our good works, but our good works can lead others to salvation.”

    4)The Bible is not the problem, it is how churches and preachers have presented it that is the problem. Everyone points out the gore, violence, misogyny, etc… of the Old Testament, but that has never been a problem to me, for the simple reason that all that is what points out the beauty of the New Testament, of love, service and sacrifice. The salvation by our perfect Saviour, to save us imperfect humans from a harsh law, out of love. If we would emphasize the Gospel and truly live it, we would do a better job, of really sharing the faith.

    5) Lastly, what Piper doesn’t seem to understand, which is surprising considering his own experiences with his prodigal son, is that regardless of how a child is raised, that child is a human being and therefore has freewill, and the ability to accept of reject God. You can be the most God-fearing Christian parent around but you can’t save your child or make them believe, just as the famous militant atheist Madalyn O’Hair couldn’t prevent her son from becoming a conservative Baptist Minister.

  20. It’s only been a week since he made the statements about “final justification”. Is there no end to crazy and weird world of the Pied Piper??? Does he sit idly in an office all day just dreaming new ideas???

  21. Paul D. wrote:

    Why do I get the feeling that John Piper assumes everyone else lives an insulated, luxurious life of wealth like he does?

    Unlike other well known pastors, John Piper was never accused of living a luxurious life of wealth or accumulating money.

  22. I believe Mr Piper has been a missionary in Dubai for most of his life. Rather than criticising him, we should all be following his example.

    I think.

  23. Daisy wrote:

    And how insulting to suggest my life is of less value just because I have no spouse or no kid.

    I completely agree Daisy. As a fellow single, I have often felt the sting of this in many ways in church circles and the careless things they say. How does God the Father feel when he sees one his children telling another “you are not as precious to God as I am because you are not married?” God feels that pain with you.

  24. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    There really is tremendous value in being “single for the Lord,” as Saint Paul pointed out.

    I have heard numerous Protestant pastors preach this but seen none of them practice it. I can’t help noticing that they chose to get married and have children. They were not wrong to do so, but they should give more thought what they say in the pulpit.

  25. @ Libby:
    Libby, I completely understand your perspective. I agree that their are terrible examples in the bible and that people have used it for centuries to justify horrible injustice and selfish gain at others expense.
    I think that the Word of God is Jesus, and that the best way to understand the bible is from a Christocentric perspective. To me that means that Jesus is the fullest revelation of God and that if something in the bible does not seem like what Jesus would say or do then it is a misrepresentation of God.
    If you are up to it, try reading Brian Zahnd’s new book, “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God”.

  26. This Piper post on his Desiring God website reminds me of David Platt’s book, titled Radical. I was in a small group that read and discussed it. Me being the “me” that I am, I was not particularly enamored with it. The whole thing smacked of a series of pep talks one might give people who need to be inspired (guilted) to do stuff that they normally wouldn’t do, but that have good “optics” for outsiders as well as for subperforming insiders.

    More recently, my group has read Nik Ripkin’s book The Insanity of God. That book is not trying to guilt the reader into taking on dangerous foreign missions, although it does tell his story of doing just that. With his wife. And young sons. However, the wife and children do not accompany him on his trips into Somalia; they are at home base in a nearby and (relatively) safe country, with his wife running the organizational aspects. I thought that book had a more inspiring and thought provoking message, coming from one who has lived out the Great Commission for years with his family, taking reasonable precautions to keep them safe, and carefully calculating the risks to himself. One of the points I took away from it was how he tried to evaluate risks to himself and others. Is it really for the sake of following Jesus and bringing his salvation message to others? Or is the action more about something risky YOU want to do?

    I like what someone commented above: the decision to take your children into a dangerous place should be something that is determined by the individual family as they believe God calls them. Not by the admonishments of John Piper or the exhortations of David Platt. And developing the character of your children should not be of primary consideration. Or secondary. After all, following Jesus is about dying to self. Not improving self/children’s self. People, needy or otherwise, are neither projects nor stepping stones to better your kids.

  27. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And on the mission field, it’s very practical: You’re not endangering young kids or neglecting them by sending them off to boarding school at a tender age.

    I see what you’re saying, but…

    I grew up in a Baptist context.

    Baptists and Protestants do not respect celibacy, singleness, or being childfree or childless – all those stations in life are considered flaws that should be overcome. ONly being married and having kids is acceptable among Baptists and Protestants.

    They will pay lip service and talk about, “if you are called to celibacy / singleness” …(there is no such thing as being called to celibacy or singleness)…, but they do not truly respect or help anyone who does not fit their preferred manner of life: married with kids.

  28. @ Libby:
    I don’t know if the Bible is the entire problem so much as that Christians interpret it 68 different ways from Sunday.

    Stick ten Christians in a room, ask them a theological question, and you’ll get 8 to 10 different answers – and if they’re standard Baptists or Protestants, they will all claim the their views are based wholly on the Bible.

    Some of their views come from how they choose to interpret the Bible.

  29. @ Libby:
    Because the same Bible you claim is a piece of no good junk is a source of comfort or support for some Christians.

    But I get it. I’ve been wallowing in Sort Of Agnostic World the last, what three years?, and I’m not quite sure what to do with the Bible. (But I do try to be fair about the Bible. Rather than just dismissing it out right as a rapey, awful book.)

  30. Tim wrote:

    I agree w 98% of your content, but I’m OK with Piper’s position here. I think we ARE too comfortable, me included. If he’s hypocritical in his statements and actions, then I would look at it differently.

    I’m not so chill if this stuff is aimed at people like me in particular, which it sometimes is, vis a vis pastor Mark Driscoll, whose views lead to the implication that God loves single, chiildless adults far less than married parents.

    So that, he reckons, only single, childless adults should spread the Gospel in the dangerous remote parts of the world, so that married parents can stay back in the comfy cozy security of their middle class neighborhood sipping their Star Buck lattes.

    And to that I say, ‘bite me’ and ‘stick it where the sun don’t shine.’

    I guess I can’t blame any parents who feel similar if Piper directs this at their kids.

  31. ZechZav wrote:

    I completely agree Daisy. As a fellow single, I have often felt the sting of this in many ways in church circles and the careless things they say. How does God the Father feel when he sees one his children telling another “you are not as precious to God as I am because you are not married?” God feels that pain with you.

    Thank you.

    Many Baptists/ Protestants are oblivious to what anyone single over 25 / 30 goes through, or how the attitudes/ teachings/ comments of pastors or married people can be perceived.

  32. This may be a little off subject, but did anyone ever notice how Muslim terrorist leaders are always strapping suicide vests to other peoples children?

    “The first factor that might lead children to join terrorist groups is the potential of warped religious motivation. While most religions are decid- edly against suicide, most also tend to laud the concept of martyrdom, of dying for one’s faith. As one fourteen-year-old fighter in Najaf commented, “My parents encouraged me to come here [to Najaf, the site of a battle against U.S. forces during the summer of 2004]. I would prefer to live and taste victory, but if not my death will be rewarded with spiritual gifts in heaven.””

  33. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    This may be a little off subject, but did anyone ever notice how Muslim terrorist leaders are always strapping suicide vests to other peoples children?

    Todd,

    That is not entirely off-topic because it is relevant to this discussion. Piper is preaching with this very same mentality but the packaging is different. That’s not all they have in common – I sometimes think TGCs Doug Wilson would be very happy living in Saudi Arabia where women are “legally subordinate and inferior in status to men” (check out Amnesty International’s report on women’s rights there).

  34. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I believe Mr Piper has been a missionary in Dubai for most of his life. Rather than criticising him, we should all be following his example.

    I think

    I think you are thinking of somebody else. This John Piper spent 33 years as the pastor of a church in Minneapolis.

  35. I was a missionary and I have a missions degree. I just woke up, so I’m not fully cogent yet, but I agree with whoever said above that it would be a personal decision for parents to make. I also agree that most of what the US sees as short term missions for youth groups and such does more damage than good.

    But, I don’t really have respect for anyone who tells people they need to make their kids lead more dangerous lives when they are known for demanding their wife brings them tea on demand in their comfy house. Where’s Piper’s danger in his own life? Who is he to say that everybody else should make their kids do things that he himself as an adult wouldn’t even do?

  36. @ dee:
    If you have no problem with the bible, then could you please write a post addressing
    the “hard” passages, both in the OT and NT? (Examples: the treatment of Eve in the Garden of Eden, virginity test for women only, genocide, exclusion of women throughout old and new testament, treating women like property (at least two passages that imply women are not the image of God), requiring women to submit to abuse (that’s in first or second Peter, I would have to look it up.) The list goes on and on.

  37. Daisy wrote:

    According to Driscoll, my only value or meaning in life as a childless, single adult, is to risk my life getting my head chopped off in some hostile anti-Christian area of the world, handing out Bible tracts.
    No thank you.
    And how insulting to suggest my life is of less value just because I have no spouse or no kid.

    This narrative has actually changed in the SBC. Now pretty much only married husbands are allowed to be “missionaries”. Note that the wives are not really allowed to be called missionaries anymore. They are “support staff”.

    When I went to seminary in 2003, “sacrifice your singles” was a mindset of many I met in the church. Few had a problem with a single woman being a missionary. However, most missionary position listings in IMB had already been changed to “Married couple or single male”. I think the most positions I saw open at the same time for a single woman were 2.

    By the time I was supposed to graduate, the New Cals were telling me and other single women preparing to be missionaries that we needed to find husbands first. Now, I went with a non-SBC agency from the outset, but there were people that were kind of offended by the fact that I still planned to be a single, female missionary.

    From some of my sources, most of the single missionaries were laid off from the IMB. Men, too. But wives are still not called missionaries even if they are with their husbands on the mission field. And if you saw the latest NAMB daily calender, it’s mostly filled with pictures of men without their families.

  38. ishy wrote:

    By the time I was supposed to graduate, the New Cals were telling me and other single women preparing to be missionaries that we needed to find husbands first. Now, I went with a non-SBC agency from the outset, but there were people that were kind of offended by the fact that I still planned to be a single, female missionary.

    I always found it rather irritating that people who insisted I had to get married to a Christian never seemed to get the fact that there are a whole lot more single women in the church than men. Never been to a singles group in a church that wasn’t at least 70% women to 30% men. My missions graduating class – 12 women and 2 men. Now, of course, the pastoral and youth pastor tracks were mostly male.

    Where are all these mysterious men that want to be missionaries?

  39. Ken G wrote:

    Paul D. wrote:

    Why do I get the feeling that John Piper assumes everyone else lives an insulated, luxurious life of wealth like he does?

    Unlike other well known pastors, John Piper was never accused of living a luxurious life of wealth or accumulating money.

    True. Piper doesn’t live the outward, luxurious life of other mega celebrity pastors, but compared to most pew sitters, he lives a pampered life.

    For example, he has boasted about not pulling in million dollar salaries, yet he established a side ministry, Desiring God. This allows him to solicit an infinite amount of donated money he uses to promote himself. And with that money, he flies all over the world at his own personal whim, (to “dangerous” places like Dubai) all in the name of Jesus.

    And he had the privilege of taking a 9 month leave of absence because “the precious garden of my home needs tending.” (That statement still makes me laugh) Seriously, what pew sitter gets to do that? If I went to my boss and asked for a nine month leave of absence to work on my marriage, she would laugh hysterically and tell me to get back to work.

  40. John Piper: Take your kids on dangerous mission trips because dying isn’t the worst thing that could happen to them and maybe they will become *good* Christians.
    —————————————————

    I would love for some adult former MK’s to comment on this.

    I personally know many for MK’s who have left the faith. And those that remain Christian – most would not even think of raising their families on the mission field, for a variety of reasons. Think about it, for all of the thousands of missionaries, there are very few multigenerational missionary families. If any commenters were raised on the mission field, I would love to hear your thoughts.

    For Piper to say taking your kids to dangerous countries for missions so they might be good Christians is naive and reckless. And as for his callous comment about children dying, he fails to address the hell that bereaved parents live in the rest of their lives.

  41. ZechZav wrote:

    I sometimes think TGCs Doug Wilson would be very happy living in Saudi Arabia where women are “legally subordinate and inferior in status to men”

    Check this out – Doug Wilson is “Presiding Minister” over a denomination: https://crechurches.org/

  42. Where exactly did he take his kids that put them in danger? Do they pass the test of being ‘good’ Christians? I do wonder if Piper’s kids have attachment disorders.

    Now, I do know some former & current Missionaries whose kids have been in danger, mostly due to disease, but it wasn’t in this wanton way. Os Guinness was carried out of China as a kid by his parents when they were all expelled, rather than stay to die unnecessarily.

  43. @ Libby:

    If you find the OT stories of the conquest of the land of canaan difficult, and if you find difficult to read the judgments of God (or so reported) against both the surrounding nations and also against Israel on several occasions, then you must find the apocalyptic prophesies in the NT really hideous.

    I can understand how people cringe at some of this stuff. I cannot understand how people see two different ‘gods’ in the bible, the OT god and the NT god.

    Now look at the so-called Abrahamic religions and note that this cringe stuff is still with us, today, in the secular news-just called by a different name.

    Personally I too cringe, and I too think that human understandings of the person and nature of God are limited at best, but I do not see that ‘then’ and ‘now’ are vastly different taken as a whole and when looking at the larger picture.

  44. Tree wrote:

    I like what someone commented above: the decision to take your children into a dangerous place should be something that is determined by the individual family as they believe God calls them.

    Somewhat, surely, but not exclusively.

    I spent a ‘time of discernment’ oversees with missionaries in a project run by the then Foreign Mission Board of the SBC and in the late 1950s. The missionaries themselves had mixed ideas about single vs married, and having young children on the field vs not, and male vs female, and evangelist job assignment vs school or hospital job assignments. Their opinions were based on the larger impact on the work, not just on the individual family.

    My conclusion is that the decision is not just what the individual family wants to do or what they think they are called to do but rather that the impact on the larger ‘work’ that many people are doing is also a large factor in this decision and should be the deciding factor in who is appointed to where and when.

  45. FWIW, and knowing that one is not a series, I have had some personal experience with a missionary kid.

    My daughter’s first husband was a missionary kid who was deliberately deprived, even when not necessary, by his missionary parents who believed something akin to what Piper is saying. It did not turn out well. The word disaster comes to mind. They divorced after two years. For many years I followed the official missionary letters on line from that family. The MK was still ‘struggling’ decades later. Struggling is Christianese lingo for alternating between rebellion, disinterest and periodic again being ‘in church’.

    I confronted the missionary father, and that also did not turn out well. It was all very sad from the get go.

  46. I agree with Piper. And I say that as someone who grew up, not in physical danger but certainly suffered other damages from my Dads calling as a minister of the Gospel. There are worse things than physical, temporal death.

    My 4-yr old was just diagnosed with incurable, terminal brain cancer. There is no such thing as absolute safety from all dangers in this world. We put their lives at risk by bringing them into this world. We must be wise, of course. But part of wisdom is teaching our kids that Jesus is worth living for, and worth dying for. My greatest fear is losing my kids for eternity because I never taught them Jesus is worth everything we give him. If they grow up thinking Jesus is just alright, and chase after this perishing world with all their hearts, that will grieve me more than the imminent, temporary loss of my precious little one.

    So I’m with Piper here.

  47. @ Jeff:

    “But seriously, this post jumps the shark for this blog. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Chill out.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Jeff, i would like to introduce you to my MK dad and his siblings, who were offloaded to boarding school in far away lands all because “the cause was worth the risk” and “If God is for us, no one can be successfully against us”. They could tell their stories of abandonment, neglect, rape.

    i’d like to hear you say “Chill out” to their faces.

    such a revolting remark from you, Jeff.

  48. There is nothing at all keeping Piper from risking his life on some mission field, he never has and never will. Why isn’t this obvious question ever presented to him? Go to Syria, Afghanistan, nothing keeping him from it. I doubt he even presents the gospel to the persons sitting with him on flights to and from his speaking conferences. I heard a panel question at a (conference on the gospel) where the question was asked “will you be sharing the gospel on the flight back home?” there was silence, Piper was on the panel. There was a lame fumbling answer. Piper never took his kids on a dangerous mission trip yet he expects you to!

  49. @ M. Joy:

    “John Piper: Take your kids on dangerous mission trips because dying isn’t the worst thing that could happen to them and maybe they will become *good* Christians.
    —————————————————

    I would love for some adult former MK’s to comment on this.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    my dad and his siblings are tortured souls, albeit trying to make beautiful things of their lives. they know they were mere collateral damage and that they were worth risking. the fallout of the consequences is still being born by the next generation.

  50. Joe Reed wrote:

    My 4-yr old was just diagnosed with incurable, terminal brain cancer.

    Oh, Joe, what a terrible thing. There are indeed worse things than dying. I do not think for one minute, however, that either your four year old or anybody else’s four year old, is in any danger from God.

    I know that you neither said nor implied that, but there are those who would, and I wanted to emphasize that God is the God of the children, not just the grownups.

  51. Forrest wrote:

    I think you are thinking of somebody else. This John Piper spent 33 years as the pastor of a church in Minneapolis.

    🙂 No… I ken fine which John Piper this is! He did once do a quick flying visit to Dubai to prophesy its destruction. But you’re quite right – that doesn’t exactly count, does it?

    As one of my Philosophy of Science lecturers once put it: I said that by way of a joke…

  52. Libby wrote:

    @ dee:
    If you have no problem with the bible, then could you please write a post addressing
    the “hard” passages, both in the OT and NT? (Examples: the treatment of Eve in the Garden of Eden, virginity test for women only, genocide, exclusion of women throughout old and new testament, treating women like property (at least two passages that imply women are not the image of God), requiring women to submit to abuse (that’s in first or second Peter, I would have to look it up.) The list goes on and on.

    I hope when you read this you feel the respect I am trying to give you, because I understand your position, and also share a lot of your frustration. However, please don’t reject the bible out of hand simply because people are jerks.

    I was going to write a list of resources for further study on the historical, hermeneutical, and theological questions you brought up, but it seems your concerns focus mainly on the treatment of women, and the abuse that men have tried to justify by quoting from the bible. (If you would like some scholarly resources, I’d be happy to point you to some academics, historians, philosophers, and theologians who (no offense to Dee or Deb) have a bit more ability and training to handle these kinds of questions.)

    It seems you have a lot of pain or anger on this issue, which is understandable, so I respect that. But your questions are not new, and there are potential academic solutions available — as well as emotional healing from abusive misinterpretations (Trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share…)

    I need not repeat what others have said about interpretations and abuse. But I would like to point out that the bible presents a much richer view of women than most people realize, because apparently most protestants have grown used to the “protestant machismo” championed by Piper and Driscoll, which is totally contrary to what Jesus actually taught. Yes, there are certainly difficult passages in the bible, both Old and New Testaments. But how does Jesus treat women? I won’t give you a Sunday School lesson (you can read those passages for yourself), but of all his recorded encounters with women, is there a single one in which he does not seem to elevate them above the abusive men around them? Even with the woman caught in adultery (notice how the pharisees only brought the woman as the culprit — much like nowadays, it seemed they thought it was the woman who “makes” the man sin, and the perpetrator becomes the victim), when the crowds wanted Jesus to destroy her, he forgives her and exposes what dirtbags those men were — the very men that wanted to use the bible to abuse her.

    Or perhaps most shockingly, the first witnesses to the event upon which the entire truth or falsehood of Christianity depends — the Resurrection — were women. In a time when a woman’s testimony was invalid in legal settings, or was discounted compared to a man’s. Whether Jesus actually rose from the dead or not is another argument (again, which I would be happy to give resources on); but unquestionably it is both odd (from a historical context) and beautiful that such an important thing as the truth or falsehood of his claims would rest on the testimony of overlooked and forgotten women. If Jesus wanted his ministry to succeed in a male-dominated society, shouldn’t he have made Peter the first witness? Instead he chose a former prostitute.

    Again, I don’t expect to convince you online, and I don’t expect you to be satisfied with short answers, but I hope you seriously consider studying this stuff for yourself, if you feel that strongly about it. The fact that you are asking for clarification at all suggests to me that your mind is not quite so made up about the bible as you first claimed…

  53. I think the problem with the commenters here is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  54. As for exposing kids to danger, I’ll beat the dead horse a little while longer: as so many people have said, it should be an individual question.

    Now that that horse is mincemeat, and surely will never neigh again, I would like to add that, while I do not agree with Piper on who should have ultimate control in the decision, I think it is good for kids to grow up exposed to danger — I speak from experience: Long story short, for a few years we lived in a place that was basically a Dostoevsky novel, and I was a cynic by the age of ten. I was exposed to stuff no child should have to face, and dealt with the emotional scars for years afterward, and on occasion physical danger was all too real.

    But, even though I hated it while we were there, I am thankful (after surviving) for the change it brought to my worldview, and the eventual strength that developed from the hardship. In fact, seeing the evil of the world was one of the things that strengthened my Christianity. (I suppose that is one of the few things that might make pain and suffering worthwhile: that the noblest things about humanity can only be seen in the midst of darkness, death and despair).

    But that suffering happened contrary to what my parents wanted (they didn’t have much choice), and that makes all the difference: They didn’t willingly put me in that situation. True, even though experiencing that stuff probably made me stronger, the difference is that my parents did not think, “Oh, let’s go make our son almost die. That’ll teach him to be such a good little Christian. Think of what a testimony he’ll have if he survives! What great parents we are! The Father must be so proud! After all, he made HIS son suffer, and look what good came of that!”

    Maybe that’s why Piper’s so keen on choosing to make the kids suffer — because of a warped view of the Father — Son relationship.

  55. What Happened wrote:

    @ Tim:
    @ Jeff:

    I think we fail to realize just how much our experiences and preconceptions focus our attention on unimportant issues and blind us to the what’s really happening. The bigger issue to me is that we have a rapidly developing pharisee class that draws their importance and/or paycheck from expertise in the law. They comment on absolutely everything and seem to be everywhere at the same time. They magnify their own and each other’s exploits till the rich concept of the New Testament church becomes obscured and we all follow the exploits of Paul and Appollos; hanging on their every word and orienting ourselves based on every word that comes from the mouth of ……. While Christ founded a church where every member’s contribution is important, these “leaders” seek to rise above the “regular” members who must struggle to understand and keep up with the new and interesting things they have to say. They continue saying things,some right and some wrong, until we look to them rather than God or our brothers and sisters.

    While it is true that we all get it wrong sometimes, most of us aren’t complicit in creating a large following for ourselves; by-passing our own ability to think and discern. We debate about the things they say rather than recognize who they are and what they’re all about.

    A “rapidly-developing pharisee class” – this is golden! And sadly true.

  56. M. Joy wrote:

    I would love for some adult former MK’s to comment on this.

    My wife of 26 years was born and raised as a MK. I asked her about this and she does not want to publicly describe the details of her story because it so easily connects to a particular ministry that is still very active in the world. It was a mixed bag for her – many blessings but also many lifelong struggles. The two things she said about John Piper this morning that are suitable for print are:
    1) Why did he not practice what he preaches?
    2) His great learning has driven him insane.

    Paul Young, the author of The Shack, is a MK. He describes his experience growing up on the mission field in great detail here: https://soundcloud.com/perichoresis-ministries/the-shack-session2. TRIGGER WARNING! He discusses the terrible abuse he suffered. In the end it resulted in him being able to write the book. But did he turn out to be the type of Christian that John Piper would have hoped for?

  57. I still think Piper is useless and how he goes about admonishing christians is a load of crud. He’s led a comfortable life, christianity has been very good for him both financially and career wise. I think he really believes what he says but like so many other religious types, it’s easier to point out perceived logs in others eyes.

    My wife comes from an area of the world where there has been and still is political instability and at times active insurgency. There have been bombings, kidnappings, rebellion in addition to the usual petty crime that comes from areas where there is a wide gap between the haves and the have nots. And yes, a good chunk of the violence has religious overtones, some of the insurgent groups are muslim and in some areas have identified with ISIS. The Canadian government does not recommend travel to the area.

    Have we taken our family there? Yes. We took calculated risks. My wife was raised there and knows the languages and cultures, her family live there and are connected with the communities. Before we go, we check the news. We listen to the family. Sometimes there are places where we can’t visit and we keep it as low key as we can – there’s no way I’ll ever be mistaken for a local. We think it’s important that the kids know their heritage and culture, and meet great-parents, grand parents and other family.

    My point is that if you are going on any mission work, you need to travel smart. Find out the history of where your going, catalog the risks, get the required immunizations, connect with locals and listen to them, check with your embassy and register. Don’t have an idealized view of the place you are going to visit. You can travel smart with kids but you have to do your homework.

  58. elastigirl wrote:

    Jeff, i would like to introduce you to my MK dad and his siblings, who were offloaded to boarding school in far away lands all because “the cause was worth the risk” and “If God is for us, no one can be successfully against us”. They could tell their stories of abandonment, neglect, rape.
    i’d like to hear you say “Chill out” to their faces.
    such a revolting remark from you, Jeff.

    Here is an organization, MK Safety Net, for abused MKs, offering hope, healing, advocacy, and list of trained counselors:

    http://www.mksafetynet.org/

    A powerful documentary about MK abuse, All God’s Children, was produced a few years ago, and includes MK (adult)founders of MK Safety Net.

    http://www.allgodschildrenthefilm.com/

  59. Further to missions work and kids. It depends on the mission, and what you are going to do. There’s a guy who is associated with a Columbian mission from my wife’s church. Columbia is an area where there has been brutal insurgency. To his credit, he became fully conversant in Spanish, learned the culture, connected with locals and has lived there with his wife and kids for years.

    A coworkder of mine is going on a 2 week medical mission to Kenya, she’s a nurse and they are going with nurses, doctors, pharmacists to a medical clinic. Treat illness, administer vaccinations, teach hygiene, I’ve given money to this mission as it’s the practical sort of stuff that I enjoy supporting. A prospective member of their team wanted to bring her 10 year old daughter. The team declined her application. They determined that this mission was not appropriate for youngster any more than you would take your kid to work in a big city emergency room.

    And then there’s the mission group my wife’s church when she was a teenager. They were from a group called Youth With A Mission. The highlight of that group was the young lady who wanted to have her picture taken while riding on the hood of a jeep in a string bikini. Needless to say this horrified the host church and would generally fall under the category “bad idea” in the conservative culture of the area.

  60. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    First final salvation and now salvation by the Baptism of blood.

    There is something going on with him that is a bit worrying. I am concerned that he might not be well.

  61. “John Quincy Adams, in my view, was the most superbly educated and maybe the most brilliant human being who ever occupied the executive office. (American Spirit, 115–116)

    If John and Abigail Adams thought that their comparatively small aims for their children were worth the risk of death, are not our aims worth just as much risk?”
    I am something of a JQA expert, or let’s just say ‘fan’ — he sure is fun to read about!! the idea of using his parents as models for your own parenting is insane. Ben franklin said John Adams was ‘completely out of his head’ and Abigal was way worse, a true nut!! when JQA was barely 12, she sent her son a letter saying, ‘It would grieve me less to hear you had been drowned at sea than to hear you did not become president.’ JQA didn’t WANT to be prez, didn’t LIKE it, just did it to shut her up, and when his mother died, he didn’t go to his mother’s funeral. when asked why, he said, “BUSY!” so if you want your kids to hate you, do what John and Abigal did…. at least Q didn’t crack…John adams had many other sons and grandsons who died before 40 from alchoholism because they couldn’t stand the pressure…

  62. Paul D. wrote:

    Daily life has plenty of struggle and adversity for most of us, and I don’t need the threat of my kids being shot or kidnapped for ransom on top of everything else.

    There have been plenty of challenges for the Parson’s family in daily life as well. My adult kids are thoughtful, articulate Christians who are serving others.They didn’t need to be shot at to get that way.

  63. Thersites wrote:

    Piper has a positive view of John Adams. Too bad John Adams could not be reached for his view on Piper. We can probably guess, there are more than a few comments from Adams on “pious frauds”.

    ROFL!!!

  64. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I always think: Protestants should have celibate missionaries, the way we Catholics do. There really is tremendous value in being “single for the Lord,” as Saint Paul pointed out. And on the mission field, it’s very practical: You’re not endangering young kids or neglecting them by sending them off to boarding school at a tender age.

    Interesting comment. Thank you.

  65. Q would have been much happier being a professor or poet, actually wrote his wife endless pages of surprisingly erotic poetry….caused a scandal by always swimming in the patomac naked…maybe that’s where LBJ got the idea from…. hated being prez, but LOVED being a legislator, after losing re election, he viewed it as no demotion to become senator, stayed at his post for decades and decades, actually dropped dean in the middle of giving a speech on the senate floor! masterfully defended the folks on the slave ship Amistad, when they made the movie he was played by Hannibal the cannibal lector, Anthony Hopkins…. Q was also a world class snob…really looked down on the voters, the voters didn’t like that, nobody does, no surprise they went for Jackson, a true ass kicker who lived in constant pain from a bullet he got dueling, protecting the honour of his wife. Q the snob wrote that he could not BELEVE he was losing to ‘a man who spells government with one n.’

  66. While we are in the area of cross-cultural issues I want to add another dimension.

    Two of my g’kids are Asian and each was adopted at age one (1) into our family which is white/ middle class and educated though not affluent/ more or less church-going/ and employed.

    They have both had to deal with bias including at school and church. They are native English speakers, culturally aware, friendly, academically proficient and one is athletically adept. They are not however kissers of anybody else’s anatomy and neither is ashamed of their country of origin. None the less, they have been the object of what I am toning down and calling bias. The oldest just entered high school in a public school having refused to go to a private academically oriented school because in her words she is sick of snotty rich kids. She means ‘white’ not ‘rich’. That said, I can only imagine what it would be like to be a kid in a different culture from one’s own with not even the access to the dominant culture which our g’kids have had. Is that a level of child abuse? Maybe. Did the great commission say ‘go ye’ or did it say ‘take your kids and go’? Was it addressed to every person who is a believer, as some say, or was Jesus specifically focusing on the twelve (11+ 1) at the time, as some have said. When Paul said that he was entitled to take with him a female (sister/wife) as a female (wife/sister) as the other apostles did is it that he forgot to mention the children or did he omit the kids because people were not dragging the kids behind them as they did missionary travels at the time?

    God does not need the damaging or the destruction of children to accomplish his goals. People do not need to somehow please God by damaging or destroying their children in order to make some hateful and angry god appeased–or to make themselves look ‘special’ in the eyes of such a god. Or, more likely, to make themselves look special in their own eyes and the eyes of those who contribute to the collection plate.

    Dang it. When do we start valuing the young and the helpless, when the idea of valuing such is clear in scripture, which we ought to be able to read even when our own withered and dried up selves have long since forgotten how to do that?

    (Word omitted) to ideas like Piper’s on this subject.

  67. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    Lastly, what Piper doesn’t seem to understand, which is surprising considering his own experiences with his prodigal son, is that regardless of how a child is raised, that child is a human being and therefore has freewill, and the ability to accept of reject God. You can be the most God-fearing Christian parent around but you can’t save your child or make them believe, just as the famous militant atheist Madalyn O’Hair couldn’t prevent her son from becoming a conservative Baptist Minister.

    You wrote such a good comment! Piper’s referral to Bunyan and Adams was rather odd. he is assuming that John Quincy Adams was the *most brilliant President ever* (I don’t know why he thinks that. Perhaps a BFF told him) He is assuming causality but stating the because daddy Adams took his son to France during a time of conflict, that is why he was brilliant and wonderful, etc. This sounds like an 18 year old kid taking his first history course. There was absolutely no work involved in his statement. Mere, Piper said it so it must be true.

    Everyone agrees thatGod is the perfect Father but even his kids rebelled. Since I am not a Calvinist, I do not believe in deterministic election but I know that Piper does. In light of this, I find his comment especially odd. It seems as if he is saying “Send you kids into war zones and they will become brilliant Christians.” How can he say this given his beliefs?

    I am with you. Great parents can produce difficult children. Yes, I think we should expose them to issues like poverty, etc.but we can do it in a safe manner and they can still learn. For example, my kids and I did after school tutoring in low incomes settings for years. My oldest daughter and her husband are foster parents and her husband helps me out by caring for some victims of human trafficking in his dental practice which specifically targets low income folks. My other daughter has been on missions trips as a nurse-spending time in difficult surrounding in India with impoverished children.

    I wonder if they would be considered *bloated jellyfish* since I did not put them in harm’s way and no blood was spilled.

  68. ZechZav wrote:

    It’s only been a week since he made the statements about “final justification

    I thought exactly the same thing when I first read his posts. I kept wondering why he doesn’t spend some time actually going out to war torn areas and spending his retirement actually serving people. He would do far more good.

  69. Tree wrote:

    More recently, my group has read Nik Ripkin’s book The Insanity of God. That book is not trying to guilt the reader into taking on dangerous foreign missions, although it does tell his story of doing just that. With his wife. And young sons. However, the wife and children do not accompany him on his trips into Somalia; they are at home base in a nearby and (relatively) safe country, with his wife running the organizational aspects. I thought that book had a more inspiring and thought provoking message, coming from one who has lived out the Great Commission for years with his family, taking reasonable precautions to keep them safe, and carefully calculating the risks to himself. One of the points I took away from it was how he tried to evaluate risks to himself and others. Is it really for the sake of following Jesus and bringing his salvation message to others? Or is the action more about something risky YOU want to do?

    I really liked this comment. Thank you.

  70. @ DebWill:

    thanks for sharing the info. they’re all very late in life. oh… the wrongness of the whole situation is just too much sometimes.

    the missions organization stands on the shoulders of my fearless (but remiss) grandparents — and on the necks and faces of their offspring. especially the white-collared leadership in their nicely furnished offices and salaries… wonder if they even have a clue.

  71. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I would love to be a missionary in Dubai, BTW. That is one beautiful city and they pay well. I know 2 teachers who went over there for a couple of years and made bank.

  72. Libby wrote:

    If you have no problem with the bible, then could you please write a post addressing
    the “hard” passages, both in the OT and NT? (Examples: the treatment of Eve in the Garden of Eden, virginity test for women only, genocide, exclusion of women throughout old and new testament, treating women like property (at least two passages that imply women are not the image of God), requiring women to submit to abuse (that’s in first or second Peter, I would have to look it up.) The list goes on and on.

    I totally get what you’re saying. The bible is a mixed bag of all sorts that doesn’t make sense. In the old testament you’ve got talking animals, drunk patriarchs cursing nations because they were seen in their birthday suits, guys killing hundreds with ox goads and in the NT in addition to the miracles, there’s guys flying around in the air.
    So I get it and yes the “put everyone and the dog to death” stories certainly don’t help.
    I don’t believe in the bible as written and that led me to cease identifying with the Christian faith.
    So why am I here? Christianity still has a huge impact on our society, plus I’m married to a devout Christian so I find that in understanding some of the issues surrounding the christian faith helps me in my own life as I struggle with it.
    The bible is a double edged sword. It can be wielded for good and bad.
    I find the gospels to be mostly uplifting. The rest, I interpret the rest through the lens of the 21st century. The Old Testament is a record of how our society used to be. What’s recorded there reflects the brutality of the time it was written. Here in the 21st Century (particularly in the “developed” nations) we don’t realize that warfare was brutal, the concept of constitutional democracy non-existent, the modern concept of childhood didn’t exist, mortality was through the roof – if you got to 40 you would be a senior citizen. Jesus at the age of 30 would have been considered “up there” by his peers, girls were married when their period arrived – as young as 12 (younger in some accounts), slavery and polygamy was A-OK. It was a way different world.
    But Piper and his crew believe that it all happened, literally, that not one shred should be questioned and so that affects their outlook. So in their reality, God smites for his own glory and our suffering means nothing, because it’s for God’s glory, wives are beaten, for God’s glory, children abused – for God’s glory…you get the picture.

    I don’t think any one faith has it right, I live my life the best I can without expectation of a cosmic pat on the head at the end of it all. I’ve found that my morality remains intact even after my faith declined.

    Anyways, you’re not alone. Peace.

  73. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    This may be a little off subject, but did anyone ever notice how Muslim terrorist leaders are always strapping suicide vests to other peoples children?

    Wow, Todd. That is not off the subject whatsoever. n fact, it is most convicted.

    BTW-did you see Nick’s comment about Dubai?

  74. Forrest wrote:

    I think you are thinking of somebody else. This John Piper spent 33 years as the pastor of a church in Minneapolis.

    Nick has a long history at this blog. He was joking. He probably members the time Todd told us that David Platt asked for prayers going into harm’s way to bring the Gospel to the Muslims. His talk was advertised all around Dubai and he spoke without any fear of reprisals. Dubai is an open, modern city that allows all faiths to build churches there. Platt just wanted to sound like he was some sort of Rambo missionary.

  75. ishy wrote:

    But, I don’t really have respect for anyone who tells people they need to make their kids lead more dangerous lives when they are known for demanding their wife brings them tea on demand in their comfy house. Where’s Piper’s danger in his own life? Who is he to say that everybody else should make their kids do things that he himself as an adult wouldn’t even do?

    Great comment. I think Piper’s assumptions are based on fiction as opposed to hard evidence. There is no *proof* that bringing your kids into a dangerous situation will make them better Christians. Could it be that doing so could cause some of them to develop PTSD or leave the faith? In fact, I think this would be an excellent PhD research study for someone. Piper saying it does not make it true.

  76. Libby,

    Those are good questions. Here’s the answers:

    The hard passages of the Bible are where the Bible translators changed certain texts to fit their own personal bias towards women. There are all kinds of examples where translators gave the same Hebrew/Greek word one meaning when applying to men and then totally changed the meaning when applied to women.

    1) God NEVER cursed Eve in the Garden. The literal Hebrew was God telling Eve, “A lying in wait has increased your sorrow and your suffering.” God was recognizing that the serpent had tricked her. Then God warns her that she’s turning to Adam for comfort and Adam is going to wrongly try to rule her. That’s a warning NOT a command.

    2) The OT was written in a time of cultural patriarchy where God had to put protections into the law, trying to protect women from domestic violence. Some of the OT passages about if a husband suspects his wife is cheating, he has to take her to the temple for a test. The whole point was to stop the husband from hurting her in a jealous rage by providing due process of law. These types of laws were NEVER God’s perfect will but simply a way to protect women under a culture that refused to recognize their rights in the first place.

    Jesus told the Pharisees that there were OT laws that God NEVER wanted to have. But had to provide because of the “hardness of their hearts.”

    3)In the OT, God raised up women into powerful positions. Deborah ruled the nation and led the military into battle. The King and leaders went to a female prophet for guidance. Etc. Etc. God never excluded women from being in authority, God just had to deal with a hard hearted culture putting road blocks in the way.

    4) OF course women are made in the image of God. The Bible confirms that. Please show us the passage that you believe says women aren’t made in the image of God.

    5) The Bible NEVER tells women to submit to abuse. That’s just misinterpretating caused by bias in the pulpits. In fact the Apostle Paul specifically said not to put up with anyone who slaps you in the face. (2Cor 11:20)

    If you take the time to dig deep enough, you can see God’s heart for protecting women throughout the Bible. There are parts of the Bible warning us about domestic violence and the wolves who sneak into the churches (I.e. Judges 19-20) That’s warning us about bad behavior, NOT suggesting we follow that example.

    Libby, Jesus is the greatest liberator of women that ever walked the face of the Earth. We have an uphill battle in the church fighting all the traditions of men that have covered up the truth for too long.

  77. @ Libby:

    “Sorry, I am just so frustrated.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    you are in good company, even here.

    i know of a few people who have “seen”, been “visited by” Jesus Christ. the liquid kindness, liquid love they describe is enough for me, even if vicariously. psalms are nice, too.

  78. Not surprised. When you don’t think you’re justified by faith alone and your works are necessary for final justification, you will have to come up with some crazy, awesome good works to be able to prove to God you actually had faith in him. So, like Abraham you better be willing to do the ultimate sacrifice: offer up your children.

  79. Libby,

    John Piper is the problem. He plays magician pulling the rabbit out of the hat, by taking Bible passages and magically pulling whatever rabbit he wants out of them. He’s changing the actual text to fit his personal bias towards women. The Bible actually supports the rights and dignity of women. There’s so many examples of this—it would take a whole book to study each of them in depth.

    Here’s two examples:

    1) In the literal Hebrew—Proverbs 14:1 says “The wisdom of a woman builds her house.”

    God is specifically honoring the wisdom of women. But the KJV translators couldn’t handle that so they changed it to “Every wise woman builds her house.” That changes the meaning so we don’t know how she builds her house. Yet God specifically said—it was HER WISDOM that was building the house.

    2) In the literal Hebrew—the Bible says “A powerful woman is a crown to her husband.” (Proverbs 12:4)

    The KJV Bible translators couldn’t handle that—so they changed the meaning of that Hebrew word to be virtuous. As if the only value of women was in their virtue! Yet those same translators gave that same word much more powerful meanings in dozens of other verses applying to men. But when it applies to women, they just had to change the actual meaning of the word to fit their opinion! That’s not what God said! God wants powerful women.

  80. Libby,

    We could talk about how God honored Jael in the OT for taking down the powerful enemy leader with nothing more than a bottle of milk and a tent peg. That’s not excluding women! That’s showing the wisdom of women rescuing a nation.

    Then there’s the OT story of the woman who saved her whole city by dropping a millstone on the enemy leader who was trying to destroy them.

    There’s a third story of another lady saving the lives of an entire city by getting rid of one bad guy.

    How many more examples of the Bible honoring the strength, valor and courage of women would you like?

  81. Libby wrote:

    If you have no problem with the bible, then could you please write a post addressing

    I am so glad that you brought this up. About 25 years ago, I had a crisis of faith when I discovered that the story of the woman caught in adultery and Brough to Jesus was not in the original manuscripts. I started to wonder how much I really knew about the Bible.

    So, I began a many years journey in which I challenged myself to find answers to the most difficult questions in the Bible. I learned about how we got our Bible and the process of decided which books to include in the Bible.I read books by atheists and spent time chatting on atheist websites-most notably. exChristians.Net.I read about other faiths and how they developed.

    I began asking people to tell me the most difficult verses of the Bible and then sought to find answers for these difficulties. I read thru the Bible a lot and, in particular, read through the Chronological Bible with many references spread around me.

    I came to the conclusion that far smarter people than I had actually dealt with all of these difficulties. So I began to read why they still believed when there were some very difficult things to deal with in the Bible. Were they all just idiots or deluded individuals who kept their eyelids clamped shut? I learned that it was not the case and found many answers from those who had struggled with the same things. It amused me to learn that it seems that people throughout the centuries asked the same questions and found answers.

    Throughout the years of writing this blog, I have inserted some of my thinking on these difficult matters. However, I can assure you that if you want answers to your questions, they are out there but it takes time. If you want to find the answers, you can and will. I love, love , love Google. Do you know how easy it is to find answers these days??

    Let me give you my biggest walk away discovery from those years of searching. The more I read the Bible, the more I began to see that it reflected the world around me. Everyone sinned and hurt others except for one person and that was Jesus.

    If you focus on Jesus, and in particular, the Cross and Resurrection, you can quickly come to the understanding of mankind as hopelessly lost and in need of a supernatural rescue. Those who accept Jesus are no different than the rest of the world except for one thing. They are positionally holy while still being functional sinners. Lutherans regularly preach the dichotomy of simultaneously being a saint and a sinner.

    We still live in a world of pain in which women and children are often abused. Humans are sold into slavery and poverty is still rampant. Greedy men step on the weak to line their own pockets. But it goes down into our own lives. All of us can be selfish, mean, and. arrogant even when we don’t want to be. That is what the Bible addresses.

  82. will f wrote:

    I am something of a JQA expert, or let’s just say ‘fan’ — he sure is fun to read about!! the idea of using his parents as models for your own parenting is insane. Ben franklin said John Adams was ‘completely out of his head’ and Abigal was way worse, a true nut!! when JQA was barely 12, she sent her son a letter saying, ‘It would grieve me less to hear you had been drowned at sea than to hear you did not become president.’ JQA didn’t WANT to be prez, didn’t LIKE it, just did it to shut her up, and when his mother died, he didn’t go to his mother’s funeral. when asked why, he said, “BUSY!” so if you want your kids to hate you, do what John and Abigal did…. at least Q didn’t crack…John adams had many other sons and grandsons who died before 40 from alchoholism because they couldn’t stand the pressure…

    Wow- I did not know this!! Can you recommend a good book? When I was a teenager, I read a book on the Letters of Abigail and John Adams. I so loved what she wrote that I decided if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Abigail. I did! I do not plan to tell her about this, however…at least not now. I truly would like to read more, though? Thoughts?

  83. “Wow- I did not know this!! Can you recommend a good book? When I was a teenager, I read a book on the Letters of Abigail and John Adams. I so loved what she wrote that I decided if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Abigail. I did! I do not plan to tell her about this, however…at least not now. I truly would like to read more, though? Thoughts?”

    yikes, I did not mean to burst your bubble or anything…. start out with a q bio by robert v. remini, short, really motors along…. and then maybe go to the longer bio by paul nagel — what a life! and he sure did love his wife, what a romance…..

  84. Jack wrote:

    They determined that this mission was not appropriate for youngster any more than you would take your kid to work in a big city emergency room.

    Oops. Well, I see what you are saying, but I did take my kids back to the hospital with me when I got called back at nigh and their father had already been called back by his hospital. It was not a big city, but our x-ray department was adjacent to the ER and it was ER stuff that I got called back for, including not just images but whatever stuff I could do to help. I put the kids in my office.

    Actually, I originally got an offer from radiology to switch from a psychiatry residency to a radiology residency during the VietNam war when I lost my night time child care as their daddy was drafted. They said ‘bring the kids with you’ because both ER and Radiology departments are safe for kids while a locked psych ward is not somewhere you would take a kid. That, at the time, was big city. So I did that, and it worked out fine.

    Each of my kids now works in a field that deals with some really bad stuff, and they have each done it for years and years. They grew up that way.

    So to that extent I do see what Piper is saying about not being too protective of kids if you want the kids to turn out to be-well, tough and courageous or such. But risking a kid’s life on the mission field or on a locked psych ward is too far, in my opinion. And thinking that God wants kids lives risked is just over the cliff.

  85. reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold’s dad was always mean to him, because he suspected that his wife had been stepping out, and that Arnold wasn’t really his son. so when Arnold’s dad died, Arnold skipped the funeral, said “BUSY!” and who knows how much of his obsession with ‘achievement’ springs out of childhood rejection…. I believe our parents cast a longer shadow than we can imagine, you can never step out of it…. a pastor once said to me,

    “I used to give parenting advice ALL THE TIME….until I had kids myself. Now….I keep my mouth shut.” I thought that was a very human thing to say.

  86. By the way the reason that scholars cut out the story of Jesus saving that woman from the mob was again because they were offended by how Jesus was directly attacking the double standards that were hurting women. So they just took scissors and cut out passages they didn’t like! Looks like, Jesus just has that habit of offending church leaders!

  87. elastigirl wrote:

    i’d like to hear you say “Chill out” to their faces.

    Your remarks reminded me of the movie “Mosquito Coast”. If someone has the urge to go off in service of some dangerous mission, that is their choice. On the other hand if they drag their wife and children off on that some potential catastrophe the danger is not just to life and limb. There is a good chance the children will grow up disillusioned with “the cause” after likely carnage in their lives.

  88. “How can I raise a dolphin cutting through schools of sharks, rather than a bloated jellyfish floating with the plankton into the mouth of the whale called the world?”
    +++++++++++++++++

    yeah, let’s discredit “kids” who aren’t wearing the right Gospel-brand and aren’t engaged in the right Gospel-brand’s sanctioned activities in the manner prescribed by the right Gospel-brand with the GREAT GOSPEL-PUT DOWN, “the world”.

    (and throw in the dolphin/jellyfish metaphor for added insult fun)

    yeah, that’s the ticket!

    crickets of all kinds to such religious numbskulls.

    i see kids, young adults everywhere who aren’t necessarily religious but who care about people’s welfare and who give of their time and resources towards it. they don’t deserve these kinds of insults.

  89. Some thoughts from a former missionary in Colombia during the guerrilla wars and glory days of the drug cartels:
    It was never “safe”, but it was liveable in the urban areas. You needed to be aware of what was going on and check with local (Colombian) leadership.
    We had couples with children. Those children, now adults, are very thankful for their upbringing and the opportunity to be cross-cultural.
    As our “range” gradually became more restrictive due to the violence, we finally left by our board’s request. However, attention to leadership building had already made us obsolete. Our branch of the Colombian church continues to grow.
    I don’t think Piper understands how modern missions works, the fact that most overseas missionaries need to have legal paperwork to even get on a plane, that “independent” workers aren’t encouraged unless they have some kind of support network, and that there is no “safe” place anywhere. Kids can face more danger from family members who kill them through abuse and neglect, or “trusted” teachers/church workers who abuse them.
    Sending organizations are very aware of the risks to families, they provide ongoing support, and they always have emergency plans. They also don’t recruit families for North Korea, either(pardon my sarcasm).

  90. will f wrote:

    “I used to give parenting advice ALL THE TIME….until I had kids myself. Now….I keep my mouth shut.” I thought that was a very human thing to say.

    I think this is especially relevant to Piper since by Piper’s standards, two of his sons have not grown up to meet his expectations. His church excommunicated one and another got divorced, which Piper has declared a near abomination.

    Piper gives advice on what parents should do to raise perfect Christians (according to New Calvinist theology), but he didn’t by his own standards. New Cal theology itself teaches that if you submit to a church and govern everything your children do, then your family will also be Christian (as once very clearly explained to me in person by a founding member of the CBMW).

  91. ISHY: well yeah, if a person has been knocked around by life AT ALL, you learn to tread easy, watch your mouth so you don’t cause someone pain, unless you’re a sociopath. I caused my dad a lot of pain when I stopped going to church, he blamed himself etc. when it was all ME… pastors had told us that ensuring your kids make it through the pearly gates was YOUR responsibility, do NOT drop the ball… think of the pain to REAL PEOPLE pastors’ words have caused…. think how much good someone like Piper could do by being SILENT….

  92. Joe Reed wrote:

    My 4-yr old was just diagnosed with incurable, terminal brain cancer.

    I am at a loss for words, it is heart rending. Your story reinforces to me that we don’t need to go looking for danger or suffering, it will come to us.

  93. Daisy wrote:

    Ergo, Driscoll reasoned something like, it’s just betterfor singles to serve in dangerous areas to spread the Gospel to spare married couples harm-

    Or, he argued, God invented singles to be sent off to dark, scary places to get bumped off because we don’t matter as much as Married Parents.

    Just make sure you pass out those Chick Tracts as they put you in the stewpot, Ooga Booga!

    While we stay comfortable in Megachurch Suburbia, Focusing on our Families (TM).

  94. ishy wrote:

    Piper gives advice on what parents should do to raise perfect Christians…

    So did Got Hard.
    Checklists, Workbooks, and all.

  95. One comment not approved. Please do not discuss moderation. We use a filter which picks up potential problems with words or phrases and then holds them until we can approve them.

  96. elastigirl wrote:

    Jeff, i would like to introduce you to my MK dad and his siblings, who were offloaded to boarding school in far away lands all because “the cause was worth the risk” and “If God is for us, no one can be successfully against us”. They could tell their stories of abandonment, neglect, rape.
    i’d like to hear you say “Chill out” to their faces.
    such a revolting remark from you, Jeff.

    Wow. I am so sorry.

    I think Jeff is just another Piperette. If John said it, it is gospel. Sola Pipera!

  97. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Check this out – Doug Wilson is “Presiding Minister” over a denomination: https://crechurches.org/

    In the Episcopal Church, a “presiding bishop” is the equivalent of a Primate of a country; in Episcopal liturgy, “[name] our Presiding Bishop” is said at the same point in the call to prayer as we RCCs say “Francis our Pope”.

  98. Daisy wrote:

    Stick ten Christians in a room, ask them a theological question, and you’ll get 8 to 10 different answers – and if they’re standard Baptists or Protestants, they will all claim the their views are based wholly on the Bible.

    Sometimes even quoting the exact same Verse to PROVE two completely-different things.

  99. @ Avid Reader:

    I thought it had to do with the story not being in the earliest available manuscripts. How did you arrive at your conclusion?

    I have heard right much stuff about why something happened, scholar this or translator that, but I don’t hear very much evidence one way or the other. Just interested, because this is a definite issue, to what extent the canon is trustworthy or not.

  100. Catherine Martin wrote:

    @ Catherine Martin:
    Why is there a Canadian flag up by name. I’m not Canadian. I don’t even live that far north in Wisconsin! Hmmmmmmmm . . . . .

    Either Wisconsin is too close to The Great White North, Eh, or Canada invaded just like in the South Park Movie.

  101. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    Perhaps Piper IS swimming the Tiber. First final salvation and now salvation by the Baptism of blood.

    “Baptism of Blood” better describes those 21 Copts in Libya who got their heads amputated by al-Daesh because they wouldn’t convert to Islam:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_kidnapping_and_beheading_of_Copts_in_Libya
    (And to add insult to injury, then got denounced by a lot of Gospelly Celebrity Theologians as “not really Christians”.)

  102. Sorry if this is a bit too far off topic…

    From the OP:

    Let’s say they get caught in the crossfire and get shot? How do you think Child Protective Services would view the explanation of your gospel mission? Could/should this be considered potential child abuse?

    Perhaps not in the state of Indiana, if recent news is any indication… 🙁

    https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2017/10/26/appeals-court-rules-sex-offenders-can-attend-church-children-present/802562001/

  103. People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD. NLT Proverbs 19:3

    Live by faith, yes, however, some “faith” ventures are actually reckless foolishness under the guise of creed.

  104. Joe Reed wrote:

    My 4-yr old was just diagnosed with incurable, terminal brain cancer.

    My daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at 3. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that you are going through this. I remember wishing it could have been me instead and yet not being able to do anything about it. I know that you and your wife and if you have any other other children are in tremendous pain right now. No matter how many people you have around you to support you, there is still this dark night of the soul that you cannot shake.

    In the midst of the pain, I sensed the presence of God with all of us during that time. I have a really personal story of something that happened that I rarely talk about. I usually only share it with those who are going through this sort of struggle. It deals with how Jesus ministered to my little girl during this time. If you would like me to share it with you, send me an email address that I can use.

    Please know that I am praying for all of you during this time.

  105. brian wrote:

    I always struggled with this myself. I still remember the look on my father’s face at my brother’s funeral when he died when he was 17. Something that was subtle but very clear in my personal experience in the faith is that death is a reminder of just how evil we are as people, all being under the curse of Adam and pretty much everyone also being children of wrath. My parents could not take much time off of work due to economics if I remember it was maybe two days, I took three off of school. When I came to “faith” as an adult I still struggled with my brother’s death. This is weakness as this stuff you should have nailed down in the backyard by the time one is; say, four or five years old.

    Brian, the type of abusive Christianity you were raised in screwed up your head, BAD.

    Worm Theology/Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God on steroids does that, and your head is the fruit such Christian Nihilism bears.

  106. How can I raise a dolphin cutting through schools of sharks, rather than a bloated jellyfish floating with the plankton into the mouth of the whale called the world?

    “I’ll take ‘Word Salad’ for $100.”

  107. Avid Reader wrote:

    By the way the reason that scholars cut out the story of Jesus saving that woman from the mob was again because they were offended by how Jesus was directly attacking the double standards that were hurting women. So they just took scissors and cut out passages they didn’t like! Looks like, Jesus just has that habit of offending church leaders!

    That is not what most theologians say. In fact, Dan Wallace (DTS prof and friend) discussed the history of this verse and the fact that it is not in the earliest manuscripts. I was sitting there for that discussion and that is what caused me to begin what I call my *crisis of faith.* Most conservative scholars believe it was not part of the original text but it may have come from another of Luke’s writings. This is the sort of stuff I studied during that time-much of it involving old manuscripts. Maybe this will get you going.

    https://danielbwallace.com/2013/06/26/where-is-the-story-of-the-woman-caught-in-adultery-really-from/

  108. @ Avid Reader:
    One other point that I think is very important.

    Assume that it wasn’t in the earliest manuscripts (and I believe that it was not), think about the Biblical narrative. Does the fact this this verse was not included change anything at all that you know about Jesus? It doesn’t. Jesus ministry is still exactly the same. It doesn’t add nor does it subtract.

  109. M. Joy wrote:

    I would love for some adult former MK’s to comment on this.
    I personally know many for MK’s who have left the faith. And those that remain Christian – most would not even think of raising their families on the mission field, for a variety of reasons.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of one MK who probably isn’t rejoicing that her parents took her on the mission field.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/07/05/is-child-sex-abuse-more-prevalent-among-protestants-than-among-catholics/

    I know there are lots of other factors contributing to Kim James’ abuse. But the idea that Piper would consider her suffering inconsequential compared to the “glory of God” and the “promise of the world to come” is enough to make me retch.

  110. @ Avid Reader:
    One more point…if I were going to cut out a story from the time of Jesus ministry, there are far more shocking things to get rid of. For example Mark 11:29 on; the predictions of his coming death; etc.

  111. okrapod wrote:

    @ dee:
    Thanks, Dee. I missed that comment.

    You didn’t. I was answering her when I noticed your comment and wanted to point it out to you.

  112. @ brian:

    That’s the same kind of theology that took the life of two of my friends, and almost got a third. Everything you said about God and the atonement, that’s exactly what was taught at our college ministry. It felt so wrong, yet the ones who taught it threw verse after verse and seemed to take delight in the fact that there was no escape from their hate-filled God. Except suicide.

    I seriously wonder how that view of God is so common. Did you ever bring up the verse “God is love,” only to have them just scoff at you, saying “God’s love means doing whatever he wants?” And whatever happened to “Jesus loves me, this I know?” It seems love is absent from that theology.

    I hope you have found out that God actually loves us, despite what many of his followers say to the contrary. It sure took me a while to realize that. That kind of theology you and I were taught is like falling on a cactus: it takes a while to pull out all the barbs.

  113. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Ah yes, ancient poets’ sagesse.

    William Polidori, Lord Byron’s physician, noting that handsome Byron’s syphilis was sucking the life out of women everywhere in Europe, wrote Dracula as an allegory: the handsome vampire whom women swooned over to their demise.

    Subsequently, Dracula and Twilight sagas appear, frighten, entertain and inform of a deadly attraction to a dashing dangerous beau.

    Be warned of the trophy catch, even among religious circles. After our reflection on 2-timer Barth, it turns out Tillich was a philanderer, etc.

  114. Dee,

    I fully support your work and would gladly take on anyone who tries to oppose you. With all due respect, theologians can be wrong. They read books full of historical bias just like the rest of us. Yes, there are far more shocking parts they could have cut out. Thats missing their deeply rooted bias towards women. There are hundreds of years of theologian bias towards women that still seeps into the pulpit. They didn’t like Jesus honoring women that’s why they cut that story out of the Bible.

  115. Let me explain my thinking about some controversies that we find about verses in the Bible. We have thousands of ancient manuscripts that show that our Bible today is accurate in regards to the existing manuscripts that have been found. Many of the scholarly discussions surrounding a few verses do not significantly impact anything we know. In other words, Jesus is still sitting in heaven and will come again.

    Many people fear learning that a few verse here and there are controversial. They shouldn’t. Nothing changes in the salvation narrative.I find these controversies interesting from an intellectual point of view but they do not affect anything to do with my faith.

    Let me point out one to you. Do you all know about the Comma Johanneum? Wikipedia does a decent job introducing the controversy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_Johanneum

    Read about this and see if it changes you view of the Scriptural narrative. Hint: it doesn’t.

    “The Comma Johanneum, also called the Johannine Comma or the Heavenly Witnesses, is a comma (a short clause) found in Latin manuscripts of the First Epistle of John[1] at 5:7–8. The comma first appeared in the Vulgate manuscripts of the 9th century.[2] The first Greek manuscript that contains the comma dates from the 15th century.[3] The comma is absent from the Ethiopiac, Aramaic, Syriac, Slavic, Armenian, Georgian, and Arabic translations of the Greek New Testament.[3] The scholarly consensus is that that passage is a Latin corruption that entered the Greek manuscript tradition in some subsequent copies.[1] As the comma does not appear in the manuscript tradition of other languages, the debate is mainly limited to the English-speaking world due to the King James Only movement.”

    I do not usually write about these discussions because I tend to focus on abuse. However, I love to read about these in may spare time. Believe it or not, these types of discussions only serve to strengthen my faith.

  116. Dee,

    Thanks for the references. I’ll look into that. And thank you for the really important work you do. There are many of us quiet types who fully support you even if we don’t speak up much.

  117. Piper is just one crazy dude , I feel sorry for his wife and kids. He makes the Christian faith look foolish to the world. I really hesitate to tell anyone I am one due to his nonsense.

  118. @ Avid Reader:

    Can I defend the scholarly theologians that I have known? Dan Wallace is one of these. He is a friend due to some circumstances that we found ourselves in in Dallas. Dan is more Reformed in his perspective and is a complementarian with nuances. We disagree on those matters.

    Dan is an honest researcher and understands bias in scholarly material better than any of us since this is the world that he finds himself in. Here is a short bios.

    This is my favorite. https://danielbwallace.com/about/

    http://www.dts.edu/about/faculty/dwallace/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_B._Wallace

    Here is a You Tube video that he did on NT reliability.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lEmch2OAhs

    Why am I documenting this? Because I know Dan personally and I know the extent of his scholarly endeavors along with his honesty which has been peer reviewed.

    I think we all have to be careful about making generalized statements about “all scholars” “all theologians” etc. Ken Ham does this with “all scientists who disagree with him are atheists trying to disprove the Bible.”

    When Dan Wallace says it is not in the most ancient manuscripts, he speaks from direct experience. Not only is he allowed to handle said manuscripts, he is in the process of digitizing all know Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. He isn’t getting his knowledge from historical criticism. He is getting his knowledge directly from the sources themselves.

    If Dan Wallace says it isn’t in the ancient manuscripts and that some guy with scissors did not cut it out, he is telling the truth. He has absolutely no reason to lie.

  119. JYJames wrote:

    He said that the more he studied the Biblical texts, the more he was convinced of the reliability of the Bible.

    That is exactly what happened to me the more I looked into this whole text thing. I love discussions on stuff like this. Cooking, pug dogs, science fiction and Biblical text controversies are my hobbies.

  120. mandavilla wrote:

    I really hesitate to tell anyone I am one due to his nonsense

    It’s OK. I get why this happens. Sometimes Christians are their own worst enemies.

  121. Avid Reader wrote:

    There are many of us quiet types who fully support you even if we don’t speak up much.

    I am glad you get something out of this blog. When we started it, Deb and I thought we were the only ones interested in and concerned about these issues.We are not alone! Yay!

  122. mandavilla wrote:

    I really hesitate to tell anyone I am one due to his nonsense.

    He’s not so well-known outside of his sphere, seemingly unbeknownst to those in the bubble. Small potatoes, though projected largely, often, word-saladly, loudly, viscerally.

    Nevertheless, there are always those off the rail in any metier or context. One distinguishes oneself.

    “It’s the overconfidence of experts that can result in spectacular mistakes. Overconfidence leads to the inability to see changes in the world around us, blinding us to new information that could help us avoid disastrous failures… The miscalibrated bluffer is the best bluffer of all, globally maladaptive, believing [and projecting] they are far more than they are.” M. Gladwell

  123. @ Thersites:

    “On the other hand if they drag their wife and children off on that some potential catastrophe the danger is not just to life and limb.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    alternatively…. i remember reading a blog post from a pastor in Idaho (can’t remember the name) talking about the glories of short-term missions.
    In which case, it almost always seems some family members stay behind at home.

    He was sort of criticizing “couch potato” christians while championing christians who go out on short-term missions. He made the point that there is nothing quite like the adventure of it all (in that instance, he was referring to how his short-term mission group improvised transportation by riding motorcycles through the night to get to their 3rd world destination).

    Aside from the fact that i think short-term missions bring about more problems for the hosts than they do benefits, it seemed to me that the real point of the short-term mission was to fulfill an Indiana Jones fantasy while earning God-points at the same time.

    it struck me as Extremely Selfish, wearing the Super Christian costume (which i’m sure had a cape — which true Supers would never do –“No capes!”).

    and it seemed to me that the real risk is to the family members who stayed behind. the short-term missionary on the short-term mission careening through a 3rd-world jungle land on a motorcycle is exposing himself/herself to such unnecessary danger — should an accident happen and he/she be killed or disabled, the breadwinner / husband / wife / parent is no longer able to support and care for the family. the family bears the brunt and pays the price.

    all for adventure-christianing.

  124. dee wrote:

    BTW-did you see Nick’s comment about Dubai?

    Yes I saw Nick’s comment. He was correct, Piper was in Dubai. He was supposed to do a conference at UCCD with Mark Dever but Dever had to back out due to illness. While in the city John Folmar accompanied John Piper to various sites where they each made a promotional video for an upcomig Cross Conference in the USA. Folmar’s video utilized a mosque as a backdrop while a call to prayer wailed in the background. Piper stood in Safa Park with the Burj Khalifa in the background and a call to prayer in the background for his video.

    Piper stated in part:

    “Hi I am John Piper and this is Dubai. Behind me is the tallest city (tower- edit) in the world. And you can hear the kind of city that we’re in, it is a spectacular city, a wealthy city, and that tower and this city are coming down. The city is ripe with sin for the judgment of God unless radical Christians flood this city with the spectacular good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”

    I initially posted the video on my blog and asked the question “in light of 9-11, I wonder what UAE authorities would think of this video?” I also wrote a few influential individuals at UCCD and suggested they may want to remove the video, which they quickly did. I then pulled my post. I do have an audio recording of the video. Just one more example of wacky John Piper engaging his mouth prior to engaging his brain.

  125. dee wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I would love to be a missionary in Dubai, BTW.

    It’s laughable to hear someone talk about being a “missionary” in Dubai or any other UAE country for that matter. These folks are really just church planters for expatriates. Proselytizing (nationals) is punishable by prison time or worse.

  126. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    Watched.

    I was under the impression they just defunded their missionaries… however, on the video he gives a call to missions, give up the American Dream, and Go.

  127. Many American boys — now also girls — are raised to believe that they can grow up to become president of the United States. John Quincy was raised to believe that anything less rendered him an abject failure. Abigail was actually tougher on him than John, and one can only wince at her admonition, written after her 10-year-old son had completed a risky voyage across the Atlantic with his father: “For dear as you are to me, I had much rather you should have found your grave in the ocean you have crossed . . . rather than see you an immoral profligate or a graceless child.” John Quincy never had a childhood, nor was he raised to be a happy man. He was instead fashioned like a hardened steel projectile, aimed at the center of American history.

    Q was a lame prez, but possibly the best secretary of state EVER. the Monroe doctrine should really be called the adams doctrine, and Q showed a LOT of finesse working out the Canada us border on the east side, along Ontario/quebec…

  128. Did everyone notice how John Piper avoided giving credit to Abigail Adams for being an awesome mother? She deserves recognition for how she raised young John Quincy Adams in the middle of the Revolutionary War while his Dad was away from home working on things like the Declaration of Independence and trying to raise funds for the American military.

    Abigail Adams was a tremendous mother who taught young JQA to love the Lord and love justice and hate evil. (Note: John Adams was one of the few founding fathers who made a point of refusing to own slaves because he actually believed in the principles of the Declaration of Independence.) It’s true that JQA was a young child when his Dad took him to Europe on a diplomatic mission for the US. Young JQA was inspired getting to watch people like William Pitt and William Wilberforce in heated debate on the floor of Parliament.

    JQA would grow up to serve his country as:
    Senator
    Congressman
    Secretary of State
    Sixth President of the United States

    But the greatest accomplishment of his life happened in the last few years when he was trying to retire from public life. His Boston Congressional District elected him to represent them in Congress, without him running any type of political campaign. There on the floor of Congress, he faced off against one hundred slaveholding Congressmen. Staring them down—he pointed his finger in their faces and told them what they didn’t want to hear. That slavery was a sin against God. That he was going to fight with every ounce of energy that he had left—until it was destroyed from this nation and the world.

    There’s a powerful story hidden in the tiny print of the actual Congressional Record where JQA was fighting the evil system tooth and nail. I loved reading many pages of that Congressional Record. JQA loved quoting from the Bible. His actual diary is one of my favorite theological books with many profound insights.

    If anyone is looking for a good book on this—here’s two:

    The President Who Wouldn’t Retire by Leonard Falkner
    (That describes how JQA settled a dispute in Congress by actually making the case for property law straight from the Bible)

    Arguing About Slavery by William Lee Miller

    These bios give a great overview of the story for anyone who doesn’t have the time to read JQA’s very lengthy diary or the Congressional Record. All four of the above tells the same really powerful story.

  129. @ Libby:
    Dee can do as she wishes, of course, but there are plenty of sites out there that already address your objections and concerns, just google for “Christian apologetics,” and look into sites such as
    http://juniaproject.com/
    Or C.B.E. which offer gender egalitarian interpretations and explanations of the biblical text.

    Also check out the history of the transmission of the Bible – I did that years ago when continually running into “KJV Only” cranks online. From that, I learned how we got our Bible translations today. You’ll get into the preservation of manuscripts, lower textual criticism explanations, etc.

    From what I’ve been able to see over the years, the problem isn’t really the Bible so much but how Christians choose to interpret it and apply it (or not apply it – some don’t even try to do the most basic of stuff that it says).

  130. This is my favorite quote from JQA when he was preparing to argue the Amistad case before the Supreme Court. Think about how hard this was for him to try to convince a bunch of slaveholding Supreme Court Justices to do the right thing. While JQA was praying for guidance, he wrote in his diary:

    “The world, the flesh, and all the devils in hell are arrayed against any man who now in this North American Union shall dare to join the standard of Almighty God to put down the African slave-trade; and what can I, upon the verge of my seventy-fourth birthday, with a shaking hand, a darkening eye, a drowsy brain, and with all my faculties dropping from me one by one, as the teeth are dropping from my head––what can I do for the cause of God and man, for the progress of human emancipation, for the suppression of the African slave-trade? Yet my conscience presses me on; let me but die upon the breach.”

    Many of you know the story. For eight hours over two days, he stood in the courtroom and made one of the most powerful legal defenses in history. If anyone wants to read it—here it is:

    https://archive.org/details/argumentofjohnqu1841adam

  131. M. Joy wrote:

    It’s laughable to hear someone talk about being a “missionary” in Dubai or any other UAE country for that matter. These folks are really just church planters for expatriates.

    M. Joy is correct. As I recall she has spent time in the Middle East.

    All these Neo-Calvinists love to come over to Dubai and make videos for the folks back home. I imagine it is great for fund-raising. They are happy to allow the misconception that Dubai is dangerous for Christians.

    Dubai has a huge population of expats and as M. Joy said, these men pastor churches for expats. Muslims are not going to attend a Christian church anymore than I am going to attend a Friday prayer session in a mosque. On a few occassions I have seen muslims attend a christian wedding, but I can’t recall ever seeing a national attend a Friday morning church service. M. Joy is also correct when she stated that it is illegal to proselytize muslims. You wouldn’t be in the country for long if you attempted to preach on a street corner or hand out tracts. It is also illegal for a muslim to convert to Christianity. Evangelism can only really take place as two people become friends and then, of course, natural dialogues will take place. When you think of it, isn’t this also the most effective way to share the Gospel in America? Trust and true friendship will take years to develop. I think people of any religion can quickly sense if you want to befriend them simplly to attempt to convert them, or if you seek a genuine friendship.

  132. JYJames wrote:

    I was under the impression they just defunded their missionaries… however, on the video he gives a call to missions, give up the American Dream, and Go.

    Folmar did not state it in the video, but what he is encouraging Christians to do is come over to Dubai and work a normal job and live out your Christian life. Realistically this is the only way to get over here. I don’t think many visas are granted to full time ministers.

  133. @ ishy:

    I guess it depends on the flavor of church or denomination. It figures that single adults get screwed either way in.
    Some Christians either argue (like Driscoll) that singles are expendable, or, if you are single and want to do X, the church says “Nope, X is for married people only.”

    You get hosed either way.

    A lot of churches still don’t want to hire single men to be preachers.
    “Unmarried Pastor, Seeking Job, Sees Job Bias”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/us/22pastor.html

  134. ishy wrote:

    . Never been to a singles group in a church that wasn’t at least 70% women to 30% men.

    In many cases I’ve seen, it’s even less than 30%, and the whatever percent of men that are there are… not ‘good catches,’ shall we say.

  135. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    Darn-I forgot about the whole nutty thing. We even did a post on it!!!! We asked John Piper to take down the video because he could have caused a major international incident. Boy, do I feel stupid!!!

  136. avid reader: Yep, that’s him! spoken by a man who believed he was being WATCHED: by his peers, his posterity, and his Creator

  137. M. Joy wrote:

    Proselytizing (nationals) is punishable by prison time or worse.

    It is as Todd says. Friendship in jobs. However, the churches are open over there.

  138. “The Adams offspring received, in the words of family biographer Paul C. Nagel, “a baptism at home in the waters of self-doubt.” Within that atmosphere of chronic pessimism, John and Abigail were often hectoring, overbearing parents. When young John Quincy expressed a wish for a quiet life as an attorney, his father wrote: “You come into life with advantages which will disgrace you if your success is mediocre. And if you do not rise to the head not only of your profession, but of your country, it will be owing to your own laziness, slovenliness, and obstinacy.”

    Abigail Adams was no different, always underscoring what a disappointment her children would be if they fell into sin and lost virtue. Among the long list of sins and vices the young children had to guard against were sloppy penmanship, slovenly dress and wasted time. In and of themselves these admonitions were not bad, but to the Adamses human frailty was to be countered with New England puritanical principles, and pitiless self-criticism was to be encouraged at the earliest age possible.

    John once wrote Abigail of their children, “I studied and labored to procure a free Constitution of Government for them to solace themselves under, and if they do not prefer this to ample Fortune, to Ease and Elegance, they are not my children, and I care not what becomes of them.” In wholehearted agreement, Abigail one day wrote to her young children after a long sea voyage that if they had fallen into vice she would have preferred they drowned. Nagel called the Adamses’ parenting skills “a bewildering mixture of affectionate support and cruel distrust…”
    Charles Francis learned from all that he had witnessed and endured. As ambassador to England, he found success without being resident in the White House. And Charles Francis was more attentive to his children, who apparently thrived: Charles Francis Adams Jr. became an industrialist and railroad magnate; John Quincy Adams II, a gentleman farmer and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate; and Brooks Adams, a noted essayist. Another son, Arthur, died at age 5.

    The ambassador’s most prominent son, however, was the historian and writer Henry Adams, who won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography The Education of Henry Adams. His multivolume History of the United States, chronicling the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, is still considered a paragon of historical writing. Tragically, Henry’s wife, Marian Hooper Adams, committed suicide shortly after her father’s death in 1885. Henry commissioned one of America’s greatest sculptors, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to design a memorial in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Cemetery. Erected in 1891, the memorial has become world famous, and it is said that Mark Twain gave it the one-word title by which it is commonly known — the one word that could capture the trials of the entire Adams family — “Grief.”
    http://www.historynet.com/abigail-adams

  139. BTW, the thought did occur to me that if “Radical” Dave Platt and John Piper really wanted to show us how radical they are they need travel no further than the south side of Chicago. Every week-end there are 20-30 shootings and I believe Chicago has over 700 homicides so far this year. Serious needs there.

  140. okrapod wrote:

    My daughter’s first husband was a missionary kid who was deliberately deprived, even when not necessary, by his missionary parents who believed something akin to what Piper is saying. It did not turn out well

    In reading up on actress Joan Crawford, one of her adopted daughters told a story how for several years, Crawford would try to teach her and her adopted brother lessons on frugality or being unselfish or whatever.

    So, Crawford would only let each kid keep like one or two toys on Christmas morning, and/or, take their favorites and donate them to charity.

    I’m all for parents trying to instill values into their kids (such as helping those less fortunate and what all), but demanding your own kids give up a lot or their favorite teddy bear seems a very warped way to go about it. I think it’s rather cruel and may actually have the opposite reaction from what the parent intended.

    (Had I been raised that way (which I was not), I probably would’ve been more included, not less, to hold on to my stuff and money and be selfish rather than giving, due to fear of not having enough or something.)

  141. Correction:
    Should read “I would have been more INCLINED not less, to hold on to…”

    Rather than “been more included, not less, to…”

  142. Mike wrote:

    I heard a panel question at a (conference on the gospel) where the question was asked “will you be sharing the gospel on the flight back home?” there was silence, Piper was on the panel. There was a lame fumbling answer. Piper never took his kids on a dangerous mission trip yet he expects you to!

    I see the point you’re making and am not a total hater here, but just to say, if I was ever on a flight, the last thing I’d want is someone of any religious background trying to convert me to their cult, religion, or non-religion

    I can imagine being trapped on a flight with an evangelical trying to share Jesus with me, or a Mormon trying to convert me into Mormonism (or substitute Mormonism with Jehvoah’s Witnesses), or an atheist who won’t shut up about Richard Dawkins, and trying to argue me into atheism… and the whole thing makes me want to dry heave. 🙂

  143. M. Joy wrote:

    John Piper: Take your kids on dangerous mission trips because dying isn’t the worst thing that could happen to them and maybe they will become *good* Christians.
    —————————————————
    I would love for some adult former MK’s to comment on this.

    A kid who went overseas at the behest of his church wrote a book about how this stuff messed him up.

    The kid was burnt out by the whole experience, it messed with his faith.

    I can’t remember his name. He wrote a book about it and went on Christian TV shows a couple years back to talk about it all.

    I can’t remember the kid’s name, but articles like this one also started showing up:
    The Case Against Radical Christianity
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/october/case-against-radical-christianity.html

  144. @ Joe Reed:

    I’m very sorry to hear of your child’s illness. My mother died a few years back, in spite of all my prayers for her healing, so that is true, nothing is a guarantee in life.

    About one area in this where I sort of agree (don’t know if agree is the right word) with Piper is that he’s putting some sort of onus on married parents.

    As I stated above, normally, most churches hose over single childless adults in some way… like, for example, singles are expected to make sacrifices that married parents are not b/c if you don’t have a spouse or kid, many Christians think your life is not as worthwhile.

    I don’t know if it’s Piper’s place to shame, pressure or guilt trip parents into using their kids in some way to meet Piper’s opinion of what it means to live like a great Christian, though.

    The older I get, the more I tend to tune out what other people’s opinions are about how they think I “should” live my life, especially these pastor guys or guys who earn a buck writing “Christian” blogs and books.

    I don’t think Piper necessarily knows any more than I do about God, the Bible, or how to live life.

  145. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I was going to write a list of resources for further study on the historical, hermeneutical, and theological questions you brought up, but it seems your concerns focus mainly on the treatment of women, and the abuse that men have tried to justify by quoting from the bible.

    There are a lot of resources out there that address her concerns.

    Here is just one – it showed up in mainstream news sources a few weeks ago:

    Bible Passage Used to Stop Women Becoming Ordained ‘Added Later,’ Academic Claims
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4911972/Bible-passage-banning-women-speaking-added-later.html#ixzz4uZe1UhCO

  146. @ Arnold Smartarse:
    I remember when I started along on my Faith Crisis Journey, I had this friend of mine who got bent out of shape with me.

    She had been thru a Faith Crisis herself a year or two prior to mine, where she screamed she dumped Christ and was an atheist.

    I supported her during that time. I didn’t judge her. (She later went back to being a Christian.)

    When my time came, though, she was very critical. She wanted me to outline reasons I was doubting the faith. I gave her some of my reasons, though I told her I wasn’t comfortable with that.

    And she more or less gave me the same sort of line that you did, about how I was expecting all Christians to be perfect.

    I’ve heard pastors use that line, as well. How if you think all Christians are hypocrites, don’t go to your local perfect church, because you’ll just mess it up by joining (because you’re a hypocrite too).

    I tried telling this ex friend of mine, that no, I don’t expect “Perfection” from Christians, but I was not (and still do not, outside a small number of you on these blogs) see Christians even trying to live up to the most basic of Christ’s teachings more or less consistently.

  147. I rarely comment, but I want to give a thanks for the Bible discussion. I’ve been losing my faith over the past couple of years, despite myself. Google feels like the enemy because every opinion out there seems to be as well researched and thought out as the previous one, until my head is spinning.

    I don’t know which way is up at this point. I’ve lived through some trauma in the last few years, and still am not in a really stable place, which contributes to the spiritual wobbliness (or vice-versa). I know the main focus of TWW is abuse, but this bit of thread drift is edifying to me.

  148. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    … while I do not agree with Piper on who should have ultimate control in the decision, I think it is good for kids to grow up exposed to danger — I speak from experience

    I had a worry wart for a mother. My mom was a helicopter parent. She was overprotective, and along with teaching me to be a doormat at all times, none of this did me favors as I got older and older.

    Because as an adult, I kept running into mean, jerky people who wanted to use me or be obnoxious.

    And I would sit there defenseless, like a deer in the headlights, not knowing what to do, because dear old over-protective Mom never taught me how to deal with conflict. (Neither did my dad.)

    I was taught to avoid conflict as much as possible, and I became a master at avoidance. But there are some bad people or hardships in life that one cannot avoid.

    So there is a valid point in there about if you over-protect your children at all times, this will harm them later in life. It sure created problems for me later in life, that’s for sure.

  149. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    But did he turn out to be the type of Christian that John Piper would have hoped for?

    Interesting question. Probably not.

    Piper would probably hate his theology. I’m not sure I agree with all of Young’s theology myself, but a lot of Piper types (or John Mac types) would probably have a burning, searing hatred for it.

  150. Daisy wrote:

    I’m not sure I agree with all of Young’s theology myself,

    Dang it, another typing error, I meant to say I don’t think I agree with all of Young’s beliefs either.

  151. JYJames wrote:

    @ Todd Wilhelm:
    So the Call to Dubai is for what purpose?

    Not sure what you are getting at here. I would say the call to Dubai is to share the Gospel with Muslims, but as I stated that is a slow process.

  152. @ Daisy:

    I found your comment very moving, Daisy, not least because I’ve met one or two of those as well (and you can probably imagine the kind of real-life characters of whom A. Smartarse is a composite).

    You’ll be familiar with the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – who, forgiven a huge debt, couldn’t forgive a trivial debt himself. It occurs to me that someone who is helped through a faith crisis, but comes out the other side scolding and intolerant of someone else in the same position, has not really come through it themselves. They’ve just learned to bury their questions. For my part – and feel free to take this personally – I admire people who have the bottle to keep their own difficult questions in view.

  153. dee wrote:

    Interesting comment. Thank you.

    I just wanted to say that some of the views bandied about how or what to do with single adults can be very painful to those of us singles who had hoped and had expected to be married.

    I did not willingly or knowingly sign up for a Lifetime Tour Of Duty of Celibate Singleness.

    God did not gift me with singleness (or with celibacy). God did not choose me to be single. I don’t want to be single indefinitely.

    So it can poke or sting a little bit when even well meaning people try to find things “to do” with single people, like suggest we’d make great missionaries, because dang it, our singleness can come in so handy!!

    I’m like, I’d rather have a husband to cuddle with at night than live alone out in the boonies in a cold, damp hut in Third World Nation, when not handing out Gospel tracts to the locals.

    I don’t want a concession prize or be patronized to.

    I think Julia Duin and a few other Christians I’ve come across hit the nail on the head more in that if you want to really help and serve singles (ones who’d like to marry)…
    Try fixing them up with any decent eligible bachelors you know (if it’s okay with them that is; ask first. Some singles don’t like being fixed up.)

  154. @ Persephone:

    “I don’t know which way is up at this point. I’ve lived through some trauma in the last few years, … spiritual wobbliness”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m sorry for the trauma. details aside, i’m sure it’s been rough. as far as ‘which way is up’, i feel the same. perhaps common sense to the rescue(!).

    but also, (as you mentioned) the discussion here is fabulous. indeed, the bees knees. the only thing that’s keeping me going spiritually (aside from my longtime prayer group).

  155. dee wrote:

    and spending his retirement actually serving people. He would do far more good.

    Because it’s more comfortable to do so while sipping your latte in a big, puffy chair in your office that has central heat and air.
    He can also quickly check his Twitter and send out weird Tweets faster or easier, I’d imagine.

  156. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    As for exposing kids to danger, I’ll beat the dead horse a little while longer

    I’m not sure this topic can ever become a dead horse. Your personal experience is good input for this conversation.

  157. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    Just further explanation, since proselytzing is not legal, and one goes as a tentmaker, what are the possibilities, realistically. Todd, you don’t have to answer.

    We have relatives that live and work in conflict areas, and they don’t always talk about what they do and what goes on. (BTW, it was no sermon that got them to make this decision, and minors are not involved.)

  158. @ JYJames:
    It’s complex, which is another obvious shade on the above preacher of the post, as he does not seem to know what he is talking about. He’s been around a long time, so where has he been and what has he done that put himself and loved ones in harm’s way for the Gospel. Like you mentioned, easier to put someone else’s children in that position.

  159. Daisy wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    . Never been to a singles group in a church that wasn’t at least 70% women to 30% men.
    //
    In many cases I’ve seen, it’s even less than 30%, and the whatever percent of men that are there are… not ‘good catches,’ shall we say.

    Though it is interesting, but a friend of mine that goes to one of the largest New Cal churches in the country says it’s the exact opposite there. So I guess it may not be surprising that the New Cals rant against single women. She said single men flock there in droves.

    They’re going to bully women until the quick extinction of their perceived authority.

  160. @ Persephone:

    “Google feels like the enemy because every opinion out there seems to be as well researched and thought out as the previous one”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    chiming in again. they can’t all be true. it’s too exhausting. i figure, i can’t go wrong by simplifying & focussing on treating people the way i want to be treated.

    and taking comfort in knowing that as sure as the sun rises and sets in all its vivid colors, and the faithful moon shines through my kitchen window just as it shone down on Moses and Boudicca and Michelangelo and Sojourner Truth, God is.

  161. okrapod wrote:

    You know what the doctor said about when you start hearing what goes on in other people’s minds.

    I hear tell that Potter swears by his tin-foil hat.
    Sez’ it makes him able to hears what’s goin’ in anybody’s head.

  162. ““Why? Because the cause is worth the risk, and the children are more likely to become Christ-exalting, comfort-renouncing, misery-lessening exiles and sojourners in this way than by being protected from risk in the safety of this world.””

    No, it’s that kind of mentality that drives children away from Christianity when they grow up. It’s a lifetime of guilt and self-hate because the young ones will think that they are NEVER doing “enough” for God’s kingdom.

    Let me spell it out for Piper (if he’s listening out there): nothing humans being can do will EVER be good enough. That’s why Christ came down here in the first place! Secondly, Jesus warned us about abusing children. Thirdly, Paul warns fathers not to provoke their children. Therefore, Piper is doing the exact opposite of everything Scripture tells us to do concerning children and the faith!

    *spiritual mike drop*

  163. Sam wrote:

    Let me spell it out for Piper (if he’s listening out there): nothing humans being can do will EVER be good enough. That’s why Christ came down here in the first place!

    You mean I just can’t be a Mensch (Yiddish for good person) and not do the kinds of things to others I wouldn’t want done to me and have done with it?

  164. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    @ brian:

    That’s the same kind of theology that took the life of two of my friends, and almost got a third. Everything you said about God and the atonement, that’s exactly what was taught at our college ministry.

    Which college ministry was that?

    (Though they all seemed to have the same theology, just differing intensity and Acquire-the-Fire commitment. Navigators were one step beyond the Campus Crusade baseline, and there was always some On-Fire group like Maranatha who was trying to out-Nav the Navs.)

  165. Sam wrote:

    No, it’s that kind of mentality that drives children away from Christianity when they grow up. It’s a lifetime of guilt and self-hate because the young ones will think that they are NEVER doing “enough” for God’s kingdom.

    Brian on this and other threads being a type example.

    Like Frodo after he bore the Ring, you will never be completely free of their image of God as Cosmic Monster this side of the Grey Havens and Undying Lands.

  166. Libby wrote:

    All his nonsense comes from the bible. That book and those teachings are damaging. Let’s throw them away and stop acting like any good comes from it.

    Welcome to TWW Libby.
    It’s a safe place for all so long as all are civil.
    I’m kinda’ sorta’ TWW’s Voltaire-ian free-thinker, and free-spirit renegade who still trusts in the very literal body and person of Jesus of Nazareth and nothing more.
    Some of my other views will horrify progressives, and some of them will have conservatives howling for my ouster.
    Hope you’ll stick around.

  167. If I could rest in the simple things, I’d be much better off. I can’t let go of needing to know who’s right, what’s the One Truth, whatever that might be. But yes, it is utterly exhausting. And frightening at times. @ elastigirl:

  168. mandavilla wrote:

    Piper is just one crazy dude , I feel sorry for his wife and kids. He makes the Christian faith look foolish to the world. I really hesitate to tell anyone I am one due to his nonsense.

    Don’t worry! According to my completely unscientific poll that I did a while back, no one knows who he is in my circle of friends & co workers. Christian & others.

  169. ishy wrote:

    Though it is interesting, but a friend of mine that goes to one of the largest New Cal churches in the country says it’s the exact opposite there. So I guess it may not be surprising that the New Cals rant against single women. She said single men flock there in droves.

    Any self-respecting single woman would bail out of a Calvinista church quickly, because there’s no respect for who we are. You’re barely considered human only if you’re married and popping out children.

  170. @ elastigirl:

    Beautifully put elastigirl. They are my sentiments too with each new rising of the constellations as they clear the treeline.

  171. mandavilla wrote:

    He makes the Christian faith look foolish to the world. I really hesitate to tell anyone I am one due to his nonsense.

    There’s a clobber verse for that one too.

  172. Jack wrote:

    Don’t worry! According to my completely unscientific poll that I did a while back, no one knows who he is in my circle of friends & co workers. Christian & others.

    I’ll venture to say that most Catholics and Lutherans have no idea who Piper is either.

  173. Persephone wrote:

    I don’t know which way is up at this point. I’ve lived through some trauma in the last few years, and still am not in a really stable place, which contributes to the spiritual wobbliness (or vice-versa).

    Many of us have been there. My dark time came late it life after walking “easily” through Christian life for many, many years. “Not knowing which way is up” is a great way to describe the feeling I had during that dark period which was very frightening to me. What I focused on ultimately was the person of Jesus and what he did and why he did it. That was my lifeline when there was nothing else that made any sense at all. The Truth is embodied in the One who is also the Way and the Light, and that is the core. You are among friends here!

  174. But there’s enough danger right here in America. I mean when God strikes church buildings with natural disasters as a form of judgment because of the horrible sin in our own midst.

  175. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    @ brian:

    That’s the same kind of theology that took the life of two of my friends, and almost got a third. Everything you said about God and the atonement, that’s exactly what was taught at our college ministry. It felt so wrong, yet the ones who taught it threw verse after verse and seemed to take delight in the fact that there was no escape from their hate-filled God. Except suicide.

    I seriously wonder how that view of God is so common. Did you ever bring up the verse “God is love,” only to have them just scoff at you, saying “God’s love means doing whatever he wants?” And whatever happened to “Jesus loves me, this I know?” It seems love is absent from that theology.

    I hope you have found out that God actually loves us, despite what many of his followers say to the contrary. It sure took me a while to realize that. That kind of theology you and I were taught is like falling on a cactus: it takes a while to pull out all the barbs.

    This was Navigators? My older son got involved with them at Alabama. First they love-bombed him. Then, when they realized he wasn’t going to convert to Calvinism, they dropped him. The girls especially were really nasty. And oh yes, they adored Piper. That’s how I first heard about Piper — from my son.

    So, did several young people actually commit suicide at least partly because of Navs? That is dreadful.

  176. Persephone wrote:

    I know the main focus of TWW is abuse, but this bit of thread drift is edifying to me.

    Gram3 wrote:

    What I focused on ultimately was the person of Jesus and what he did and why he did it. That was my lifeline when there was nothing else that made any sense at all. The Truth is embodied in the One who is also the Way and the Light, and that is the core. You are among friends here!

    Great reply Gram3! I’ll add that any time someone diverts the efforts of the assembled church to their own goals,they are hurt of spiritual abuse.

  177. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    It wasn’t an inter-campus ministry like that, just the college group of a very prominent church in the area. I’d rather not say exactly where, for internet security purposes, but it could almost be called a Baptist megachurch — the college ministry alone had more than 1,500 students most Sundays. But they were influenced by the Navigators and other more “intentional” programs, and heavily steeped in Piper, Chandler, Driscoll, and Voddie Baucham.

    It was mostly the Worm Theology and Predestination of the New Calvinists that drove my friends to despair. In the hierarchy of the spiritual elite, the really “intentional” or “solid” Christians, they were at the top: their doctrine was “on point,” they were “on fire,” and they were role models to the other guys. But because they never felt good enough, they burned out. They did everything the Elite told them to do, and it destroyed them. They had no personal experience of “peace” or “rest” after becoming high-performers.

  178. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    There was a bait-and-switch going on: “Come to Jesus, God will save you apart from works!” Then, after being saved: “Okay, Christian, you better work your butt off or God’s going to spit you out for being lukewarm. The Reprobate have it easy, because they don’t know any better. But now that you’re saved, by golly, you’d better keep God from getting angry with you again.”

    And the worst part is that my friends struggled for years with this stuff, and well-meaning people only threw more bible verses at them: but they had been so conditioned to read every passage in its most abysmal interpretation that they found zero relief, and were sure that, in the words of one of them, “I can accept God’s grace for other people, but I can’t believe that Grace applies to me.” He said he would rather end his life than continue sinning against other people with no way to stop, no matter what he tried — but he was one of the nicest people you would ever meet. Both of them were, in fact, and the other one still is. But this theology preys upon the compassionate and the merciful, and really only serves the ruthless and “intentional.” But it always leads to burnout one way or another.

  179. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    I would like to add that I had a serious argument with the college pastor that led to him questioning my salvation, and I left the ministry. But a year or two later he apologized and did a complete 180 on theology and practice (which, to my experience, is unheard of in New Cals), and now that college ministry is on the path to correcting some of the abusive atmosphere perpetuated by well-meaning but misguided students. Hormones have a way of fueling zeal, apparently, without the benefit of wisdom. But they seem to breathing the fresh air of Christ now.

  180. Re: issues with short-term mission trips to third world countries:

    All my kids, my husband, and I, have all been on short-term mission trips at various times. The pricey fly-to-a-third-world-country is not my favorite. I do, however, see benefits to the long standing relationship my church has with a children’s home in a nearby foreign country. We send teams at least three times a year, providing practical support to the ever-increasing numbers and needs of the home, as well as spiritual encouragement to the adults doing the day to day hard whork.

    Now then. Go to YouTube and search for John Crist Honest Mission Trip Leader.

    You will probably laugh. You could cry just a little. And you may think a new thoughtful thought.

  181. Bridget wrote:

    @ Libby:
    Knowing Christ and his teachings might give you a different perspective on Christianity.

    But Christ believed in the Old Testament. Therefore, he did uphold patriarchy and all its abuses. He excluded women and called a Gentile woman a dog. He chose disciples that were misogynistic and advised people to turn the other cheek and not resist an evil doer. Ah, maybe that’s women have to marry rapists!!

  182. Loren Haas wrote:

    @ Libby:
    Libby, I completely understand your perspective. I agree that their are terrible examples in the bible and that people have used it for centuries to justify horrible injustice and selfish gain at others expense.
    I think that the Word of God is Jesus, and that the best way to understand the bible is from a Christocentric perspective. To me that means that Jesus is the fullest revelation of God and that if something in the bible does not seem like what Jesus would say or do then it is a misrepresentation of God.
    If you are up to it, try reading Brian Zahnd’s new book, “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God”.

    Ok, are you saying that stoning kids and marrying rapists are errors in the bible? It just seems to me that everyone cherry picks from a tree that has more rotten cherries and good cherries.

  183. Daisy wrote:

    @ Libby:
    Because the same Bible you claim is a piece of no good junk is a source of comfort or support for some Christians.
    But I get it. I’ve been wallowing in Sort Of Agnostic World the last, what three years?, and I’m not quite sure what to do with the Bible. (But I do try to be fair about the Bible. Rather than just dismissing it out right as a rapey, awful book.)

    Again, people who feel comfort are cherry picking verses. I don’t think I have been unfair. I am only guilty of quoting passages that really are in the bible and that
    nobody seems able to explain in way which upholds the holiness of god. I identify as agnostic, because nobody can be 100% sure of anything. If there is a god, I believe he is a distant, indifferent god and not the one we see in the OT, NT or koran. Not someone to be prayed to, just someone who likes to create things.

  184. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    @ dee:
    If you have no problem with the bible, then could you please write a post addressing
    the “hard” passages, both in the OT and NT? (Examples: the treatment of Eve in the Garden of Eden, virginity test for women only, genocide, exclusion of women throughout old and new testament, treating women like property (at least two passages that imply women are not the image of God), requiring women to submit to abuse (that’s in first or second Peter, I would have to look it up.) The list goes on and on.
    I hope when you read this you feel the respect I am trying to give you, because I understand your position, and also share a lot of your frustration. However, please don’t reject the bible out of hand simply because people are jerks.
    I was going to write a list of resources for further study on the historical, hermeneutical, and theological questions you brought up, but it seems your concerns focus mainly on the treatment of women, and the abuse that men have tried to justify by quoting from the bible. (If you would like some scholarly resources, I’d be happy to point you to some academics, historians, philosophers, and theologians who (no offense to Dee or Deb) have a bit more ability and training to handle these kinds of questions.)
    It seems you have a lot of pain or anger on this issue, which is understandable, so I respect that. But your questions are not new, and there are potential academic solutions available — as well as emotional healing from abusive misinterpretations (Trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share…)
    I need not repeat what others have said about interpretations and abuse. But I would like to point out that the bible presents a much richer view of women than most people realize, because apparently most protestants have grown used to the “protestant machismo” championed by Piper and Driscoll, which is totally contrary to what Jesus actually taught. Yes, there are certainly difficult passages in the bible, both Old and New Testaments. But how does Jesus treat women? I won’t give you a Sunday School lesson (you can read those passages for yourself), but of all his recorded encounters with women, is there a single one in which he does not seem to elevate them above the abusive men around them? Even with the woman caught in adultery (notice how the pharisees only brought the woman as the culprit — much like nowadays, it seemed they thought it was the woman who “makes” the man sin, and the perpetrator becomes the victim), when the crowds wanted Jesus to destroy her, he forgives her and exposes what dirtbags those men were — the very men that wanted to use the bible to abuse her.
    Or perhaps most shockingly, the first witnesses to the event upon which the entire truth or falsehood of Christianity depends — the Resurrection — were women. In a time when a woman’s testimony was invalid in legal settings, or was discounted compared to a man’s. Whether Jesus actually rose from the dead or not is another argument (again, which I would be happy to give resources on); but unquestionably it is both odd (from a historical context) and beautiful that such an important thing as the truth or falsehood of his claims would rest on the testimony of overlooked and forgotten women. If Jesus wanted his ministry to succeed in a male-dominated society, shouldn’t he have made Peter the first witness? Instead he chose a former prostitute.
    Again, I don’t expect to convince you online, and I don’t expect you to be satisfied with short answers, but I hope you seriously consider studying this stuff for yourself, if you feel that strongly about it. The fact that you are asking for clarification at all suggests to me that your mind is not quite so made up about the bible as you first claimed…

    I am an agnostic who is all ears if anyone can sensibly explain this stuff to me. My mind is made up almost 100%. But, in 20 years, I have yet to hear a really good explanation of the bible and strongly lean toward a believe that the bible was written for the benefit of men by men. I think the sufferings of women and children around the world would be greatly diminished if the world would reject organized religion, not necessarily all believe in god. Why should a bunch of patriarchs from the first century be ruling our lives today? Thanks for your comment.

  185. Libby wrote:

    It just seems to me that everyone cherry picks from a tree that has more rotten cherries and good cherries.

    You are right to point out the pitfalls of cherry picking. But you seem to be doing the same thing here by finding the troubling passages and focusing on only one way to interpret them, and then rejecting all of the other passages that teach the opposite. Did you have opportunity to read this article that I posted earlier in this thread? – https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2017/10/bashing-heads-3/. It shows that there is a way to take into account the difficult passages. Whenever I’ve found difficult passages I’ve also always been able to find different ways of viewings those passages by researching different points of views. The fact that there are intelligent answers to your objections does not prove that Christianity is true, but it does suggest that things might not be as bad as you appear to be claiming. Just food for thought. In any case, it’s good to pay attention to questions/objections like yours because any faith worth believing must be able to stand under cross-examination.

  186. John Piper is one pitiful man. I simply can’t relate to hardly anything he writes. His words about intentionally placing children in harm’s way are despicable. He didn’t need to write another article demonstrating he has gone off the deep end but he did it anyway. Shame on the men in this picture for not holding him accountable for his irresponsible statements. http://t4g.org/

  187. Libby wrote:

    I think the sufferings of women and children around the world would be greatly diminished if the world would reject organized religion,

    That worked out pretty well for women and children under Stalin. One could make a solid argument that there have been more killings and tortures under atheistic communism in the 20th century than under all other religions combined throughout history. The one thing that history proves is the fall of man.

  188. Libby wrote:

    My mind is made up almost 100%.

    That is an interesting statement for an agnostic to make. Agnostics cannot be certain about anything, even their agnosticism. What you are basically saying is that you are nearly 100 percent certain that you cannot be certain about anything. Kind of a self-defeating statement. If it is impossible for you to believe that the God described in the Bible is loving and engaged, it is equally impossible for you to believe that God is distant and indifferent. At least from an agnostic perspective. All an agnostic an honestly say, by definition, is “I don’t know.”

  189. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    It just seems to me that everyone cherry picks from a tree that has more rotten cherries and good cherries.
    You are right to point out the pitfalls of cherry picking. But you seem to be doing the same thing here by finding the troubling passages and focusing on only one way to interpret them, and then rejecting all of the other passages that teach the opposite. Did you have opportunity to read this article that I posted earlier in this thread? – https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2017/10/bashing-heads-3/. It shows that there is a way to take into account the difficult passages. Whenever I’ve found difficult passages I’ve also always been able to find different ways of viewings those passages by researching different points of views. The fact that there are intelligent answers to your objections does not prove that Christianity is true, but it does suggest that things might not be as bad as you appear to be claiming. Just food for thought. In any case, it’s good to pay attention to questions/objections like yours because any faith worth believing must be able to stand under cross-examination.

    I don’t think I am cherry picking. I am trying to reconcile. The more I dig for answers, the more questions I have. But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.

  190. It strikes me that Piper has failed to consider Abraham and Isaac. Abraham, the guy that begged and pleaded for God to spare to Sodom and Gomorrah, said absolutely nothing when he was told to sacrifice Isaac. God did provide a ram in Isaac’s place, but when you look at how their lives played out, Isaac was just much closer Sarah and her loss affected him greatly. He was also the only patriarch to marry just one wife, Rebekah, and not have concubines on the side. Piper wants parents to actually sacrifice their sons and daughters with no promise of a substitute.

  191. What Happened wrote:

    any time someone diverts the efforts of the assembled church to their own goals, they are hurt of spiritual abuse.

    Very common, unfortunately.

    It’s important, as a pew sitter/listener, to distinguish between God’s plan and what the preacher/speaker wants at any given moment. Some of it is Church Manifest Destiny.

  192. dee wrote:

    Tim wrote:
    but I’m OK with Piper’s position here.
    So, are you saying that it is fine to take your children to a dangerous country where they could die? Have you done this or are you planning on doing this?

    Hi Dee. Thanks for the follow up. Sorry for the delay in responding.
    First, I’d point out that my kids could die right here in the good ole U. S. of A. Nothing about our geographic location guarantees tomorrow. I have friends who have lost children here in the US due to drownings, cancer, car accidents, and other senseless tragedies. Yes, I indeed understand and recognize your (implied) point about a higher statistical risk, and I’m not dodging that.
    Second, I’d ask whether my failure to operationally practice what I think or believe invalidates my thinking or belief. Your question appears to imply such, and if so, would represent an unrealistic barrier to dialog. I believe ALL sorts of things I cannot put into practice or motion.
    Third, as a direct answer…Yes, I think it’s fine to take my children to dangerous places. I’d point out I’d temper that with common sense caveats and exceptions. As one example, I would have made the same decision as Dr. Kent Brantly in the face of a confirmed and growing Ebola epidemic. Further, no, I have no current plans, but, again (see above), does that invalidate my belief or thinking?
    Fourth and finally, I’d choose to focus more on the need, the people group, the calling, and the resources. I believe we are to preach the Word to all people. God may call some singles, some couples, some families to do that work. If the danger is above a common sense threshold, it would be a mission experience that is strategic, long term, and logistically facilitated, with risk management plans in place. It would not be a risky, two week foray into the jungle just to “check a box.”
    Blessings.

  193. Libby wrote:

    I don’t think I am cherry picking. I am trying to reconcile. The more I dig for answers, the more questions I have. But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.

    Part I

    Ummm, let me be sure I understand what you are saying. You seem to be saying that God ought to be something which can be understood, even explained, by humans. How does that make any sense? Humans still cannot even explain themselves or each other, much less the intricacies of creation. Why would we even remotely think that something we could understand, and therefore potentially control, would be a god, much less The God?

    I am very slowly and insidiously being destroyed by a disease that nobody can explain much less control, not to mention that we all eventually are destroyed by a condition (old age) which we do not understand and which we cannot control, unless some other condition which we also do not understand and cannot control does us in first. More than that, we seem to be facing a post-antibiotic era in which we will all be helpless before diseases which we do not understand and cannot control as they inflict disaster on bodies which we do not adequately understand and cannot control.

    More than that, we also do not know how to control crime, how to educate the uneducable, how to control the weather, how to get along with each other, how to avoid military conflict, how to all sing off the same page of the hymn book, how to treat rather many mental conditions, and sometimes even how to find the will to continue in the face of it all. So how would it be remotely reasonable to think that humans could explain God?

  194. @ okrapod:

    Part II

    Never mind all that. If you do find something which you do understand and which can be explained and which therefore can be somewhat controlled, something which will limit what it does to what you think is somehow right, do not worship it, because that is not God. That thing-that explainable thing-would be your own shadow, your own alter ego, your own fantasies; it would be useless to you in any way except in the way that some medications deal with pain. It would not cure anything nor create anything nor rescue anybody from anything; it would only help distract you from the issues. That is the Great Lie; false religion. Like they say-the opiate of the masses. That is not God. It never was. There is no indication that it ever will be.

    @ Arnold Smartarse.

    No, Arnie, people are not looking for the perfect church. They are looking for a god which they can control. A god who dispenses happy pills but who cures nothing.

  195. I have not read the comment section here, so if I have already rephrased another’s thoughts, please forgive.

    As a former Piper listener/follower, until Jesus removed the scales from my eyes, I have long pondered the vain philosophies and preaching/teachings of such men as Piper. He judges, he criticizes, and he condemns on a continual basis, wrapping up his warped views in Christianese language.

    And Piper sounds so good, doesn’t he? Then why in the world doesn’t HE practice what he preaches and teaches? Purchase an airplane ticket via the money he has fleeced from God’s sheep, and go, please GO to another country, putting his own life endanger to minister his version of the gospel of another jesus. I personally believe that Piper does not preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ per listening to his bizarre programs for years and years.

    It is easy to preach it Piper, but to do as thou sayist is another subject altogether. Since the word “leadership,” or better yet, “servant leadership” are words of idolatry within the visible church, why in the world do these “Christian leaders” practice what they preach? That would make more sense from a Biblical perspective, would it not?

    Perhaps the words “leadership cowards” would be a more appropriate label. A humble soul bears more “leadership” qualities than a proud babbling theologian.

  196. @ Karen:
    Spot on. Thank you.

    Contrast Major Richard “Dick” Winters (Jan. 1918 – Jan. 2011), of the true story Band of Brothers, Easy Company, WW2, who went 1st into battle, leading – yes, leading – his men, putting himself in harm’s way in front of his men. He lived, he came out of the war. Major Winters was the last surviving Easy Company commander.

    Contrast Casper ten Boom (May 1859 – March 1944), a Dutch Christian who helped many escape the Nazis. He died at Scheveningen Prison, ten days after the arrest of his family – all adults who volunteered.

  197. ishy wrote:

    will f wrote:
    “I used to give parenting advice ALL THE TIME….until I had kids myself. Now….I keep my mouth shut.” I thought that was a very human thing to say.
    I think this is especially relevant to Piper since by Piper’s standards, two of his sons have not grown up to meet his expectations. His church excommunicated one and another got divorced, which Piper has declared a near abomination.
    Piper gives advice on what parents should do to raise perfect Christians (according to New Calvinist theology), but he didn’t by his own standards. New Cal theology itself teaches that if you submit to a church and govern everything your children do, then your family will also be Christian (as once very clearly explained to me in person by a founding member of the CBMW).

    Thank-you Ishy. Well said.

  198. Is there anywhere Piper talks about seeking the face of God humbly about a call to missions? Does God call some families into danger, YES! BUT Piper is a cult like leader with a pack of sheep following him off a cliff. He should weigh what and how he says things because he is going to cause a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering to families that their sovereign god ( he himself) will lead them into, thereby many a persons faith will be shipwrecked!

  199. Libby wrote:

    But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.

    Are you familiar with the field, philosophy of science? Or epistemology (the nature of truth, or the study of our ability to comprehend reality)? On an epistemological level, a consistent and strict maxim of “if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem,” would lead to abandoning most of what you can be said to “know.” That is not to say you are therefore wrong in your agnosticism by default, but simply as a reminder to apply consistent standards when investigating different claims. Do you realize that to demand a concrete explanation of something before you accept its existence would lead to knowing virtually nothing? Science is great, and is our best tool to discover what empirical reality is actually like. But no scientist worth his salt will tell you his theory is absolutely 100% certain. Or to claim we should not believe anything unless we can be absolutely certain, would lead to reject all scientific theories — which I’m sure you do not want to do. The nature of science (or, “knowledge”) is change, because our knowledge is always changing. So absolute certainty is unattainable even at the highest academic levels.

    Does that mean we have reasonable room to doubt Einstein’s theory of relativity, for instance, or the theories surrounding the electromagnetic spectrum? No. Why not? Because there is enough evidence to establish those concepts beyond reasonable doubt. Most of science operates on the principle of “beyond reasonable doubt.” If you want to apply that standard of acceptance to other matters of truth, it should be the standard to apply to all matters of truth. Thus, it is ill-advised to demand absolute certainty of any worldview, then claim that because there is not 100% certainty to its validity, you are justified in scrapping it. If that were the case, you would pull out the rug from beneath your own feet. (By the way, “beyond reasonable doubt” does NOT mean “free from any moments of doubt;” it simply means, given all the available evidence for an explanation in question, and given intellectual honesty, is there still warrant to discredit the explanation? If not, then it is the best explanation, and as there is no reasonable reason to doubt, it is beyond reasonable doubt.)

  200. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    BTW, the thought did occur to me that if “Radical” Dave Platt and John Piper really wanted to show us how radical they are they need travel no further than the south side of Chicago.

    I say *go for it.*

  201. Libby wrote:

    Ok, are you saying that stoning kids and marrying rapists are errors in the bible? It just seems to me that everyone cherry picks from a tree that has more rotten cherries and good cherries.

    Libby wrote:

    I am an agnostic who is all ears if anyone can sensibly explain this stuff to me. My mind is made up almost 100%. But, in 20 years, I have yet to hear a really good explanation of the bible and strongly lean toward a believe that the bible was written for the benefit of men by men. I think the sufferings of women and children around the world would be greatly diminished if the world would reject organized religion, not necessarily all believe in god. Why should a bunch of patriarchs from the first century be ruling our lives today?

    Everyone looks at the evidence differently. As I mentioned earlier the Bible makes extraordinary claims, most of the old testament came from oral traditions dating back to the dawn of civilization, and reflects the brutality of the age. The new testament also reflects the mores and morals of the first century.
    This include the reality of slavery, misogyny, monarchical hierarchy and other nasty business.
    There are also ways to interpret the good there, if you take in historical context. For example “Turn the other cheek”. Taken literally it could mean “roll over and submit” when faced with injustice.
    However in the first century – in the Levant, blood feuds were common. I insult you, you insult me, I hit you, you hit me – a never-ending cycle of violence that escalates.
    By “turning the other cheek” it could be interpreted as taking the first steps to peace in what essentially is tribal warfare. Jesus is encouraging being the first to back down and end the cycle. I do not interpret this to mean bend over and take a kick in the pants.
    This is why the founder of Islam, Mohammed, was so successful. He was able to negotiate an end to the cycle of violence of the Arabian tribes (and get it to focus outward to great effect!)

    Religion needs a major overhaul, you won’t get people to ever reject it, but Christian reform has to come from Christians – at least in this forum folks are willing to engage in some of the hard conversations.

    I have no intention of changing your mind, we’re all on our own journey (spiritual or otherwise).

    An full disclosure (if you haven’t read any of my previous comments), I don’t believe the bible occurred as written, and do not identify a Christian for that reason but is there a God? Right now I’m comfortable with not knowing.

  202. Libby,

    Jesus was in the habit of honoring, respecting and elevating women. The evidence is there if you look hard enough. Jesus had a whole team of women traveling with Him. That’s not excluding women! Good grief.

    The whole reason that Jesus came was to set the captives free. As Jesus described His mission statement, He had come:

    1) To heal the brokenhearted
    2) To preach deliverance to the captives
    3) And recovering of sight to the blind
    4) To set at liberty them that are bruised

    Jesus directly attacked the entitlement mentality of patriarchial culture several times. Jesus defended women several times. How many examples do you want me to give?

  203. If anyone here is open minded and interested in studying the scientific evidence for God—there’s a fascinating book called:

    Darwin’s Black Box By Michael Behe

    This is not written by a Christian. This is a scientist describing the biochemical challenge to evolution. Absolutely fascinating journey into the depth of the cell.

  204. okrapod wrote:

    Ummm, let me be sure I understand what you are saying. You seem to be saying that God ought to be something which can be understood, even explained, by humans. How does that make any sense? Humans still cannot even explain themselves or each other, much less the intricacies of creation. Why would we even remotely think that something we could understand, and therefore potentially control, would be a god, much less The God?
    I am very slowly and insidiously being destroyed by a disease that nobody can explain much less control, not to mention that we all eventually are destroyed by a condition (old age) which we do not understand and which we cannot control, unless some other condition which we also do not understand and cannot control does us in first. More than that, we seem to be facing a post-antibiotic era in which we will all be helpless before diseases which we do not understand and cannot control as they inflict disaster on bodies which we do not adequately understand and cannot control.
    More than that, we also do not know how to control crime, how to educate the uneducable, how to control the weather, how to get along with each other, how to avoid military conflict, how to all sing off the same page of the hymn book, how to treat rather many mental conditions, and sometimes even how to find the will to continue in the face of it all. So how would it be remotely reasonable to think that humans could explain God?

    I always find your opinions to be an interesting read. You’re absolutely right. Not everything can be explained, and I’m sorry to hear about your illness.
    Science doesn’t even understand how the chemical soup, neurons and other structures in my brain come together to form a consciousness known as “Jack”.
    But you come from the position that God exists and I get the impression that Libby is leaning the other way. I don’t think Libby wants to control God but instead sees people under the control of an ancient system of beliefs that doesn’t make sense to her.
    I can relate to the reaction. As I drifted from faith and read more and more, I felt a little brassed that since childhood I’d been sold a dud set of goods. Then for a while I was all “angry atheist”, but now I’ve come to a sort of peace with it – I try to take in all sides and come to my own conclusions.
    No, we don’t want to control God but we can’t sit and say “Well, can’t explain it, must be God!” and discussions need to happen regarding the excesses of religion (all religions) in today’s world.

  205. Libby wrote,

    “Why should a bunch of patriarchs from the first century be ruling our lives today?”

    Libby,

    Everyone here stands against that! No one here wants that. As people of faith, we totally believe in full rights and equality for women. Please don’t make so many assumptions about us.

  206. Donna wrote:

    He should weigh what and how he says things because he is going to cause a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering to families that their sovereign god ( he himself) will lead them into, thereby many a persons faith will be shipwrecked!

    While he studies Theology in his third-floor office, ringing his submissive wifey to bring him tea.

  207. Libby wrote:

    marrying rapists are errors in the bible?

    Actually, no they are not errors. I really encourage you to Google these bits of the Bible and look at some thoughts by intelligent people who still believe in the Bible and condemn rape.

    Let me take on the *marry your rapist* situation. It is important that we understand the culture of that day. Women who were raped were considered unclean by just about every tribal group in existence. A woman who was raped was often thrown outside the community and condemned to live on her own. This was a death sentence. The only way a raped woman could support herself was as a prostitute. If she didn’t, there would be no way for her to feed herself and stay alive.

    The solution was interesting. The rapist was now forced to be responsible for that woman’s welfare for the rest of her life. He would have to marry her and support her. That meant feeding her, giving her shelter, caring for any child that came along as part of the rape. For the vast majority of men in that time, this was a real problem because many did not have enough money to support more people in their family. This was a significant deterrent for rapists.

    I can go deeper into this situation. I can also discuss the stoning of the kid as well. However, everything I have said is easily found today for those who truly want to try to understand the Scriptures. Frankly, it is far easier now than it was for me 25 years ago. Do you know how many commentaries and other books I had to buy??

    One underlying assumption helped me as I looked at these things. I knew that there were extremely intelligent people who continued to believe in God even in light of these Biblical difficulties. Many of them, like myself, did not bury our concerns but faced them head on and looked for answers. Most of us have found them. Does this mean it is easy to fully understand. No! I am still on a journey trying to figure things out but I now have faith in the trajectory of the Scripture and in a God who loves his people.

  208. Persephone wrote:

    I rarely comment, but I want to give a thanks for the Bible discussion. I’ve been losing my faith over the past couple of years, despite myself. Google feels like the enemy because every opinion out there seems to be as well researched and thought out as the previous one, until my head is spinning.

    I don’t know which way is up at this point. I’ve lived through some trauma in the last few years, and still am not in a really stable place, which contributes to the spiritual wobbliness (or vice-versa). I know the main focus of TWW is abuse, but this bit of thread drift is edifying to me.

    +1
    I’m sure that my story is a bit different than Persephone’s, but I also really appreciate this thread. In addition to struggles with my faith and church, I feel very socially isolated. It helps so much to read about all of you asking questions and drawing conclusions without being shamed.
    Now back to finish reading the comments…

  209. Karen wrote:

    Perhaps the words “leadership cowards” would be a more appropriate label. A humble soul bears more “leadership” qualities than a proud babbling theologian.

    How about the word for herd leader from the “Puppeteers” in Larry Niven’s “Known Space” series?
    “Those-Who-Lead-From-Behind”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierson%27s_Puppeteers

  210. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    That worked out pretty well for women and children under Stalin. One could make a solid argument that there have been more killings and tortures under atheistic communism in the 20th century than under all other religions combined throughout history. The one thing that history proves is the fall of man.

    Stalin trained as a priest and was well versed in the power of religious thinking so (like L. Ron Hubbard) he created one based on himself. It was only “atheism” insofar as he displaced God. It was more akin to emperor worship. Communism (in the soviet form) was also a religion based on the belief that the communist system would lead to an revolution that would lead to an evolution in humanity. It just needed a few strong men to make it happen – sound familiar?
    Anyways, lack of belief in God does not automatically make one an amoral monster.

  211. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    That worked out pretty well for women and children under Stalin. One could make a solid argument that there have been more killings and tortures under atheistic communism in the 20th century than under all other religions combined throughout history.

    Because Communism was a One-True-Way Ideological System that functioned as a State Religion, but didn’t have any safeguards like mercy in the mix.

    Pope John Paul II approached it as a Christian Heresy, focusing on one doctrine in isolation while ignoring the others; Chesterton described Christianity as a dynamic balance of Doctrines, any one of which in isolation could lay waste to the world.

  212. @ Libby:

    Having said that last response, I would like to add: Just because it is unfair to demand absolute certainty before believing something, doesn’t mean you ought to believe it. Test it, and question it: nothing worth believing is worth believing if it is only a lie.

    That said, have you read the peer-reviewed works of people like William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, J. Warner Wallace, Norman Geisler, and others in defense of the validity of Christ’s claims? If not, I encourage you specifically to read some of the works by William Lane Craig, or watch his debates with Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris, and other outspoken atheists, agnostics, scientists, etc. from a variety of academic backgrounds. They present many of the objections you bring up, and almost certainly some you might have never heard of before. Yet there are robust answers to your tough questions, and Dr. Craig’s concise debate format makes them readily accessible. The others are mostly accessible through books and academic journals.

    But if you’re looking for reading material, there’s a whole spectrum from “light” to “dryly academic.” If you’re serious about the historical reliability of the Bible, I would recommend Licona, Habermas, Wright, and McDowell (“Evidence for the Historical Jesus” is a brief, 300 page compilation of the evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament manuscripts, as well as extrabiblical support for Jesus’ claims to be the son of God).

    If you’re concerned about the philosophical validity of the theistic worldview in general, and the Christian view in particular (which might be quite different from what you think it is), then I recommend Craig (“Reasonable Faith” covers the validity of the basic Christian worldview, literally from the nature and beginning of the universe, down to the credibility of the New Testament eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, and is choc-full of references to other scholarly works in philosophy, cosmology, historical investigation, physics, archaeology, etc.), Geisler & Turek (“I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” is relatively light reading compared to the others, but runs through the philosophical foundations, objections, and answers to those objections quite succinctly), Ravi Zacharias (“Jesus Among Other Gods” is a comparison between Christianity and other religions; “Can Man Live Without God?” is an extrapolation of Nietsche’s “The Madman” parable, and the subsequent Absurdism/Existentialism that led to the incoherence of postmodernism).

    And if you’re in the mood for crime/thriller mixed with historical investigation, Lee Strobel’s “The Case For Christ” is the riveting account of his journey from a journalist hostile to the Christian faith, to becoming a believer. It’s sort of “apologetics lite,” since he condenses the main points from many of the people previously mentioned, among others.

    Also under that genre is forensic investigator J. Warner Wallace (“Cold-Case Christianity” is his most well-known and accessible work), who applied the rules of cold-case forensic investigation to the claims of Jesus’s resurrection, trying to determine whether or not it could be shown, beyond reasonable doubt, in a courtroom-like style, that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. If he rose from the dead, then he was probably the Son of God (or else a freak of nature, which would be equally miraculous, and require an explanation just as robust). And if not, then Christianity need not be taken seriously. Yet, as you can probably tell, he took it seriously enough to become a Christian.

    On the supposed moral monstrosity of “God,” there are many excellent resources that clean up the foul air belched out by abusive men. Some of the best (as in, easiest to read and most helpful) which address your concerns (and many more) include Brad Jersak’s “A More Christlike God,” C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” and “The Problem of Pain,” George MacDonald’s “Unspoken Sermons: Justice” (which is available as eBook at Project Gutenberg, or a LibraVox audiobook on Youtube), Philip Yancy’s “The Jesus I Never Knew” (which discusses his escape from abusive theology into the orthodoxy of God’s kindness), and finally, the works of C. Baxter Kruger, including “Across All Worlds,” and “Jesus And The Undoing of Adam.”

    You said you were all ears. Now you can be all eyes, too: That should be enough to occupy them for a while….

    Happy hunting.

  213. Avid Reader wrote:

    f anyone here is open minded and interested in studying the scientific evidence for God—there’s a fascinating book called:
    Darwin’s Black Box By Michael Behe
    This is not written by a Christian. This is a scientist describing the biochemical challenge to evolution. Absolutely fascinating journey into the depth of the cell.

    That’s an interesting discussion all it’s own. As I understand it, Behe very much had a creationist agenda.

    Here’s another side to the story

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZzGXnYL5I

    And I found this book really interesting as well

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_Days_and_40_Nights_(book)

  214. Libby,

    The Bible starts out with God giving women full equality and authority over the Earth. Then when Adam messes this up, God recognizes that Eve was ambushed by telling her “A lying in wait has increased your sorrows.” That’s the literal Hebrew that was horribly mistranslated by the KJV.

    Then God warns Eve that she’s turning to Adam for comfort but he will unjustly try to control her. Then the OT describes a bunch of bad behavior with people making the wrong decisions. That’s a description of history NOT any type of justification for those bad decisions.

  215. Avid Reader wrote:

    Darwin’s Black Box By Michael Behe
    This is not written by a Christian

    Behe is Roman Catholic.

    Behe is a believer in irreducible complexity. Basically, this theory states that in order for an eye to function, all parts must be present for it to work as a whole. He claims that evolutionists believe that each change in an organism makes the organism stronger and better. However, in order for. the eye to develop, there would be no biological incentive for all of the parts to develop separately and come together since each individual part is useless on its own.

    However, there are other OE/TE Christian scientists (as well as those who are not) who would disagree with his conclusions.

    I believe that God creating Ex Nihlo and also believe that Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory.

    I think Scientific American wrote a decent article of this whole issue. If you scroll down, they deal with Behe’s thinking on the matter. It is well worth the read.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/15-answers-to-creationist/

    Just to repeat myself: I believe that God created the heavens and the earth.

  216. Dee,

    Have you read Michael Behe’s book cover to cover? He makes a powerful case with lots of evidence to back up his claims.

    As an open minded person who loves to read both sides of the argument, I found Behe’s evidence very compelling. He goes point by point, using logic, reason, and science to answer the objections one by one.

  217. @ Libby:

    If that wasn’t enough, as you said, “the list goes on and on…”

    If you’re interested, I would also like to point out the Canadian astrophysicist Hugh Ross and his defense of the theistic worldview from a cosmological (e.g., astronomy, origins of life, physics etc.) perspective, and the subsequent demonstration of the correlation between the Old Testament (Hebrew) accounts and modern cosmology. (Also, there is a much higher incidence of theists in general, and Christians in particular, in the fields of astronomy and cosmology).

    I know I’m probably starting to annoy you with all this, but this is the last one, I promise: have you read “Pensees” by Blaise Pascal? He has an excellent quote: “Make Christianity attractive, and then show that it is true.” I take it no one has shown you how attractive Christ’s teaching actually is, and instead you have experienced how disgusting and cruel and abusive human nature can be. The two are not necessarily the same, you know…

  218. @ elastigirl:
    @ okrapod:
    Thank you so much for these comments. I found them so helpful.

    To weigh in on the original topic, I wish Piper would back up his thoughts with some of his own experiences. During my childhood, one of my parents was murdered; it was a great trauma that still shapes who I am today. As a parent, I do see it as my responsibility to help shape my children’s values. We spend lots of weekends camping instead of plugged in to Netflix or the Xbox. When they were younger, we made more outings to the public library than to the toy store. At Christmas, they know that we budget not only for gifts, but also to contribute to charities in our community, and they get to help pick which ones. These are small examples of ways that I try to show them what I think is important by how we spend our time and money. But based on my own experiences, I cannot see putting them in danger for the purpose of building character or faith. IMO, raising a child in an environment where they feel safe and loved does not necessarily make a “bloated jellyfish.”

  219. Just a quick reminder:

    When things get thrown into moderation, we may be out and not able to immediately approve things.

  220. Avid Reader wrote:

    Have you read Michael Behe’s book cover to cover?

    In fact, I have. My husband and I both read it back in the day and had some lively discussions about it with friends who are into science.

    It was a great idea at that time. For a short while, both my husband and I thought irreducible complexity had merit. Unfortunately a few of his assumptions have been proven incorrect. Read the Scientific American link about the irreducible complexity of the eye.

    BTW, the idea of irreducible complexity has been around for over a century. Behe coined the term, though.

  221. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    Jesus was in the habit of honoring, respecting and elevating women. The evidence is there if you look hard enough. Jesus had a whole team of women traveling with Him. That’s not excluding women! Good grief.
    The whole reason that Jesus came was to set the captives free. As Jesus described His mission statement, He had come:
    1) To heal the brokenhearted
    2) To preach deliverance to the captives
    3) And recovering of sight to the blind
    4) To set at liberty them that are bruised
    Jesus directly attacked the entitlement mentality of patriarchial culture several times. Jesus defended women several times. How many examples do you want me to give?

    Thank-you Avid Reader for explaining the true heart and True Divinity of Jesus Christ in just a few sentences. John 3:17

    The missionary field is wide open, and I appreciate the Biblical conversation here for it ministers to my soul.

  222. Jack,

    Both sides have an agenda. Please say you weren’t implying that the agnostic side of the debate never has an agenda.

  223. Jack wrote:

    Anyways, lack of belief in God does not automatically make one an amoral monster.

    Yes, that is a very good point. The context of my comment was in reply to the proposition that religion is the source of evil. Neither Theists nor Atheists have a monopoly on either good or evil. Both “sides” can point to shining examples of virtue in their own camp and horrible examples of evil in the other camp. It really boils down to individual human choice – some humans strive to make life better for others, other humans strive to make life better for themselves at the expense of others.

  224. Avid Reader wrote:

    Both sides have an agenda. Please say you weren’t implying that the agnostic side of the debate never has an agenda.

    Fair enough. Agendas abound. Behe’s concept was not convincing to courts enough to prove that it wasn’t religion in a lab coat. Or to a majority of scientists. So it failed to convince me.

  225. Karen wrote:

    He judges, he criticizes, and he condemns on a continual basis, wrapping up his warped views in Christianese language.

    Yes, this is how Piper mesmerizes the masses. Here is a recent sample of good Piper satire from a TWW contributor: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/10/16/sola-pipera-john-piper-says-sola-fide-doesnt-cut-it-and-then-seems-to-cook-the-books/#comment-344035.

    This satire way too scary – it perfectly illustrates how Piper and his ilk can twist the Bible to mean anything they want.

  226. Dee,

    Thank you for that clarification. That was just an honest question out of pure curiosity.

    Yes I did read that article and the other articles that you suggested. I read a completely insane amount of books especially the really hard ones.

    After hearing both sides of the argument and doing the heavy duty research, I believe in Christ because I believe in science, logic and reason.

    No matter how many people deny it, science points to a God. The question becomes which God?

    Many world religions say do this, do that and maybe—you might be good enough for Heaven. The reality is that you are just sacrificing for some god that’s never done anything for you. They want you to do the sacrifice for them.

    Christ did the sacrificing for us. Then He said “Done!” It’s over. And Jesus warned us that the other voices in the world are thieves and robbers.

    So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.”
    John 10:7-8 (NET)

  227. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    It was mostly the Worm Theology and Predestination of the New Calvinists that drove my friends to despair. In the hierarchy of the spiritual elite, the really “intentional” or “solid” Christians, they were at the top: their doctrine was “on point,” they were “on fire,” and they were role models to the other guys. But because they never felt good enough, they burned out. They did everything the Elite told them to do, and it destroyed them. They had no personal experience of “peace” or “rest” after becoming high-performers.

    Having been involved in Navigators when I was in college, I know how alluring this type of thinking can be. How were you able to resist the pressure? Any advice or recommendations on how to help others out of the trap?

  228. Libby wrote:

    But Christ believed in the Old Testament. Therefore, he did uphold patriarchy and all its abuses. He excluded women and called a Gentile woman a dog. He chose disciples that were misogynistic and advised people to turn the other cheek and not resist an evil doer. Ah, maybe that’s women have to marry rapists!!

    Many people interpret the life of Jesus and his disciples differently than I do. I try not to interpret the actions of Jesus and his disciples through a 21st century lense. They, as well as those living during the times of OT writings, should not be interpreted through our lense. When we do this, it is unfair to to them and the reality of the world they functioned in. Based on their reality, I believe Jesus preached a very different message from the current reality in his and his disciples culture. Just look at how the religious leaders of his time interacted with Jesus and you will find that he brought a message that they did not want to hear. Sadly, scripture has been very abused over thousands of years by those seeking power and authority over others.

  229. Libby wrote:

    Again, people who feel comfort are cherry picking verses. I don’t think I have been unfair.

    But you are cherry picking verses, are you not?

  230. Libby wrote:

    But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.

    This is a very good question. I think Okrapod provided outstanding input on what it would mean if God could actually be explained. So I’ll take this in a different direction. At the risk of piling on, the requirement to be explainable applies not only to theism, but also to atheism and agnosticism.

    Atheism has no fewer problems than theism in terms of having explanatory power. For example, atheism cannot explain why there is something rather than nothing – it cannot even explain why we are here to have this discussion. Atheism also has no answer for the problem of evil. In fact, the problem of evil for atheists is even worse than it is for theists because atheists have no basis to judge whether or not something is evil. If atheism is true, then our existence is a freak accident with no ultimate meaning or purpose. Likewise, moral standards are freak accidents of evolution that have no meaning apart from what these accidental creates (us) give them. Moral standards require a moral law, which requires a moral lawgiver. For an atheist to object to the idea of a God because of all the evil in the world, the atheist must first borrow the concept of God (moral lawgiver) in order to give meaning to the distinction between good and evil. The atheist has to explain why they think evil is actually bad. By what standard can they judge except their own accidental preferences?

    Agnosticism, by definition, cannot explain anything because agnosticism claims there is not enough knowledge to know anything with certainty. It’s fine for an agnostics to say “I respect this or that opinion” or “I tend to prefer this or that way of thinking.” But the last thing an agnostic can say is “I believe this or that” because true agnosticism denies one the ability to know whether anything can be believed. As soon as an agnostic states a belief they are no longer agnostic.

    In the end, theism, atheism, and agnosticism all require a leap of faith. There is no non-faith option because there is no way for any of us to know with certainty whether or not any of these options are true. We all end up picking one based on faith.

  231. Jack wrote:

    I still think Piper is useless and how he goes about admonishing christians is a load of crud.

    You’re kinder than I.
    I think that what he ‘teaches’ is a steaming pile of horse poo-poo.

  232. Muff,

    Totally agree with you. John Piper is an ARROGANT PRICK. Anyone trying to defend him needs to watch that evil video he made telling women to submit to violence. Would Piper himself ever submit to someone striking him? Of course not.

    Even Jesus didn’t turn the other cheek when the temple guard struck Him. He immediately confronted the abuse.

  233. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    Jesus was in the habit of honoring, respecting and elevating women. The evidence is there if you look hard enough. Jesus had a whole team of women traveling with Him. That’s not excluding women! Good grief.
    The whole reason that Jesus came was to set the captives free. As Jesus described His mission statement, He had come:
    1) To heal the brokenhearted
    2) To preach deliverance to the captives
    3) And recovering of sight to the blind
    4) To set at liberty them that are bruised
    Jesus directly attacked the entitlement mentality of patriarchial culture several times. Jesus defended women several times. How many examples do you want me to give?

    Yes, Jesus traveled with women (who financially supported him) and allowed them to learn, and was less brutal than the culture of the time, but he never elevated them to the point of equality with men or to any degree of authority. He saved a woman from being stoned, but I think he was trying to point out the hypocrisy of the stoners. They, too, were guilty of sin (most likely the same sin of adultery), yet felt comfortable stoning someone else.
    Keep in mind he never permitted divorce for spousal abuse, nor even addressed it. The only time spousal abuse is mentioned is in 1st Peter where women are told to submit, because it will supposedly convert the abuser. Really?? Does anyone seriously believe an abuser will change simply because the victim submits to him? Keep in mind Jesus chose the disciples who made these dumb statements. This gives birth to 21st century men like Piper and Driscoll.

  234. Libby wrote:

    think the sufferings of women and children around the world would be greatly diminished if the world would reject organized religion, not necessarily all believe in god. Why should a bunch of patriarchs from the first century be ruling our lives today

    I realize in all my verbiage I didn’t actually directly answer your comment — but the professionals I mentioned can do it much more effectively and credibly than I can.

    However, I’ll give it a go.

    First, I don’t really care about a bunch of patriarchs from the first century. The malpractices of a religion has zero bearing on the validity of that religion — though it does cause a filthy stench.

    I care about the truth. If Jesus is who he says he is — namely, the truth incarnate, and the divine made accessible to humans — then whether I like it or not, his teachings ultimately outweigh my own prejudices. Now, that’s not really as bad as it at first seems: if Jesus is who he says he is, then he is also the very source of peace, life, and goodness, and is also the very epitomy of love — in fact, the highest expression of love, compassion, and mercy, and restoration for broken people, victims and perpetrators alike. If that is the case, then you can understand why the truth or falsehood of his claims are just a little important.

    Thus, it is not the teachings of first century Palestinian patriarchs — many of whom were apparently blockheads just like the rest of us — that informs my life and worldview, but the teachings of the one who claimed to be the very source of Being — and then established beyond reasonable doubt that he is (if you disagree, please consult the sources dumped — I mean, written above).

    I strongly encourage you to actually read what Jesus said. “Turn the other cheek” does NOT mean, “women, submit to abusive husbands.” Rather, if you read the context of the passage, and the broader context of Jesus’s life, it is more like condescending from a position of strength, acquiescing to those who are weak. Even Paul says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). Or again, Jesus Himself says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

    Now, if somebody told you to do those things, but didn’t himself do them, wouldn’t you think he was just trying to groom you for abuse? And in fact, that is exactly what abusers do.

    But what about somebody who actually lived out that creed? Would you still think someone was an abuser who let himself be subjected to the same kind of humiliation, without retaliating? What about Martin Luther King, Jr.? What about Gandhi? Do you think they were simply out to promote an abusive regime? (I hope you don’t honestly answer “yes.” If you do, I’m afraid there’s really no point continuing the discussion…)

    Did Martin Luther King Jr. support the abuse of African Americans at the hands of ignorant racists simply because he didn’t try to kill them? Similarly, Jesus himself lived out the meaning of this: willing to die for those who, out of ignorance, sought to destroy him. And instead of destroying them (as he could have if he was who he said he was), he took their hatred of him as the very means by which he would heal them. That is the meaning of Matthew 5: to show mercy even when you have all legal right to hatred. It most certainly does not mean allowing abuse to continue — it means stopping the cycle, and refusing to become an abuser yourself. If you look further at what Jesus actually did, all of it was in line with his teaching. Does that mean he condoned abuse? No. Look at what he did time after time when he encountered abuse — whether physical, sexual, or emotional, and even spiritual. He took the cruelty and abuse of the men around him, and took the full brunt of it upon himself so that he could save not just the victims, but even the abusers from their stupidity and cruelty.

    At least, that is what early church taught. Quite a far cry from what you probably grew up with.

    And as for “wives, submit to your husbands:” in the next few verses, and according to Christ’s teachings, the husband is the first to be crucified. The husband is supposed to be the first to sacrifice himself. Is that abusive? Whether men are actually good at holding to that teaching, is that teaching itself cruel and manipulative?

  235. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    Those are good questions. Here’s the answers:
    The hard passages of the Bible are where the Bible translators changed certain texts to fit their own personal bias towards women. There are all kinds of examples where translators gave the same Hebrew/Greek word one meaning when applying to men and then totally changed the meaning when applied to women.
    1) God NEVER cursed Eve in the Garden. The literal Hebrew was God telling Eve, “A lying in wait has increased your sorrow and your suffering.” God was recognizing that the serpent had tricked her. Then God warns her that she’s turning to Adam for comfort and Adam is going to wrongly try to rule her. That’s a warning NOT a command.
    2) The OT was written in a time of cultural patriarchy where God had to put protections into the law, trying to protect women from domestic violence. Some of the OT passages about if a husband suspects his wife is cheating, he has to take her to the temple for a test. The whole point was to stop the husband from hurting her in a jealous rage by providing due process of law. These types of laws were NEVER God’s perfect will but simply a way to protect women under a culture that refused to recognize their rights in the first place.
    Jesus told the Pharisees that there were OT laws that God NEVER wanted to have. But had to provide because of the “hardness of their hearts.”
    3)In the OT, God raised up women into powerful positions. Deborah ruled the nation and led the military into battle. The King and leaders went to a female prophet for guidance. Etc. Etc. God never excluded women from being in authority, God just had to deal with a hard hearted culture putting road blocks in the way.
    4) OF course women are made in the image of God. The Bible confirms that. Please show us the passage that you believe says women aren’t made in the image of God.
    5) The Bible NEVER tells women to submit to abuse. That’s just misinterpretating caused by bias in the pulpits. In fact the Apostle Paul specifically said not to put up with anyone who slaps you in the face. (2Cor 11:20)
    If you take the time to dig deep enough, you can see God’s heart for protecting women throughout the Bible. There are parts of the Bible warning us about domestic violence and the wolves who sneak into the churches (I.e. Judges 19-20) That’s warning us about bad behavior, NOT suggesting we follow that example.
    Libby, Jesus is the greatest liberator of women that ever walked the face of the Earth. We have an uphill battle in the church fighting all the traditions of men that have covered up the truth for too long.

    For point 4 above, look at Genesis 1:27, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God the he created HIM, male and female he created them.

    Notice how only HIM is in the image of God. Also notice how Eve was pranced in front of Adam, just the animals were. Not nice.

    Next, look at 1 Corinthians 11:7 A man ought not cover his head, since he is the image and glory God, but woman is the glory of man.

    Doesn’t think strongly imply the lower ranking and status of women?

  236. Libby,

    If you take the time to really study the full context, the Bible supports equal rights for women and divorce for spousal abuse. However, We have a real problem with biased Bible translators who rewrote passages to fit their personal bias against women.

    There’s way too much evidence on how the Bible teaches divorce for abuse that there’s no way to fit all that evidence into a comment on a blog post.

    If you are open minded and willing to read both sides then there’s several great books on how the Bible actually encourages divorce for abuse including:

    Unholy Charade by Jeff Crippen

    Not Under Bondage by Barbara Roberts

    The book Ten Lies the Church Tells Women by J Lee Grady gives a great introduction to how the Bible actually teaches equality for women.

    If you want to do heavy duty research the book Gods Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell shows how Jesus is the greatest liberator of women ever to walk the Earth It shows how Jesus and the Apostle Paul were actually hardcore feminists.

    There’s plenty of evidence if you take the time to find it.

  237. @ Libby:

    I know I’ve been commenting heavily, so I hope you’ll have patience for one more — though I may remind you that TWW is the perfect place to get more feedback than you may have wanted… 🙂

    “Staying married” and “tolerating abuse” are not the same thing. 1 Peter 3:1 does NOT refer to an abusive marriage — unless you consider being married to an unbeliever abusive, in which case I would have to question your honesty. (Although some wise comedians might claim being married AT ALL is itself an abuse…)

    The context of that passage deals with staying married even if the husband is not a believer. I have seen multiple women do just that, and what happened next? Often the husband followed in belief — not always, but fairly frequently. Enough to convince me that Peter was right, at least, about that.

    Later in that passage Peter says: “You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” Now, what does “giving way to fear” sound like? Does that sound like tolerating abuse?

    Come to think of it, that whole passage is meant to show that men can be jerks, and women should not trust them for lasting fulfillment, but trust God instead — because he knows that men can be jerks. Then the rest is a reminder to men not to be jerks. Does that sound abusive?

    (Sorry for the word-vomit, but internet dialogue is an unscratchable itch…. I hope what I’ve written makes sense)

  238. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    We could talk about how God honored Jael in the OT for taking down the powerful enemy leader with nothing more than a bottle of milk and a tent peg. That’s not excluding women! That’s showing the wisdom of women rescuing a nation.
    Then there’s the OT story of the woman who saved her whole city by dropping a millstone on the enemy leader who was trying to destroy them.
    There’s a third story of another lady saving the lives of an entire city by getting rid of one bad guy.
    How many more examples of the Bible honoring the strength, valor and courage of women would you like?

    I don’t think the bible teaches that women are dumb or incapable, just lower ranking and required to be in submission to at least husband and father. Women like Deborah, Jael, are interesting, but more the exception and not the rule. I will pull these stories up on line and read again. Maybe they had no husband or father, this I don’t remember. Thanks

  239. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    If you take the time to really study the full context, the Bible supports equal rights for women and divorce for spousal abuse. However, We have a real problem with biased Bible translators who rewrote passages to fit their personal bias against women.
    There’s way too much evidence on how the Bible teaches divorce for abuse that there’s no way to fit all that evidence into a comment on a blog post.
    If you are open minded and willing to read both sides then there’s several great books on how the Bible actually encourages divorce for abuse including:
    Unholy Charade by Jeff Crippen
    Not Under Bondage by Barbara Roberts
    The book Ten Lies the Church Tells Women by J Lee Grady gives a great introduction to how the Bible actually teaches equality for women.
    If you want to do heavy duty research the book Gods Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell shows how Jesus is the greatest liberator of women ever to walk the Earth It shows how Jesus and the Apostle Paul were actually hardcore feminists.
    There’s plenty of evidence if you take the time to find it.

    Thanks, I have read most of that stuff already. You are assuming that I have not done my homework because I disagree with the egalitarian interpretations. I do think the bible teaches complementarianism, even though I am a staunch opponent of it.

  240. Bridget wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    Again, people who feel comfort are cherry picking verses. I don’t think I have been unfair.
    But you are cherry picking verses, are you not?

    No, I am not cherry picking. I am looking at the whole thing meaning old and new testatment. But at the end of the day, the testaments need to be reconciled and I don’t think this is possible. But even if you just look at the new testament, there is still much misogyny and devaluation of women. It’s just not quite as bad as the old testament.

  241. If anyone wants the references on how the OT actually honors women’s courage in resisting subservience and rising above the lower position of patriarchal culture, here they are:

    Genesis 38 honors a woman outsmarting a man in a culture that left her no other options.

    Judges 4-5 is about a woman rising to the highest position of authority in a patriarchial culture. And another woman taking down the enemy leader with nothing more than a bottle of milk and a tent peg.

    Judges 9:23 is the story of a woman saving her whole city by killing the enemy leader attacking them.

    The book of Esther is about how one woman saved a whole nation.

    2 Samuel 20 describes another woman saving her whole city by taking out one really bad guy.

    2Chronicles 34 is about the leaders of the nation going to a female prophet for guidance.

    There’s more, but this is a good place to start.

  242. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.
    Are you familiar with the field, philosophy of science? Or epistemology (the nature of truth, or the study of our ability to comprehend reality)? On an epistemological level, a consistent and strict maxim of “if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem,” would lead to abandoning most of what you can be said to “know.” That is not to say you are therefore wrong in your agnosticism by default, but simply as a reminder to apply consistent standards when investigating different claims. Do you realize that to demand a concrete explanation of something before you accept its existence would lead to knowing virtually nothing? Science is great, and is our best tool to discover what empirical reality is actually like. But no scientist worth his salt will tell you his theory is absolutely 100% certain. Or to claim we should not believe anything unless we can be absolutely certain, would lead to reject all scientific theories — which I’m sure you do not want to do. The nature of science (or, “knowledge”) is change, because our knowledge is always changing. So absolute certainty is unattainable even at the highest academic levels.
    Does that mean we have reasonable room to doubt Einstein’s theory of relativity, for instance, or the theories surrounding the electromagnetic spectrum? No. Why not? Because there is enough evidence to establish those concepts beyond reasonable doubt. Most of science operates on the principle of “beyond reasonable doubt.” If you want to apply that standard of acceptance to other matters of truth, it should be the standard to apply to all matters of truth. Thus, it is ill-advised to demand absolute certainty of any worldview, then claim that because there is not 100% certainty to its validity, you are justified in scrapping it. If that were the case, you would pull out the rug from beneath your own feet. (By the way, “beyond reasonable doubt” does NOT mean “free from any moments of doubt;” it simply means, given all the available evidence for an explanation in question, and given intellectual honesty, is there still warrant to discredit the explanation? If not, then it is the best explanation, and as there is no reasonable reason to doubt, it is beyond reasonable doubt.)

    You have misunderstood me. I am not saying we must explain every nuance about god. For example, the trinity is hard to explain, right? But the doctrine is not contradictory to a holy god, or to Old Testament teaching (Let’s create man in OUR image).
    So you don’t necessarily need to explain it. I am saying that the old and new testaments need to be reconciled because they appear contradictory. On one hand it claims god is love and the other hand, it justifies violence, slavery, misogyny. I think you get my point.

  243. Avid Reader wrote:

    Libby,
    If you take the time to really study the full context, the Bible supports equal rights for women and divorce for spousal abuse. However, We have a real problem with biased Bible translators who rewrote passages to fit their personal bias against women.
    There’s way too much evidence on how the Bible teaches divorce for abuse that there’s no way to fit all that evidence into a comment on a blog post.
    If you are open minded and willing to read both sides then there’s several great books on how the Bible actually encourages divorce for abuse including:
    Unholy Charade by Jeff Crippen
    Not Under Bondage by Barbara Roberts
    The book Ten Lies the Church Tells Women by J Lee Grady gives a great introduction to how the Bible actually teaches equality for women.
    If you want to do heavy duty research the book Gods Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell shows how Jesus is the greatest liberator of women ever to walk the Earth It shows how Jesus and the Apostle Paul were actually hardcore feminists.
    There’s plenty of evidence if you take the time to find it.

    Just out of curiosity, what is your interpretation of Leviticus 27:1-8?

  244. Libby,

    I’m glad you asked about 1Cor 11. Let’s sit down for a cup of coffee together and study this:

    Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8), set the captives free and heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4). That includes freeing women from the crushing oppression of patriarchal culture.

    Many times—Jesus directly attacked how women were being mistreated under patriarchal culture:

    Jesus defended women’s rights to spend their own money however they see fit in Mark 14:3-9. That’s the story where Jesus attacks Simon for criticizing how a woman spends her money. Jesus completely rips apart how Simon was criticizing her, elevating himself and putting her down.

    Jesus defends the equal rights of women in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus makes a point of healing a woman in the synagogue in front of everyone. The woman starts speaking in front of people who don’t like women speaking in front of men. They complain about Jesus healing on the Sabbath. Jesus directly attacks their entitlement mentality by attacking what they claim as special privilege—that they are descendants of Abraham. Jesus puts women on equal status by making the point that this woman is also a descendant of Abraham and thus (by their own standards) deserving of the same special privileges that they claim for themselves. Jesus is making the point that women have the same rights and privileges as the men.

    In Luke 8:43-48—Jesus makes a point of making the most important person in that local town—the synagogue leader—stand and listen to a woman talk as long as she wants to. That spoke volumes in a culture that silenced women. The leader is in the biggest hurry of his life, yet Jesus chooses that time to make a point of taking time to listen to a woman.

    In Luke 11:27-28, Jesus rips apart the idea that women have to be silent in the church. Jesus is giving a sermon to an assembly gathered at a house (yes that qualifies as a church service). A lady interrupts his sermon to make her point. Right here would be the perfect place for Jesus to tell her to be quiet. Or for Jesus to say that women have to be quiet in church. Yet Jesus simply corrects her theology. He validates her right to speak and responds to her point. Yet theologians still totally ignore the actual example of Christ and still try to twist Scripture to silence women.

    By the way, the Apostle Paul was actually arguing for women’s right to speak in the church when he wrote those famous words in 1Cor 14. First Paul makes the point that everyone—including women—can speak in church (verse 25 and verse 31) as long as things are done in an orderly way. Then Paul answers the question that they had asked. Paul was referencing their question about if women should be silent.

    Paul responds with an explosive——what???? You Corinthian men really think that you’re the only one that God speaks through so you want to silence the women? (ver 36) Then he again affirms the right of everyone, including women to speak in church as long as it’s not disruptive.

    Now Jesus was directly attacking patriarchal culture when he saved the woman from the mob that wanted to stone her. Libby, you’ve probably read plenty of history on how patriarchy has a double standard of allowing men to do whatever they want while criticizing women for doing the same thing. That’s exactly what Jesus was attacking when he said to the men—that whoever was without sin could cast the first stone. Then Jesus made of point of refusing to accuse the woman. John 8:11

    Jesus directly attacked patriarchal culture again when he answered the question on divorce. Jesus is speaking to men who lived in a culture that allowed married men to cheat on their wives as much as they wanted and it wasn’t considered adultery unless they were sleeping with a married woman. Then it would be a crime against that woman’s husband. No wonder they were shocked when Jesus attacks their entitlement mentality by saying that they can’t just divorce their wives for any frivolous reason. But that men should be faithful to their wives. Then Jesus shocks them again by making the point that it was possible for men to commit adultery.

    There are so many examples of how Jesus fought how patriarchal culture demeaned women. Dig deeper and you’ll find them.

  245. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    My mind is made up almost 100%.
    That is an interesting statement for an agnostic to make. Agnostics cannot be certain about anything, even their agnosticism. What you are basically saying is that you are nearly 100 percent certain that you cannot be certain about anything. Kind of a self-defeating statement. If it is impossible for you to believe that the God described in the Bible is loving and engaged, it is equally impossible for you to believe that God is distant and indifferent. At least from an agnostic perspective. All an agnostic an honestly say, by definition, is “I don’t know.”

    But you can’t be 100 % sure there is a god. None of us can be certain. It’s all a spectrum. But the bible has serious problems

  246. Just to be clear—Jesus came to set the captives free—that includes freeing women from patriarchal culture itself.

    Jesus taught equality with the simple universal concept of teaching us treat to others the way that we would want to be treated. That was directly attacking the entitlement mentality of that culture. Julius Caesar once said that all of humanity exists to benefit the few. That’s the mindset that Jesus was directly attacking by elevating the common people to the same level of value as those at the top.

  247. Libby wrote:

    But you can’t be 100 % sure there is a god. None of us can be certain. It’s all a spectrum. But the bible has serious problems

    Did you not read the bottom line of my comment? Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism all required leaps of faith precisely because we cannot know with 100 percent certainty. That was my whole point. It sounded to me like you were asking for a level of certainty from Theists that you don’t expect from Atheists of Agnostics. That is the context of my reply to you.

    There are basically two kinds of Agnostics: 1) the kind that says, “I personally do not know” (meaning knowledge could exist but I don’t have that knowledge) and 2) the kind that says, “No one can know” (which means that knowledge cannot exist and therefore no one can have such knowledge). Which kind are you? If you are the first, why don’t you know? Are you unable to investigate? Are you unwilling to investigate? If you are the second, why do you bother to engage in conversation here? If no one can know, then it is pointless to ask questions.

    Several commenters here have given you a list of very good resources to address all of the concerns you expressed. But you keep coming back with more and more objections with no evidence that you have investigated the sources you were given. Why is that? Do you really want answers or are you just trolling? I’m not trying to be difficult – I’m just trying to understand how best to answer your questions.

  248. Libby wrote:

    But at the end of the day, the testaments need to be reconciled and I don’t think this is possible.

    Where does this requirement come from? Why is there a “need” for reconciliation? And what does reconciliation mean in this context? Does it mean that they must completely agree in all aspects? Does it mean that the New Testament cannot say anything at all that is contrary with the Old Testament? Did you come up with this requirement on your own, or did someone teach it to you? The Bible itself does not state this requirement, which means you are asking something of the Bible that the Bible does not ask of itself.

  249. Dee…if you believe God created the heavens and the earth, then I encourage you to believe when the Bible tells us he made Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his rib.

    Back to the purpose of this post, though…I am reminded by Piper’s words of a Francis Chan video called “The Balance Beam.” Sorry that I don’t know how to link to YouTube. It is fairly short. I find it a little problematic and would be interested in your thoughts.

  250. Marie wrote:

    if you believe God created the heavens and the earth, then I encourage you to believe when the Bible tells us he made Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his rib.

    Do you think it was actual dust? Could it have been DNA? I do believe the Bible. What makes you think that I don’t?

  251. Libby,

    No matter what you believe—belief is still a choice. Refusal to believe proves nothing. The Bible actually does teach divorce for abuse no matter how many Christian leaders deny that. Their refusal to believe proves nothing.

    If anyone wants to read more on that—books by Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts are a great place to start.

  252. Hi everyone. I posted under the echurch but not sure how many go there or if dee or deb will look again for awhile. Do you remember the story they did on Shauna & Billy? Me! Five months ago I posted a negative review about LBC and Ken Ramey along with others. I wanted Dee and Deb to see this what someone from LBC has done. They posted a review not just slandering us , but attacking TWW, and making it as if I love LBC after what they did to billy. I posted a counter review to inform that person to take it down immediately. please see the bold face lies below:

    Shauna Marquis
    1 review

    in the last week
    LBC has been nothing but a blessing for me and my family. I completely agree with Mrs. Koro.

    As Steve Tay has said, I’m here to defend the brothers and sisters that LOVE this church and have been changed by it. God’s word is clearly taught and I have learned more about what I believe in than ever before. The kids ministry is rock solid as well.

    I see some reviews here are as quick to judge for an “agenda” as they make one of their own. Can a member not post an honest review? I don’t see that in the rules. You know…. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these reviews are from the same person. I have heard about this incident regarding a young kid and single mom. A very sensitive issue indeed but nonetheless, from what I understand, did not happen on the church property but in someone’s home. To use that situation as a scare tactic, to what should be handled with the parties themselves and authorities and not through Google, is shameful. It almost comes across as threatening.

    When I arrive, I check in my child and then provided with a security tag so I know where my kids are at all times. I have asked and volunteers are issued a background check so kids are SAFE. Why would I voluntarily put my kids in harms way?

    A church is a place where the community gathers. Communities are full of fun loving people but also depressed, broken, and people that have made some mistakes in the past. I am, unfortunately, one of those people. God saved and delivered me from my sin with the help of LBC and its counseling ministry. I did inform the leadership just as a precaution. Does that mean my name should be called out in the middle of service? What about others with similar experiences? What is a church to do? Does that mean I go to a different church then to not be a “danger”? That would mean I would be a threat to that new church. If that logic is followed, it would be dangerous and total backwards view on what Christ’s goal for the church is. I am saved by faith through grace and this church takes me as I am. A sinner in need of refinement everyday.

    In the times that I have had a chance to talk to “pastor k”, It’s always been a pleasant conversation. I don’t get to talk to him much with being on top of my kids after services but he consistently opens his heart to what he struggles with during sermons. It’s refreshing to know that he’s willing to share and we get to know him during the messages.

    I could keep going on in defending some of the mischaracterizations of LBC. I would recommend that if you’re skeptical, go to the website and see what this church is all about. I know, if you look past all the false noise, you’ll be as blessed, encouraged, loved, and strengthened in faith as my family and I have.

    With all being said, i’m sure there will be reviews about my review. Calling me out, saying i’m stupid, naive, putting my kids in danger, accusing me of being in a cult. I CHOOSE to take my family here every Sunday. I LOVE this church and willing to defend it out of MY OWN WILL. Not some agenda pushed by a victimizing blog that takes advantage of broken people. Would you trust reviews of those that accuse? I wouldn’t.

  253. If you google lakeside bible church Montgomery and look under google reviews you will see three posts under shauna marquis two of them are mine. One of them is my initial review. the second one was om response to the one I just posted and of course your reading the latest. Sorry wanted to clarify where you could find it.

  254. Last night we carved pumpkins. 4, all with very funny faces. On Tuesday, I’ll take the kids trick or treating, my wife will man the candy bowl. We don’t take part in the occult aspect of it. No scary costumes, no scary decorations.
    It’s fun. We take what fits our values and leave what doesn’t.

    Christians run the same spectrum. Along that spectrum you’ve got Piper with his austere, preening, all for my glory God. There’s Dee’s common sense loving God and everything in between, from the best to the worst to the absurd. We all take from it what need but you’re never going to get consensus. So what kind of Christianity fits you? If I were to choose, it would be the one that hands out blankets and food on cold winter nights, that loves all our neighbors as we would love ourselves. That encourages tolerance and dialog to blind submission & obedience. And one that stands with the victim over the criminal – no matter the criminal’s Christian pedigree.

    Is making God fit my outlook? Yes. But until Jesus comes down on a golden chariot to tell me otherwise, it’s the only guidance I’ve got.

  255. Libby asked about the hard passage of 1Cor 11. Let’s look at that in the full context:

    We know that the Corinthian church had a lot of questions. That they had written to the Apostle Paul and he responded by writing First and Second Corinthians to answer their questions. (1Cor 1:11, 5:9, 7:1, 11:18) Throughout the letters you can see Paul referencing their issues.

    In 2Cor 3, Paul is talking about the difference between the Old and New Covenants when he references how Moses used to cover his head under in the OT.

    Now God had never wanted any type of mediator between Him and the people. When God gave the Ten Commandments, He came down in person to speak with the people. Yet the people refused this direct communication—instead demanding that Moses serve as a mediator. (Exo 20:18-20)

    So Moses would climb the mountain to speak to God for them. Then Moses would return with his face shining so brightly from the presence of God that it scared the people. So Moses covered his face to make them feel more comfortable.

    Then the Tabernacle was built with a veil separating the presence of God in the Holy of Holies from where the people gathered. When Jesus died on the cross—this veil was ripped apart from top to bottom—symbolizing that Jesus had broken down all barriers separating us from coming directly to God. (Matt 27:51) The NT affirms that there’s no mediator between God and us. (Heb 4:16)(1Tim 2:5)

    Now writing the NT, the Apostle Paul ties this all together by describing the symbolism of Moses’ veil and the atonement of Christ. He makes a really interesting point in 2Corinthians 3:7b-8 & 12-17(BSB). That if the Old Covenant “Came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at the face of Moses because of its fleeting glory, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?”

    “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were closed. For to this day, the same veil remains at the reading of the old covenant.”

    “It has not been lifted, because only in Christ can it be removed. And even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

    Now let’s focus on these key points he just made:

    1) We are NOT like Moses who covered himself with the veil
    2) Only through Christ is that veil taken away
    3) We with UNVEILED faces behold the glory of the Lord are being transformed into His image

    Keeping all of that in mind—let’s turn to 1Corinthians 11. We know that there was a long standing tradition for men to cover their heads during worship. Did the Corinthians ask Paul about whether the men needed to continue covering their heads during worship?

    Paul writes, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.” 1Cor 11:4(KJV) We know from the previous verse that the “head of every man is Christ.” So for men to cover their heads in worship—dishonors their head—Christ.

    Why?

    Let’s go back again to those three main points from earlier:

    1) We are NOT like Moses who covered himself with the veil
    2) Only through Christ is that veil taken away
    3) We with UNVEILED faces behold the glory of the Lord are being transformed into His image

    Since the atonement of Christ ripped apart the veil in the Temple separating us from God—Christ would be dishonored if we keep a symbol of that “covering” which separated us from the presence of God. The point here is that God never wants anything else separating us from His presence. Therefore, every believer has the right to behold the glory of God with unveiled face.

    So now the question is:

    1) Christ redeemed both men and women
    2) Men don’t have to cover their heads in worship
    3) Thus women should have the same right to uncover their heads, right?

    Of course. That’s what Paul writes in 2Cor 3:18 (KJV), “We all (both men and women) with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory.”

    Yes, both men and women are to behold the Lord with unveiled face. But both Paul and the Corinthians were aware of the tradition in the oral Jewish law that if a married woman appeared in public with her head uncovered—she dishonored her husband because that was considered a sign of availability to other men.

    The author of Life and Times of Jesus Christ, Dr. Alfred Edersheims wrote in Sketches of Jewish Social Life that there was a “Very ancient Jewish belief that the evil spirits gained power over a woman who went with her head bare.” Thus the long-standing custom in Jewish culture was for women to “have their head and hair carefully covered.” Going out in public with an uncovered head was considered “immodesty.”

    He writes, “It was the custom in cases of a woman accused of adultery to have her hair shorn or shaven. The punishment was for them to tell her that “Because you have departed from the manner of the daughters of Israel who go with their heads covered therefore that has befallen you which you have chosen.” In other words, if she won’t cover her head, then her other covering of hair should be removed as well.

    That is the culture that Paul and the Corinthians know very well. If Paul tells the women to unveil their heads—some women with unsaved husbands might be dragged before the Jewish courts and shaven for their “dishonor.”

    Dr. Katherine Bushnell writes:
    “The real purpose of 1Cor 11:1-16 was to stop the practice of men veiling in worship.

    In this passage, Paul:
    1) Forbids men to veil.
    2) Permits women to veil.
    3) But guards against this permission being construed as a command to veil by showing that ideally the woman should unveil her head before God, man, and angels.
    4) Shows that there is special propriety in women unveiling when addressing God in prayer.
    5) Declares that—contrary to the teaching of the Jews—there is nothing for a woman to be ashamed of in showing her hair for it is a “glory” to her.
    6) Disavows veiling as a church custom.”

    Paul is actually making the case for women having the same right to unveil their face as men when he wrote the verse about women being the glory of men. Genesis makes it very clear that women are made in the image of God. Paul is simply arguing that women have every right to unveil their face in the presence of God just as men do.

    Look at verse 10—Paul is making the point that women have authority over their own head. They get to make the decision whether to exert their right to uncover their head or (for cultural reasons) cover it. Paul is honoring the right of women to make their own decisions.

    Bible translators couldn’t handle how Paul just taught women’s rights and authority over their own bodies—so they added changed the Greek word for authority (Exousia) to be “Symbol of authority.” Then they added their own opinion into the text.

    Here’s what Paul wrote:

    “This is why a woman should have authority over her own head—because of the angels.”

    Here’s how the translators changed it:

    “On account of the angels, then, a woman should have a covering over her head to show that she is under her husband’s authority.”
    (GNT)

    That’s not what Paul said!!!

    Here’s more Scripture twisting:
    “Therefore, a woman should wear something on her head to show she is under [someone’s] authority, out of respect for the angels.”
    (GW)

    Nooo!!! Paul was making the point that since even the angels in Heaven get to behold God with unveiled face—women have the same right too. We can come directly to God. No second class citizens. No lower place in society. 1Cor 11 is where the Apostle Paul actually makes the case for equal rights for women.

  256. Libby wrote:

    You have misunderstood me. I am not saying we must explain every nuance about god. For example, the trinity is hard to explain, right? But the doctrine is not contradictory to a holy god, or to Old Testament teaching (Let’s create man in OUR image).
    So you don’t necessarily need to explain it. I am saying that the old and new testaments need to be reconciled because they appear contradictory. On one hand it claims god is love and the other hand, it justifies violence, slavery, misogyny. I think you get my point.

    It seemed you were making the case for strict agnosticism, so if that is not the case, sorry for potential misunderstanding. The difficulty is that you came into the conversation stating in fairly loaded and potentially hostile terms what you do NOT believe, not what you DO; which by default makes it difficult to really understand your position if you do not give clarifying information — which you later gave, after the potential for misunderstanding had apparently already been realized.

    It is usually easier to have cordial dialogue when you stand by what you believe, rather than trample on what others believe. Do you see my point? It seemed like you were trying to attack the Christian position without making your own position clear or vulnerable to the same criticism — which is called a “polemic,” and I’m sure you’ve heard the term before, and almost as sure you view it as a negative.

    Are you prepared to handle the same kind of argument against your own position? What if I told you that agnosticism justifies violence, slavery, and misogyny because it removes the objective moral duties to NOT perform violence, slavery, and misogyny? That without a transcendent source of moral obligation, even the worst crimes are permissible because there is really no reason not to do them? That without a transcendent moral law, you really have no right to believe any of those things are evil, because evil as a category no longer exists?

    Do you see my point?

    (For the record, I am glad you think those things are evil, and I agree with your assessment. However, how do you know those things are evil? What’s you’re standard — if you even have one you can posit? Unless you posit a transcendent moral law, you cannot say anything beyond “I don’t like those things.” But if you posit a transcendent moral law, you must posit a personal, transcendent, authoritative moral lawgiver, independent of culture or human interpretation: Personal, because only persons have the ability to make purposeful decisions, and personal effects require personal causes; Transcendent, because it must be beyond the influence of culture or fashion, and therefore unrestricted by time or place; and Authoritative, otherwise moral denunciations of any kind have absolutely zero force. Quite frankly, the short name for what that describes is “God.”)

    As for reconciliation, I and others have repeatedly tried to point out that the God of the New and Old Testaments is the same, and there are plenty of ways to reconcile them, without abandoning Jesus’s teachings. However, such is the nature of your position, and the nature of the issue, that it will be more advantageous to study on your own. I assure you, there is great gain to be had in a book and a cup of hot chocolate, and it is far more effective for learning than debating with amateurs online.

    Again, I would like to point you to the *scholarly* research mentioned above — if you are actually interested in an answer. If you just want others to “see your point” — then I’m afraid this conversation will go nowhere. Remember that you came asking questions? Was the purpose of your questioning then to learn, or to teach?

    If you want dialogue, I’m happy to engage. But if you are just going to repeat your points, and I find myself prompted just to repeat mine, then I’m afraid the conversation will stagnate. Therefore, I implore you, please check out the resources for yourself — if you are as passionate as you seem, you owe it to yourself to get the professionals’ answers. And please, don’t just brush them aside and say, “I’ve read this all before.” I can almost guarantee you haven’t, and you might just be surprised at what you find. You say you’ve been looking for 20 years. Why not look a little more?

  257. @ Jack:

    I think that is a beautiful statement. As someone dear to me once said, “I would rather be judged by God for being too kind than for being too strict.”

  258. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Does that mean we have reasonable room to doubt Einstein’s theory of relativity, for instance, or the theories surrounding the electromagnetic spectrum? No. Why not? Because there is enough evidence to establish those concepts beyond reasonable doubt.

    While a little off topic, what I want to say is also relevant to this comment thread. The double neutron star merger, GW170817 at an estimated distance of 130 million light years from Earth, first observed as gravity waves (GW) starting Aug 17, 2017 represents a strong affirmation of our collective understanding of the the large scale structure of the universe and its astronomical contents. The event was officially publicized Oct 26, 2017 in a series of press releases by organizations involved in making the observations. The totality of the event observations confirms the essential correctness of the underlying physical theories. The wikipedia (search for GW170817) is a good starting place for more detailed information.

    YEC vs. OEC is a recurrent theme here at TWW. Under the title “Spinning Stardust into Gold”, https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/spinning-stardust-into-gold/ an interesting account of the significance of GW170817 is presented. A factual but incomplete account of the event is given. I consider this account incomplete in two important ways. First, there are no references (links) given to the source descriptions (or wikipedia). Secondly, the very important distance (which is also an age) estimate is not given. Other GW events are mentioned, also without the age/distance estimates. The AIG article devolves into suggesting synthesis of the heavier elements is conjecture, a creation myth, and invokes the Plant of the Apes movies for intellectual support.

    Science is an ongoing activity, not a final answer. The observations GW170817 linking gravitational and electromagnetic evidence are strong indicators of the consistency of current cosmology.

    At the time I composed this there does not appear to be any mention of GW170817 at the Institute for Creation Research.

    Further comments Nick? (using which ever persona you think is appropriate)

  259. Jack wrote:

    austere, preening, all for my glory God

    … all for [leader’s] glory … “God”.

    This week I learned about a former youth director that as youth, we thought was full of himself. He was a seminarian like all of our youth directors but as a youth group, we thought he was narcissistic. He recorded albums and used his youth group leader time to promote himself, his parents’ favorite son.

    He went on to pastor a large orthodox church in a wealthy suburb.
    Then he discovered entertainment Gospel.
    His church hired musicians, did a show, and became mega.
    A life event halted that, with a message from God, “Repent” of the shallow showmanship.
    So on to discipleship or spiritual formation. Then retirement.
    The originally orthodox church has now merged with another multisite mega.

    Interesting how we as youth had it figured out from the beginning.

  260. @ OldJohnJ:

    I’d like to point out that I am certainly not a YEC. Perhaps Arnold Smartarse would like to remind me what a heretic I therefore am?

  261. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I’d like to point out that I am certainly not a YEC. Perhaps Arnold Smartarse would like to remind me what a heretic I therefore am?

    I in no way intended to imply you were YEC. Please accept my apologies. Your comment was simply a trigger for one of my diatribes against YEC in general and AIG specifically.

  262. JYJames wrote:

    And so at TWW we have our own Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    I’ll accept this as a compliment even if I have very little in common with him in scientific training, communication skills and religious views.

  263. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The Bible itself does not state this requirement, which means you are asking something of the Bible that the Bible does not ask of itself.

    Ever tried dialogue with Calvary Chapel’s chief apologetics honcho?
    He will try to convince you that it all fits together as perfectly and as tightly as a LEGO castle.

  264. JYJames wrote:

    And so at TWW we have our own Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    Tyson is way overrated.
    Nikola Tesla, now there was a stellar intellect!

  265. Ken F,

    Thank you. Love the questions that you asked and how you brought us right back to logic and reason.

  266. Late to the party in commenting, but I think there are far too many variables for anyone to make blanket statments regarding taking risks for the sake of the Gospel, or to play it safe for the sake of your children. Following Christ is done via walking in the Spirit and following his direction, which often for Jesus and Paul, was going headlong into danger/conflict, and sometimes it meant to flee and play it safe.

    ” 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” II Cor 8

    “23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

    30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for ever, knows that I do not lie. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Ar′etas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.” II Cor 11

    Paul told the Corinthians to “imitate me as I imitate Christ”, and he didn’t qualify himself as only speaking to those who were celibate. Taking risks for Jesus may indeed at times endanger your children’s lives (possibly less than the risk of routinely driving to eat at McDonalds would) and no one has the right to attach the word “child abuser” to your actions if the Spirit of God led you there. One size does not fit all.

    Life itself is a constant risk, and the main goal in life should certainly not be to play it safe and stay alive.

  267. Libby wrote:

    No, I am not cherry picking. I am looking at the whole thing meaning old and new testatment. But at the end of the day, the testaments need to be reconciled and I don’t think this is possible. But even if you just look at the new testament, there is still much misogyny and devaluation of women. It’s just not quite as bad as the old testament.

    The Bible’s streets have pot-holes galore no argument there. I just drive slow enough to avoid them and save my strut suspension and tires. Many of its highways and byways are just too beautiful to pass up. For me they’re well worth it. Potholes be damned.

  268. @ OldJohnJ:

    Interesting you should mention GW170817, because I did wonder about bringing it up a couple of posts back. What is particularly noteworthy about this observation is that it’s the first instance of an event being observed in the gravitational spectrum and then, subsequently, being observed by more traditional telescopes. Between them, these observations provided data that enabled cosmologists to choose between possible theories which, as you of course are well aware, is the heart and soul of scientific progress.

    There was a time when it was also the heart and soul of theological progress. The example I generally use is: what of the various fragments of scripture was the appropriate and correct one to apply to whether the gentiles needed to be circumcised? The early church stated “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” but the true arbiter of this was the “data” provided by the Holy Spirit himself, through what he was doing. Unfortunately, God can no longer speak or act or otherwise intervene in human affairs, other than “through scripture”, because He was bound by the church when it determined the canon. Apparently.

  269. The only reasonable cause for somebody to require that the older biblical ideas need to be ‘reconciled’ would be if one thought that God’s self revelation has been static rather than continuing. However, Jesus himself said otherwise, and the basic ideas that Jesus fulfilled the alleged messianic prophesies depends on the idea that both revelation (in the person of the Christ) and the understanding of that revelation (in the person of the Spirit) simply did not happen.

    For a secular example, we used to treat syphilis with mercury and arsenic, a really bad idea. Now we use antibiotics. There is no need to reconcile anything about that-we know more and understand more now. The idea that syphilis was a disease, however, and the idea that disease needed treated, is a consistent idea. Some things persist, some things change and are modified. In this there is both consistency and change. Thus also with religion.

    The idea of a need to reconcile biblical ideas is baseless given the elapsed time, the cultural differences, the progressive revelation of God in the Christ event and the progressive understandings through the Spirit. There is not only no problem here, there is evidence that God did not just give man law and then take off and leave man to his own devices. And there is evidence that God interacts with man where he finds man-and takes the initiative in doing that. To me that would be covered in Christianity 101, first semester. Christianity embraces the concept that here is a new thing, the so-far most comprehensive revelation of God himself, not only in the person of Jesus himself but also including when Jesus said stuff like ‘you have heard it said of old but I say to you…’; that sort of thing.

    Nope, the reconciliation demand is dead in the water if one accepts the most basic ideas of Christianity. But if not, then no amount of jerry rigging flimsy attempts at reconciling ancient ideas with what Jesus said is going to work.

  270. One more thing and I hope to quit this topic.

    I do seem to hear from time to time and from various people the idea that unless the scripture can be shown to agree with the particular commenter’s own sociopolitical and/or economic and/or scientific and/or moral and ethical beliefs then there is something wrong with scripture. By the same token there is alleged to be something wrong with anybody who does not agree with the commenter.

    Either scripture has been the victim of centuries old conspiracies among translators over the years, or else preachers are the culprits in how they understand scripture, or else Paul was some sort of villain, or else perhaps even this is proof of the very non-existence of God. Not to mention the idea that only passive or malignant dolts would would fail to see this and continue to believe and practice something with which the commenter disagrees.

    The assumption being, of course, that the individual is correct in his/her beliefs and everybody who does not agree is somehow not only in error but also basically corrupt in some manner. Obviously I do not buy into that approach, but I do feel better for having said this.

    And on another topic, has OJJ just outed Nick with one of his aliases? I bet he has. Star on the char of OJJ is that is correct.

  271. @ dee:

    I just finished watching Wallace’s presentation on you tube.
    He goes where the evidence points and he’s not afraid to take on the pretenders (on both sides) who claim to have it all rolled up tighter that a coil of razor wire back on the Nam.
    I like that.

  272. Okrapod,

    Really enjoyed reading all your comments. Just wanted to thank you for sharing those well thought out points.

  273. Hi Dee…the reason I made the comment is that you stated in pnr pf your comments above (sorry that I don’t know how to link the quote here) “I believe Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory…I do believe God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible tells us “what is seen is not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3) and that “it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves ” (Psalm 100:3) To answer your question, I do believe it was dust from which God formed Adam.

  274. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    What if I told you that agnosticism justifies violence, slavery, and misogyny because it removes the objective moral duties to NOT perform violence, slavery, and misogyny?

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard a self-avowed agnostic address this. Interesting point that is worth exploring.

  275. @ kin:

    “I think there are far too many variables for anyone to make blanket statments regarding taking risks for the sake of the Gospel, or to play it safe for the sake of your children. Following Christ is done via walking in the Spirit and following his direction, which often for Jesus and Paul, was going headlong into danger/conflict, and sometimes it meant to flee and play it safe.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    true, but Jesus was single. He was not a parent. I can assume Paul wasn’t a parent — he didn’t act like one. They’re both great — but neither knew much about parenting. Even God-in-the-flesh had his limitations. (To me, that was part of the point of the exercise.)

    Once a person is responsible for the life of a vulnerable human being, that changes everything.

    Philosophically, i can’t see that a parent has the right to put a child unduly in harm’s way, to make that decision for them.

    (i’m not talking about driving around town, getting on a busy freeway — we all take calculated risks just in surviving day to day)

    (but i’m sure i’m repeating what others have already communicated here)

  276. @ Marie:
    Marie wrote:

    The Bible tells us “what is seen is not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3) and that “it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves ”

    I have no problem with believing those verses and in believing in evolutionary creationism. Once again, I believe in the Bible like you do. I also believe that some things are not to be interpreted in a wooden literal sense. So, I believe that the *dust* could very likely be the elementary building blocks of DNA which God has created.

    There are many things thatI believe are metaphors or simple explanations for things that are highly complex. An in-depth explanation of DNA to a simple people would have been confusing. So God said he made us out of the *dust.* The same goes. for the gate in heaven with a pearl in the middle of it. Is that literal? I don’t think so. I believe it is there to recall two things. Only some enter the kingdom of heave and thus the gate. The pearl recalls the pearl of great price.

    As one who believes in an old earth, I believe that I am honestly approaching the Bible. I sometimes find it quite wearying to hear that somehow I take the Bible less seriously than others who believe that their interpretation of the Bible and a young earth is somehow more spiritually superior. This is one of the reason that I no longer call myself AN evangelical although I am evangelical. Far too many people in the evangelical world take potshots at thoughtful Christians who love the Bible but don’t take a Ken Ham view of the universe.

    I think we have to be really careful about judging people based on whose *interpretation* is more godly. We do this with doctrine (Calvinism) , baptism (infant or believers), the meaning of communion, how many sacraments there are, and on and on and on and on.

    By the way, I, too, can point out Bible verses that say what I want them to say so I can prove how *biblical* my view is. I just don’t like doing that.

  277. Marie wrote:

    if you believe God created the heavens and the earth, then I encourage you to believe when the Bible tells us he made Adam from the dust

    It must have been a dry climate, here in Oregon it would have been mud.

  278. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    It wasn’t an inter-campus ministry like that, just the college group of a very prominent church in the area.

    When I was at Cal Poly Pomona in the late Seventies, the “More Nav than the Navs” group was also a local group affiliated in some way with a local church. Nothing like a Mega, though; more like some “Non-Denominational” Indie Fundy. Name of their college group was “Studies In The Word Of God”.

    But they were influenced by the Navigators and other more “intentional” programs, and heavily steeped in Piper, Chandler, Driscoll, and Voddie Baucham.

    Flutterhands Piper, “Deep Throat” Driscoll, and “Beat the Shy Out of Fluttershy” Baucham…

    It was mostly the Worm Theology and Predestination of the New Calvinists that drove my friends to despair.

    Worm Theology has a way of doing that. (I’ve been there, and some of the damage is Permanent.) Though the Sons of Calvin have Worm Theology in their DNA, it is NOT unique to them. Calvary Chapel and Jack Chick (which most of the local “non-denoms” or “Just the Bible” types copied & cloned) were no slouches in that department.

    In the hierarchy of the spiritual elite, the really “intentional” or “solid” Christians, they were at the top: their doctrine was “on point,” they were “on fire,” and they were role models to the other guys.

    God’s Green Berets/God’s Speshul Pets, always rubbing their Superior Theology in your face, gleefully anticipating their laugh when Christ Spews You Lukewarms Out Of His Mouth on J-Day.

    Ever heard of the Heresy of Clericalism? It’s that only a Spiritual Elite of Uber-Christians (originally Priests, Monks, and Nuns, now “Intentional”, “Solid” and “On Fire”) matter to God and all the rest of us can go to hell.

  279. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    they were at the top: their doctrine was “on point,” they were “on fire,” and they were role models to the other guys. But because they never felt good enough, they burned out. They did everything the Elite told them to do, and it destroyed them. They had no personal experience of “peace” or “rest” after becoming high-performers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Cory
    Sound familiar?

    As expanded and set to music by Paul Simon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAGKpoVFbmw

  280. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    There was a bait-and-switch going on: “Come to Jesus, God will save you apart from works!” Then, after being saved: “Okay, Christian, you better work your butt off or God’s going to spit you out for being lukewarm. The Reprobate have it easy, because they don’t know any better. But now that you’re saved, by golly, you’d better keep God from getting angry with you again.”

    So what else is new?
    Except for the Calvinese term “Reprobate”, this is what I went through during my time in-country. With Global Thermonuclear War as God’s Chosen Punishment, before Eternal Hell.

    And the worst part is that my friends struggled for years with this stuff, and well-meaning people only threw more bible verses at them: but they had been so conditioned to read every passage in its most abysmal interpretation that they found zero relief, and were sure that, in the words of one of them, “I can accept God’s grace for other people, but I can’t believe that Grace applies to me.”

    Shot to shreds with Bible Bullets…

    KNOWING God Hates Your Guts Because “GOD HATES SIN WITH SUCH A PERFECT HATRED” and you will NEVER be one of those On-Fire Uber-Christians.

    Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt.
    And the damage stays around; 40 years and counting.

    You know the imagery I have to use for God-figure?
    Aslan of Narnia and Princess Celestia of Equestria.
    Because those are God-figures who don’t hate your guts.

  281. dee wrote:

    The solution was interesting. The rapist was now forced to be responsible for that woman’s welfare for the rest of her life. He would have to marry her and support her. That meant feeding her, giving her shelter, caring for any child that came along as part of the rape. For the vast majority of men in that time, this was a real problem because many did not have enough money to support more people in their family. This was a significant deterrent for rapists.

    It may have been the best of a bunch of bad alternatives at the time and place of origin. A Bronze Age tribal version of “You Take Responsibility For What You Have Done.”

  282. Jack wrote:

    As I mentioned earlier the Bible makes extraordinary claims, most of the old testament came from oral traditions dating back to the dawn of civilization, and reflects the brutality of the age. The new testament also reflects the mores and morals of the first century.
    This include the reality of slavery, misogyny, monarchical hierarchy and other nasty business.

    Or as I say about such passages in ha-Torah & ha-Tanakh:

    “Welcome to the world of Bronze Age Semitic Tribal Warfare and Blood Feuds.”

  283. Libby wrote:

    But at the end of the day, the testaments need to be reconciled and I don’t think this is possible.

    Wasn’t Darby’s Dispensationalism an attempt to reconcile the entire Bible into one coherent system?

  284. Muff Potter wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The Bible itself does not state this requirement, which means you are asking something of the Bible that the Bible does not ask of itself.

    Ever tried dialogue with Calvary Chapel’s chief apologetics honcho?
    He will try to convince you that it all fits together as perfectly and as tightly as a LEGO castle.

    Or like Calvin’s Institutes.

    (At which point, since Calvary Chapel is as Un-Calvinist as you can get, it’s just Papa Chuck’s Institutes instead of Calvin’s.)

  285. elastigirl wrote:

    true, but Jesus was single. He was not a parent. I can assume Paul wasn’t a parent — he didn’t act like one. They’re both great — but neither knew much about parenting. Even God-in-the-flesh had his limitations. (To me, that was part of the point of the exercise.

    Sure, but I pointed out Paul wanted the Corinthians to imitate his radical actions in following Jesus, and he wasn’t just talking to those who were single.

    elastigirl wrote:

    Philosophically, i can’t see that a parent has the right to put a child unduly in harm’s way, to make that decision for them.

    Sure, but I’m arguing for liberty in that I don’t necessarily have the right to determine what ‘unduly’ means for you, nor you for me. The adventure of following Jesus will not look the same for every family.

  286. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It may have been the best of a bunch of bad alternatives at the time and place of origin. A Bronze Age tribal version of “You Take Responsibility For What You Have Done.”

    Exactly.

  287. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Or like Calvin’s Institutes.

    (At which point, since Calvary Chapel is as Un-Calvinist as you can get, it’s just Papa Chuck’s Institutes instead of Calvin’s.)

    Actually? Protestantism’s Reformed and Arminian factions are kissin’ cousins, and any ‘differences’ are purely cosmetic (my opinion). But yeah, you’re right about Papa Chuck, and the old guard (over 60 and fading fast into the sunset). They long for a return to the good old days when Papa Chuck was as revered and obeyed as Chairman Mao was in a bygone China.

  288. dee wrote:

    There are many things thatI believe are metaphors or simple explanations for things that are highly complex. An in-depth explanation of DNA to a simple people would have been confusing.

    Some of the ancients were far from simple. The Antikythera mechanism is a concrete example which supports a level of sophistication uncanny even by today’s standards.

  289. okrapod wrote:

    And on another topic, has OJJ just outed Nick with one of his aliases?

    Don’t know. Other than my evil alter-ego Nice Keckblub, which I haven’t used in a while (he’s been superseded by fresh revelation on alter-egos) I have four alter-egos:

    SPOILER ALERT

    Wartburgers whose Christmas presents are delivered by Santa Claus are advised not to read on beyond this point, but skip to the next comment





     Roger Bombast
     Arnold Smartarse (the stuck record with exactly one regular comment)
     Arnold Dummarse, who is evolving but whose basic approach I’ve finalised
     God

    IHTIH. But I’m interested in who you think the new one is?

  290. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Perhaps Arnold Smartarse would like to remind me what a heretic I therefore am?

    I think Arnold Smartarse would just opine that you’re looking for the perfect church, and then add the very witty and original aphorism that if you ever find the perfect church you should avoid joining it for fear of spoiling it.

    Which is plain stupid, because Jesus IS the perfect church and you can’t spoil him by joining him. True holiness is contagious!

  291. kin wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    Philosophically, i can’t see that a parent has the right to put a child unduly in harm’s way, to make that decision for them.
    Sure, but I’m arguing for liberty in that I don’t necessarily have the right to determine what ‘unduly’ means for you, nor you for me. The adventure of following Jesus will not look the same for every family.

    So, what do you make of John the Pied Piper doing exactly that? Trying to guilt Christian parents into intentionally dragging their kids into dangerous situations, and manipulating them with gratuitous phrases like “bloated jellyfish”?

  292. @ kin:

    “Sure, but I pointed out Paul wanted the Corinthians to imitate his radical actions in following Jesus, and he wasn’t just talking to those who were single.”
    ++++++++++++++

    re: understanding NT epistles — it doesn’t seem sensible to me to take statements writers made in a letter to one person/one people group as absolute, as the sum total of their thoughts on the subject.

    it reminds me of what an android does in a movie — whatever the human says, the android takes it literally, at face value, as an absolute, not realizing the many other variables that bend or adjust the meaning and understanding and the application. when the android does this in a film the android is either the comedian or the one who will annihilate the human characters because of only being programmed to think one way.

    agreed, on liberty. i observe lots of variety in level of caution amongst parents just in normal day-to-day living.

  293. okrapod wrote:

    The only reasonable cause for somebody to require that the older biblical ideas need to be ‘reconciled’ would be if one thought that God’s self revelation has been static rather than continuing. However, Jesus himself said otherwise, and the basic ideas that Jesus fulfilled the alleged messianic prophesies depends on the idea that both revelation (in the person of the Christ) and the understanding of that revelation (in the person of the Spirit) simply did not happen.
    For a secular example, we used to treat syphilis with mercury and arsenic, a really bad idea. Now we use antibiotics. There is no need to reconcile anything about that-we know more and understand more now. The idea that syphilis was a disease, however, and the idea that disease needed treated, is a consistent idea. Some things persist, some things change and are modified. In this there is both consistency and change. Thus also with religion.
    The idea of a need to reconcile biblical ideas is baseless given the elapsed time, the cultural differences, the progressive revelation of God in the Christ event and the progressive understandings through the Spirit. There is not only no problem here, there is evidence that God did not just give man law and then take off and leave man to his own devices. And there is evidence that God interacts with man where he finds man-and takes the initiative in doing that. To me that would be covered in Christianity 101, first semester. Christianity embraces the concept that here is a new thing, the so-far most comprehensive revelation of God himself, not only in the person of Jesus himself but also including when Jesus said stuff like ‘you have heard it said of old but I say to you…’; that sort of thing.
    Nope, the reconciliation demand is dead in the water if one accepts the most basic ideas of Christianity. But if not, then no amount of jerry rigging flimsy attempts at reconciling ancient ideas with what Jesus said is going to work.

    No, the testaments must reconcile in the sense that there can be no contradictions. The revelation of god can be progressive and continuing as long as there are no contradictions. The old and new testament gods are different. Interestingly enough, they do agree on misongyny.

  294. OldJohnJ wrote:

    YEC vs. OEC is a recurrent theme here at TWW. Under the title “Spinning Stardust into Gold”, https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/spinning-stardust-into-gold/ an interesting account of the significance of GW170817 is presented. A factual but incomplete account of the event is given. I consider this account incomplete in two important ways. First, there are no references (links) given to the source descriptions (or wikipedia). Secondly, the very important distance (which is also an age) estimate is not given. Other GW events are mentioned, also without the age/distance estimates. The AIG article devolves into suggesting synthesis of the heavier elements is conjecture, a creation myth, and invokes the Plant of the Apes movies for intellectual support.

    Whilst I believe in YEC theologically and cannot argue the science (as a non-scientist), I do not trust anything Ken Ham says. I was concerned about the tone of his polemics and now he has given Christianity a bad name. Wondering Eagle has documented on his blog (and TWW may have covered or touched on this) that he has done some very shady financial tax avoidance with his “Ark Encounter” which has left the governors and tax-payers of Kentucky feeling conned.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/ken-ham-is-trolled-by-the-freedom-from-religion-foundation-meanwhile-he-attacks-atheists-and-the-media-is-under-scrutiny-by-kentucky-plus-he-blames-hurricanes-on-sin/

  295. @ kin:

    actually, i think you might agree with my comment just above, here.

    (you had said “I think there are far too many variables for anyone to make blanket statments regarding taking risks for the sake of the Gospel, or to play it safe for the sake of your children.”)

    but then you also said,

    “Following Christ is done via walking in the Spirit and following his direction, which often for Jesus and Paul, was going headlong into danger/conflict, and sometimes it meant to flee and play it safe.”

    If Jesus or Paul had a child/children, i highly doubt they would go headlong into danger/conflict. as far as ‘walking in the spirit’, when one is responsible for a child, i recommend taking it with a saltshaker. i can think of a number of parents who were zealous to ‘walk in the spirit’ and unintentionally ended up killing or gravely harming their child.

    nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, spiritually, until one’s kids are older and self-sufficient. it’s not like success or failure of The Great Commission depends on me or you doing A instead of B or C and doing it NOW instead of later.

  296. dee wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    marrying rapists are errors in the bible?
    Actually, no they are not errors. I really encourage you to Google these bits of the Bible and look at some thoughts by intelligent people who still believe in the Bible and condemn rape.
    Let me take on the *marry your rapist* situation. It is important that we understand the culture of that day. Women who were raped were considered unclean by just about every tribal group in existence. A woman who was raped was often thrown outside the community and condemned to live on her own. This was a death sentence. The only way a raped woman could support herself was as a prostitute. If she didn’t, there would be no way for her to feed herself and stay alive.
    The solution was interesting. The rapist was now forced to be responsible for that woman’s welfare for the rest of her life. He would have to marry her and support her. That meant feeding her, giving her shelter, caring for any child that came along as part of the rape. For the vast majority of men in that time, this was a real problem because many did not have enough money to support more people in their family. This was a significant deterrent for rapists.
    I can go deeper into this situation. I can also discuss the stoning of the kid as well. However, everything I have said is easily found today for those who truly want to try to understand the Scriptures. Frankly, it is far easier now than it was for me 25 years ago. Do you know how many commentaries and other books I had to buy??
    One underlying assumption helped me as I looked at these things. I knew that there were extremely intelligent people who continued to believe in God even in light of these Biblical difficulties. Many of them, like myself, did not bury our concerns but faced them head on and looked for answers. Most of us have found them. Does this mean it is easy to fully understand. No! I am still on a journey trying to figure things out but I now have faith in the trajectory of the Scripture and in a God who loves his people.

    I have heard similar defenses of this before. Here is the problem: If this person is a rapist, he will no doubt continue to rape other women. At some point, he will be unable to provide
    adequately for one or all of them. He will also be able to re-rape them when they become wives. Eventually, these women will mother his children. Some of them will be male children. (a sociology professor from college told me that sociopathy is passed from father to son. If a man is a sociopath (the rapist), all of his male offspring will also be sociopaths). Anyway, the problem will perpetuate.

    Why couldn’t God make a law forbidding the mistreatment of raped women. After all, there was a law forbidding clothing made of more than one fiber. Also, for a book that loves to stone people, why not stone the rapist? Anyway, I would rather prostitute than be married to my rapist. I also disagree that a rapist could be deterred from his crimes. Again, let’s stone him instead of the rebellious child.

    Come on, everybody, where am I wrong here?? But thanks for trying to help.

  297. @ Persephone:

    i think we can know a few things. the rest is prismatic enough to make us crazy in trying to spell it all out. or else deluded into thinking we’ve succeeded.

    i used to spend all my days determined to not be the weakest link but to go the distance for God, denying and depriving myself of what i wanted and silencing my ‘unorthodox’ convictions. ended up with post traumatic stress syndrome. i realized that if i didn’t make some changes, i’d end up on my deathbed as a human shell but the real me never actually turned on. i really had to let go of the cruel ideals christian culture foists on people, and relax into being me.

    ….i don’t know how relevant this is. i hear you striving (or else!). it brought to mind my own striving, or else!

  298. @ Caroline:

    you sound like a great parent. i’m so sorry for the trauma you describe. i can’t imagine. your life is a beautiful thing and you are making beauty for your kids’ lives, too. how awesome.

  299. @ Caroline:

    …getting back to your comment, you make it very clear the consequences for kids when serious trauma happens. how sick of jp to spiritualize it all away as a good thing. i’ve heard so many things like this that simply don’t fit reality, some of which will ruin people. in response, i focus on the practical. i simply don’t have time for spiritual ideas that don’t improve life on earth now for all living creatures.

  300. Pingback: Piper Stepping In It (Again) | 1st Feline Battalion

  301. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Excellent point. I would apologize to Arnold for false attribution, but all he would say in return is “You’re looking for the perfect church…” And so on. I would be disappointed if he said anything else and thereby sully his outstanding consistency.

  302. okrapod wrote:

    And on another topic, has OJJ just outed Nick with one of his aliases? I bet he has. Star on the char of OJJ is that is correct.

    Let me reassure you that I am not another of Nick’s personas.

  303. No Libby, you are wrong. Jesus was not a misogynist. Jesus directly attacked misogyny several times. We’ve already given you those references, but you keep ignoring them.

  304. Libby,

    Imagine dating someone who you really care about. You go out of your way to show how much you care. But that person stubbornly refuses to believe that you love them. They say that they won’t believe that you love them unless you buy them everything they want and always do exactly what they want when they want it.

    God showers us with all kinds of good gifts. God loves us even when we refuse to believe it. Just because God didn’t do everything exactly the way we think He should—doesn’t prove God was a misogynist. God was dealing with a bunch of hard hearted people who wouldn’t follow the rules that He wanted to give them so God had to give them rules that they would follow that would at least provide some type of due process of law for women.

    Jesus told the Pharisees that certain OT laws were never how God wanted things to be. But those laws were given because of the hardness of their hearts.

  305. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Let me reassure you that I am not another of Nick’s personas.

    LOL. Good thing, too. I like both your all’s comments. Lots.

  306. Libby wrote:

    Come on, everybody, where am I wrong here??

    I would like to continue this conversation but in a few minutes we are out of here to take DIL to her endoscopy appointment for followup for her landing in the ER Thursday noc. RE will take her, wait, and take care of her. I will stay with all four kids-all of whom are good kids by the way. So-vomiting blood in the ER is going to take precedence today over TWW. We got lots of real life problems right now at the top of our lists.

    I think you are wrong in thinking that some ancient culture should have done things the way you want them to have done, when they had no notion of where you are coming from and you have no experience of where they were coming from. Meaning, basically, there is no platform here for comparison.

    I think that if you actually think that God told them to do it they way they did, then you are wrong to think that you have any right to try to tell God what he ought to have done, apparently based on some assumption that God needed to have kept you pleased with Him.

    I think that you are wrong in what you think that scripture is, apparently putting it on the same level of priority and authority as God himself. Which is to say that you seem to think way too highly of scripture itself.

    I think that you underestimate the sea change in thinking that happened because of Christ. In doing that I think you diminish Christ himself, and therefore God himself. Which, of course, rather ties in with what I just said about over-valuing scripture.

    And I think you do something which we all do. We over-value ourselves, our opinions, how important we want to be in God’s eyes, and our own ability to comprehend much of anything.

  307. Libby wrote:

    Come on, everybody, where am I wrong here??

    You’re not. Everything you’ve brought up is valid.

    This is the bible of John Piper and others of his kind. They read the bible literally. And enforce it, on others at least. No doubt they see themselves as a priestly class that dictates God’s word to the rest of their sphere.

    The events of the bible can never be proven. That’s the nature of faith. Many of the folks here have faith in Jesus. That faith is something that transcends the bible so while you can shotgun the scriptures till the cows come home when people truly believe, no argument will shake them.

    This is not to say all christians toss critical thinking out the window. Much effort has been taken to understand that faith, reconcile it with our current understanding of science. Everyone comes to their own conclusion.

    I was a believer, then a skeptic, then an angry atheist, now I have my own sense of spirituality. I don’t think any faith is all correct, christian or otherwise but I’m going to make an effort to understand faith even if I don’t adhere to a particular faith.

    To that end, I don’t consider the opinions here that of a bunch of misguided rubes. They’re a group of intelligent people who grapple with the same issues everyone else does.

  308. Jack wrote:

    To that end, I don’t consider the opinions here that of a bunch of misguided rubes. They’re a group of intelligent people who grapple with the same issues everyone else does.

    Thank you.

  309. Libby wrote:

    Why couldn’t God make a law forbidding the mistreatment of raped women.

    This sounds like a pretty harsh punishment

    Deuteronomy 22:25,26
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2022:25-27

    25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death.

    As for the cloth thing, I bet you have explored the reason for that. If not, I will be happy to explain it.

  310. @ Libby:

    At the risk of sounding abrupt, “where you are wrong here” is in several places:

    First, you make requirements about the bible it does not make about itself — then claim it is “debunked” because you, who have apparently not taken the time to do serious Hebrew and Greek research but instead depend upon an English translation that allows for serious semantic misunderstanding, have decided you don’t like it, or don’t find it coherent: and therefore, it is beyond coherence for anyone. Rest assured, there are people far smarter than you or I, who have reconciled the difficulties you bring up. I urge you to consider their work. (There are also people far smarter than you or I who disbelieve. I also urge you to consider THEIR work, then weigh the two using intellectually honest scales).

    (I would also like you to cite the sources that drive your conclusions, but that’s just the writing teacher in me :))

    Second, you seem more inclined to point out how much you dislike the things in the Old Testament rather than whether the Christian worldview is even true. If it is true, and Christ is who he says he is, then he becomes the lens through which to make sense of the OT. If he is not really God, then the Christian worldview is useless, and there’s no reason to worry about the OT or the NT — in which case, there’s no reason to argue about it, and you need not trouble about convincing us we’re wrong — unless you feel compelled by some inexplicable vestigial moral implication to so convince us.

    Third, you keep saying “I disagree” and restating your main points as if they were accepted facts, when in fact they are still generalizations or assertions that do not take into account the rigorous academic study that is available; and in the face of this repetition you seem to have ignored or discounted the various responses offered, and only respond to the ones for which you have a prepared counter.

    Finally, I have to seriously ask: what are you after here? If it is a search for answers, I think you’ve got enough resources now to occupy yourself for at least the next three months locked in your study.

    But if you are looking for emotional healing, I can assure you there IS healing — I’ve seen it in the lives of the very victims we’re talking about — but it’s a choice. Because I respect your pain, I won’t lecture you beyond saying healing exists, and there is hope — But you won’t find it in arguing online.

    But once again I will direct you to determine whether or not Jesus is who he claims he is, and that will solve the problem of the Old Testament. If he is God, then you can interpret the OT in the light of that knowledge. And if he is not, then as I said, you can be on your merry way, and not stoop to arguing with backward Christians. But of all things, the most dishonest thing is to leave perfectly good evidence uninvestigated simply because you have decided before hand that you don’t like where it leads. Please, for your own sake, I hope you don’t do that.

  311. @ Libby:
    Let me add something.

    As these laws were bring written, God was the King of Israel. That means he functioned in the role of a law giver. By this I mean day to day laws. He was the CDC, the Sheriff, the FDA, HHS, HUD, etc. As such He set up some laws to protect the people.

    The laws against shellfish and pigs were health laws since in those days, such creatures were contaminated food sources-infected with diseases, etc.

    The two types of cloth commandment was to prevent people from being bilked by cheating cloth merchants.

  312. Caroline wrote:

    During my childhood, one of my parents was murdered; it was a great trauma that still shapes who I am today. As a parent, I do see it as my responsibility to help shape my children’s values. We spend lots of weekends camping instead of plugged in to Netflix or the Xbox. When they were younger, we made more outings to the public library than to the toy store

    I am heartbroken to hear one of your parents was murdered. You are right. Such trauma affects you for your life. Even my oldest daughter, the one who was not sick, was so affected by her sister’s illness that she developed some mental health issues when she reached her early 20s in spite of having received counseling when she was a child.I learned that trauma in childhood can have a life long impact.

    You sound like one awesome mom!

  313. okrapod wrote:

    Dang it. When do we start valuing the young and the helpless, when the idea of valuing such is clear in scripture, which we ought to be able to read even when our own withered and dried up selves have long since forgotten how to do that?

    This.
    I think I remember Jesus saying something about making children stumble and millstones around necks. From what I am seeing, there won’t be enough millstones to go around.

  314. Jack wrote:

    The events of the bible can never be proven. That’s the nature of faith

    That’s actually the nature of History. I cannot prove that Julius Caesar crossed the Danube, or that William conquered England in 1066, or even that Abraham Lincoln was actually shot in Ford’s Theater in 1865. But I have faith in the credibility of the eyewitnesses who recorded those things, and see no reasonable cause to doubt they happened, and see reasonable connections to events today that support those things happened. If that is the nature of “faith,” then I totally support your definition.

    Otherwise, I agree in the main with your points, and think that, while I may disagree with your conclusions, your approach towards engaging with others is admirable.

    (Now, to claim Abe Lincoln was a hunter of the nefarious undead, THAT would give me reasonable cause to doubt — unless someone could provide evidence and reasoning to back it up. But I think I’m still justified in saying he wasn’t a vampire slayer…)

  315. dee wrote:

    Glad to hear from you!I always hope you are lurking in the background when their subject comes up!!

    I’ve been doing a lot of lurking in the background. There is really no appropriate or proper time to say this so I’ll do it here and now: A little more than 6 months ago my wife of almost 54 years passed away. While I should have been more aware of her condition than I was, there are times you don’t want to face up to the inevitable. Slow, very gradual change tends to hide the progression of things. With the help of my local, young family and a supportive church I am getting by reasonably well.

    I’ll continue to read this very valuable blog and possibly be a little more active in commenting. Thanks to you, Deb and GBTC again for providing this forum.

  316. elastigirl wrote:

    it reminds me of what an android does in a movie — whatever the human says, the android takes it literally, at face value, as an absolute, not realizing the many other variables that bend or adjust the meaning and understanding and the application. when the android does this in a film the android is either the comedian or the one who will annihilate the human characters because of only being programmed to think one way.

    True.
    And exemplified by David the android in two of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epics, Prometheus and Alien Covenant.

  317. Libby wrote:

    But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.

    You are absolutely correct. We do have a problem and God had a solution to the problem.

    If God exists, He is the creator of the universe-planets, stars, black holes, etc. Oh yeah, there may be multiple universes. We know there are multiple dimensions. Most scientist believe in about 11 (last I checked a few years ago-perhaps the number has gone up.) I even learned that time itself is considered a dimension by many scientists. Some scientist who believe in God believe that heaven itself is its own dimension. It just boggles my mind.

    If God truly is the Uncaused First Cause, then how in the world does a human being, who exists in time and in one place with limited intelligence, ever wrap her hands around such a being? Frankly, it is impossible. It is beyond us. We are too small.

    In fact, it would be grossly unfair of such a being to expect us to understand Him unless he set up some things to help us to understand that he is present and active. Here is how I believe he lets us know of his presence.

    1. He sent Jesus who said that if we see him, we see the Father. This is an infinite God who said “Touch me.”

    2. He wrote down the *rules of the game* in a book that clearly outlines the big problems and the final solution even if we don’t fully understand some of what is in there. The Bible is effective in that it clearly outlines the following

    a. God the Creator
    b. How human are to relate and act to one another, to God and to the creation.
    c. It clearly demonstrates the sin problem we all have
    d. It shows us the solution-the Cross and Resurrection
    e. It documents Jesus who demonstrated a perfect life.
    f. It lets us know we are still sinners but we are also forgiven.
    g It tells us of another dimension-heaven- that one day will embrace all of the dimensions

    3. The Holy Spirit is given to us as our comforter and encourager.It is a piece of God in us.

    4. He encouraged us to be with one another-to encourage each other on our way. The Fellowship of the Rings exemplifies this aspect marvelously.

    Libby, this does not answer all of our questions. But, in my long search for a better answer, I have discovered that it answers more questions and far better (for me) than any other faith or philosophy.

    In the end, we must deal with the fact that we have two choices.

    1. An impersonal universe (or universes) that is entirely naturalistic with no end or beginning- continually expanding and contracting, forever. In other words, nature itself is the uncaused first cause. We are just part of that and the universe doesn’t care whether we are born or die. In fact, after we die, in short period of time, no one will know or care if we existed, heck, the earth itself could blow up and we are all just a lucky accident. We live, we die, we are eventually blotted out and no one or thing gives a hoot.

    2. We have a Creator God who is the Uncaused First Cause and that this universe is infinitely personal and an expression of His incredible Self. The includes a universe(s) created for his people.

    God has given us free will. He is not a God who forces himself on us. I am not here to tell you how to believe. I can only tell you why I believe. I wish you well on your journey. Contemplating the infinite is an intellectually stimulating process!

  318. OldJohnJ wrote:

    A little more than 6 months ago my wife of almost 54 years passed away.

    You should know that I cried when I read this. Still doing so as I write this.

    I cannot even begin to express how sorry I am for the temporary loss of you wife. It must be so hard to pick up the pieces and live life without her. No matter how supportive your church is (and I am glad to hear that they are), there must still be a hole in your heart.

    I wish I lived nearby so I could visit with you. Imagine me giving you a big hug. You are such an awesome man and I have so appreciated your comments here.

    Here a couple of songs that express my prayers for you during this time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWpG7qHtB8g

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rRea9qnjK4

  319. @ Libby:
    Libby, sorry if I am too late to the party, but I would like to offer some perspective if it’s ok.

    Many years ago, I stood with my hand over a dumpster. In that hand was a well worn and well marked Bible. I was about to throw it away and chuck my belief in God in the dumpster along with it. Circumstances in my life led me to this place. It was a long, dark, stormy time.

    I did not throw that Bible away. Something prevent me from going through with it.

    Soon after I took a different look at the Bible as a whole. I don’t remember where I heard or read it, but reconciling everything in Jesus Christ was my new goal and I started to keep a record of questions and concerns. Believing that a God who would walk among us and sacrifice Himself for us had to be fundamentally good and loving helped me to see how the violence in the bible fit into the larger narrative, which is telling the story of the redemption of sinners.

    That view will put you at odds with the majority of Christian brands out there. You are wise to see through them. Some of us who have seen all of these abuses repeat themselves in different people and organizations throughout the years recognize that we are seeing the same things as recorded in all of scripture dressed in different clothes. Same sin, different day.

    I encourage you to keep whatever percentage of the Christian faith you have left, and to forget about all of the spin by various factions and brands that call themselves “Christian”. We all are supposed to be pointing at Jesus. Sadly we also fail.

    My solution is to focus on Jesus “for me”, and to look for Him in the bible. All of the arrows are pointing to Jesus anyway, and the whole point of it all is what He has done for you. He calls for faith like a child has, a simple faith. Ultimately we are called to trust a person, not in a religion or faith brand.

    In disconnecting from the brand wars and spin machine,I hope you find peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

  320. elastigirl wrote:

    it reminds me of what an android does in a movie — whatever the human says, the android takes it literally, at face value, as an absolute, not realizing the many other variables that bend or adjust the meaning and understanding and the application.

    That’s not Android, that’s an Aspergers trait.
    One I have (and was a lot worse when I was younger).
    When everything from Physics to Bible to Star Trek to Adamsky Space Brothers Saucer Cult comes in that way (before age 10, thanks to natural-talent speedreading), you end up with “some interesting tracts of mental landscape”.

  321. Libby wrote:

    a sociology professor from college told me that sociopathy is passed from father to son

    It may also pass from father to daughter and then to a grandson, you’ve described the dark side of evolution. If we were created through a process of evolution then someone who forcefully spread his genetics around would have a disparate impact on the resultant population. That is not to excuse it but to give a possible explanation of the origin of our “sin nature”. I just don’t believe in a God that moves every particle of dust nor the minutia of every event. I can best sum up my place in the world with a quote from Katherine Hepburn in the “Africa Queen”, “Nature is what we are put in this world to rise above”.

  322. Libby wrote:

    No, the testaments must reconcile in the sense that there can be no contradictions. The revelation of god can be progressive and continuing as long as there are no contradictions.

    Both Calvin’s Institutes and Darby’s Dispensationalism tried to “reconcile in the sense there can be no contradictions”. Look where it got their followers.

    And “no contradictions” would itself be suspicious. When it comes to eyewitnesses, “no contradictions” in their testimonies is usually a sign of collusion.

  323. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Caroline:
    …getting back to your comment, you make it very clear the consequences for kids when serious trauma happens. how sick of jp to spiritualize it all away as a good thing.

    That’s a Spiritual Giant(TM) who has NEVER been on the receiving end of that level of serious trauma.

  324. Thersites wrote:

    I can best sum up my place in the world with a quote from Katherine Hepburn in the “Africa Queen”, “Nature is what we are put in this world to rise above”.

    Or what my observation of what well-done Furry art and fiction should be:
    “TRANSCEND THE ANIMAL.”

  325. Muff Potter wrote:

    But yeah, you’re right about Papa Chuck, and the old guard (over 60 and fading fast into the sunset). They long for a return to the good old days when Papa Chuck was as revered and obeyed as Chairman Mao was in a bygone China.

    When every knee did bow,
    Every tongue confess,
    Papa Chuck is LORD?

    I live in the same country as Calvary Chapel’s Vatican. CC dominated or dominates the “Non-Denom” church scene out here. Lotsa Chuckbots. And CC has always struck me as the type of Bible-Only Fundy that illustrates all the ways Evangelicalism can go sour, distilled down into one.

  326. Libby wrote:

    For point 4 above, look at Genesis 1:27, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God the he created HIM, male and female he created them.

    Notice how only HIM is in the image of God. Also notice how Eve was pranced in front of Adam, just the animals were. Not nice.

    It depends entirely upon how you (generic you) think about it.

    Libby wrote:

    Doesn’t think strongly imply the lower ranking and status of women?

    If your thinking is uni-directional, well then yeah, I guess a woman’s status is just what fundamentalist nit-wits claim it is.

    Why don’t you try thinking in more than one direction?

    If ya’ do, you’ll quickly see that She (woman) has a level of refinement not found in the original (man fashioned from the dust), and it puts a whole new spin on the Pauline Papyri.

  327. @ OldJohnJ:

    That’s so sad to hear, OldJohn. It must be terribly painful to talk about, even now, and I’m grateful that you shared this with us. May God surround you with His love and the love of others, and give you strength for walking this mournful path.

  328. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    kin wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    Philosophically, i can’t see that a parent has the right to put a child unduly in harm’s way, to make that decision for them.
    Sure, but I’m arguing for liberty in that I don’t necessarily have the right to determine what ‘unduly’ means for you, nor you for me. The adventure of following Jesus will not look the same for every family.

    So, what do you make of John the Pied Piper doing exactly that? Trying to guilt Christian parents into intentionally dragging their kids into dangerous situations, and manipulating them with gratuitous phrases like “bloated jellyfish”?

    While I didn’t go away with any false guilt after reading his thoughts, I don’t have a problem with people encouraging others to be thinking outside their social normative box.

    If I remember correctly, Piper did refrain from nesting comfortably in middle class/upper class areas and purposefully choose to live in a rougher neighborhood for the benefit of loving his neighbor in Christian love. I have no idea how much more risk he was taking in exposing his family to violent crime, but I’m sure it increased. For anyone to connect him with the child abuse label is outrageous, imo.

    Again, it comes down to who has the right to determine what a person does as being reckless or not? We all have different standards.

  329. elastigirl wrote:

    nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, spiritually, until one’s kids are older and self-sufficient. it’s not like success or failure of The Great Commission depends on me or you doing A instead of B or C and doing it NOW instead of later.

    So if it were 75 to 80 years ago and you (a Polish family) had a Jewish family knocking on your door seeking to be hidden from the Nazis would you tell them to go away because you didn’t want to endanger the lives of your children? Reverse the roles and would you, being part of a Jewish family, appreciate dearly that an entire family took the risk to hide you?

    While I’m sure many people declined to hide the Jews, thank God many families took the risk. Loving Jesus often can cost your life and those around you – which is why he said to count the costs.

  330. Libby wrote:

    No, the testaments must reconcile in the sense that there can be no contradictions. The revelation of god can be progressive and continuing as long as there are no contradictions. The old and new testament gods are different. Interestingly enough, they do agree on misongyny.

    An observation, you are reading the Scriptures more literally than the most fundamentalist Christians I have ever met. I find that interesting.

    Again, who says there can be no contradictions between the OT and NT? (Is that your personal law regarding scripture? I am trying to understand your conclusion here.)

    Misogyny (I believe this is the wrong word as it implies hatred of women.) More appropriate would be the belief that women are inferior to men. This was found in every ancient culture, as well as in many cultures today. God never claimed this as truth in the Old or New Testament. In fact God said that “men and women” were created in his image.

  331. @ kin:

    You do know what false equivalence is right?
    Elastigirl’s comment is not the same thing, and my opinion her comment stands.

  332. @ kin:

    good lord, kin.

    because i can’t bear the insinuation, i’ll spell it out for you:

    if i were polish 75-80 years ago i would have taken in jewish people without question.

    when people come to me in need i won’t turn them away. when there is community crisis we find a way to work together to help each other.

    i am not taking my kids to the middle east or certain parts of africa or asia sporting missionary hats. i’m not taking them to dark inner city alleys to pass out blankets and socks. there are plenty of people in need in safer places.

    macho super christian heroics are not necessary in order to make the world a more equitable, healthy, clean place.

  333. @ dee:

    “I have found that 25mg. of beanery (diphenhydramine) helps on occasion.”
    ++++++++++++

    in your opinion, is this preferable to something like a generic sleep aid?

  334. @ okrapod:

    That’s very kind of you; no, OldJohnJ is definitely not me, and a good thing too, because without him we’d be robbed of a fine and independent mind!

  335. !!!

    i just had an administrative / financial victorious breakthrough concerning my parents’ caregiving. i feel weak in the knees with relief.

    someone raise a glass and cheers me!

  336. Muff Potter wrote:

    @ kin:

    You do know what false equivalence is right?
    Elastigirl’s comment is not the same thing, and my opinion her comment stands.

    Thanks for the feedback – you may have a point. I reckon I’ll give it some further thought.

    @elastigirl – I get you. That’s your perogative.

  337. Piper’s view is contradiction-personified.

    If all events are determined by God, and not just permitted mind you, but that their final end is actually decreed by God; and, if all these events are for the glory of God – why then would Piper do anything but give praise to God for carrying out what God Himself has determined will occur?

    For Piper to remain consistent, instead of saying, “Perhaps we lose too many of our children because they weren’t trained as soldiers,” he should be saying, “For reasons I don’t understand, God, in His sovereignty, and for the sake of His glory, has not only chosen for us to lose many of our children, but also has determined that those same children would not be trained as soldiers; and for that, I rejoice in God for carrying out His decree.”

  338. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    That’s very kind of you; no, OldJohnJ is definitely not me, and a good thing too, because without him we’d be robbed of a fine and independent mind!

    Thanks for the complement. You’ll no doubt, appreciate that my maternal grandmother was a MacMillan married to a MacDougall in extreme eastern Ontario.

  339. I posted this on a previous thread (prior to this being written) but it was near the end and in response to a comment by @Shauna. I hope it pastes clearly.

    I am blown away by Piper’s incredibly poor exegesis of 1 Timothy 5:8.

    Piper says

    The question raised by this text, and many others, is this: What is the greatest good you can do for your children? What does a real, countercultural, Christian ambassador and exile from heaven think when he is told, “Provide for your household”? Provide what? Culture-conforming comforts and security? Really? I don’t think so. He is thinking, How can I breed a radical, risk-taking envoy of King Jesus? How can I raise a dolphin cutting through schools of sharks, rather than a bloated jellyfish floating with the plankton into the mouth of the whale called the world? How can I raise offspring who hear Jesus say, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58) and respond, “Let’s go”?

    Short answer? Um, no. Paul is talking about one thing only – working and providing (financially) for your family.

    The entire context of the passage (5:3-16) addresses “the list”, i.e., the list of people aided by the church because they can not provide for themselves. Paul tells Timothy not to put anyone on the list who has family that can assist them, because God expects us to help our families in their time of needs. It is one of the ways we demonstrate the faith.

    Never one to miss an opportunity to guilt the church, Piper adds to the text by expanding the meaning of provision to include the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). He then goes on to state:

    Perhaps we lose too many of our children because they weren’t trained as soldiers. Maybe we trained them in comfort and security, and now they won’t leave it.

    This is wrong on at least two levels – 1. This appeal to the consequences (fear of children walking away from the Lord) is a hypothesis which only reinforces his previous statement, there is no empirical evidence to support it, and; 2. His hypothesis is based on flawed exegesis, as previously stated above and is supported by both the Greek text and centuries of commentaries**.

    Once again we have an example of Piper taking a plain, straightforward/clear Bible passage and obfuscating it by using it to support one of his personal opinions. In this case, Piper uses a passage about caring for family members who cannot care for themselves and reworks it to imply that Paul was telling Christians to take their children into hostile territories as missionaries, because if they didn’t, their children would fall away from the faith. This is eisegesis of the worst kind and should not be excused simply because it came from the desk of John Piper.

    **For a more detailed, and Reformed Baptist, exegesis, see John Gill’s commentary on 1 Timothy 5:8 – http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/1_timothy/5.htm

  340. elastigirl wrote:

    s this preferable to something like a generic sleep aid?

    If you look at the generic sleep aides on the market like Tylenol PM, you will find that it is merely Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 mg combined with Tylenol. If you buy diphenhydramine alone, it is sooo cheap. That is the agent that causes sleepiness. These days it is marketed for allergies. Years ago, it was used as a pro operative med.

    I don’t think the Tylenol is necessary unless you have aches and pains. Even then you could do your own Tylenol PM with the generic acetaminophen (Tylenol) and diphenhydramine (25 mg.) It is dirt cheap to do it this way.

  341. Burwell wrote:

    Once again we have an example of Piper taking a plain, straightforward/clear Bible passage and obfuscating it by using it to support one of his personal opinions.

    He does this quite often. I don’t understand how so many people believe he is a great teacher. They must not study the scripture for themselves.

  342. OldJohnJ wrote:

    A little more than 6 months ago my wife of almost 54 years passed away. While I should have been more aware of her condition than I was, there are times you don’t want to face up to the inevitable. Slow, very gradual change tends to hide the progression of things.

    I am so sorry about your wife. That not being quite as aware-that is ubiquitous. We all do that, even when we try not to. Actually, it may be a good thing to have as much ‘good’ time as possible before the inevitable. Both my oncologist and my PCP do not focus on the inevitable. As a patient I really find that the best and easiest to deal with stuff. It affirms the patient in that one ‘sees’ the patient instead of seeing only the disease/condition.

    I don’t mean to offend you. I am just saying how I find that this feels from the other side of the equation. But either way, we are born ‘alone’ and we die ‘alone’ and there is no changing that.

    Bless you, OJJ, and prayers be with you.

  343. My husband did take both of our boys on 2 short-term missions trips to Central America, though we would never say that anyone ‘should’ do that with their family. I won’t get into the short-term missions debate, and commenters above have valid points; the agency they went with has long-term relationships with churches and Dr.s in the countries they support, but does send down short-term teams from America.
    The boys were both teens and had the choice whether to go. My oldest understood enough Spanish that on one trip he could tell the wife was scolding her husband for the route he was driving them (the main roads had been blocked by burning tires from a protest). They also volunteered a week for several years at a youth camp in a not-as-nice part of our local city, which sent along a police escort when they walked the kids to the local pool (though we didn’t find out about that part until later!).
    I guess in today’s world I don’t see anywhere as ‘safe’, and those were definitely worthwhile experiences for our sons. Some of what they learned was dealing with other believers who are very different (the first trip they got put in a travel group with a rabid young-earth (American) leader, who wanted to imply that my husband isn’t a Christian for believing the science which supports old earth, but grudgingly admitted that at least he was there trying to live his faith).
    Anyway, just our experience.

  344. @ readingalong:

    i appreciated your comment. i guess i have mixed feelings — jp is so incendiary, for a little ferret of a person (i think on purpose!). my reactions are stoked.

    i can see how your boys’ experience was a good one, and i can imagine how it shaped them positively.

    i suppose i have too much direct and indirect experience with christians deliberately walking into perilous circumstances based on the belief that “God will take care of me” — God didn’t take care of them (as they imagined), requiring the costly resources (time, energy, money, emotion…) of others to come to the rescue. it took a toll on many people.

    I don’t think the ‘rescued’ christians really even understood what they put others through. instead, it seemed they sort of congratulated themselves on how they walked by faith. how brave and fearless they were. no, they were irresponsible.

    I don’t mean to say you fall in this category.

  345. Respectfully, you are accusing me of claims I didn’t make (such as my faith being superior, or that I am more Godly with my view of the Bible, etc). I apologize if I didn’t convey very well that those aren’t my intentions. I can tell you rely on the Lord and care about the Bible and that it has brought you through some painful times. Someone on Facebook said something negative about you on Brandon Howse’s post about his recent situation. I told them that while I disagreed with your creation view, you do a thorough job reporting on issues and do it honestly. Peace to you.

  346. OldJohnJ wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Glad to hear from you!I always hope you are lurking in the background when their subject comes up!!

    I’ve been doing a lot of lurking in the background. There is really no appropriate or proper time to say this so I’ll do it here and now: A little more than 6 months ago my wife of almost 54 years passed away. While I should have been more aware of her condition than I was, there are times you don’t want to face up to the inevitable. Slow, very gradual change tends to hide the progression of things. With the help of my local, young family and a supportive church I am getting by reasonably well.

    I’ll continue to read this very valuable blog and possibly be a little more active in commenting. Thanks to you, Deb and GBTC again for providing this forum.

    So sorry for your loss! Prayers and hugs.

  347. Re missions to Latin America, either short- or long-term: Could y’all maybe evangelize countries that have never heard the Gospel rather than those that heard about Jesus way, way before any Protestant missionaries showed up? I know it’s so much easier to “sheep-steal” among people who are already familiar with basic Christian claims. But wouldn’t it be more in line with the Great Commission to evangelize, say, Uzbekistan? Just asking. 😉

  348. elastigirl wrote:

    !!!

    i just had an administrative / financial victorious breakthrough concerning my parents’ caregiving. i feel weak in the knees with relief.

    someone raise a glass and cheers me!

    Cheers!!!

  349. dee wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    But at the end of the day, does it make sense to embrace a god that no one can explain? And if it can’t be explained, there’s a problem.
    You are absolutely correct. We do have a problem and God had a solution to the problem.
    If God exists, He is the creator of the universe-planets, stars, black holes, etc. Oh yeah, there may be multiple universes. We know there are multiple dimensions. Most scientist believe in about 11 (last I checked a few years ago-perhaps the number has gone up.) I even learned that time itself is considered a dimension by many scientists. Some scientist who believe in God believe that heaven itself is its own dimension. It just boggles my mind.
    If God truly is the Uncaused First Cause, then how in the world does a human being, who exists in time and in one place with limited intelligence, ever wrap her hands around such a being? Frankly, it is impossible. It is beyond us. We are too small.
    In fact, it would be grossly unfair of such a being to expect us to understand Him unless he set up some things to help us to understand that he is present and active. Here is how I believe he lets us know of his presence.
    1. He sent Jesus who said that if we see him, we see the Father. This is an infinite God who said “Touch me.”
    2. He wrote down the *rules of the game* in a book that clearly outlines the big problems and the final solution even if we don’t fully understand some of what is in there. The Bible is effective in that it clearly outlines the following
    a. God the Creator
    b. How human are to relate and act to one another, to God and to the creation.
    c. It clearly demonstrates the sin problem we all have
    d. It shows us the solution-the Cross and Resurrection
    e. It documents Jesus who demonstrated a perfect life.
    f. It lets us know we are still sinners but we are also forgiven.
    g It tells us of another dimension-heaven- that one day will embrace all of the dimensions
    3. The Holy Spirit is given to us as our comforter and encourager.It is a piece of God in us.
    4. He encouraged us to be with one another-to encourage each other on our way. The Fellowship of the Rings exemplifies this aspect marvelously.
    Libby, this does not answer all of our questions. But, in my long search for a better answer, I have discovered that it answers more questions and far better (for me) than any other faith or philosophy.
    In the end, we must deal with the fact that we have two choices.
    1. An impersonal universe (or universes) that is entirely naturalistic with no end or beginning- continually expanding and contracting, forever. In other words, nature itself is the uncaused first cause. We are just part of that and the universe doesn’t care whether we are born or die. In fact, after we die, in short period of time, no one will know or care if we existed, heck, the earth itself could blow up and we are all just a lucky accident. We live, we die, we are eventually blotted out and no one or thing gives a hoot.
    2. We have a Creator God who is the Uncaused First Cause and that this universe is infinitely personal and an expression of His incredible Self. The includes a universe(s) created for his people.
    God has given us free will. He is not a God who forces himself on us. I am not here to tell you how to believe. I can only tell you why I believe. I wish you well on your journey. Contemplating the infinite is an intellectually stimulating process!

    Thank you Dee for your comments. But isn’t also possible that there is creator who is impersonal?

  350. dee wrote:

    @ Libby:
    Let me add something.
    As these laws were bring written, God was the King of Israel. That means he functioned in the role of a law giver. By this I mean day to day laws. He was the CDC, the Sheriff, the FDA, HHS, HUD, etc. As such He set up some laws to protect the people.
    The laws against shellfish and pigs were health laws since in those days, such creatures were contaminated food sources-infected with diseases, etc.
    The two types of cloth commandment was to prevent people from being bilked by cheating cloth merchants.

    Interesting. I did not know about the two types of cloth. Thank you

  351. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    doubt

    Good grief. No I am not trolling. You assume I have done no research because I disagree that the bible is egalitarian. I would love it if the bible were egalitarian, but I don’t think it is. I think it is clearly complementarian, but I also see the harm that complementarian doctrine has caused humanity, therefore I doubt that the bible was authored by a loving god. Now, that does not necessarily mean that a loving god does not exist, I just don’t think you’ll find him/her in the bible. I have found no satifactory answers, therefore I am an agnostic. I listen to Christians, Atheists, (I work with 2 muslims, who staunchly believe in the koran and I listen to them, also)

  352. Libby wrote:

    But isn’t also possible that there is creator who is impersonal?

    Yes, that is Dee’s option 1. An intelligent and willful creator is, by definition, personal.

  353. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    But wouldn’t it be more in line with the Great Commission to evangelize, say, Uzbekistan? Just asking.

    A quick check of Wikipedia shows that about 9% of the population are Russian Orthodox. It seems the Russian Orthodox who are living in that country should have that responsibility.

  354. Libby wrote:

    would love it if the bible were egalitarian, but I don’t think it is.

    Could you be expecting the unreasonable? Has there ever been a truly egalitarian system defined and modeled anywhere? As long as humans have our current sexual dimorphism and only one gender can bear children there will always be difficulty in attaining a truly egalitarian society. When interpreted well, the Bible is amazingly egalitarian. But if you are convinced otherwise and refuse to look at it any differently then you will always see it the way you do now. I don’t know how anyone here can provide enough evidence for you considering how hard you have pushed back.

  355. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    At the risk of sounding abrupt, “where you are wrong here” is in several places:
    First, you make requirements about the bible it does not make about itself — then claim it is “debunked” because you, who have apparently not taken the time to do serious Hebrew and Greek research but instead depend upon an English translation that allows for serious semantic misunderstanding, have decided you don’t like it, or don’t find it coherent: and therefore, it is beyond coherence for anyone. Rest assured, there are people far smarter than you or I, who have reconciled the difficulties you bring up. I urge you to consider their work. (There are also people far smarter than you or I who disbelieve. I also urge you to consider THEIR work, then weigh the two using intellectually honest scales).
    (I would also like you to cite the sources that drive your conclusions, but that’s just the writing teacher in me :))
    Second, you seem more inclined to point out how much you dislike the things in the Old Testament rather than whether the Christian worldview is even true. If it is true, and Christ is who he says he is, then he becomes the lens through which to make sense of the OT. If he is not really God, then the Christian worldview is useless, and there’s no reason to worry about the OT or the NT — in which case, there’s no reason to argue about it, and you need not trouble about convincing us we’re wrong — unless you feel compelled by some inexplicable vestigial moral implication to so convince us.
    Third, you keep saying “I disagree” and restating your main points as if they were accepted facts, when in fact they are still generalizations or assertions that do not take into account the rigorous academic study that is available; and in the face of this repetition you seem to have ignored or discounted the various responses offered, and only respond to the ones for which you have a prepared counter.
    Finally, I have to seriously ask: what are you after here? If it is a search for answers, I think you’ve got enough resources now to occupy yourself for at least the next three months locked in your study.
    But if you are looking for emotional healing, I can assure you there IS healing — I’ve seen it in the lives of the very victims we’re talking about — but it’s a choice. Because I respect your pain, I won’t lecture you beyond saying healing exists, and there is hope — But you won’t find it in arguing online.
    But once again I will direct you to determine whether or not Jesus is who he claims he is, and that will solve the problem of the Old Testament. If he is God, then you can interpret the OT in the light of that knowledge. And if he is not, then as I said, you can be on your merry way, and not stoop to arguing with backward Christians. But of all things, the most dishonest thing is to leave perfectly good evidence uninvestigated simply because you have decided before hand that you don’t like where it leads. Please, for your own sake, I hope you don’t do that.

    My, my where to begin with all this. I think many people on this blog are upset because I don’t agree with them. I have done much research, but have reached different conclusions, yes. The bible is debunked to my satisfaction and of course not everyone will agree. I also don’t think you are qualified to comment on my intelligence, were you trying to be insulting? Is that is in the bible somewhere?
    Is that how you learned to respond to people who simply disagree? Just for the record, I do not see my comments are arguing. I am not trying to change your mind, but I do believe Piper is a by product of the bible. He is par for the course.
    Dee explained why she believes, ok, I respect that. I disagree, but she has the right to believe as she sees fit. She has the right to blog about whatever she pleases. And what’s up with the crack about emotional healing?
    Really? So anyone who disagrees with you has emotional issues and pain? Wow. I would think a teacher would have more polish and class than that. Do you also put down students who disagree with you? And just for the record, I do not believe that Jesus is a divinity or a savior. But if you do, and you really believe he is so loving, why aren’t you more like him? Didn’t he teach Love your enemy?

  356. Libby wrote:

    Is that how you learned to respond to people who simply disagree?

    Earlier you asked “Come on, everybody, where am I wrong here??” If you can’t stand the answer, don’t ask the question. I don’t think you are engaging in honest dialogue with all of us.

  357. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    Is that how you learned to respond to people who simply disagree?
    Earlier you asked “Come on, everybody, where am I wrong here??” If you can’t stand the answer, don’t ask the question. I don’t think you are engaging in honest dialogue with all of us.

    I asked where I was wrong doctrinally, to which I got no response. Which I guess is a response. How dare you imply that I am dishonest. Where do you see dishonesty? You, too can’t handle anyone who does not agree with you. It must be horrible to be so dependent upon a religious belief system that you can’t tolerate disagreement. YOu think it was perfectly ok for him to imply that I have emotional issues? Is this an example of your jesus?

  358. @ dee:

    I’m no expert, it’s just my humble opinion. I used to read Desiring God, but it was all very flowery and disconnected from reality. Your blog called him out as Poet Piper to which I laughed out loud because I thought it was accurate. Right now, my life is very indicative of what God tells us to do, to count the cost of following Him. This particular thing in which Piler pontificates is a perfect example of his romantic notion of the Gospel because he tells the reader to sorta enter a storybook fantasy of 1)take kids to a dangerous mission field and voila! 2) your kids will know true sacrifice and love Jesus. Like others have commented here it doesn’t and hasn’t always turned out like that. Maybe instead of forcing kids to make sacrifices (outside of reasonable sacrifices like birthday money going to, or time spent ministering to, the poor), we let them see us sacrifice? I mean, is forced sacrifice really sacrifice? I read on Facebook the other day about someone’s wife reading Piper and coming to the awful conclusion her husband was an idol in her life. She sobbed to him that she was sincerely worried her live for him was idolatry because Piper gave some stupid advice. It’s like Piper believes every act of devotion he commits to God is how everyone else will experience it – everyone can have a flowery experience. Sometimes following Jesus sucks.

  359. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Libby wrote:
    would love it if the bible were egalitarian, but I don’t think it is.
    Could you be expecting the unreasonable? Has there ever been a truly egalitarian system defined and modeled anywhere? As long as humans have our current sexual dimorphism and only one gender can bear children there will always be difficulty in attaining a truly egalitarian society. When interpreted well, the Bible is amazingly egalitarian. But if you are convinced otherwise and refuse to look at it any differently then you will always see it the way you do now. I don’t know how anyone here can provide enough evidence for you considering how hard you have pushed back.

    Piper or Grudem or Burk could say the same thing if jumped on one of their websites and argued for an egalitarian position.

  360. Libby,

    It is obvious that you are hurting deeply. I don’t know if you are aware that there are a lot of folks here who have survived truly horrific things, so this website is about as safe as a place as you will ever find, regardless of your theological or emotional state. That said, the only thing I can go by are your comments and they read as if you are trying to “abreact previous emotional trauma” rather than being interested in actually trying to figure out if there are other emotional and spiritual solutions to your dilemma. It is not ok to go ad hominem or attack other people who are trying to respond to things you wrote. Either you meant your questions or you did not. Trying to stir up strife and discontent just because you don’t like the kind words with which other people are trying to share comfort with you, is NOT ok. I don’t usually post here, but I am known. I tend to lurk in the shadows and Mr. Tweed keeps me current on what everybody posts. My concern is as much for the decent folks like me, who tend to lurk rather than post, as much as it is for you. You sound terribly angry and fiercely determined to pick a theological fight and win it at all costs. My life experience has been that folks who “have to win at all cost and publicly humiliate and destroy their opponents” usually hurt so very badly that they cannot afford the emotional and intellectual honesty of admitting to themselves the depth of their terrible pain. I sure hope that I am mistaken in your case, but based on your posts, I would be quite surprised. Please realize that there are good decent honest and caring folks on this forum, who, if you would attempt to trust them instead of attacking without thinking, might actually be able to help you recover from whatever your true story is. May you experience “Immanuel, God with us” “Christ our brother” our advocate in a very personal, experiential way, which bypasses your objections (which also, of course, need to be honored and respected, but that is another post) and goes straight to your core heart and core will and comforts you in ways that only our Creator and Savior can. After all, that is why Jesus came to become our kin, and kinsman redeemer. I will be praying for you. From one survivor of atrocities to another. And please remember : there are many survivors here who have found new hope and are now able to trust Jesus out of the depths of their broken but surviving hearts. May you also find him to be your comfort and your refuge.

  361. Libby wrote:

    I asked where I was wrong doctrinally, to which I got no response.

    You actually got quite a few doctrinal responses. To deny that comes across as disingenuous. I don’t get the impression that you want real dialogue. But I could be wrong.

  362. Libby wrote:

    I asked where I was wrong doctrinally, to which I got no response.

    You actually received many responses which you simply disagree with or continued to make the same claims about the Bible over and over. I wish you well in your life journey. We will simply have to disagree about scripture.

  363. Libby wrote:

    I would love it if the bible were egalitarian, but I don’t think it is. I think it is clearly complementarian, but I also see the harm that complementarian doctrine has caused humanity, therefore I doubt that the bible was authored by a loving god.

    Hypothetically, if the bible were clearly egalitarian (whatever that may mean) do you think there could be any harm an egalitarian doctrine could cause humanity? If your answer is yes, then it seems that an egalitarian doctrine could not be authored by a loving god, too. If your answer is no harm is caused, then I think you would get some push back or differences of opinion as to whether there is or is not any harm.