A Closer Look at The Master’s University’s #1 Right Choice Ranking and MacArthur’s Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel

“Obviously, TMU’s students believe they made the right choice, so I don’t mean to take anything away from TMU. However, there is a difference between WSJ ranking a school and students rating a school via a survey.”

Warren Throckmorton

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TMC_Aerial.jpg

The Master’s University Aerial View

A few days ago Dee called me and shared her discovery about The Master’s University. Apparently, it was ranked as #1 Right Choice University amongst all U.S. colleges and universities for the second year in a row by the Wall Street Journal. She discovered this when she clicked on a link to The Cripplegate (see screen shot below)

************http://thecripplegate.com/exciting-news-from-the-masters-university/

************

They also mentioned their ranking in US News and World Report. (see below)

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/the-masters-university-and-seminary-1220

What I found most interesting about The Master’s University (TMU) is that US News and World Report indicates that there is an 83% acceptance rate.

Not long ago I heard on the news that my alma mater, Duke University, received over 37,000 applications for its incoming freshman class. Only 8.3% were accepted according to an article in the Duke Chronicle.

Interesting… 83% acceptance at TMU vs 8.3% acceptance at Duke.

Regarding TMU’s #1 Right Choice Ranking, Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, saw Dee’s Tweet about TMU’s ranking and did a little investigating…

Throckmorton began his post as follows:

Yesterday, Dee Parsons from Wartburg Watch tweeted a question about the The Master’s University’s claim that the school was ranked as a #1 “right choice” school by the Wall Street Journal. Here’s what The Master’s University said about their rating by the WSJ in 2016.

In response to the WSJ’s #1 Right Choice Ranking, Warren wrote:

Indeed the WSJ did mention TMU in 2016 and 2017 but the ranking was more of a rating by the students. WSJ asked 100,000 students a series of questions about their college including “if you could start over, would you still choose this college?” On that question, TMU students gave their school ratings higher than students at any other school. Lancaster (PA) Bible College ranked second on that question. LBC’s write up about the survey more clearly explains the significance of the rating.

The WSJ asked students “If you could start over, would you still choose this college?” 

Throckmorton quoted from the Wall Street Journal article (see below).

The Master‘s University, a small Christian liberal-arts school in Santa Clarita, Calif., topped all comers in that category, despite not cracking the top 500 schools in the overall ranking.

Warren then pointed out that another WSJ article stated that…

The survey also asked students three questions that weren’t taken into consideration in the rankings, including whether students would choose their school again. Highest marks again went to schools with a religious affiliation, including The Master’s University in Santa Clara, Calif., Lancaster Bible College and Brigham Young, Hawaii.

Throckmorton then concluded with this:

Obviously, TMU’s students believe they made the right choice, so I don’t mean to take anything away from TMU. However, there is a difference between WSJ ranking a school and students rating a school via a survey. When TMU portrays an average score on a student rating as a merit-based ranking by the WSJ, there is potential for their audience to be misled [emphasis mine].

You be the judge regarding The Master’s University’s portrayal of its rankings…


On another note…

John MacArthur has been in the news of late regarding a Statement on Social Justice that he is promoting. We encourage you to read it at the link below.

The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel

Some of the initial signers include:

John MacArthur

Voddie Baucham

Phil Johnson

James White

Tom Ascol

Jeremy Vuolo (a Duggar son-in-law)

Doug Wilson

Tommy Nelson

The number of signers is nearing 6,000. No doubt that number will increase as more become aware of the statement.

This is becoming BIG NEWS in Christendom, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it. We believe sides are being taken, and this may be the next big thing that drives a wedge between Christians.

Dee will be addressing this important matter in an upcoming post, so stay tuned…


Comments

A Closer Look at The Master’s University’s #1 Right Choice Ranking and MacArthur’s Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel — 258 Comments

  1. There were sixteen men identified as the “Initial Signers” when the manifesto was released on Tuesday. By Wednesday, that inner circle had shrunk to fourteen, and now stands at thirteen.

    The men whose names have been removed as “Initial Signers” are:

    Rod Martin FOUNDER AND CEO, THE MARTIN ORGANIZATION
    David Miller COUNTRY PREACHER AT LARGE LINE UPON LINE MINISTRIES
    Gavin Peacock ASSOCIATE PASTOR CALVARY GRACE CHURCH

    (their names are now listed later on amidst the long roster of signers, but they’re no longer identified among the “Initial Signers”. Weird)

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  2. From the OP:

    Interesting… 83% acceptance at TMU vs 8.3% acceptance at Duke.

    With all due respect to you, Dee, and your Alma Mater, this is like comparing apples to fillet mignon.

    There are many and varied factors to consider in choosing a college, each different for every student. I would suspect that a student would choose TMU because he wants to be a Minister in the John MacArthur Calvinist mold. Such a student would not be caught dead anywhere near the Duke Divinity School.

    I personally take all rankings of colleges with a grain of salt. As an example, I will take my choice of colleges. This was a long tome ago, but the rankings in US News has stayed pretty stable over the years.

    I was in the top 3% of my graduating class at my High School in Charlotte and wanted to major in Engineering. I checked out all of the top Engineering schools in the country (MIT, GA Tech, Purdue, etc.). I was a high achiever in HS, but not high enough to get scholarships to the top schools and I didn’t want to be in debt forever. I narrowed my search to schools closer to home.

    Now let’s take the rankings and other factors into account. I chose NC State University (ranked #34 in Engineering programs). US News lists NC State’s in-state tuition at $9058. The tuition made my decision pretty easy. I am still happy with my choice.

    By the way, Duke’s Engineering programs are ranked #20, but their tuition is $53,744. I would give up 14 ranking points to save a fortune. Personally, I think Duke Engineering’s rating is skewed high due to their world-class Biomedical Engineering program, which was not of interest to me. (Plus, no offense, Dee, I considered the prospect of becoming a Dookie repugnant. Only UNC-CH would have been worse! Just kidding, sort of)

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  3. “The number of signers is nearing 6,000. No doubt that number will increase as more become aware of the statement.”

    Noticeably absent from the list of signers of “The Statement on Social Justice and The Gospel” are the who’s who in New Calvinism. This may signal the end of John MacArthur’s involvement with the new reformers at TGC and T4G … look for his book sales in this market segment to drop … I never thought he was a fit with the YRR anyway. And it will also cause a rift within SBC between the New Calvinists and Old Calvinists (Founders Ministry).

    Interesting days ahead for the culture warriors, not to mention that attention will be drawn again to SBC’s sinful beginnings as slave-holding church leaders. Battlelines are being drawn between the culturally-relevant and the socially-ignorant within “Christian” leadership … both of which appear to be having problems delivering a Gospel message that is reaching lost folks in dark places.

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  4. I’d never heard of some of the men putting out this manifesto. Apparently one of the remaining Initial Signers is the owner of a travel company running the ‘Calvinist cruises’ these bros are often featured on?

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-o-fallon-37337710

    “Michael O’Fallon Founder and CEO at Sovereign Alliance Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
    Leisure, Travel & Tourism…Owner Sovereign Cruises and Events LLC”

    His website ‘Sovereign Luxury Experiences’:

    https://www.sovereignexperiences.com/

    He also runs “Billionaires and Barons” themed tours.

    What??

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  5. From the OP:

    This is becoming BIG NEWS in Christendom, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it. We believe sides are being taken, and this may be the next big thing that drives a wedge between Christians.
    Dee will be addressing this important matter on Monday, so stay tuned…

    The Social Justice issue is going to divide Christians, which is bad.

    BUT!

    The Social Justice issue is already dividing Neo-cals, which is VERY GOOD.

    I am looking forward to your views on Monday. One word of caution: The comments on this issue could get very political very quickly. I hope we can all respect each others opinions.

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  6. Ken P.: This is becoming BIG NEWS in Christendom, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it. We believe sides are being taken, and this may be the next big thing that drives a wedge between Christians.
    Dee will be addressing this important matter on Monday, so stay tuned…

    I read this thing and with 5K signatures, I’m wondering how much “big news” this really is. I was raised a Christian and was a Christian for a good chunk of my life and never even heard of the Danvers Statement until I read it here.

    Any wedges in Christianity and its many permutations have pretty much been there all along. There’s nothing in this statement that I didn’t already hear in some form or another in the pentecostal church I used to attend.

    I could probably present evidence that Sasquatch exists and get that many signatures on my “Sasquatch Statement” …. maybe more if I add in Chupacabras!

    Yes the great councils….Nicaea….Constantinople…Chalcedon….Trent…..Diet of Worms…..Herb’s House coffee shop.

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  7. Ironically, the drafters of last year’s Nashville Statement on Sexuality and Gender Roles assembled at…the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center. Of course.

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  8. Thersites: You were not predestined to be first so it wasn’t free choice.

    Oh, quite right! Reprobate that I am, I was bound to think I had some shred of free will in the matter! But then, what can you expect from a totally depraved individual?

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  9. Speaking as a academic, these “rankings” are way, way, overblown. I could go on and on about them….
    Add to it, our cultures obsession with “#1”, or being a “winner”, and it looks to me like TMU is being pretty “worldly”….. just what those pious types that populate places like TMU clain that they are not “worldly”……

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  10. Jerome: I’d never heard of some of the men putting out this manifesto. Apparently one of the remaining Initial Signers is the owner of a travel company running the ‘Calvinist cruises’ these bros are often featured on?

    here’s a good link showing the connection: https://www.ligoniertours.com/tours/2017-reformation-study-tour-cruise/
    Makes one wonder whether Ligonier will side with the Mohlerites or that MacArthurites in this new SJW front.

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  11. Interesting that TMU students think this is such a great school to obtain an education as their accreditation status is currently on probation. Their list of issues to respond to is very telling. MacArthur and his leadership overstepping boundaries, MacArthur not being compliant as a full-time president, hostile work environment problems, conflicts of interest, and lack of understanding of government programs and regulations all affect students in one way or another.

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  12. “Some of the initial signers include:
    Voddie Baucham”

    He is a piece of work:
    – Calls infants “vipers in diapers”
    – Does not allow daughters to work outside the home
    – Teaches that fathers won’t hook up with younger women if their daughters meet their need for affection
    – Teaches that following the conviction of the Holy Spirit is paganism

    I could go on, but that is more than enough…

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  13. Max,

    Supposedly Al Mohler told faculty at Southern not to sign it or else. In the BP News article he denies discouraging anyone from signing it. So IDK.

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  14. ___

    Submit This: “Inconsistent Inflated Religious Educational Institutional Ratings, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    When things go wrong at religious institutions, we can take it; we can dish it out, too…”

    huh?

    Some twelve years ago, at the Masters college, the Bible’s general teaching in the area of sexual abuse was considerably staff challenged under the broadest apparent alarmed “concern for the good standing & ratings of the institution. ™”

    What?

    Certainly the original abuse story suggests that there was an religious institutional cover up.

    Q. Why did John MacArthur and his religious organization(s) discredit the woman, and sweep the incident under the proverbial rug?

    ‘Plain Jane’?

    TWW has repeatedly called into question John MacArthur and his staff (1) after a blog article (2) posted on September 18, 2017 by a Ms. Marci Preheim on behalf of an undisclosed individual who filed a police rape report some twelve years ago…

    (1) Jane’s Traumatic Rape and Subsequent Mistreatment at John …
    (2) http://www.marcipreheim.com/2017/09/18/do-you-see-me/

    It is believed that Grace Community Church/The Master’s University seriously mishandled this reported assault-drugged-date-rape situation that lasted some several plus days, which happened some twelve plus years ago.

    The woman in question had her person violated, and her character decimated. She was marginalize by this religious institution and discredited, and summarily discarded. She was left struggling for hope for years in an effort to pick up the pieces which she —ultimately did do.

    SKreeeeeeeeeetch!

    Religious educational privilege over justice for an incident of sexual abuse?

    KRunch.

    Grace To You STATEMENT: Friday, September 22, 2017.; “The ministries of Grace Community Church and The Master’s University and Seminary have been informed of the blog article posted on September 18 (2017)by a Ms. Marci Preheim on behalf of an undisclosed individual. Although there are both evidentiary and biblical limitations in dealing with anonymous accusations, we take all claims of misconduct very seriously. According to our initial internal inquiry and review of the available records, we believe the blog article is plainly incorrect, a reality that we have verified with the police report on record. In addition to the various inaccuracies in the posted narrative, the male student that was accused in the official report was never a student at either The Master’s University or Seminary. In our view, anyone who would post such accusations without first verifying them has committed an unconscionable act of defamation, and anyone who would spread such misinformation is equally culpable in that irresponsibility. Should the undisclosed individual or any other person who has direct, firsthand knowledge of this matter wish to address this issue with us, we would request that they contact Kent Haney at The Master’s University who is overseeing the internal review of these allegations.”

    **

    Q. Were these aparrently abusive, and collaborative actions that covered up an incident of student sexual abuse —for the purpose of continued affirmation and the promotion of the highest secular view of this religious educational institution?

    Could b.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

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  15. Donna D.: Supposedly Al Mohler told faculty at Southern not to sign it or else. In the BP News article he denies discouraging anyone from signing it. So IDK.

    I’ve seen some tweets by signers indicating they “knew” professors at SBC seminaries who wanted to sign but had been told to stay away. I look forward to seeing what Dee has to say on Monday, because I think there really could be a split in the Calvinistas.

    In (br)other news, he is still in the hospital. The surgery to remove the hardware in his neck was on Tuesday and apparently successful. However, he is being kept in the hospital due to an abundance of caution after some unpleasant bacteria was detected in a neck drainage tube. The doctors say he has a retropharyngeal abscess in his throat. He is being infused four times a day with antibiotics and this will apparently continue for six weeks after he gets out, which we hope will be on Monday. He’s antsy to get out; so am I as the last couple of weeks have been stressful. It was OK when he was away on vacation because he wasn’t sick and he was coming home. All those trips to the ER, though, those have taken a toll. Obviously our mother, his parrot and his dog want him to come home as well. Thank God he’s getting top notch medical care now after a lot of bumbling around in the beginning. But Wikipedia says this retropharyngeal abscess is hard to diagnose so there is that.

    Thank you all for your prayers, they have been greatly appreciated!

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  16. From the OP:

    “This is becoming BIG NEWS in Christendom, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it. We believe sides are being taken, and this may be the next big thing that drives a wedge between Christians.”

    Sad but true. Everyone seems to be looking for ways to draw lines and make themselves different rather than looking for common ground. Lines end up having to be drawn from time to time, but we shouldn’t be looking to exclude people as our first reaction.

    I’ve learned a really great term lately called “steelmaning.” It is basically the opposite of creating a straw man argument to you can “destroy” your opponent. In steelmaning, you create the best, most charitable version of your opponent’s position and then contend with that. These arguments over social justice could really use a healthy dose of this because so often we are talking past each other to the straw man version of our opponents position that we have created to discredit them.

    I’m not going to loose sleep over JMac and Mohler fighting. I hope they both loose. But I don’t like how it is so hard to discuss difficult issues in the current cultural climate

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  17. Ken P.,

    Yep, agreed. We also live in NC. The Tuition Factor drove our kids’ decisions. My husband earned his doctorate at Harvard, but our kids did not even remotely consider applying to Ivies. Our HHI was modest, but we had a retirement nest egg, so our kids didn’t qualify for any non-merit aid. Older son attended Alabama on a near-full-ride National Merit Scholarship — it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Younger son attended UNC Wilmington and is now enrolled in graduate school at NC State, with a full scholarship and assistantship. Both kids turned down UNC-Chapel Hill, for different reasons. (Younger son felt UNCW was “friendlier,” LOL.)

    I honestly believe both kids received perfectly good educations. And both graduated from college debt-free. (Older son did borrow some money from us for his Master’s in Management program at Wake Forest; he had a scholarship, but it didn’t cover everything. He went on to teach ESL in China and came home with enough savings to repay much of that debt. I guess one can live pretty cheaply in Tianjin!)

    OK, end of Mama Brag. Bottom line: College costs are a huge factor these days. I know Duke is a great school, but private institutions are insanely expensive, so they weren’t even on our kids’ radar screens.

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  18. Looking forward to your article on Monday Dee. My observation, as against all those made in the making of the ‘statement’ is that Jesus commands to help the poor, the needy, the sick, not to covet money, so & on & so forth are always passed over in order to ‘protect the integrity of the Gospel’. Weird how the character of Christ is secondary to the ‘principles of Scripture’. And love, where is love mentioned?

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  19. The number of signers is nearing 6,000. No doubt that number will increase as more become aware of the statement.

    Just keep in mind, Dee, that some of those signatures might not be in favour of the statement. Apparently, people are signing with silly fake names and addresses, in order to mock and protest it. Perhaps someone is deleting the bogus signatures — I haven’t taken a close look, just seen snapshots on Twitter.

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  20. Ken F (aka Tweed): He is a piece of work:
    – Calls infants “vipers in diapers”
    – Does not allow daughters to work outside the home
    – Teaches that fathers won’t hook up with younger women if their daughters meet their need for affection
    – Teaches that following the conviction of the Holy Spirit is paganism

    And the real kicker? Baucham’s issues pale in comparison to Doug Wilson, one of his fellow signers.

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  21. Jerome,

    What’s weird is how racist misogynist and grifter Doug Wilson always seems to weasel in to many so-called Evangelical “leadership” spots. You’re only as strong as your weakest link and choosing to include this guy implies embracing his lousy crooked man-made theology.

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  22. Luther showed us how to do theology — over beer and wurst.

    —–

    This item may be of interest; it’s a nearly point-by-point response from a Mohler/Platt/Duncan sympathizer. The author seems to be concerned in part about how the statement will be used in the future. That anathemas are already flying suggests this is valid concern.

    https://sbcvoices.com/why-i-cannot-and-will-not-sign-the-social-justice-and-the-gospel-statement-by-ryan-burton-king/

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  23. Jack: Yes the great councils….Nicaea….Constantinople…Chalcedon….Trent…..Diet of Worms…..Herb’s House coffee shop.

    There are various milestones in Christian history. I doubt that Herb’s will be remembered as anything significant, other than good coffee. And who declared this particular cast of characters as worthy to issue an edict to Christendom?! We need to remember that Calvinism only represents less than 10% of the Christian world, which long ago rejected the tenets of their faith. The whole matter is a scuffle between New Calvinists and classical Calvinists on just how far the church should be involved with the culture, IMO. MacArthur & Ascol should have just confronted Mohler & Moore in a public debate on where the gospel fits with social justice. On the other hand, debating is not preaching the gospel … but are these folks ‘actually’ preaching the Gospel of Christ or just telling the church at large what to do?

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  24. Beakerj: Weird how the character of Christ is secondary to the ‘principles of Scripture’.

    That’s because the authority of Christ is waning in the American church. Bibliolatry supersedes Jesus in many corners of the organized church.

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  25. I loathe surveys and loathe even more when results are spun up into broad, meaningless statements meant to impress the audience. A great deal of work goes into preparing surveys, phrasing questions meticulously, understanding the results, getting the stats right and framing the results in a way that best captures the data. Few people understand this…nor want to. It’s the curse of statistics. I’ve sat in far too many “Town Hall” meetings and heard the CEO or President proudly wave around “great” results from a survey only to sit in my seat and stew about what those data REALLY represented. It’s all fluff and no meat. It’s the same here with TMU and WSJ. Much ado about nothing.

    AS regards the Social Justice & Gospel…this, too is meaningless drivel. They are saying the same old same old as every other statement that has been passed around. Didn’t another group just do this last year? I don’t recall who it was. Collected a bunch of signatures around a similar theme. Got everyone’s attention for a hot second. It’s a distraction from the heat they are taking – my opinion. Also, my opinion…look at our humility, we met at a lowly coffee shop to put this together. Just a handful of “us guys.” A grassroots movement. We’re just a couple of Joes. It’s false. This, too, shall pass.

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  26. Donna D.: Supposedly Al Mohler told faculty at Southern not to sign it or else.

    Just like he told them 25 years ago to sign the “Abstract of Principles” or else.

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton)

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  27. Max: That’s because the authority of Christ is waning in the American church.Bibliolatry supersedes Jesus in many corners of the organized church.

    At least among the Reformed, the problem IMO isn’t “bibliolatry” but something at a lower level: “confessionolatry”. The confessional standards functionally replace Scripture as the rule by which all theological affirmations are tested. Modern Baptists tried to deal with the threat of theological drift by avoiding supracongregational authorities (though this has not worked in the SBC since the non-authoritative but influential shared supracongregational entities have been taken over by proponents of a different theology). The Reformed historically dealt with the problem by devising forms of governance which freeze the confessional standards in place, demand unvarying subscription to the standards from everyone in a position to propose amendments to the standards, and punish anyone who later develops scrupulous exceptions. It’s a kind of historically-oriented documentary magisterium.

    Arguably, the Reformed (or at least the conservative varieties described above) are even further away from the authority of Jesus than are the biblioators.

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  28. I just asked google for the average admissions GPA for various colleges including but not limited to those in this state and for reference Harvard. Interesting information. Not sure what I think at this point.

    A while back the idea went around that perhaps sending a young person for a year of bible college between high school and university would be a good idea. One of my kids did an undergrad major in philosophy/religion at an accredited state school and it was good enough I guess for what it offered, but religious inspiration was certainly not one of its values.

    The issue as to what one ‘needs’ from post secondary education is complicated, and how to get it all is even more complicated.

    And then there is the money issue!

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  29. Samuel Conner: At least among the Reformed, the problem IMO isn’t “bibliolatry” but something at a lower level: “confessionolatry” … Arguably, the Reformed (or at least the conservative varieties described above) are even further away from the authority of Jesus than are the biblioators.

    Agreed. That is why Al Mohler required SBTS faculty to put their name on the “Abstract of Principles”, rather than put their hand on the Bible. Jesus? … well, He is barely in the picture.

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  30. I do like how this statement is called “THE Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.” As if it is the only one.

    I’d note that Affirmation/Denial XIII (13) is on culture. I’m going to quote the entire thing here:

    We affirm that some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures because of the biblical truths that inform those worldviews that have produced these distinct assumptions. Those elements of a given culture that reflect divine revelation should be celebrated and promoted. But the various cultures out of which we have been called all have features that are worldly and sinful—and therefore those sinful features should be repudiated for the honor of Christ. We affirm that whatever evil influences to which we have been subjected via our culture can be—and must be—overcome through conversion and the training of both mind and heart through biblical truth.

    We deny that individuals and sub-groups in any culture are unable, by God’s grace, to rise above whatever moral defects or spiritual deficiencies have been engendered or encouraged by their respective cultures.

    I am going to be blunt and state that these guys are engaging in cultural bigotry. I’ve gotten blocked by people on Twitter (looking at you “Justin Peters Ministry”) because I pointed this out. The aforementioned “Justin Peters Ministry” tried to pull out the “are you saying cannibals are better?” trope. I pointed out that his great-great-grandfathers in the faith used the Bible to support chattel slavery in the South. To be very clear, I didn’t impute that to Peters or anyone else today, just pointed out that the antebellum South used scripture to justify ownership of black people…annnnd blocked.

    These men think that some cultures are better because they are informed by “biblical truths.” Remember, these are the same guys who use the Bible to force women into subordinate and second-class positions. What they’re saying here is that their culture is better than egalitarian cultures who treat women as equals. As I’ve told a few of them, I get treated better by my amoral, evil too big to fail employer than I do by their churches.

    There’s a lot more I could comment about (the biological illiteracy steams me) but the cultural superiority expressed in this thing deserves to be called out. I, for one, do not want to be governed by their “biblical principles”.

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  31. Samuel Conner: At least among the Reformed, the problem IMO isn’t “bibliolatry” but something at a lower level: “confessionolatry”. The confessional standards functionally replace Scripture as the rule by which all theological affirmations are tested.

    As a good example of that, note how many times Al Mohler mentions “confession” in his 1993 convocation address at SBTS as its new president: http://equip.sbts.edu/resource/dont-just-do-something-stand-there/

    Southern Baptists, which traditionally have had an aversion to creeds, should have dealt with Dr. Mohler at that point. The window is closed now.

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  32. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    I get a bit uneasy when people point to narrative portions of Scripture to support their views on culture. Back in the ’90s a friend studying at a leading Reformed seminary pointed meto the culture of OT Israel as part of the argument in favor of complementarianism. The argument, IIRC, was that “God chose the culture, among those available, in which to “embody” OT revelation.

    The friend was female and was not too pleased when I pointed out that OT revelation explicitly endorses (by regulating it) polygyny. I don’t think the NT canonical gospel prohibitions on divorce can avoid this uncomfortable fact; by the 1st century, polygyny was no longer practiced in Israel. It wasn’t in view.

    This is not to defend polygyny, but to use it as a case study of the perils of assuming that cultural artifacts/phenomena of the Biblical text should be uncritically employed as the basis for a Christian vision of what a righteous society would be like. That’s one of the reasons I am skeptical of advocates of complementarianism; I don’t see how they can disentangle time-bound cultural setting from “timeless principles”, and to apply their method consistently would lead to embrace of OT practices that I think followers of Jesus ought to find abhorrent.

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  33. The social justice statement could have used an editor. Even a minor mispelled word or grammatical error can make a profound document seem ill conceived. If I see an error my thought is the authors didn’t really care about what they were presenting. They may have just been attempting to make some noise. Something else that caught my attention was that race should be viewed from the Bible. Are we talking about Ham and the support for slavery and second class citizenship based on an interpretation of story of Ham? Ham’s descendants deserved being slaves and second class citizens because of what Ham did some have said. And what did Ham actually do? Also who in the heavens are the signatories? They seem to be self important people. One is a Baptist Church Doctor and another is a teachet. These are new terms for me.

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  34. Jack,

    “I could probably present evidence that Sasquatch exists and get that many signatures on my “Sasquatch Statement” …. maybe more if I add in Chupacabras!”
    ++++++++++++++

    A contest. you do that one and i’ll do Mothman.

    because, as christian leaders teach us, “Signatures Win”.

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  35. I confess to sometimes confusing WSJ with SJW… but I have the excuse of being not just old but dead. MacArthur, I fear, suffers the same confusion and just lumps both onto his enemies list. What’s his excuse?

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  36. My computer screen developed a crack in it behind the outer layer and Mac has my computer for the next five days To top it off my husband’s computer is finally biting the dust and can’t handle my website stuff I’m not sure how the next few days will go but we will get through this

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  37. Mark,

    I would suspect “self important people” is the key phrase here. I would be happy to leave them to stew in their own juices, except for the fact that they tie burdens onto others that are too heavy to bear, convince their followers that their god is angry, vengeful, and hateful (and unrelatable), and drive people to despair (with no hope possible, for to hope in their god means being reduced to a worm, or less).

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  38. Dee:

    Very deep comment!
    Seriously, the very 1st affirmation in the SJW statement contains a whopper:”God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.”
    I dare say not one soul up here in heaven believes such a thing. Scripture itself denies it in passages like John 1 and Hebrews 1.

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  39. Dee:
    My computer screen developed a crack in it behind the outer layer and Mac has my computer for the next five daysTo top it off my husband’s computer is finally biting the dust and can’t handle my website stuffI’m not sure how the next few days will go but we will get through this

    Best wishes to you and yours. Appreciate all you do.

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  40. Dee:
    My computer screen developed a crack in it behind the outer layer and Mac has my computer for the next five daysTo top it off my husband’s computer is finally biting the dust and can’t handle my website stuffI’m not sure how the next few days will go but we will get through this

    If your laptop has a secondary video “out” port (typically in Windows machines this is a VGA or HDMI port; not sure what connector Macs use — I have the impression that changes quite frequently), you may be able to nurse it along using a cheap external video display. One of my siblings kept an old laptop with an unreadable “in-lid” display in use for years that way. It wasn’t portable any more, of course, but still usable when needed.

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  41. Jerome,

    “Ironically, the drafters of last year’s Nashville Statement on Sexuality and Gender Roles assembled at…the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center. Of course.”
    +++++++++++++

    that’s funny.

    now, Jerome, if you want a research project:

    an aerial view of the Nashville Statement makes it easy to see that it was CBMW rebranding itself. simply switching targets to exercise power over to control for the purpose of saving face.

    why so silent for so long after ESS was roundly trounced at the ETS conference of 2016, San Antonio? why no acknowledgement?

    how many revenue streams were in jeopardy? imagine the loss of reputation, solely staked on female subordination/male headship, held together by ESS.

    then all of a sudden, The Nashville Statement. new flashy logo, new website, new raison d’etre.

    new culture war stoked. new human targets.

    sign the statement or else. it becomes the litmus test of “legitimate christian”.

    how many careers and reputations of honest christians were jeopardized by not signing? how many felt blackmailed into signing?

    how many christians divided against each other? how many LGBTQ lives impacted by the newly stoked fear of and antagonism against them?

    how many human lives exploited?

    all for the sake of the CBMW organization and those whose names have derived revenue and power from it.

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  42. Fred Rogers,

    “Seriously, the very 1st affirmation in the SJW statement contains a whopper:”God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.”

    I dare say not one soul up here in heaven believes such a thing. Scripture itself denies it in passages like John 1 and Hebrews 1.”
    +++++++++++++++

    what’s the feeling in heaven about christians on earth who have enough influence to publish statements for the purpose of drawing out supporters and shaming their detractors?

    who make their statement a matter of salvation? for one’s soul, if not one’s reputation and career?

    who exploit and extort human lives for their own gain?

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  43. Max: I bet John MacArthur’s signature was as big as John Hancock’s.

    To impress the ladies, perhaps? I heard that Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence that way because he thought that chicks would like a guy with a big signature.

    (Mind you, that was in a ’90s computer game entitled “Day Of The Tentacle”, so it might not be historically accurate. But I digress…)

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  44. “I confess to sometimes confusing WSJ with SJW… but I have the excuse of being not just old but dead. MacArthur, I fear, suffers the same confusion and just lumps both onto his enemies list. What’s his excuse?”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    re-branding.

    exploiting people for the sake public relations.

    Mark Demoss…

    i’m sure this is something Jesus would do.

    😐

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  45. elastigirl: what’s the feeling in heaven about christians on earth…

    Quite frankly, we’re worried some of them might not even make it. Of course, they probably think I didn’t make it because– too liberal.

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  46. I actually think the Statement on Social Justice falls right in line with Founders, New Calvinism, and Macarthur’s brand of hybrid Calvinism. The elite are elect, and everyone else is evil and deserves to be treated horribly, and so the elect should treat them that way.

    It’s Mohler and Moore that are the outliers. Their statements in favor of social justice do not fall in line with their personal theology. And I don’t think they really believe anything different from those who signed the statement, because that would appear in their actions, which is has not. I think it’s all political for them, and have been expecting them to make some big move toward politics. Somebody wants to get elected and take control of more than just a denomination.

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  47. Fred Rogers,

    “Quite frankly, we’re worried some of them might not even make it. Of course, they probably think I didn’t make it because– too liberal.”
    +++++++++

    is there pipsqueak heaven? earthly trumped-up-gospel-pieces-of-ego, walking the golden streets as diminished spiritual has-beens?

    are there golden streets?

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  48. ishy:

    It’s Mohler and Moore that are the outliers. Their statements in favor of social justice do not fall in line with their personal theology. And I don’t think they really believe anything different from those who signed the statement, because that would appear in their actions, which is has not.

    Yes, there does seem to be a disconnect. Great (and IMO commendable, as far at it goes) concern about inequities outside the churches (and ways these are instantiated inside the churches) but seemingly very little concern about mistreatment of those who are inside the churches and under their “authority.” Perhaps it’s all just a pose. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a conscious pose; the heart is desperately and incurably wicked, beyond understanding, deceitful above all things, etc.

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  49. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Very disturbing and sad.
    I truly hope no one was abused in his home. I realize that is a serious thing to even wonder about, but with that mentality even hinting at a daughter being similar to a wife in design…it begs the question. 🙁 I will pray for him either way that the Lord will reveal and purify him of anything dishonorable or evil.

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  50. I am not rushing to sign the SJ statement.

    But some pushback was warranted.

    If you followed the MLK50 conference jointly put on by TGC and ERLC, you would have heard some good things, but you also would have heard some ridiculous things.

    The most outrageous thing that was said in the wake of that conference was by Thabiti Anyabwile.

    He has claimed that all “white” Christians need to apologize for their parents and grandparents complicity in the murder of MLK.

    I suspect that the entire SJ thing is an attempt to capitalize on the notoriety of police shootings, marches and such that happened a couple of years back. So anxious are they to look good to broader culture that they are trying to present themselves in some ways as social progressives, which incredibly ironic.

    If you want to see something really funny, watch this young elder from a church in Vermont critique Russell Moore.

    In my view, his observations are spot on.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=un3RYwB6wjc&t=32s

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  51. Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

    “Dee will be addressing this important matter on Monday, so stay tuned…”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    Dee, Deb,

    how many signers of the Nashville Statement felt coerced? or bamboozled into signing it?

    i suspect many have cooler heads now, & could prevail by publicly stating they want their signature removed.

    perhaps many christians, vulnerable to the spin of statement-writing powerbrokers, can be sobered up enough to avoid signing something they later regret.

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  52. Ken P.,

    It’s an apples and oranges comparison, I agree. I also take rankings with a grain of salt. Guess which college rarely ever makes it into the rankings? Hillsdale.

    “I cannot myself tell you where we would rank because I do not know how these folks produce their conclusions.”

    https://ricochet.com/550372/us-college-rankings-where-is-hillsdale/

    There is the problem. How do they produce their conclusion? As to a “survey”, I find that process a bit amusing. Most alumni want to believe they received a good education. They need to believe it. And what would they compare it to?

    As to Throckmorton, I find him very partisan and one-sided. Recently a dad was bragging to me about sending his kid to Grove City, a school he insisted was well-rounded with profs who were open to both sides of political issues. I sent him a link to Throckmorton’s blog. He was very disappointed to see how partisan Throckmorton is.

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  53. ishy,

    At the risk of being tarred and feathered by PC crowd, I like what Hayek wrote.. and I paraphrase, “if you have to put a another word in front of Justice then it’s not Justice”.

    Justice is justice for each individual. The problem is when we break people down into political identity groups. It stops being Justice for some.

    Moore, McArthur, Mohler, etc, each have their own brand of Justice that chills me to the Bone.

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  54. ishy: It’s Mohler and Moore that are the outliers. Their statements in favor of social justice do not fall in line with their personal theology.

    Agreed. But, in a weird sort of way, I have a feeling they are going to come out smelling like a rose on this. Mohler will increase and MacArthur will decrease.

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  55. elastigirl,

    I would like to know what these statements accomplish. All of them. I’m still dizzy from trying to understand all the women who affirmed the BFM2000 while demanding equal representation for women in the SBC.

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  56. Lydia: It’s the ability to erase history, Comrade.

    Yes, folks like Mohler are masters at historical negation … he has set himself up to control theological influence within SBC, as well as political influence over it. He preaches that the denomination has been off-track for the last 150 years with its whosoever-will-may-come message … and in the process, demonizes those who disagree with him.

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  57. Donna D.,

    SBTS Faculty don’t talk about such things publicly if they want to keep their job. At least that is what I have been told by a former faculty person and someone formerly on Mohler’s management staff. Stifling place if you want to dissent or even question.

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  58. Lydia,

    “I would like to know what these statements accomplish. All of them. I’m still dizzy from trying to understand all the women who affirmed the BFM2000 while demanding equal representation for women in the SBC.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    my view is market share in the marketplace of ideas (to which revenue streams and other dividends like reputation, personal power, significance, and legacy are linked).

    for CBMW, it was reinventing themselves after the humiliation of ETS 2016 and the dismantling of ESS. an aggressive marketing campaign launch in rebranding themselves. exploiting christians and LGBTQ in the process.

    but i’ve said ‘exploit’ too many times today.

    as to the women who affirmed the BFM2000 while demanding equal representation for women in the SBC, i’ve observed christians having a logical disconnect between information they are persuasively told they must believe and what they truly do believe and value in their heart of hearts (which most of the time is suppressed).

    or being numb to cognitive dissonance.

    john piper would call that faith.

    faith in what, exactly?

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  59. Lydia: He was very disappointed to see how partisan Throckmorton is.

    If you think Warren Throckmorton is partisan, you would be completely appalled by me. On subjects close to my heart, I am take no prisoners. I think Warren does his best considering the world he’s in. Of course, I went to evil public universities for my BA and JD, so my opinion might be skewed, biased and jaded.

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  60. Lydia: Justice is justice for each individual. The problem is when we break people down into political identity groups. It stops being Justice for some.

    Political identity groups?
    Good grist over a latte at Starbuck’s I’m sure, but the reality is what economic strata you (generic you) hail from and the counsel you can afford.

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  61. SiteSeer: SiteSeer on Sat Sep 08, 2018 at 02:43 PM said:
    I’ve not heard of this website/group before and not sure what exactly their worldview, as they put it, entails but they posted this rebuttal which, I think, pretty much decimates the statement:

    Interesting. “American Vision” appears to be Calvinist, young earth creationist, dominionist, lordship salvationist, and one of their featured authors is Doug Wilson (who signed the statement). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Vision

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  62. Dee: My computer screen developed a crack in it behind the outer layer and Mac has my computer for the next five days To top it off my husband’s computer is finally biting the dust and can’t handle my website stuff I’m not sure how the next few days will go but we will get through this

    Oh the joys of Chinese sweat-shop goods!

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  63. “Conservative Christians issue statement on Social Justice and the Gospel” — the Capstone Report.

    so, the statement-writers get to define ‘conservative christian’ for everyone else. they usurp the power to make themselves the arbiter of who is a conservative christian and who is not. who is legitimate and who is not.
    who is in and who is out. which will impact the careers and reputations of others.

    signing means you give them that power, in fact have a share in that power.

    you can decide for yourself what your beliefs are without signing. don’t endorse this power grab.

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  64. Ken F (aka Tweed): Interesting. “American Vision” appears to be Calvinist, young earth creationist, dominionist, lordship salvationist, and one of their featured authors is Doug Wilson (who signed the statement). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Vision

    Interesting, Ken. I had a feeling with a name like that it would be some kind of dominionist yet the guy made some very good points about basic issues with the how the statement did not even define the terms it used and how the slave owners could have signed it in good conscience. I’m not even sure how all of those influences hang together with what his objections were? it’s kind of mind boggling but that’s nothing new in church land. Cognitive dissonance is a way of life.

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  65. Muff Potter,

    Bingo. Unless one is well healed they cannot withstand false accusations brought on by SWJ trying to make an example.. Thank God Jack Phillips had lawyers willing to help him. Otherwise he would have been financially ruined. I I should have never gotten involved in any conversations about that until I read the Scotus decision. I I am so sorry that I believe what the media was saying about him. That man was accused of a lot of things that he did not do. He never refused to serve people. He did not want to “design” a cake. And I am totally against government compelling free expression. Even after the decision, the Colorado commission on human rights is going after him again. Sadly, That’s social justice today. .

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  66. elastigirl: i’ve observed christians having a logical disconnect between information they are persuasively told they must believe and what they truly do believe and value in their heart of hearts (which most of the time is suppressed).

    After years in church, it can be a long, difficult task to sort those out. ‘First to one’s own self be true’ can be a major achievement!

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  67. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    I know. I used to read your Twitter feed. (Wink) I am sure you have some choice labels for me. I went to evil public universities, too. Worked at a few, too. It’s just my opinion that he is politically partisan. I am a nobody so not sure why that upset you so much. I have no need to take prisoners. I think it is healthy when people disagree and debate. I can remember the days of having wonderful healthy rousing debates of total disagreement and then going for a drink. I miss those days.

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  68. Lydia: I am so sorry that I believe what the media was saying about him

    Given many of your posts I’m surprised you made the error. Besides what the media distorts, it is also of keen interest the suppressed stories that do not fit their narrative or things that do not appear on their radar at all. The national purveyors of “news”, whether right or left have little contact with much that concerns me.

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  69. I read through the “statement” and I do not see anything in there that blatantly contradicts scripture. Of course, there are positions taken in the statement that will always be the subject of debate and divisions. I would expect “conservative” Christians to take these stands because of the fact that they accept the Bible has being authoritative and literal.

    That does not mean that I turn a blind eye to the escapades of our beloved celebrity pastors. I support the need for a site like this to expose the works of darkness.

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  70. ishy: I actually think the Statement on Social Justice falls right in line with Founders, New Calvinism, and Macarthur’s brand of hybrid Calvinism.

    I read “hybrid Calvinism” as “rabid Calvinism” at first. Actually, it has a kind of weird logic.

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  71. elastigirl:
    Fred Rogers,

    “Quite frankly, we’re worried some of them might not even make it. Of course, they probably think I didn’t make it because– too liberal.”
    +++++++++

    is there pipsqueak heaven?earthly trumped-up-gospel-pieces-of-ego, walking the golden streets as diminished spiritual has-beens?

    are there golden streets?

    Something that stuck with me after reading Catherine Marshall’s description of a vision of her husband (chaplain of the US Senate) in heaven: If I’m remembering right, she saw him working in a garden, in a humble attitude.

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  72. Lydia: It’s just my opinion that he is politically partisan.

    This isn’t about Throckmorton specifically, because I don’t know that much about him. What bothers me about partisanship is not that people disagree with me. I get that and am glad that we don’t live in a monochromatic world. The problem comes when people believe that they can read your mind and tell you WHY you believe what you believe (you only voted that way because you are a —ist, —phobe, hippy-liberal, commie, etc.) I’m trying in conversations to not make that assumption and instead assume someone believes what they believe for good reason until proven otherwise. It’s amazing what you can learn when you don’t assume you know someone’s motives. Abusive church leaders do this all the time. A great example is when the church is considering a big change, they will tell the congregation to expect demonic opposition. That way, if someone disagrees, the whole church will assume bad motives and write that person off

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  73. George,

    “I would expect “conservative” Christians to take these stands because of the fact that they accept the Bible has being authoritative and literal.”
    +++++++++++++++

    there is plenty of room for interpretation in “authoritative and literal”.

    what the statement does is presume the power to define “conservative christian” for everyone else, according to how they interpret things.

    or according to what benefits them.

    it is the power to determine who is in and who is out. it is the power to destroy careers and reputations, livelihoods, relationships, social fabric of one’s life.

    talk about dangerous.

    christians get righteous about things like this, losing touch with right and wrong.

    I recall, a few years ago, a big name in christian culture threatening Carl Trueman (& his career) because they didn’t like his perspective.

    some decades ago, SBC seminary professor Ralph Elliott held to multiple authorship of Genesis. This didn’t pass the orthodox litmus test for some. This is what happened (in his own words):

    “Those who claimed they were the most orthodox Christians were the most bitter and ugly in their attitude…

    …my family are the ones who really suffered. We received threatening telephone calls. And once, explosives were thrown on our front porch. Damaging the door. For a while, the police had to escort our children home from public school.”

    excerpted from Against the Wind: The Moderate Voice in Baptist Life
    By Carl L. Kell

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  74. George: I read through the “statement” and I do not see anything in there that blatantly contradicts scripture. Of course, there are positions taken in the statement that will always be the subject of debate and divisions. I would expect “conservative” Christians to take these stands because of the fact that they accept the Bible has being authoritative and literal.

    The problem with the statement is the sweeping generalizations and vagueness. It creates huge opportunity for misunderstanding and division. The first affirmation alone cane be picked apart. For example, what should conservative Christians do with the bible being wrong on the calculation of pi (see 1 King 7:23)? Should conservative Christians push for using the biblical value of 3.0 or the real value? How can we say the bible is inerrent when it can’t get basic math right? Or do we claim the value of pi in that verse is not to be taken literally? But if that is the case, doesn’t it open up the slippery slope of not taking any of it literally? Or perhaps it means that there is a lot of room for “orthodox” Christians to disagree without having to draft divisive statements.

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  75. refugee,

    a sweet image.

    just a few hours ago my husband and i were talking about art and ‘heaven’.

    about how when an artist passes away (music, film, theater, dance, paint/sculpture, literature, etc) it is very sad for us in that their art stops. only they can do what they can do. when they pass on, their amazing and unique artistry is no more.

    about how radical artistic expression in ‘heaven’ must be. who knows about eternal destiny, but i can’t help but feel great anticipation for experiencing what Michael Jackson and Michelangelo (among others) will be doing.

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  76. Lydia: It’s just my opinion that he is politically partisan.

    He obviously believes what he believes. Did he ever claim to be bipartisan? He offers his perspective, like everyone does on their own blog, I can agree or not . . . read or not . . .

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  77. elastigirl: what the statement does is presume the power to define “conservative christian” for everyone else, according to how they interpret things.

    or according to what benefits them.

    it is the power to determine who is in and who is out. it is the power to destroy careers and reputations, livelihoods, relationships, social fabric of one’s life.

    talk about dangerous.

    This is exactly what I see happening. I have seen it. It creates the in crowd sand the out crowd. But I dislike all statements and confessions. They create power on one end and division all around.

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  78. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: If you think Warren Throckmorton is partisan, … I think Warren does his best considering the world he’s in.

    Detecting partisanship and bias in another person is easily done when their viewpoint is different. Their use of tropes and incorrect generalizations are readily apparent. In much the same way that we don’t hear an accent in our peers growing up and may even think it is only those from other regions that speak with an accent, we simply don’t detect it.

    A difficult work around to our inability to discover such partisanship is to personally interact more with people of a different world view. Unfortunately one of the most blighted institutions in terms of ideological diversity is a modern university and that is Throckmorton habitat. Thus I can agree “Warren does his best considering the world he’s in.”

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  79. Ricco: A great example is when the church is considering a big change, they will tell the congregation to expect demonic opposition.

    You gotta love the assumption that their “change” is not “from the devil”.

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  80. The statement on social justice and the gospel has been timely for me. Our local church did a complete 180 about 3 weeks ago, from clearly preaching salvation to preaching the social gospel of the 1920’s which is pretty dang close to the social justice movement. And we get a strong Marxist/Liberation theology blend to boot.

    Doesn’t fly with me. On a personal level and as a person not 100 percent Anglo on more than one level with a child of mixed heritage, I find the social justice movement belonging in politics, not the church. Some of my family was indentured, some may have been slaves, some walked the trail of tears, and yes, some owned slaves. Others fought to end slavery.

    Doesn’t mean I oppress anyone or that I owe anything to anyone based on my heritage.

    But church is supposed to be about Jesus–who He was, what He wants from us, what He gives to us, and what He will do for us.

    Not politics. Not right leaning or left leaning. And yes, both of those sides have some things they can support or ban based on clear Bible teachings. Loving all people does not mean accepting all actions. And no, not all the cultures within my heritage were equal. Some were wise, some were silly, and some were downright evil.

    I’ll keep the music and the clogging but the haints and the omens go in the trash. Keep the smarts and the hard work and let the idea of buying and selling people go in the garbage. I’ll keep the good foods and let the whisky rebellion finally end.

    I find the statement on social justice and the gospel generally a good thing–that is, if it keeps the focus of the church on Jesus. If we do that well, the clean up systemic evil and society thing will take care of itself.

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  81. Max: Battlelines are being drawn between the culturally-relevant and the socially-ignorant within “Christian” leadership … both of which appear to be having problems delivering a Gospel message that is reaching lost folks in dark places.

    Very insightful comment. Note that the false dichotomy is always used to distract from that which TPTB desire to ignore. All you have to do is create an emotionally powerful divide (think Calvinist vs Arminian, Republican vs Democrat) and no one will notice that neither side actually offers any real solutions. But people will be so busy taking sides and fighting the ‘enemy’ they will never notice.

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  82. linda: church is supposed to be about Jesus–

    But that apparently does not put butts in seats. Nor does it sell books, generate conference income, make for profitable blogs, etc.

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  83. refugee: I would suspect “self important people” is the key phrase here. I would be happy to leave them to stew in their own juices, except for the fact that they tie burdens onto others that are too heavy to bear, convince their followers that their god is angry, vengeful, and hateful (and unrelatable), and drive people to despair (with no hope possible, for to hope in their god means being reduced to a worm, or less).

    And just like the original Christian cultural revolution, the goal of these legalists is to point their followers away from any sort of loving, Christ-like living, such as social justice might lead to. Wouldn’t want people to be led into anything other than doing church, now would we? Extremists are held up (and perhaps even deliberately manufactured) in order to say, ‘See, this is where this sort of thinking leads!’

    It worked on the Christian masses with inerrancy and liberalism, and, likely, it will work upon the same sort of unthinking followers again. Social justice warriors are simply the new liberals, who rather embarrassingly reveal how unloving The Church generally is, focusing instead on developing perfect piety.

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  84. SiteSeer: I’ve not heard of this website/group before and not sure what exactly their worldview, as they put it, entails but they posted this rebuttal which, I think, pretty much decimates the statement: https://americanvision.org/16796/response-to-the-statement-on-social-justice-and-the-gospel/

    This statement from the linked article says it pretty well: “This document is not about issues, even though it uses pointed buzzwords. It is about power and alignment—tribalism. In the name of standing firm for Gospel truth, it works to solidify one group of believers against another group by demonizing the other with broad, undefined labels. The result is something like the following sentiment: “social justice” (undefined) is evil, and either you agree with us (sign the document), or you are dangerous to the church.”

    This is what I saw, over and over, in my time at the Reformed funny farm. It appears to be the favorite tool of demagogues of all stripes. I seem to recall another famous person, not too many years ago, stating ‘You are either with us, or you are against us’. There is, apparently, no room in modern discourse for discourse. Just ‘Shut up and believe/do what we say’.

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  85. Max: Agreed. But, in a weird sort of way, I have a feeling they are going to come out smelling like a rose on this. Mohler will increase and MacArthur will decrease.

    It’s all part of the plan.

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  86. elastigirl: as to the women who affirmed the BFM2000 while demanding equal representation for women in the SBC, i’ve observed christians having a logical disconnect between information they are persuasively told they must believe and what they truly do believe and value in their heart of hearts (which most of the time is suppressed).

    Which explains exactly how anyone can be a Calvinist. 😉

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  87. elastigirl: so, the statement-writers get to define ‘conservative christian’ for everyone else. they usurp the power to make themselves the arbiter of who is a conservative christian and who is not. who is legitimate and who is not.
    who is in and who is out. which will impact the careers and reputations of others.

    signing means you give them that power, in fact have a share in that power.

    you can decide for yourself what your beliefs are without signing. don’t endorse this power grab.

    There are a lot of great comments here today! You people get it.

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  88. Lydia: That man was accused of a lot of things that he did not do. He never refused to serve people. He did not want to “design” a cake. And I am totally against government compelling free expression. Even after the decision, the Colorado commission on human rights is going after him again. Sadly, That’s social justice today. .

    I am in complete agreement. The State of Colorado has over-stepped its bounds in its continued hostility toward Mr. Phillips. The rights and prerogatives of religious peoples in a free society are not up for approval or disapproval by government.

    How’s that for an old-school socialist like me? I was just as adamant against religious conservatives here in Calif. when they tried to codify into law (prop. 8) who you can marry and whom you may not based on a particular religious belief.

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  89. Samuel Conner: That’s one of the reasons I am skeptical of advocates of complementarianism; I don’t see how they can disentangle time-bound cultural setting from “timeless principles”, and to apply their method consistently would lead to embrace of OT practices that I think followers of Jesus ought to find abhorrent.

    Identity Mapping
    “On Treating Modern Women as Ancient Greco-Roman Wives” by Roy Ciampa
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/09/14/identity-mapping/

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  90. Bridget: He obviously believes what he believes. Did he ever claim to be bipartisan? He offers his perspective, like everyone does on their own blog, I can agree or not . . . read or not . . .

    I asked him once a few years ago about his views.

    He typically posts anti-conservative content, but when I asked him as to his views, I think (if I remember correctly) that he said he’s a conservative.

    I think I also asked him, if he ever found a liberal view or liberal politician / religious person/institution in the wrong, would he tweet or blog about it, and critique him/her/it.

    He said yes, he would, if he ever saw a liberal group or person doing something wrong or bad. But off the top of my head, I don’t ever remember seeing him take apart anyone or anything liberal.

    I’m a conservative who sometimes is critical of some conservative positions (or persons), but I found it odd he’d claim to be a conservative (again, if I recall correctly on that), because his material reads as though he’s very liberal.

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  91. Ken F (aka Tweed): The problem with the statement is the sweeping generalizations and vagueness. It creates huge opportunity for misunderstanding and division. The first affirmation alone cane be picked apart. For example, what should conservative Christians do with the bible being wrong on the calculation of pi (see 1 King 7:23)? Should conservative Christians push for using the biblical value of 3.0 or the real value? How can we say the bible is inerrent when it can’t get basic math right? Or do we claim the value of pi in that verse is not to be taken literally? But if that is the case, doesn’t it open up the slippery slope of not taking any of it literally? Or perhaps it means that there is a lot of room for “orthodox” Christians to disagree without having to draft divisive statements.

    I think you both have valid points. I agree that the statement is vague and leaves more questions than it does answers. I also have very little respect for many of the signers of this petition. That said, debates about the inspiration and authority of Scripture should be left out of this otherwise the thread will digress and detract from the main point. Asking question like this sounds like bait to derail the discussion. There are people like myself who hold to a the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible and, like George, I support this site because it says what needs to be said about our celebrity preachers.

    I am a creationist but I have no time for Ken Ham or John MacArthur. I believe creationism because that is my understanding of the Bible and it does not rest upon either of those two men – nor anyone else for that matter. TWW takes a different view to me on these things and I bless and support their work in exposing the fraudulent activities of these men. I stopped supporting another creationist ministry recently because of their association with Voddie Baucham. I part ways with many conservatives is their lack of love of their fellow human beings, and therefore God himself. It does not matter if they dot their Is and cross the Ts if they do not have love. Paul’s words to the Corinthians “if I know all mysteries and all knowledge but have not love I am nothing” can be paraphrased today with “If I know all NT Greek and Hebrew but have not love I am nothing”.

    Fundamentalists often overlook the fact that there is a historical context to each book of the Bible. Most of them would not consider me a conservative because I am an egalitarian. Whilst I believe their key passage is inspired (1 Timothy 2), it also has a historical context. I differ from them on the correct interpretation of the passage, but not the inspiration of it.

    Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself” and “treat others as you would wish to be treated”. He added “this is the law and the prophets” meaning it is the heart of the matter. MacArthur and others of his ilk miss this fundamental point because they are too busy talking about “biblical gender roles”, supposed “creational orders” and divine decrees about “predestination to heaven or hell”.

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  92. I am just reading the Social Justice statement:

    “WE AFFIRM that God created mankind male and female and that this divinely determined distinction is good, proper, and to be celebrated. Maleness and femaleness are biologically determined at conception and are not subject to change.”

    “WE AFFIRM that God created mankind both male and female with inherent biological and personal distinctions between them and that these created differences are good, proper, and beautiful. Though there is no difference between men and women before God’s law or as recipients of his saving grace, we affirm that God has designed men and women with distinct traits and to fulfill distinct roles.”

    This affirmation ignores the reality of intersex people. Many Christians retort “but they are only such a small minority” as if to say their existence does not matter! Some have estimated that 1% of the US population is intersex. Transgender people also exist yet the only reality they affirm is “same-sex attraction”. This affirmation should be no surprise – if MacArthur denies that racism exists in evangelicalism then he can deny the reality of any inconvenient fact.

    “Those who lack the desire or opportunity for marriage are called to serve God in singleness and chastity.”

    I lived under this burden for years in evangelicalism and it led me to depression and suicidal thoughts. Ironically, since leaving the institutional church I am more content with my singleness. Whilst I do not share their views on sexual ethics, I do not desire a relationship that pulls me away from God. I am content with whatever God’s plan is for my life but I could not care less what church leaders expect of me. They do very little to help single people and they left me feeling alienated and excluded.

    “We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together.”

    This is pure idealism when we do not live an ideal world. How do they explain the many instances of polygamy in the Old Testament? Whilst I would not support polygamy in our modern Western culture, there are reasons why it may be the lesser of two evils in some situations. The conservative website GotQuestions gives us food for thought:

    “it seems that God may have allowed polygamy to protect and provide for the women who could not find a husband otherwise. A man would take multiple wives and serve as the provider and protector of all of them. While definitely not ideal, living in a polygamist household was far better than the alternatives: prostitution, slavery, or starvation.”

    I am aware that polygamy can also be used for oppressive purposes in many cultures. However my point is to show that our approach to marriage and sexuality should be driven by love and concern for fellow human beings. Instead, MacArthur and the gang are defending the institution for it’s own sake!

    “WE DENY that Christians should segregate themselves into racial groups or regard racial identity above, or even equal to, their identity in Christ.”

    I am not sure what exactly they are getting at here. I have heard Christians speak out against “black churches” and “Messianic Jewish congregations” on this basis. But they overlook the fact that historic racism against black people, Jewish people and other groups have caused this situation in the first place.

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  93. TS00: neither side actually offers any real solutions. But people will be so busy taking sides and fighting the ‘enemy’ they will never notice

    … never realizing that they have played themselves into the hands of the real enemy of the church who seeks to divide and conquer.

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  94. ZechZav:
    “We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together.”

    This is pure idealism when we do not live an ideal world.How do they explain the many instances of polygamy in the Old Testament?Whilst I would not support polygamy in our modern Western culture, there are reasons why it may be the lesser of two evils in some situations.The conservative website GotQuestions gives us food for thought:

    It also relates to those who are divorced and remarried.

    I have huge problems with the idea of marriage covenants. No one could keep a covenant, if they were being honest and using Jesus’ standards (Mark 9), unless it were something very basic like “I won’t kill you” and they probably wouldn’t anyway. I guarantee most people who even believe in personal covenants have broken them in spirit within 24 hours of making it. God is the only one capable of making covenants and keeping them. The neo-reformed concept of covenants becomes another legalistic thing to keep people in line, not to be biblical.

    The way they ignore intersex people is problematic and makes much of their following logic doubtful.

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  95. Muff Potter: Here’s a link that makes the point quite well I think:

    This link is perfect for illustrating what is wrong with the Dallas Statement. The Statement bemoans anything but the Bible as the ultimate source of truth. But one cannot use the Bible alone because it was not written in isolation. One has to pull in historical and cultural details to make it make sense. Without that there are numerous examples where the Bible seems nonsensical, such as it literally making it look like pi = 3.0. They worry about culture skewing our interpretation of the Bible while they themselves are skewing its interpretation through their own cultural context/bias. This is not to say that there are no problems in the SJW position, but that the problems cannot be solved through an interpretation of the Bible that relies on wooden literalism. Instead of writing statements that divide they would do better to open meaningful dialogue.

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  96. ZechZav: That said, debates about the inspiration and authority of Scripture should be left out of this otherwise the thread will digress and detract from the main point. Asking question like this sounds like bait to derail the discussion.

    My point was not to derail the conversation but rather to expose the weaknesses of the underlying assumptions in that statement. George wrote: “I would expect “conservative” Christians to take these stands because of the fact that they accept the Bible has being authoritative and literal.” But what does it mean to take it literally? There are many passages that cannot be taken literally, so what do we do with those? And what do we do with passages that seem to be factually incorrect on their own, such as pi = 3.0? Shall we authoritatively reject the actual value of pi based on the authority of the Bible? The point is these guys start with their own culturally biased interpretations in order to shame everyone who does not agree with them. They are the ones who think they get to define what it means to be biblical and conservative while at the same time rejecting much of what most Christians have believed throughout history. Quite ironic that they use their cultural biases to rule out anyone else doing the same.

    p.s. – I used pi only as a silly example.

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  97. Ken F (aka Tweed): For example, what should conservative Christians do with the bible being wrong on the calculation of pi (see 1 King 7:23)? Should conservative Christians push for using the biblical value of 3.0 or the real value? How can we say the bible is inerrent when it can’t get basic math right? Or do we claim the value of pi in that verse is not to be taken literally?

    The obvious references to OT Biblical Hebrew numbers do not indicate the concept of or use of fractions. In an integer only world, basically just counting, 3 is the correct integer approximation to pi. Writing 3.0 let alone 3.14 does not appear possible in that number system.

    As a corollary, the ancient Hebrew world did not have the concepts necessary to formulate or describe cosmology in our current “big bang” sense thus purposely wrote the story of its beginnings in an allegorical way.

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  98. ZechZav,

    “This affirmation ignores the reality of intersex people. Many Christians retort “but they are only such a small minority” as if to say their existence does not matter!”
    ++++++++++++++

    ridiculous.

    if the bible / working interpretation of the bible / statement on the bible and christianity / ‘christianity’ itself doesn’t apply to ‘the least of these’, it doesn’t apply at all.

    (having said that, christianity is a political term. its politicians do not speak for me.)

    (…i’ll go further – being a ‘christian’ means being a member of a stupidclub, a plasticpeopleclub, a hateclub, & being represented by revolting human beings)

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  99. Ken F (aka Tweed): The point is these guys start with their own culturally biased interpretations in order to shame everyone who does not agree with them.

    Exactly! No one just reads the Bible. Everyone interprets, whether they admit it or not. I’ve become very skeptical of people who won’t admit they are bringing their own cultural framework and/or interpretive tradition to the text. The Calvinist interpretive tradition reads the Bible through a framework heavily influenced by Augustine and Greek philosophy. We would be better off admitting these things so that we can be more honest and charitable in our conversation about the Bible.

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  100. ZechZav,

    “Transgender people also exist yet the only reality they affirm is “same-sex attraction”. This affirmation should be no surprise – if MacArthur denies that racism exists in evangelicalism then he can deny the reality of any inconvenient fact.”
    +++++++++++++

    MacArthur and his peers who write Social Justice Statements and Nashville Statements and Danvers Statements make christianity in their own image. they make God in their own image.

    does that mean playing God, to some extent?

    maybe they need supersuits sporting a stylized G. (with capes… )

    human beings with minority sexuality have always existed. they’ve been forced to live in the shadows, for their own safety. a cruel existence. a lonely, fearful, anxiety-ridden, dehumanized existence. something to weep over.

    they are finding their feet in the sunlight and fresh air of ‘recognized human being’.

    John MacArthur, Denny Burk, and all the other Statement-writing fastidious persnicketies are stuck in their personal ick factor.

    and like all 2-year olds know, when you close your eyes to the big, bad scary thing, it doesn’t exist.

    yes, they are making God in their own image. fashioning God God out of their own ick factor.

    as if God closes his eyes in rejection, too.

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  101. Ken F (aka Tweed): The point is these guys start with their own culturally biased interpretations in order to shame everyone who does not agree with them. They are the ones who think they get to define what it means to be biblical and conservative while at the same time rejecting much of what most Christians have believed throughout history. Quite ironic that they use their cultural biases to rule out anyone else doing the same.

    Yes, but. One needs to be careful when talking about ‘what most Christians have believed throughout history’ because therein lies the logical fallacy of ‘appeal to tradition’ which is to make the appeal that something is true merely because it has ‘always’ been that way or always been believed to be true.

    This is one thing I agree with in my switch from one christian belief system to another; both that tradition should be considered but also that it does not have the same level of authority that scripture has. This, I think, is more apt to be a good approach than either the outright denial of the value of tradition or than the idea that tradition and scripture are equal.

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  102. okrapod,

    And of course I have skated close to the fallacy of appeal to probability, avoiding it only narrowly by saying the equivocation of ‘I think’ which I hope suffices to stay within the limits of reason.

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  103. elastigirl:
    MacArthur and his peers who write Social Justice Statements and Nashville Statements and Danvers Statements make christianity in their own image.they make God in their own image.

    does that mean playing God, to some extent?

    I can’t help but wonder if their obsession with marriage is because, deep down, their wives probably wouldn’t stay married to them for who they are. That certainly has been what I’ve seen with the YRR I know.

    Nor are they honest about the control they want over other human beings, even though we’ve seen many of them, like Macarthur, reveal their true colors while trying to keep it a secret.

    I don’t think many people really study the Bible for what it says, because, like Ken F said, there’s more questions than answers on many issues, particularly if you look at the original languages. You are right, they want to be like God, because they want control more than they want to follow Him. These statements aren’t about what’s biblical, as others have said. It’s about controlling the narrative.

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  104. ishy: I can’t help but wonder if their obsession with marriage is because, deep down, their wives probably wouldn’t stay married to them for who they are. That certainly has been what I’ve seen with the YRR I know.

    Long ago, I came to the exact same conclusion.

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  105. elastigirl: maybe they need supersuits sporting a stylized G. (with capes… )

    You DO know where Golden Age Superhero suits (with capes) came from, don’t you?

    They were patterned after contemporary CIRCUS PERFORMER STAGE GEAR.

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  106. Ken F (aka Tweed): The Statement bemoans anything but the Bible as the ultimate source of truth. But one cannot use the Bible alone because it was not written in isolation.

    Isolate it, and you get a Party Line to be memorized and rewordgitated for Cosmic Justification, nothing more.

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  107. ishy: I have huge problems with the idea of marriage covenants. No one could keep a covenant,

    I vaguely remember a historical reference in Reformation-era Scotland(?).
    Some sort of “National Covenant with God”, full of “WE AFFIRMs” about how they were thus to be GOD’s Special Nation. Including a BIG signature drive lasting many months or years throughout all the churches and corridors of political power.

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  108. Ken F (aka Tweed): This link is perfect for illustrating what is wrong with the Dallas Statement. The Statement bemoans anything but the Bible as the ultimate source of truth. But one cannot use the Bible alone because it was not written in isolation.

    Much agreement here Ken, which is why I included the link. I think that both sides; those who insist upon a wooden and literal view of Scripture, and those whose aim is to ridicule any truth claim the Bible has by imposing modern math and science concepts onto it, are lacking breadth and nuance.

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  109. Muff Potter: There is nothing basic about the enigma of pi as alluded to in the Hebrew Bible.
    Here’s a link that makes the point quite well I think:

    https://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm

    I read that link too, Muff.
    I think whoever wrote it (and did the math) had too much time on their hands/needed to get a life.

    Much more likely “Pi = 3 because SCRIPTURE!” started as just “rounding it off to the nearest whole number”. I understand Semitic languages of the time lacked precision in expressing numbers and mathematics.

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  110. ishy: I can’t help but wonder if their obsession with marriage is because, deep down, their wives probably wouldn’t stay married to them for who they are. That certainly has been what I’ve seen with the YRR I know.

    No doubt. Also they would not stay married to who they are married to without some dire reason to do so. I had an uncle who had been married forever who said to me that people stay married if and often only if they have made up their mind to stay married regardless. I think there is a lot of that for both men and women.

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  111. I want to add something about what constitutes a ‘valid’ marriage. What does it take to make staying together an honorable thing for example. Is marriage just about who you are or who they are or what one feels emotionally about the other person or they about you? Or is it also about common goals, and accumulated stuff, and security and sickness and health, rich or poor ideas.

    My former husband is now married to his fourth wife. She puts up with him and he with her. He is old and sick but carries on the best he can and they have an understanding. His children from his first marriage (my kids) understand the understanding and everybody is good with it. She stays with him ‘in sickness’ and until death and at death she inherits everything which is what she will need and the best offer financially for her retirement years. They treat each other as well as they can, and do so honorably. What could be wrong with that? So what if is it is difficult, or boring, or if the passion if there ever was passion is long gone? A deal has been made and it is to both their advantage to follow through on the deal. I/we respect that.

    I just really think that till death do us part is a lot more reasonable (barring betrayal or some other outlier of disaster) than hinging marriage just on how somebody happens to feel at the moment. I mean heck, one does not stop parenting if the kid does not live up to one’s hopes. I dragged myself in to the job long after burn out because commitment and necessity. I continue to breathe in and breathe out long after it is no fun any more. Who says that we have to be victims of our feelings?

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  112. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “You DO know where Golden Age Superhero suits (with capes) came from, don’t you?

    They were patterned after contemporary CIRCUS PERFORMER STAGE GEAR.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    all i know is that Edna Mode said “No Capes!”

    (the reasons for which, in this case, i say “Capes!”)

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  113. okrapod: I just really think that till death do us part is a lot more reasonable (barring betrayal or some other outlier of disaster) than hinging marriage just on how somebody happens to feel at the moment. I mean heck, one does not stop parenting if the kid does not live up to one’s hopes. I dragged myself in to the job long after burn out because commitment and nec

    That is a very respectable and honourable position. It is also a helpful reminder and balance between extremes. We are rightly critical of the teachings of John Piper who says that battered wives should stay trapped in abusive marriages. But on the other hand, the concept of a “no fault divorce” just because the passion and feelings are no longer there does not sound good or right to me.

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  114. okrapod,

    “ishy: I can’t help but wonder if their obsession with marriage is because, deep down, their wives probably wouldn’t stay married to them for who they are.”

    okrapod: “Also they would not stay married to who they are married to without some dire reason to do so. I had an uncle who had been married forever who said to me that people stay married if and often only if they have made up their mind to stay married regardless. I think there is a lot of that for both men and women.”
    +++++++++++++

    well, this is how i see it:

    christian culture / church culture runs on smiles. happy faces, happy voices. it means God is in the house. it means God and the person are like this (2 adjacent fingers crossed). in like Flynn.

    that it is such the ubiquitous standard means people have to put these on, like masks.

    this is gospel-happy. this is gospel-marriage.

    since everyone in the cultural bubble is in happy-God-gospel-mode, any feelings/behavior other than happy, patient, & joyful are suspect. it means something is wrong. sin sin sin as at the door… slipperyslope-a-rama…

    CODE BLUE…. CODE RED…. EMERGENCY…. ITS AN EMERGENCY…WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY…

    joe and joanne christian tend to lose touch with reality, in this case the reality that marriage relationships are difficult for everyone.

    and so what.

    we learn to work through it. we do our best. things sometimes get better and easier. sometimes not.

    so what.

    life is hard. we find joie de vivre where it can be found.

    if marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, joe and joanne christian are not permitted to struggle. to not be happy. (although i bet God permits me to split infinitives)

    seems to me like the recipe for hyper self-analysis & marriage obsession.

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  115. Oracle at Delphi:
    I am not rushing to sign the SJ statement.

    But some pushback was warranted.

    If you followed the MLK50 conference jointly put on by TGC and ERLC, you would have heard some good things, but you also would have heard some ridiculous things.

    The most outrageous thing that was said in the wake of that conference was by Thabiti Anyabwile.

    He has claimed that all “white” Christians need to apologize for their parents and grandparents complicity in the murder of MLK.

    I suspect that the entire SJ thing is an attempt to capitalize on the notoriety of police shootings, marches and such that happened a couple of years back. So anxious are they to look good to broader culture that they are trying to present themselves in some ways as social progressives, which incredibly ironic.

    If you want to see something really funny, watch this young elder from a church in Vermont critique Russell Moore.

    In my view, his observations are spot on.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=un3RYwB6wjc&t=32s

    The bonus for the NeoCal/new SBC etc. is that social justice objectives can be defined and funded by them, from the individual church to the para-church and denominational level. Just write a check or cede your routing number to solve spiritual and societal ills, all under the direction of your smiling shepherd. One stop shopping…

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  116. okrapod: One needs to be careful when talking about ‘what most Christians have believed throughout history’ because therein lies the logical fallacy of ‘appeal to tradition’ which is to make the appeal that something is true merely because it has ‘always’ been that way or always been believed to be true.

    I should have written it as “what most Christians have not believed” because the Calvinistic beliefs held by the drafters of the statement represent a razor thin minority of Christians throughout history. This does not mean they are wrong, but if they are right it means the vast majority of Christians have been wrong. This is possible but unlikely.

    As to whether or not scripture should be a higher authority than tradition there is the nagging fact that scripture itself is tradition. I’m not so sure anymore how to rank written tradition against unwritten tradition. Both seem to have merit.

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  117. George: I read through the “statement” and I do not see anything in there that blatantly contradicts scripture. Of course, there are positions taken in the statement that will always be the subject of debate and divisions. I would expect “conservative” Christians to take these stands because of the fact that they accept the Bible has being authoritative and literal.

    The statement is biologically illiterate because it fails to acknowledge the existence of intersex persons. To quote Wikipedia: “people are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies”.”

    Last week, when I was driving home from my mother’s, I heard a story on the BBC about how sport is trying to come to grips with women who have higher than normal testosterone levels. Basically, their way to “fix” this is to tell these women (Caster Semenya, Dutee Chand) that they must take medication to lower their testosterone levels. It’s been in and out of the Court for Arbitration for Sport, which is like the Supreme Court of sport, so it’s a big deal.

    I could go into a rant about the policing of women’s bodies (I don’t see anyone telling men they can’t be in certain sports because they have longer tendons or other physical features which give them advantages), but that is neither here nor there. My point is that this statement insists there is only male and female, when we know, genetically, hormonally, structurally, that there are people who are both or neither.

    That’s why I say the statement is biologically illiterate, because it denies reality. I fear for any person who is intersex in the MacArthur world because it cannot be a healthy place. It also isn’t healthy for people like me who don’t particularly care to present as explicitly feminine, like me. (I think they’d be confused with what I’m rocking today: dyed red hair, no makeup, knee length linen dress and finished with crew socks and leather sneakers. I dress for comfort, and yes, I’ve worn this to my office. Nobody’s ever given me a second look.)

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  118. A so-called “valid marriage” would count my parents out.

    Legally, they weren’t married until I was nearly 13 years old, because their marriage license was never filed by the pastor who married them. (He died the week after the marriage.) It wasn’t until they moved to Texas and met the three pronged test for common-law marriage (intention, holding out, living together) that they were legally married.

    They didn’t get around to fixing the issue until my dad was within a few years of retirement. At that point, they didn’t want issues with Social Security, so they got a “certificate of informal partnership”.

    I suspect the MacArthurites would think my parents were not married even though they had a white wedding and newspaper marriage announcement, just because they didn’t have a piece of paper. I’d never introduce my mother to any of them, she’d yell at them if they didn’t think she’d been married to my dad 54 years before he died.

    So yeah, not much on the whole “valid marriage” thing.

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  119. ZechZav: Apologies – it was harsh and rude.

    Thanks, but no apology needed. I should have been more clear in what I was trying to communicate. When I see a statement like this it raises all kinds of questions and concerns:

    “It is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for determining what is true (what we must believe) and what is right (how we must live). All truth claims and ethical standards must be tested by God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.”

    No one who writes such a thing actually believes it. There is no way that “all” truth claims can be backed up by the Bible because the Bible covers so little of what humans know – certainly not all truth claims. In fact, the Bible does not even back up the truth claim in the first affirmation of the Dallas Statement (nowhere in the Bible can we find it claiming to be inerrent). The people who claim the bible as their final authority have no biblical rationale for doing so – it is a faith statement rather than a truth statement. There is also that pesky problem in 2 Thes 2:15 where Paul stresses the importance of unwritten tradition.

    I chose a very silly example, but if one is to be strictly literal one must conclude the Bible is not inerrent on math. Of course, no one believes the Bible is supposed to be correct on the value of pi, which is why it is such an obvious and silly example. One could find MANY other examples where folks in this crowd do not (and should not) take the Bible literally, but that is a whole other discussion.

    My main point, which I think I failed to communicate, is statements like the Dallas Statement are pretty much useless for anything other than creating unnecessary division and strife. They include impressive-sounding statements only as a means to silence dissent.

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  120. Tweed (aka Ken F): As to whether or not scripture should be a higher authority than tradition there is the nagging fact that scripture itself is tradition.

    This is a point that I missed for many years as a young fundamentalist. Or perhaps I knew it, but pretended not to. Only much later did I begin to understand how important it is. And even had the present-day protestant canon of scribsher been written literally with supernatural fire on a mountain and handed directly to Charlton Heston, still it wouldn’t change the fact that our doctrines are our interpretation of it.

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  121. Tweed F (aka Ken): My main point, which I think I failed to communicate, is statements like the Dallas Statement are pretty much useless for anything other than creating unnecessary division and strife.

    In a way, you might say that these statements are perversely effective. Maybe creating unnecessary division and strife is exactly what they are designed to do!

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  122. OldJohnJ: In an integer only world, basically just counting, 3 is the correct integer approximation to pi. Writing 3.0 let alone 3.14 does not appear possible in that number system.
    As a corollary, the ancient Hebrew world did not have the concepts necessary to formulate or describe cosmology in our current “big bang” sense thus purposely wrote the story of its beginnings in an allegorical way.

    And isn’t that interesting! A very important piece of hermeneutic evidence, ISTM.

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  123. Nick Bulbeck: still it wouldn’t change the fact that our doctrines are our interpretation of it.

    Do you think they knew they were writing letters that would still be read 2000 years later? It seems to me that they would have been more clear in some areas if they knew their writings would last for so long.

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  124. The OT account concerning David explicitly states that God “gave” David all his wives, and he had at least eight. These passages are glossed over concerning cultural norms and “timeless” morality. Polygamy may not have been God’s ideal but he certainly participated in polygamy (if he gave David those wives) and at a minimum tolerated it. Let’s also not forget concubines and Levirite Marriage. These cultural practices are repugnant to us now but were considered moral then. I’ve always felt that these norms for God’s chosen people and the major patriarchs are a problem when people state that the OT advocates for one man/one woman marriage. How? The cultural norm was one man and many women. I’m not trying to open up a discussion here about same sex marriage but the history of marriage and what God allowed is thought provoking. God spoke through the prophets and communicated to Moses directly. He did not make polygamy an issue. I’m not advocating for it at all and the Joseph account shows the bad fruit from it with jealousies and division. I just feel people are not really thoughtful about theses things and pat, shallow answers are given by pastors to the laity who have excellent questions about such things.

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  125. Ken F (aka Tweed): As to whether or not scripture should be a higher authority than tradition there is the nagging fact that scripture itself is tradition. I’m not so sure anymore how to rank written tradition against unwritten tradition. Both seem to have merit.

    For one thing, theoretically at least, scripture was written closer to the events described. Tradition goes on and on and on and on forming as it goes. There is no time comparison between Paul’s epistles, let us say, and the writings even centuries later by theologians, bishops and such. The assumption being that the closer to the events that something is put into writing the less time there is for variation and commentary to be interjected into the narrative.

    Then there is the fairly close at least general agreement between let us say the gospels as compared to the arguments and disagreements for which the church called later ecumenical councils.

    And there is the continuing evidence that the two numerically largest christian varieties, those who lay the most claim to traditions, do not even yet find unanimity of opinion on a number of things, but they both accept scripture, which may or may not mean something.

    My bunch, as I am sure you know, practices prima scriptura while noting the value of tradition and reason but not putting either on a par with scripture, or at least that is the official stance. When Wesley added experience to that he had a point, but IMO experience would come under the general heading of reason it being the issue of what one actually concludes from experience. This is what makes sense to me, but I have no problem if you believe differently. I do have a problem with the doctrine of sola scriptura however, including but not limited to the fact that it is not a claim which scripture makes for itself.

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  126. Bunsen Honeydew: shallow answers are given by pastors to the laity who have excellent questions about such things.

    I agree with what you say here. I used to take the traditional church view of “one man, one woman” but when I tried to defend it from the Bible, I could not do so. The problem is that church leaders read more INTO Genesis 2:24 instead of reading out of it: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    I take that verse to mean that God started the human race with one man and one woman. It is more descriptive than prescriptive and to establish a rigid blueprint on this is to go beyond what the text actually says. I have often argued that the starting point for all ethics (including sexual ethics) are the two great commandments: love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself. If you follow these commands you will not go wrong.

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  127. Agreed. The scripture does not condemn polygamy per se. It does say that an elder should be the husband of one wife, something it need not have said unless there was the possibility of more than one wife by inference.

    It has been said that the last Jewish group that practiced polygamy was in the Warsaw ghetto during WW II. I don’t know if that is correct or not.

    It seems to me that when one looks at populations depleted by war or famine or epidemic that under some circumstances polygamy would be a reasonable survival behavior for some people.

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  128. okrapod: The assumption being that the closer to the events that something is put into writing the less time there is for variation and commentary to be interjected into the narrative.

    I think I am pretty much in agreement with you on prima scriptura vs sola scriptura. I do have a high view of the Bible, but I am also beginning to see the value of tradition. As for the veracity of tradition, I recently learned that many traditions are documented in very early writings, such as the Didache, 1st Clement, the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp, the writings of Iranaeus, and others. These are very early writings that were written not long after the NT letters and gospels were written and well before we have the first authoritative listing of the complete NT (367 AD by Athanasius). In this sense the NT written tradition developed in parallel with other traditions. There were also spurious gospels and letters that the early church had to sift out, which means the canon was ultimately based on tradition – the writings that were read in churches eveywhere. If one of the original Apostles had given us a NT table of contents then we could make a case for separating written and unwritten tradition. But because of the complexities of history it looks like written and unwritten tradition are glued together like plywood – not easily separated.

    I also agree with you that many traditions have changed over time. This makes it all very complicated.

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  129. Bunsen Honeydew:
    The OT account concerning David explicitly states that God “gave” David all his wives, and he had at least eight…. … shallow answers are given by pastors to the laity who have excellent questions about such things.

    Agreed. And in addition to the narrative texts you mention, there are legal texts that specify what a man has to do if he wants to take a 2nd or nth wife; basically treat them all justly, not show favoritism.

    My interpretation of these to-us-troublesome phenomena in the OT is along the lines of Jesus’ response to the question about Moses permitting a man to write a certificate of divorce to put his wife out of his life, “God permitted this because of the hardness of your hearts; from the beginning it was not so”.

    From an economic perspective, polygyny can be interpreted to be a social adaptation to conditions in which there are too few eligible husbands, where “eligible” is an economic assessment — able to support a wife and children. In a traditional society in conditions of high and increasing economic inequality, it will be harder and harder for women to find husbands who can both afford the bride-price paid to the father and afterward support the wife and the children who will be born. In such a situation, women reluctant to marry men they are not confident will be able to support them and their children can either stay single (and, in that culture, starve when the heads of their households pass) or marry a rich guy who may already have one or more wives.

    The servant-bondage of “Hebrews” (I’m not entirely sure that this means “fellow Israelites”; the usage of the term in the Pentateuch seems a bit broader) that is regulated in the Mosaic legal texts looks like a similar adaptation. People who don’t have access to land (or credit to purchase tools and seeds and food to survive until harvest) may be at risk of starving. A multi-year bondage contract will put off starvation during that period.

    Paul clearly thought that bondservanthood was a less than ideal condition. He certainly would not have approved of polygyny. But God tolerated them in Old Israel on account of the hardness of people’s hearts. That was the material that He was working with at that time, you might say.

    That kind of relativizes aspects of OT Law, which will probably raise the hackles of people who are of the mindset of the signers of the “Statement.” But I think we have warrant in Jesus’ sayings to do that.

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  130. elastigirl:
    Jack,

    “I could probably present evidence that Sasquatch exists and get that many signatures on my “Sasquatch Statement” …. maybe more if I add in Chupacabras!”
    ++++++++++++++

    A contest.you do that one and i’ll do Mothman.

    because, as christian leaders teach us, “Signatures Win”.

    And he who dies with the most toys wins!

    Now, I wonder if this will be *THE* Manifesto that surpasses all previous manifestos within evangelicalism in the last 40 years. Will this be the anathematizer that finally seals the battle lines, while each side claims to be the Arbiter and GateKeeper of Truth?

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  131. OldJohnJ,

    Nice summary of the comlexity of saying scripture is the “final authority”…. I was going to make some comment about science, but this example does just fine…

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  132. Ken F (aka Tweed): Interesting. “American Vision” appears to be Calvinist, young earth creationist, dominionist, lordship salvationist, and one of their featured authors is Doug Wilson (who signed the statement). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Vision

    The plot thickens. I read this article when it was posted on a Calvinist Facebook site. You would not believe (or maybe you would), the number of people that came out swinging against the author of the article, calling him a leftist and a liberal etc. This was even after the person who posted the article revealed that American Vision is a Conservative site that promotes theonomy.

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  133. Samuel Conner,

    I understand what is being said here, but I have to say “come on guys.” You can’t forget that women/daughters were given as wives between prominent leaders as payment for land, safety, agreements between warring parties, and many times just because a leader “wanted” this lovely young thing. Y’all are making it sound so sanctified and I’m thinking it just wasn’t.

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  134. Bridget,

    I don’t disagree — I’m arguing for reckoning with the cultural context of these disagreeable aspects of OT Law. I worry that there are people who reckon that “if it was good enough for God to give that law to Israel, perhaps we should consider it here and now.” Theonomy has been mentioned in the last few comments. I’ve actually had conversations with conservative Presbyterians of color who were willing to consider the possibility that slavery could be a righteous thing.

    Gregory of Nyssa, the first theological abolitionist, demolished that nearly 17 centuries ago, but it is still with us on the strength of OT civil law. How does one answer that? The way Jesus did, that “God permitted that because of the hardness of men’s hearts; it was not intended to be so in tbe beginning”.

    And it should not be so among us, upon whom have come the fullness of the Ages.

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  135. What do you think these men are getting at by proclaiming that a true marriage demands sex until death?:

    “We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together.”

    “We further affirm that God’s design for marriage is that one woman and one man live in a one-flesh, covenantal, SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP UNTIL SEPARATED BY DEATH.”

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  136. Jerome,

    Great! I’d settle for pastors obeying that last paragraph. No foot rubbing, no spanking children for sexual thrill, no abusing women and children sexually as a pastor. Good grief, these guys are obsessed with sex. Don’t get me started on how many probably marinate in porn while writing these statements. The road to hell is lined with hypocrisy. How many of their wives secretly wish they or their husbands were dead to get some peace?

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  137. Jerome:
    What do you think these men are getting at by proclaiming that a true marriage demands sex until death?:

    “We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together.”

    “We further affirm that God’s design for marriage is that one woman and one man live in a one-flesh, covenantal, SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP UNTIL SEPARATED BY DEATH.”

    We can only hope that they are not defending the “no divorce under any circumstances” teaching. But again they are defending idealism and not facing up to reality. The Crying Out for Justice Blog states this about his teaching:

    “John Piper, prominent teacher of marriage permanency in the Reformed churches promotes his doctrine as “radical”. He teaches that divorce for any reason whatsoever is “marital sin” despite one being subject to abuse, adultery, or abandonment. He teaches that a divorced person must remain single and not remarry as long as their former spouse is still living even if the former spouse has since remarried.” (See https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/01/24/john-pipers-divorce-doctrine-opinion-turned-into-gods-law/)

    In this I noticed a comment: Also re: remarriage, there’s a big difference between choosing to remain single and being forced to remain single because of commandments of men. But by painting forced celibacy as this mystical, pie-in-the sky higher call, it cheapens our suffering as though we’re in a cheesy heartwarming TV movie where we ride out into the sunset brave and alone as martyrs for this glorious cause.

    I agree with this and I sympathise with the pain this must cause. However this is also a factor in why I turned away from the traditional position on gay relationships. Just as I would not wish a heterosexual divorcee to have a sentence of lifelong loneliness, I would not wish it upon a gay person either. In my previous church, some people rightly showed compassion for divorcees and said “we want them to be safe and we don’t want them to be lonely!” However when I expressed my desire for a close, non-sexual friendship their facial expressions and vocal tones were full of contempt and disgust. They retorted “nobody died of not having sex”. The difference in their approach made me feel alienated, excluded and inferior. Why the double-standard?

    As I am gay, I no longer see myself as consigned to singleness. However I am still celibate and single and likely to remain so. This is because I am not likely to find someone suitable and this puts me in the same position as many heterosexual people. I am content with the blessings that God has given me and am thankful.

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  138. okrapod: It has been said that the last Jewish group that practiced polygamy was in the Warsaw ghetto during WW II. I don’t know if that is correct or not.

    Actually Yemeni Jews and possibly in a few other places allowed polygamy though most if not all by now have since immigrated to Israel, most shortly after the current state of Israel was founded, where polygamy is banned (though not I think retroactively [i.e., no future second wives but current ones when moving to Israel were recognized]). Persian Jews also permitted polygamy but it appears to have been banned in 1960s (there are still several thousand Jews in Iran).

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  139. Bridget:
    Samuel Conner,

    I understand what is being said here, but I have to say “come on guys.”You can’t forget that women/daughters were given as wives between prominent leaders as payment for land, safety, agreements between warring parties, and many times just because a leader “wanted” this lovely young thing. Y’all are making it sound so sanctified and I’m thinking it just wasn’t.

    We are saying polygamy was permitted for reasons. We are not saying that we should apply that today. It came in a context where women were considered property which is very different to today. I believe Galatians 3:28 contains the liberation of women and the abolition of slavery in embryo form. However it took more than 1000 years for it take effect.

    Polygamy would not work in modern Western culture. I am more arguing for situational ethics as opposed to rigid rules. The church tradition of “one man, one woman within marriage” is the ideal but we do not live in ideal world. If we were in the aftermath of a war and we were in a society where women outnumbered men, I would favour legalising polygamy as long as mutual consent was involved. Especially if the alternative was destitution and poverty. My point is that we what is the kindest and most compassionate thing for our fellow human being in a given situation, instead of sticking to rigid rules for the sake of rules.

    There are certain things in the OT I struggle with and why they were permitted, such as the examples you gave.

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  140. Before we totally leave the subject of polygamy I want to note that there are varieties of multi this or that that are very much a part of our larger population as a nation.

    For some examples, and only examples (not a treatise on this). we are said to be overlooking the fact that some people when they come to this country bring with them ‘nieces’ which in their home country are thought to be/have been 2nd or so wives. In practice we ignore this for pragmatic reasons. We have the phenomenon of ‘baby daddies’ in which one woman not infrequently has children by more than one man each of whom is required by law (at least in this state) to pay child support and some of whom may apparently get child custody if the court deems it necessary; some of whom remain in the parenting role in one way or another right on. We have men who have both wives and long term mistresses-as did a member of the British royalty. And we have women who have husbands and long term ‘old friends’ especially while the husband is out of town due to his job. We have the phenomenon known as the ‘office wife’ of course, which apparently works to the advantage of both him and her including if both are married to somebody else. And who of us would not pretend that we see nothing, not my business, under the circumstances, when the spouse of somebody with a chronic and debilitating and ultimately fatal disease goes ahead and sets up a ‘situation’ with somebody else ‘until’.

    And of course I have omitted anything that is not long standing and fly by night. These are just some examples of multiple ‘spouse-similar’ situations. We also have religious groups who approve of plural marriage, one of which approves of up to four at any one time, but who obey the law in this nation. And some who ignore the law.

    IMO, most of us approve of ‘multiples’ in some very difficult circumstances and as a way of dealing with some societal issues; at least we approve enough to tolerate this unless something better comes along. And a lot of us would do it, if the situation seemed to be a do-or-die situation. Example: which is better, a baby daddy or an abortion; which is the better choice? Which is better for a man dealing with the slow death by dementia of his wife-solitude, divorce the wife, or a ‘friend’.

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  141. Jerome,

    If I were cynical (oh, wait… I am), I would suspect that the intention is that “the wife has to put out on demand or else has abandoned the marriage covenant, which provides grounds for a righteous divorce and remarriage of the abandoned party.”

    Someone once wrote “those who marry have much trouble in this Age”. I’m inclined to agree.

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  142. Samuel Conner,

    If one wants to be biblical then there is no withholding of sex except for reasons, like agreeing for a season for religious reasons as described in scripture. The scripture does not get into what other reasons, but clearly recognizes ‘reason’ and agreeent and by inference other possible reasons it seems to me

    I had occasion once to see a copy of an islamic marriage contract which was part of some medical records I was reviewing. The contract required the man to furnish equal food, clothing and sex to each wife-equal to the other wife/wives. I do not remember the other requirements, but there were several. That would be the man. The man.

    Some people use withholding of sex as a manipulative tool, or as just neglect or disdain, or because somebody is ‘alternative’ and married without telling the spouse that little piece of information. I am thinking that indeed that is abandonment. Now there are of course reasons-medical, age, distance, self protection, deterioration of the relationship to the point that they agree to basically live separately in the same house and they both agree to this-stuff like that. But without reasons I do not see withholding as biblical. And yes, I would consider behavior of that sort to be abandonment by neglect and a breaching of the marriage contract and biblical grounds for divorce.

    And I think the sexually abandoned spouse needs to go to the doc and get some STD tests run-including but not limited to HIV.

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  143. okrapod,

    You are quite right. That sword cuts both ways, as each partner has, according to Paul, exousia over the other’s soma. My cynical remark is in the context of the way the framers of “the Statement” understand “exousia”, which is one way — in practice the husband has all exousia in the relationship.

    I would like to think that there would not be “demand” in a marriage, rather tender kindness on the part of each toward the other. But that’s my idealist side.

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  144. Samuel Conner,

    I don’t want to seem too blunt-but I do think in biological/medical patterns of course, but there is an aspect of ‘demand’ in sexual urge management, as in a perception of biological demand which has to be managed in some way. And also, it is the male who may get ED, the female having problems but just not that problem. So she can be ‘friendly’ regardless of whether she particularly wants to or not at the moment, where he may not have as much flexibility in ‘friendly’ as she may have, unless of course there are medical reasons to the contrary. And, she can disguise her ‘feelings’ such that he never knows, while he cannot always do that.

    What I am saying is that male and female sexual functioning have their differences in some ways and in most people and some of the time. Is that sentence PC enough to appear in public? Arrrggghhh!! Oh for the time when people used to be able to speak clearly-in public that is.

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  145. Donna D.:
    Max,

    Supposedly Al Mohler told faculty at Southern not to sign it or else.In the BP News article he denies discouraging anyone from signing it.So IDK.

    Pulpit & Pen reported that. So take it with whatever amount of salt you take from that site. But I think it is probably accurate in this case since Hall is a big JMac backer and has little use for the YRR crowd (Mohler, Chandler et al).

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  146. Mark R: Pulpit & Pen reported that. So take it with whatever amount of salt you take from that site. But I think it is probably accurate in this case since Hall is a big JMac backer and has little use for the YRR crowd (Mohler, Chandler et al).

    Agreed, be careful little ears what you hear coming from Mr. Hall. While it will never be stated anywhere … within SBC, I view this as a battle line drawn between SBC’s “Old” Calvinists (represented by Ascol) and “New” Calvinists (represented by Mohler) over who will control the SBC once Calvinization of a once-great evangelistic denomination is complete.

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  147. because Reformed affirm that Mary was “ever virgin”!

    Doesn’t sound consistent with “NO POPERY!!!!!”

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  148. Max: I view this as a battle line drawn between SBC’s “Old” Calvinists (represented by Ascol) and “New” Calvinists (represented by Mohler) over who will control the SBC once Calvinization of a once-great evangelistic denomination is complete.

    Once the land has been Cleansed of the Heathen, start on the Heretics.
    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

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  149. ZechZav: We can only hope that they are not defending the “no divorce under any circumstances” teaching. But again they are defending idealism and not facing up to reality.

    Ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields what can happen when Reality has to bow to Ideology.

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  150. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Ironically the Statement on Social Justice, under the category of Heresy states “WE AFFIRM that heresy is a denial of or departure from a doctrine that is essential to the Christian faith. We further affirm that heresy often involves the replacement of key, essential truths with variant concepts, or the elevation of non-essentials to the status of essentials.” followed later by a section elevating Complementarianism to an essential doctrine.

    I am not calling them heretics as much as they are self describing themselves as such.

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  151. Jerome,

    “What do you think these men are getting at by proclaiming that a true marriage demands sex until death?”
    +++++++++++++

    sexually-repressed modern-day pharisees discovering the sexual revolution 50 years late.

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  152. Headless Unicorn Guy: because Reformed affirm that Mary was “ever virgin”!
    Doesn’t sound consistent with “NO POPERY!!!!!”

    I totally have never been able to figure out what Mary’s sex life, or lack of it, has to do with anything at all with the gospel as it relates to today’s culture. Or that matter how the incarnation required biological virginity on the part of the mother of Jesus. Or for that matter how the incarnate God could not be biologically incarnate in somebody who had human parents after the usual manner of how people get human parents. Back when the nations had goddesses and priestesses all the way from virgins to religious prostitutes it may have been necessary to get some message across to people. But for me it is like the creation discussions; ‘is that supposed to be literal’ and if so why?

    In other words, if the conclusion is that Jesus was both very God and very man, and if God is spirit (whatever that turns out to mean) then how would it not be that explaining the God/man idea as it applies to Jesus by emphasizing God as the father of the body of Jesus, are we not saying that Jesus was fully man but not actually man like the rest of humanity. Except that people don’t say that.

    And even if some answer to this makes sense, and I have not found one yet which does make sense to me (not to say it can’t possibly be true of course), then surely the virginity of Mary after the birth of Jesus would be totally immaterial to the incarnation argument. And if He was not fully man, then what would that say about various theories concerning the atonement?

    The Mary thing in its ramifications does to me what YEC does to some people. Just about too high a road bump to get over. But don’t tell my family; this is just between us-for now.

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  153. TS00: It’s all part of the plan.

    Max, I’m going to disagree with you on this one. The MacArthurites will win in the long run. For they are The Gatekeepers of Perfectly Parsed Polished Doctrine. That is compelling to many in Fundamentalist Evangelicalism. Of course, maybe we should just fine when winning entails in the first place. If it is gathering crowds and gaining followers, then I think my prediction is right.

    These are interesting times. Who would have thought there would be such divisions among the Calvinists back when the YRR Movement was in full swing?

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  154. Darlene,

    Whoops. Something went wrong with my most recent comment. I’m just agreeing with you Max. You think Mohler et al will win this battle, and I think MacArthur et al will win

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  155. Wondering if JMac’s social justice statement acknowledges that he unabashedly advises families with gay adult children to totally reject them. All in love, of course (insert sacastic tone here).

    “If they profess to be a Christian, you have to alienate them, you have to separate them. You can’t condone that; it’s inconsistent with the profession of Christ. So, you isolate them; you don’t have a meal with them; you separate yourself from them. You turn them over to Satan, as it were as scripture says.”

    No wonder religious and gay is such at an risk group according to suicide prevention groups. Many of the homeless LGBT come from religious families.

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  156. Bunsen Honeydew,

    “…the history of marriage and what God allowed is thought provoking. God spoke through the prophets and communicated to Moses directly. He did not make polygamy an issue.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    my view is that God can work within any cultural framework. if humans are created in the image of God, then analogies to God (who & how God is) are found whenever humans combine, in all civilizations.

    (since evil exists, analogies to satan are also found whenever humans combine, although i would argue there are fewer of them)

    if extraterrestrial intelligent life exists, which may be very different from humans, analogies could be found there, as well. God could just as easily work in that wholly other culture as God can work with homo sapiens.

    The elements on God’s periodic table: faithfulness, commitment, kindness, honesty, generosity, philadelphia, personal responsibility…

    humans (intelligent life wherever it exists) decide on how to work those out, generating rules and subsets of rules and laws. some are good and wise, some are unnecessary, some are stupid, some are unwise, some are just plain evil.

    my main point is that, in my view, God engages humanity from within their world. ideas about God are the result of people sensing, seeing, hearing God and interpreting it all through the grid of their culture.

    we see through a glass, mirror dimly.

    we see God as reflected in us, our fellows, our surroundings, partially.

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  157. okrapod:
    In other words, if the conclusion is that Jesus was both very God and very man, and if God is spirit (whatever that turns out to mean) then how would it not be that explaining the God/man idea as it applies to Jesus by emphasizing God as the father of the body of Jesus, are we not saying that Jesus was fully man but not actually man like the rest of humanity. Except that people don’t say that.

    I have encountered at least one guardian of orthodoxy who, it seems to me, has said something like that. A few years ago, during a kerfuffle in part of the traditional conservative Reformed community over Pete Enns’ book “Inspiration and Incarnation”, Lane Tipton (prof of systematics at WTS East) put up a ‘blog-post asserting IIRC that Jesus was biologically human but that His personality was provided by the 2nd person of the Trinity. A human “outer man” but a divine rather than human “inner man?” That sounds like “not fully human” to me. And is it not possible for a perfectly holy human being to have a personality that is a perfect mapping from the Divine to the human (one might think of it as a projection from a higher dimensionality onto a lower dimensionality, but still perfect and accurate representation)? Why would such a personality not be a human personality?

    In a prior rant, I suggested that “we don’t understand revelation 20-22”. I suspect that we don’t understand the Incarnation very well either. I certainly don’t.

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  158. Listen to ‘Founders’ head Tom Ascol drone on for two hours about the manifesto (radio interview with some ARBCA guy out of Carlisle, Pa.):

    http://www.ironsharpensironradio.com/podcast/september-5-2018-show-with-dr-tom-ascol-on-the-new-statement-on-social-justice-the-gospel/

    Interviewer is in deep with these guys; at 20:00 he tells Ascol, “This, I think, Statement, uh, I’m sure will by God’s grace be used to drive out, uh, those that are not truly our brothers ”

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  159. Jerome,

    ““This, I think, Statement, uh, I’m sure will by God’s grace be used to drive out, uh, those that are not truly our brothers ””
    ++++++++++++

    so, apparently heaven is a lonely, homogeneous place.

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  160. okrapod,

    Hello Okrapod.
    This sounds a bit like the Apollinarian debate in the 4th century. Apollinarius was a vigorous opponent of Arius and argued that Christ could not be fully human; that Christ’s human spirit was replaced by the divine Logos and; as a result Christ did not possess full humanity. This view was opposed by Gregory of Nazianzus because it implied that “Christ could not fully redeem human nature.” To me, the answer lies in resolving why God became Man.

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  161. Samuel Conner,

    Who can understand the incarnation or trinity? It is not humanly possible….. The simplistic little demo’s that pastors like to use, i.e. water can be a gas/solid/liquid, are so simiplistic they due the whole concept a disservice.

    These concepts are just like quamtum mechanics. Much of my research is now based on magnetic separation/movement of human red blood cells. This red blood cell magnetism comes from the different oxidation states of iron in hemoglobin, and this is based on unpaired electrons. The mathematics of these properties were worked out in the 1930’s by Liunis Pauling, and contributed to his Nobel Prize. We are able to experimentaly validate the mathmatics; however this same mathematics says an electron has no mass, just a “wave”, but other, just as valid mathematics says an electron has mass as a partcile. How can all of reality be both a wave and particle? We scientist just accept this….. but when you really try to understand it, you are left just as wondering as when you start…

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  162. Jerome:
    What do you think these men are getting at by proclaiming that a true marriage demands sex until death?:

    “We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together.”

    “We further affirm that God’s design for marriage is that one woman and one man live in a one-flesh, covenantal, SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP UNTIL SEPARATED BY DEATH.”

    I found that very creepy and serial killerish… Why the emphasis on death? Ugh.

    You can check out any time you like but you can never leave…

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  163. Yes, well I find it easier to believe in the incarnation as resulting in both human and divine if people did not have to have a miraculous physical birth. Duality of being would not be something you exactly run into every day, but what would the virginity of Mary have remotely to do with that? It is the Mary thing that is my issue. Why could not the IAm then Be whatever as long as it did not compromise IAm-ness, the essentiality and necessity and uniqueness of Being itself with/without the virginity of Mary? Having to have a virgin, for whatever reasons, sounds like ‘IAM but only under certain human conditions’-maternal virginity-which means that non-virginity of the mother would have had the power to thwart the IAM-ness of God. That is a heck of a lot of power to ascribe to human sexuality-the ability to prevent IAM-ness. And that power of Mary would be able to do that apparently even after she gave birth-prevent in retrospect the incarnation-contaminate in retrospect some way the GodMan.

    Oh, heck no. It sounds like making Mary/Sex a greater god than God based on her sexuality. In other words, it sounds like some pagan idea of sexuality of some sort. I mean, come on. Sex is only sex; nature is replete with sex of amazing varieties. Making it more than it is, which is just one aspect of creation, which seems to me what some aspects of christianity does, does not make sense to me-inclding Mary.

    But I have been wrong a few thousand times, and this could be one of those times.

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  164. Jeffrey J Chalmers: Who can understand the incarnation or trinity? It is not humanly possible….. The simplistic little demo’s that pastors like to use, i.e. water can be a gas/solid/liquid, are so simiplistic they due the whole concept a disservice.

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
    — Leonardo da Vinci —

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  165. Muff Potter,

    While I understand your point, I think, the H2O analogy is very limiting….. G$d, in three persons, can be everywhere, simulateouly, oh, don’t forget the all knowing, whatever was, present, and in the future part ?? if that isn’t mind minding, I do not know what is! I watch water go through its cycles of phases every day, and I understand, generally, the molecular forces involved….. no mystery… and man has harvested this in the steam engine for along time…

    Although, if I sat “under the authority” of one of the YRR preacher boys, maybe they could enlighten me…

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  166. okrapod: totally have never been able to figure out what Mary’s sex life, or lack of it, has to do with anything at all with the gospel as it relates to today’s culture. Or that matter how the incarnation required biological virginity on the part of the mother of Jesus.

    I’ve thought about this for a long while now and have arrived at some rather unconventional and unorthodox ideas. Too bad we don’t have an OD thread here at TWW anymore, as the incarnation would make a barn-burner of a discussion.

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  167. Ken F (aka Tweed): Do you think [the New Testament writers] knew they were writing letters that would still be read 2000 years later? It seems to me that they would have been more clear in some areas if they knew their writings would last for so long.

    That’s a really interesting question.

    My guess (of course, it’s nothing more than that) is that maybe they wouldn’t have been any clearer. The reason I guess this is that the new testament writers often speak of the Holy Spirit as though he were actually present with them – to paraphrase Brother Andrew (Andrew van der Bijl, sometimes known as “God’s Smuggler”), that he loved and cared and communicated and led. And I’m not sure they envisaged a time when a series of church councils would remove him from within, and amongst, believers and contain him within (or replace him by) a set of sacred texts. That being the case, I think they imagined that regardless of what they wrote, the spirit himself would always be around to lead the way.

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  168. ___

    “God’s Purposed Plan Fulfilled?”

    hmmm…

    God’s ultimate plan was to perfect the plan of salvation for the forgiveness of sin through His Son Jesus.

    From the Genesis 3 prophecy unto Malachi 3 God Almighty consistently spoke of this.

    As such, God went so far as to faithfully confirmed His words with the prophecy of the plan of a virgin birth spoken of in Isaiah 7:14 which were later fulfilled it in Matthew 1:18-25.

    This was His plan, His purpose, and His fulfillment.

    Faithful is He who called you unto salvation, faithful is He to bring it to pass…

    Watch for it!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

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  169. Darlene: The MacArthurites will win in the long run. For they are The Gatekeepers of Perfectly Parsed Polished Doctrine.

    But the Mohlerites (aka New Calvinists) also claim they are the sole keepers of truth. I guess it depends on who outlives the other.

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  170. Sòpwith,

    Perhaps. But the Hebrew word in Isaiah, young woman, does not necessarily mean virgin but rather a young woman. And the passage in Isaiah is not considered a messianic prophecy by all-but we all know this. So maybe and maybe not. We need to listen to the Jews on this one. However, for the sake of the discussion even if one uses the word to mean virgin and even if one considers the statement to be messianic prophecy then how does this mean ‘ever virgin’ as in the comment by HUG to which I replied? What does Mary’s sexuality after the birth of Jesus, in the wildest imagination, have to do with Isaiah?

    I am not saying anything remotely to discredit Mary, the actual woman Mary. Just so everybody understands this. But how does being the mother of more children than just Jesus discredit her anyhow? And how does the perpetual virginity of Mary make Jesus somehow more than he would be otherwise? It doesn’t. It would not.

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  171. okrapod: But how does being the mother of more children than just Jesus discredit her anyhow? And how does the perpetual virginity of Mary make Jesus somehow more than he would be otherwise? It doesn’t. It would not.

    I agree. It seems they try to make God a lesser God by continually “trying” to put him in a box of their own making.

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  172. Max: Darlene: The MacArthurites will win in the long run. For they are The Gatekeepers of Perfectly Parsed Polished Doctrine.

    But the Mohlerites (aka New Calvinists) also claim they are the sole keepers of truth. I guess it depends on who outlives the other.

    Or who’s the last one left at the end of the slaughter.

    “A crown based on lies,
    YOU WIN OR YOU DIE,
    Game of Thrones…”

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  173. ___

    “Faith In His Word Confirmed?”

    hmmm…

    And the ‘Angel of the Lord God’(tm) said:

    “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Matt 1: 30-36)

    And Mary accepted his words.

    And thankfully, so do I.

    I feel so sad for those of feel the need to embellish or detract from God’s words.

    For those who believe in Jesus and have faith in God and His words, divine opportunity knocks.

    Wait for it!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

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  174. Nick Bulbeck,

    ” I think they imagined that regardless of what they wrote, the spirit himself would always be around to lead the way.”
    +++++++++++

    interesting topic.

    i don’t think they ever imagined people would take what they wrote so dang seriously.

    i imagine some of what is now considered ‘scripture’ was scribbled under duress of some kind (food poisoning, hurried or oppressed circumstances, etc). i imagine the writers would have worded somethings differently if they had been in a better position to edit. i imagine some ideas jotted down were ‘off the cuff’. just cursory thoughts.

    imagine:

    –one of our comments here at TWW (which is only one facet of our complex thoughts on a complex topic) makes an impression on someone(s) and is circulated around

    –as much time goes by, current events (which inspired the blog post and comment) distill down into bullet points of data

    –over the ages the chosen comment has come to be viewed as divinely inspired.

    –deep in the future, people with influence turn it into some kind of doctrine and rules imposed on people.

    –based on a fraction of the sum total of our thoughts on the subject, and based on what could only possibly be an extremely partial & conjectured understanding of the context from which it sprung.

    we’d say “you must be joking”, wide-eyed, bemused and all ironic-like.

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  175. okrapod: if one uses the word to mean virgin and even if one considers the statement to be messianic prophecy then how does this mean ‘ever virgin’

    Good question. It doesn’t. I believe it means a virgin at the time of giving birth because it is “a sign”. However in Galatians 1:19 the Apostle Paul refers to James, the brother of the Lord. This indicates that Mary was not a virgin forever.

    The early church fathers venerated celibacy as the ideal state and this came from pagan and ascetic influence. However there is nothing inherently noble about celibacy and virginity. Purity is about the state of your heart.

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  176. ZechZav,

    With all due respect, how do you know it came from pagan influence? Both Jesus and Paul were celibate and recommended celibacy. We’re they pagan?

    The Church has always based its teaching on celibacy on the words of Scripture. “The single man,” Paul says, “is focused on the things of the Lord.” How can this be gainsaid?

    Marriage is a high and holy calling. But it is much harder for a married pastor to give his all for his flock… without giving his family short shrift. I think that’s what Paul was getting at.

    But it’s not pagan. It’s Biblical.

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  177. okrapod: Or that matter how the incarnation required biological virginity on the part of the mother of Jesus.

    I don’t think it necessarily does. In Isaiah, God said it would be “a sign”. A virgin giving birth would be “a sign” because it is miraculous, but a “young woman” (who is not necessarily a virgin) giving birth would not be anything out of the ordinary. Some Bible versions translate the word as “maiden” but this does not really change anything – a maiden would have been a virgin in ancient Israel anyway. A plain reading of Matthew 1 and 2 indicate that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus Christ, and Matthew quotes Isaiah’s prophecy to say it has been fulfilled.

    I don’t believe that the incarnation required Mary to be a virgin but I believe God chose to do it that way.

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  178. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    There is nothing wrong with being celibate and it can certainly bring advantages. This is why Paul and Jesus commended it – not because it was inherently holy.
    I am celibate myself and I see many advantages to it. My point is that it does not make more acceptable or pleasing to God than someone who is married.

    Here are some quotes from the early church fathers:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, for no other reason than that He might destroy the begetting by lawless desire, and might show to the ruler that the formation of man was possible to God without human intervention. And when He had been born, and had submitted to the other conditions of the flesh,–I mean food, drink, and clothing,–this one condition only of discharging the sexual function He did not submit to; for, regarding the desires of the flesh, He accepted some as necessary, while others, which were unnecessary, He did not submit to. For if the flesh were deprived of food, drink, and clothing, it would be destroyed; but being deprived of lawless desire, it suffers no harm. And at the same time He foretold that, in the future world, sexual intercourse should be done away with.

    Justin Martyr, The Self-Evidencing Power of God’s Truth.

    A great thing is virginity, and celibacy, and being ranked with the angels…Who [Christ] then paid more honour to virginity, or had more control of the flesh, not only by his personal example, but in those under his care? Whose are the convents, and the written regulations, by which he subdued every sense, and regulated every member, and won to the real practice of virginity, turning inward the view of beauty, from the visible to the invisible; and by wasting away the external, and withdrawing fuel from the flame, and revealing the secrets of the heart to God, Who is the only bridegroom of pure souls…

    Gregory Nazianzen, Archbishop of Constantinople in the fourth century

    Therefore no fruitfulness of the flesh can be compared to holy virginity even of the flesh. (Augustine)

    These beliefs of sex being “a lawless desire” and virginity being equated to a “pure soul” do not come from the Bible. Where do they come from?

    Encyclopedia Britanicca entry on celibacy: In the great pagan religions of the ancient Mediterranean, celibacy was practiced in various contexts. In Rome the institution of the Vestal Virgins, who were required to remain celibate for at least the 30 years of their service, indicates that celibacy was a very ancient aspect of Roman religion.

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  179. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    I am not arguing that the pragmatic statements made by both Jesus and Paul are pagan ideas. But neither required celibacy, both said it was for some people, and while we have no specific statements about Jesus from any first hand knowledge we presume that he was not married, but Paul said that he himself had a right to travel with a wife/sister like the other apostles did.

    I am saying that pagan ideas concerning sex, including ideas about sexlessness-not just confined to celibacy but previously also having to do with castration-seem to have contaminated christian thinking. I am arguing against what seem to me to be excesses because I think that some current attitudes which one finds among some christians need called our for what they are-‘baptized’ pagan ideas.

    And not just christians, but also FGM as we have seen, is a fear and hatred of female sexuality. I think that some of the repression of women is contaminated by a fear of the supposed power of female sexuality. That is not anything that either Jesus or Paul seems to have thought or preached.

    And I note that the RCC has time and again emphasized that celibacy of the priesthood is a ‘discipline’ not an eternal divine mandate-hence some married priest converts.

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  180. okrapod: And not just christians, but also FGM as we have seen, is a fear and hatred of female sexuality. I think that some of the repression of women is contaminated by a fear of the supposed power of female sexuality. That is not anything that either Jesus or Paul seems to have thought or preached.

    Author Helen Ellerbe talks about this in her book The Dark Side of Christian History.
    Fear and repression of femaleness led to the medieval witch hunts.

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  181. ZechZav: These beliefs of sex being “a lawless desire” and virginity being equated to a “pure soul” do not come from the Bible. Where do they come from?

    Well, we have this gem from Revelation 14:4:

    “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

    What was so awful about women that the writer would equate defilement with them?

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  182. Muff Potter: Author Helen Ellerbe talks about this in her book The Dark Side of Christian History.
    Fear and repression of femaleness led to the medieval witch hunts.

    And was canonized in the Malleus Malefacarium, a good chunk of which is the (celibate) author’s obsession with Demon-Witch SEX (including Beware Witches stealing men’s Penises).

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  183. Jerome: Interviewer is in deep with these guys; at 20:00 he tells Ascol, “This, I think, Statement, uh, I’m sure will by God’s grace be used to drive out, uh, those that are not truly our brothers ”

    That sounds like Beavis-and-Butthead-level DudeBroSpeak.

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  184. Muff Potter: Well, we have this gem from Revelation 14:4:

    “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

    What was so awful about women that the writer would equate defilement with them?

    I will have to look into the context of that verse. For now I will say that it is dangerous to build a case on one verse with no regard for the context. Mormons do this with 1 Corinthians 15 “what will they do who are baptised for the dead” and complimentarians make this error with 1 Timothy 2 “I suffer not a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man”.

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  185. Muff Potter,

    “What was so awful about women that the writer would equate defilement with them?”
    +++++++++

    i truly believe the glass we see through darkly is indeed very dim. my view is that the writers of what is considered scripture had a hefty cultural grid through which information was interpreted, seen, understood.

    which is not to say it is not inspired.

    the more religious the culture, the more obsessive about sex (in practice, in avoidance, in paranoia). women do not fare well.

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  186. Muff Potter:

    “These are they which were not defilethed unto women; for they are virgins thereof. These are they which followeth unto the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemethed from among unto men, beingeth the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

    What was so awful about women that the writer would equate defilement with them?

    Maybe nothing. The list would include most women, after all; and it would also imply that sexually active gay men are virgins. It still rather raises a finger to the lesbian community, though.

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  187. elastigirl: –over the ages the chosen comment has come to be viewed as divinely inspired.
    –deep in the future, people with influence turn it into some kind of doctrine and rules imposed on people.
    –based on a fraction of the sum total of our thoughts on the subject, and based on what could only possibly be an extremely partial & conjectured understanding of the context from which it sprung.
    we’d say “you must be joking”, wide-eyed, bemused and all ironic-like.

    Also, stuff that makes sense to us, like common phrases, references to previous comments, and HUGs Game of Thrones references, might lose all meaning in 2000 years and cause utter confusion. We interpret things all the time, we just don’t think about it.

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  188. okrapod,

    Interesting discussion. I think, although I’ve certainly heard it called the virgin birth, I just assumed Mary and Joseph had sex after they got married, pregnant or not, unless there was something in jewish culture preventing it. Hmm.

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  189. elastigirl: i truly believe the glass we see through darkly is indeed very dim. my view is that the writers of what is considered scripture had a hefty cultural grid through which information was interpreted, seen, understood.

    which is not to say it is not inspired.

    Great point. Inspiration does not mean infallible application for all times, all places, and for all situations.

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  190. Deborah: How many of their wives secretly wish they or their husbands were dead to get some peace?

    I honestly shudder to think how many. And the poor women view God as the monster who demands they endure hell on earth until they get to heaven.

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  191. Muff Potter,

    My understanding is that the words relate to the 144000 and I found Leon Morris’s explanation in his commentary on Revelation to be quite helpful. (The other Commentaries I consulted take a similar line – that it is symbolic).
    “Revelation 14:4 (TNTC Re): 4. The triple these (niv alters the last two to they) draws attention to three distinguishing marks of this group. The first is that they did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure (better is av, ‘they are virgins’). This is surprising, in the first instance because the 144,000 stands for the whole church and it is not easy to apply the first part of the saying to women members nor the second part to men, and in the second instance because the New Testament does not regard sexual relations as defiling. This idea was found in the ancient world and in time became prominent in the church. But in the New Testament marriage is a state to be commended and sexual relations are a necessary part of the married state (1 Cor. 7:3ff.). The most the New Testament writers say is that there are some pieces of Christian service that can be better carried out by the unmarried (1 Cor. 7:32–34). Some suggest that defile means improper sexual relations (so BAGD). But our passage seems to mean that the 144,000 had no sexual relations at all (‘they are virgins’).
    The answer to the difficulties seems to be that here, as so often, John is using symbolism. Virginity is ascribed to the people of God in the Old Testament (e.g. 2 Kgs 19:21; Jer. 18:13; Lam. 2:13; etc.), and unfaithfulness to God is likened to improper sexual relations (Ezek. 16; Hos. 5:4; etc.). So also Paul sees the church as the bride of Christ. He says, ‘I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him’ (2 Cor. 11:2). Later John sees ‘the bride, the wife of the Lamb’ (21:9). But the marriage is at this point future; the bride must be chaste. So she is described as having no sexual relations at all. John is saying that the 144,000 were not unfaithful to their Lord. They glorified God in their bodies (1 Cor. 6:20).
    This is reinforced by the term ‘virgins’. If did not defile themselves with woman is a strange expression to use of women, this is an unusual one for men. A few passages are cited where it is used of men, but none appears to be as early as this. This is the only one of fifteen New Testament occurrences where it refers to males. We should see the term as symbolical. The people in question have kept themselves completely free from intercourse with the pagan world system. They have lived up to what is implied in their betrothal to Christ. We thus have one expression which strictly applies to men balanced by another which (as far as our knowledge goes) was used of women only right up to this time. In each case John is concerned with spiritual truth”

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  192. Lea: Also, stuff that makes sense to us, like common phrases, references to previous comments, and HUGs Game of Thrones references, might lose all meaning in 2000 years and cause utter confusion.

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  193. Lea: Also, stuff that makes sense to us, like common phrases, references to previous comments, and HUGs Game of Thrones references, might lose all meaning in 2000 years and cause utter confusion.

    The cricket references will always be clear, though.

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  194. Muff Potter,
    “What was so awful about women that the writer would equate defilement with them?”

    I think this is one of those frequent places in which we simply have misinterpreted what is being said. My guess is that it is something of a kinder, gentler way to refer to premarital sex. The ‘defiling’ is to one’s vessel, by having sex outside of the ordained boundaries of marriage, whether a man ‘defiles’ his purity with a woman or a woman ‘defiles’ her former purity with a man. It could simply be a colloquialism, describing those who have maintained the approved sexual purity, in order to avoid invoking the concept of sex in mixed settings, which used to be considered vulgar.

    I sometimes suspect that our cultural corruption of sex into a common past time leaves us singularly incapable of comprehending how sex was once viewed. Not that there was ever a time when it was not abused by some, but I do believe that sexual purity was as much about keeping the act itself a special, meaningful, spiritual rite of oneness as keeping the body ‘pure’. This is the true sexual purity we have essentially lost even the concept of.

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  195. Lowlandseer,

    maybe John had some personal issues with women, with sex.

    regardless, no writer of scripture wrote in a vacuum of inspiration and infallibility. they wrote from the context of everything in their brain: data, awareness, biases, thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, experiences, memories, hopes, fears, hatreds….

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  196. Lowlandseer,

    admittedly, i haven’t done an exhaustive study of the text. my point is the text reveals only bits of all the writer brings with him/her as they express their thoughts and data in their writing.

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  197. Nick Bulbeck: The cricket references will always be clear, though.

    The cricket references aren’t clear to me now. Is that the one where you hit a ball on the ground with a bat? What is a sticky wicket?

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  198. TS00: I sometimes suspect that our cultural corruption of sex into a common past time leaves us singularly incapable of comprehending how sex was once viewed. … This is the true sexual purity we have essentially lost even the concept of.

    What are you saying here. You think sex was treated in the past with such reverence? There was rampant prostitution, concubines, multiple wives…Many married for practical reasons more than anything. I don’t see it.

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  199. Lowlandseer,

    If the John of the revelation is John of the original 12, and if it was John of the original 12 “the one whom Jesus loved” who was the source of the the gospel according to ‘John’ then one does note that some in the ‘alternative’ sexual persuasion have seen the John and Jesus relationship as at minimum having a suggestion of alternative persuasion. And while I am not remotely convinced by this, I do see that once people get into conjecture there are some potential unanswered questions which can be raised even while limiting oneself to the texts.

    I am not defending that position. None the less before one says that the text does not support this or that one must consider all that one can glean from the entirety of what one can or might see in the whole of the NT and say, at least, that ‘I” don’t see anything in the totality of what we are told about John to suggest thus and such, but much beyond that might be looking at something and not seeing it?

    IMO, and personally having come from a childhood where a parent was himself hooked on prophesy, I think that *for me* the best approach to prophesy is ‘danged if I know, but I guess we will find out eventually’.

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  200. elastigirl: my point is the text reveals only bits of all the writer brings with him/her as they express their thoughts and data in their writing.

    I agree. And also the readers of the texts bring with then all….etc…in reading the texts. There is nothing magic about the mere act of putting something into writing. Paper never refuses ink. The claims of
    inspiration have never said, in the scripture itself, what Islam says about the dictating of their holy book.
    We are not supposed to believe, for example, that God himself wishes that people castrate themselves regardless of Paul’s frustration with his theological opponents.

    Anyhow, yes, you make a valid point, in my opinion.

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  201. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: We affirm that some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures because of the biblical truths that inform those worldviews that have produced these distinct assumptions. Those elements of a given culture that reflect divine revelation should be celebrated and promoted.

    Let’s interpret what is being said. More accurately it would read:

    “Any culture that adopts our interpretation of what scripture means is inherently superior to any culture that rejects our biases.”

    In other words, ‘We alone understand and proclaim all truth’. You are either with us or against us. It is deeply disturbing that this is the exact phraseology used by the president that launched the eternal war. Based on lies. (Note: This is not meant to endorse or reject one particular political perspective. I believe that both parties are tools of the same hidden powers.) What I do suggest is that all of the institutions of men are either established or infiltrated by malevolent, self-seeking parties who are willing to abuse, oppress and use others to achieve power and profit. For too long we have ignored the warnings of scripture that The Powers That Be (including religious ones) are not of God. His ‘power’ can always be recognized in its manifest love, mercy and justice.

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